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!

 

 

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Wicca/Witchcraft

Wiccan. Cottage Witch. What’s in a Name?

gz31uVi_qp86uy4ToC0DwHxopK72HYQQAMXhfWLVHh3znPbnywGNR2GZYPNC_eQjDCYWHmNQcW5vbg91V-kBvydRw1u7OH-6oxVkMRgGZ86849g6bG9YNcLMb-9ajljXeJXuF-3Q9Bmopz_lKVS4tjyBopCaxARNrPRXsd6tONZTouG4xOZGRzv3XRXRbQyN60aNENK3q7VdVsPg-8Cx2iJyoQT5imPnoI’ve been bouncing around trying to juggle a few blogs, and determine which direction I want to go, and trying to choose the proper blog. I’ve struggled a bit with setting aside the more formal “Wiccan” self-description for the decidedly less formal “cottage witch.” Obviously, this is more of a personal decision than a choice between blogs. But, in this case, they go hand-in-hand, as I want to document my thoughts and path.

In the end, there is no doubt that my path has become less formal, and is now mainly concentrated on our home, health, and food. However, the path that brought me to this place was Wicca. It is the path on which I learned all about growing herbs, drying herbs, using them in cooking, rituals, spells, health, and countless other uses. The same goes for essential oils. Wicca taught me how to fashion spells and rituals, and well, everything I know about witchcraft.

Ultimately, I think the semantics are less important than what is in my heart. While I don’t now follow the formality of Wicca in regard to ritual, circle castings, or formal spells, I do adhere to the basic tenets of the Wiccan path. I believe in the Rede, the Rule of the Three, karma, the concept of The Summerland, and reincarnation. So while my day-to-day practice is centered around the home and family, the skeleton of my path is Wicca. So please don’t be offended or surprised if I use the terms cottage witch and Wiccan interchangeably.

I’ve also decided to stop suppressing my interests in subjects that are not readily accepted outside the Pagan and witchcraft community. In the past I was somewhat self-conscious about my beliefs in the myriad of Gods and Goddesses in which I believe, the supernatural, faeries, the true power of magick, other planes of existence, reincarnation, and other extensions of Pagan and witchcraft beliefs. In the past, I would downplay many of my beliefs in order to appear, for lack of a better word, “normal.” Now, normal is what I believe, without concern of what others might think.

Over the past few years, I’ve hidden my path less and less. I’ve never uttered the word “witch,” but I’m self described as Pagan in any personal social media outlet. Honestly, those personal, mundane social media outlets have dwindled down to a select few, as my mundane life has faded, and my witchcraft life has eclipsed it.

I’ve chosen to stick with this blog as Hippie Cottage Witch seems to be an appropriate name for where I’m at on my path, and I need to start being consistent with staying with one blogging outlet.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Blessed Be.

 

 

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft

On Being A Hippie Witch..

ntWSX81gvZu5l57F7CI90ebmJGzsmyz5C3gbMUvZXgpISLf-LsnJMYiM367k3wsQ3-YtJQ7A4vYH_hLU-V0wyjTr4jiUc7zo4EmirQ71Hy1RuYwLOZ-LZllIn1AKXHuaC4sLXDKRkAgvSz3ZwWZJn82LX2Zyk6JeWT33hngW9G4Uw-y0vV4h3tsD0FNlvIiGqq3XW6ojfRYF-FvQUUKwzMzS2yMzZdDnnMy grade/middle/high school years were in the 60’s and 70’s. When I got to middle school I was pretty much as full blown hippie kid that you can be for being in my early teens. I had the requisite army jacket with peace signs and ecology patches that my mom had sewn on for me. In grade school I had become a member of the Audubon Society, when we were raising baby chickens. I continued to have an interest in bird watching into high school. I wore bell bottom jeans, and I carried around a dog-eared copy of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring. That was a book detailing the poisoning of our lakes, streams and oceans with pesticides. It was a book that helped with the formation of Earth Day, and the EPA. Of course the GOP want to abolish the EPA these days. You know, all that pesky oversight of big business, and their impact on our health. What’s a little chemical waste in the rivers, huh?

But I digress. When I got to college, I was still in hippie mode. Not quite as much as before, but I loved sociology and psychology. After college came the end of my hippie days. I got into business, got all caught up with making money, having a family, nice cars, nice suits, nice house. Yep, I got caught up in the Me decade.

(As a side note here, if you read my blog that I stupidly deleted, you have read some of this. But I’m rewriting it for those who hadn’t, so bear with me..)

As the 90’s approached, it all came crashing down. Divorce, job loss, family deaths, losing friends, and developing a healthy case of depression and anxiety issues. Gone were the days of self-importance. It became just trying to cope on a daily basis.

Eventually things evened out a bit. I found new love, and rediscovered the joy of parenting. My job situation was tenuous, but it worked somehow. But the depression and anxiety were still there. I had abandoned my birth religion for good in those dark days, and now I needed something spiritual to grab onto. That was how I found Paganism and Wicca in 2004.

So finding those paths rekindled the hippie passions I once had. Not as much at first, but after I found the goth subculture (way of thinking, not way of dressing) I balanced it out with a return to a hippie lifestyle.

Over the past couple of years, that lifestyle has been more pronounced. We (yes, I dragged my wife into all of this!) became avid re-purposers, re-users, and recyclers. We stopped buying extra stuff, and found happiness with the things we already had. We stopped trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Over the past year, I have become more determined to live an even simpler lifestyle. I quit spending $30 bucks a pop for haircuts and cut my own hair. I have less hair these days, so it’s not a huge problem. I blend essential oils and carrier oil for moisturizers, deodorant, and medicinal uses. I have largely gone “water only” for face and hair washing. I make most of our cleaning products, and what I don’t make, I buy brands like 7th Generation or other environmentally friendly brands. We have decluttered, but I still like some decor, rather than a stark look in our home.

This concentration on the home, and keeping things simple was basically the spark that led to cottage witchcraft. It seemed the most logical step in simplifying our lives. Include witchcraft in everyday life, in ordinary chores and actions. In doing so, I’ve found that I actually practice witchcraft more now than I did when I set aside specific times to do rituals or spells. Now magick happens many times a day, rather than just on occasion.

I’ll admit, there is a dose of New Age added to my Craft path. I find it practically impossible to avoid it. Most witches I know work with stones, crystals, aromatherapy, chakras and other practices that have ties to New Age philosophy. I get that some witches are really bothered by that association, but it has just become a part of daily life for me. Most of us find a balance in blending various philosophies and practices in our Craft activities, and that has become a part of mine.

So this is kind of a how-I-got-here post. I’ve found a good degree of peace in both a simpler, hippie-like lifestyle, and a simple cottage witchcraft path. I’ve lived through my share of drama and heart-wrenching times, and it’s nice to find a pathway that is low-key and earthy.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft

Cottage Witchcraft Evolution

IKwc3wE1vflCz6k5q9HlqOifZ0BD9MEV7n-aj9GZhcGFl14HkLgI762WWcWCEQ1MFFWtEImD87x6PACberZ5-Zmq3r9NAIvE29Hdl7eG6oVJ3cl_LigVEsk5eOLJ2MUAMN1lFfMRRUZoSpzcMn3tldz-EzTPBeX4_zzxNHIkuIg2sYxSDIBh2H2COviGhzRojI99u9a6WwK29sA82pfEAWGMIPRZOLtlcOver the last 5 or so years, our social life has had a dramatic change. For a good chunk of our lives, we lived a very social life. Vacations with friends, house parties, pool parties, taverns, bars, and other social events heavily dotted our calendar. As we’ve all gotten older, and tip-toed over that half-century mark, those events have largely gone by the wayside. Age plays a big part, as does our children having children, the economy, and a lack of desire and fortitude to party like we once did. So while our Facebook pages may indicate a large number of “friends,” we now largely stay home. It has been an adjustment, not always easy at times.

Obviously, our home has become more important to us. A year or so ago, I started exploring cottage witchcraft. Some might also call it hearth, kitchen, or even green witchcraft. Because I spend so much time at home, and since I am in charge of the house, I thought it might be appropriate to have a shift in my Craft practice from Wicca to a more relaxed, less formal practice, centering around the house and kitchen. Truth be known, I have been moving away from the formality of Wicca for some time.

Up till now, I’ve been see-sawing back and forth, from cottage witch practices, while trying to do some degree of formal Wiccan rituals. It’s become something of a burden, vacillating mentally back and forth each day, trying to decide which way my path is going. So in order to alleviate that stress, I’ve made the decision to make a permanent move to a cottage witchcraft path.

I know that you can take the boy out of Wicca, but you can’t take the Wicca out of the boy. After 12 years, Wicca has become a permanent part of who I am. So I realize that whatever small rituals I may do, the type of magick or spells I may use, will be flavored by my Wiccan roots. However, there comes a time when one’s actual Craft practice stretches the definition of Wicca too far, and doesn’t really reflect a standard Wiccan practice.

Anyone who has read my Twitter posts, and my now defunct blogs, knows I have some depression and anxiety issues. I firmly believe that throwing all my mental and physical efforts into cottage witchery, rather than trying to juggle several paths will be a calming and beneficial influence.

As I was thinking about this new phase in my magickal life last night, it occurred to me that there is so much more magick I could infuse into my daily home life. I, like a lot of people, spend too much time behind a screen. I love social media and learning new things, but it does take time away from household chores. In looking around our house last night, I realize that I’ve let a lot of things slide over the past few years. I also realized that I don’t necessarily fully appreciate what we have here.

So I have pledged to myself to spend more time giving our home some magickal loving care. Using that time to make my own cleaning products infused with herbs, oils, and magickal intent. Using that time to rediscover why we have the things we do, and why we loved them enough to acquire them. I think this will result in a healthier, happier environment for a space that we now spend so much time enjoying.

I’m very excited about this next witchcraft step. I think this will give me lots of fodder for things to write about on this blog. This is practical application of magick and witchcraft, and I think that is something which others on the path would like to read.