Witch in Practice: Week 31

A quiet week, largely.

Last week

I started working through the 22 Weeks with the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot in earnest, and I’m liking the structure it gives to time (especially at the moment.)

We were scheduled to do an initiates discussion of athames as tools, rescheduled to next weekend.

I got a grocery delivery on Thursday, which included a fair bit of fresh produce, so I have been cheerfully cooking that and also trying to get a better grip on my pantry lists. I spent about 2.5 hours on Sunday deep cleaning the kitchen, which feels great.

I am in the middle of book editing, which is always sort of a slog, because I can’t do it on workdays (not enough brain!) so I end up having to do large batches on the weekend, and that doesn’t leave a ton of time for other things.

This week

Monday was a holiday – Massachusetts has a state holiday for Patriots Day, a celebration of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. It’s also usually Marathon Day, though not this year.

My weekend holds a dedicant class (ritual theory part 2, namely the Wheel of the Year, other ritual cycles, and other times we might do ritual), and the rescheduled athame discussion.

Witch in Practice: Week 30

Last week

Monday: A friend I do a regular weekly call with (we started as accountability partners in the Art of Money class last year, and decided to continue chatting this year) had an idea for me.

She’s the same person who did the hypnotic regression I mentioned briefly in week 25. One of the past lives there was an herbalist (though not solely medicinal). A really strong visual I got was standing in front of a small set of shelves (about 2.5 feet tall by maybe 9 inches wide), with rows of bottles on it, different sizes (mostly columns and hexagonal, and mostly taller and slimmer) with different kinds of caps and lids.

She brought up the fact she’s been thinking about that, and asked if I’d ever thought about making oils for ritual purposes.

Mostly I have, in the past, thought about it, and then decided I don’t have space/time to do anything with it. However, my current apartment is a bit better set up for some of it than other places I’ve lived, so I spent a chunk of this week looking at some options, what I currently have by way of magical herbs and ingredients.

One of the reasons I have not gone deeper in to herbal magic is that I get deeply frustrated by the vague “We use this because it’s associated with X” with no sourcing at all. I am planning to tackle that by a) research (something that’s been on my list for a while) and b) doing small amounts of a bunch of things in different combos, and seeing how they feel.

The one on my immediate list is an oil for anointing things in the home for blessing/well-being with a side of protection, for the record.

Saturday: Dedicant class went quite well, in the current format, though 90 minutes is clearly about my own tolerance for interacting with a web call (our classes would normally be 3 hours).

We talked a bit about how everyone’s doing, about when structure is helping, but expecting to be super productive (or even ordinarily productive) isn’t helping, and that there is no particular deadline for them finishing their required assignments to be considered for initiation other than the fact that we can’t do initiations while social distancing and that we do not as a tradition, generally do initiations between Samhain and Imbolc.

(Ok, I forgot to actually spell out the “not while social distancing” but.)

This week

I did the non-Tarot parts of the 22 Weeks with the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot last week, but decided to start in earnest this week (today!) because I was waiting on the printed version to get to me. Having structured stuff to do on particular days is in fact a help.

Sunday: We have initiate discussion (athames, yay!) I have a few more notes to make about the list of questions we’re discussing, but I’ve done most of the actual reading and research I wanted to do.

Witch in Practice: Week 29

Slightly late this week, pardon.

Last week:

Thursday and Friday: I took two days vacation time, and played video games and read and generally worked on helping my brain reset a bit. It was really good.

Saturday: Coven chat (with one of my people) which was great.

Sunday: Online ritual, courtesy the Cornucopia Collective, a healing ritual focused on Horus. After the usual technical issues of “How do we do this sensibly”, it went well, with about 18 people there.

(I don’t often make it to their in-person rituals, because going out is always a tricky equation for me for health and stamina reasons, so that was great. Also, I’m thinking about how to tackle ritual for coven purposes for the foreseeable future.)

I also did some preparation for things in the “This week” section, and did some research and preparation for the first big tools discussion with my initiate on the 19th (athames!)

This week

I started on Monday working through Benebell Wen’s “22 Weeks with the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot“, which is a study and practice approach to her Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck that includes tasks tied to each day (meditation on Monday, exercise on Tuesday, etc.)

Right now, I’m really wanting something that anchors me a bit more in “what day is it again?”. I already was doing some daily planetary focused work, so this seemed like a great way to expand. So far that’s going well.

Saturday: Class with my Dedicants, the second half of our healing class, and at least the beginning of our ritual theory class, part 2 (which is about ritual cycles and “when are the points we might want to do ritual” as opposed to part 1, which is “how do we do ritual, what is our circle structure doing?”

Since we’re doing it on Zoom, and I can screenshare, I am having fun prepping slides for it, since both topics have parts where visual aids are actually quite helpful.

Witch in Practice: Week 28

Updates on the site

One of the things I got done last weekend was adding several essays I’ve had mostly written for a while (um, months) and adding them to Seeking. Some of them are not terribly applicable to the world at the moment, but they’ll be handy for the future.

Last week

General: Jason Miller has made his Take Back Your Mind meditation course free through May 1. (Email and audio files)

On the practical front, Elise Matthesen, a dear friend, launched a Kickstarter to create a series of videos to share with other people how she does her wandering wire technique.

The Kickstarter is for the equipment and editing to do the filming – she’s been dealing with increasing health issues, so doing this sooner than later is also important. Anyone who backs at any level (including $1) will get access to the videos for a year (once they’re made!) before they are released for free to the public, but there are also all sorts of great perks available. (I’m the Jenett mentioned as helping with the keeping of numbers and lists.)

So my week involved a couple of conversations about that with her. Not explicitly witchy, but her techniques work excellently for ritual jewellery, and supporting my friends, definitely also important.

Tuesday: Did my usual new moon divination reading and a few other small things.

Saturday: Did a Zoom call with my coven – we started with some chat, then did the first half of the class on Healing (the next class we’d been planning on.)

We’re going to be alternating “I’ll have the Zoom room open and we can chat” and classes for April, Saturday mornings. It’s a work in progress – two of my folks are single parents, there’s a variety of living situations and other people’s needs in play. (I’m planning on writing up a “Coven in the time of Covid-19” article in a week or so, when I’ve had a chance to try a few more things.)

This week

Saturday: Chat with the coven on Saturday

Sunday: A consult for ongoing magical work/approaches on Sunday, along with an online ritual (led by the person who runs local public rituals.)

Witch in Practice: Week 27

Last week

I focused on keeping going with the steady stars of my personal practice: morning offerings, my music and divination start to the morning, and generally sorting out what was and wasn’t working for me.

A lot of feeling scattered, and telling myself that was okay. Toward Saturday, I could feel my brain settling down, and I had a good writing day on Sunday, which is always promising.

One of the things I’ve learned from my witchcraft is that liminal states always feel weird, and that forcing myself into them or through them rarely works well. Working with them, however, helps a lot. I got a bit more sleep (I went to bed earlier than usual two different nights, and overslept on one of them…)

I’ve also got a page with some thoughts about how to look at this time almost written, but not quite done yet.

This week

I’m working on figuring out ways to include more explicit healing work in my daily practice, probably in the ‘offerings to relevant deities’ category.

Saturday: I’ve made arrangements with my coven for a Zoom call on Saturday morning (when we’d normally have had class).

My plans involve being able to check in with everyone, talk through some resources on the witchy side that I’m finding interesting or helpful, and then we were up to our healing class, so talking a bit about magical approaches to healing and supporting the body (though not attempting some of the exercises until we’re a little more familiar with the technology.)

Witch in Practice: Week 26

Also known as “Half way through this project” and also “Wow, the world is complicated right now.”

Last week

Almost entirely taken up with prepping to be working from home for the forseeable future (at least April 10th, in my case), both in terms of work and in terms of grocery shopping, doing laundry, and so on. (I have no access to laundry without a laundromat or a laundry service other than ‘do in the sink’.)

I’m at high risk of lung complications (I have the kind of lungs that make my allergist eye me dubiously. A lot.) So my plan is to stay home as much as possible for the duration, barring some wide-open-air walks in the neighborhood and the bare minimum of errands for food and other necessities.

I’ve also got the edges of symptoms for something that had me feeling iffy on Sunday, and on and off today (minor things, but of course we’re all paying really close attention to all of that right now.)

Saturday: I sent out an email to my coven, just checking in, letting them know we wouldn’t likely be doing in person stuff for a bit, and to let me know if they wanted more resources for anything. And some notes about healing rituals, and what they could do without checking with me (we’re at a slightly weird point in training for that.)

This week

Getting used to working at home (I’m the kind of person who thinks a great vacation is being at home, sleeping late, and catching up on things, so the ‘being home’ is not actually a huge problem for me.) But figuring out how to set up my computer for long-term work (without having to log out of all my personal stuff) took some time.

We have a tradition-specific ritual that I do on the spring equinox every year, so I also need to prep for doing that. (I’m planning to do it on Sunday.)

Witch in Practice: Week 25

Last week

Last week was full of things. The cat had her first vet appointment in a while on Tuesday, which took a couple of hours and resulted in her needing three appointments in the next couple of months (she needs to have a few teeth pulled, so there’s a pre-check for that, the actual process, and a check after.)

She did her best imitation of a small attack panther while still in her carry case. Then the vet came out to talk to me after they did the exam, with a “So, yeah, there is stuff going on with her teeth, but given that she was doing an alligator death roll on the tongue depressor, I wasn’t able to get the best look. Here’s the range of what I suspect we’ll find when she’s sedated, but you want to schedule that in the not too distant future.”

Oh, Astra. [1] Anyway, that was a lot of Out Managing Small Attack Panther, and then there was some more ‘stocking the kitchen so I don’t have to go out unnecessarily’ (I’m at high risk of lung complications, so while I’m not panicking about the coronavirus, I am taking sensible precautions.)

On that front: I wrote up a guide to coven practice and contagious disease considerations, and encourage you all to share it if it’d be helpful for other people you know. It includes my coven’s policies around health and the email I sent this week. (See: my lungs are perpetually cranky, I host coven stuff in my home, I’ve had a policy for a good while.)

Saturday: Class and a full moon ritual. Class was on meditation and pathworking (why we do it, and some different approaches.)

The ritual was making protection eggs, which is one of my favourite things, and one I do most years. I just find it really satisfying. (I had a crushing accident with mine, am not entirely thrilled with the replacement, and may make a new one, since I still have blown out shells.)

See the instructions down below if you’d like to do this yourself. It’s very flexible for your intentions (protection, well-being, home, etc.) and doesn’t need a lot of materials.

Sunday:

I’ve had an ongoing regular web chat with an accountability partner for one of last year’s projects (and we’ve kept going this year). She’s done training in hypnotic regression, and is working on a new certification, so she needed practice subjects she could document. We did a quite long session (2.5 hours) yesterday, which was quite intriguing, including building in some new deity practice.

(My basic instructions on how to take care of myself are apparently “read more” and “drink more water”. Ok, then.)

This week

I was expecting to be going to Oregon for a work trip, and cancelled as of this morning, so I have two weekends with nothing scheduled on them, and I’m looking forward to a chance to catch up on a bunch of things. (Also, release the romance book that has been in editing forever…)

Protection eggs

If you want to do this yourself, here’s what you need:

  • Eggs (large white work best, though brown are fine if you don’t mind the brown background.) 
  • Washi tape, medical tape, or something else that will stick to an eggshell (Scotch tape and similar tapes don’t.) You want enough to seal the hole in the bottom of the egg.
  • Something to hang the egg with, if you like (floss, ribbon, etc.) 
  • Markers (crayons can work, but I prefer markers)
  • Dried herbs of your choice (for protection, abundance, or other things along those lines.) 

Process:

  • Blow out eggs
    • Put a tiny hole in the top, and a bigger hole, about the size of a dime, in the bottom. I use a thumbtack to make the holes.
    • Blow out through the tiny hole into a bowl. You need a fair bit of pressure. 
    • Do at least one more egg than you think you’ll need. 
    • Rise out, and let dry out over night.
  • Decorate your egg with the markers. You can write words, symbols, shapes, etc. related to your goal. 
  • Fill your egg with a mix of herbs, and tape up the bottom. 
  • Add a thread for hanging if you like. (This usually works better if you run it from the bottom to the top, held in multiple places by tape. Superglue would probably work if you let it set long enough.) 
  • Charge with your intention.
  • Place by a door (usually the main door of your home) for protection, or in other suitable locations for

You’d think that threading a bit of embroidery floss or fine yarn through the top hole would be sensible, but in practice this turns out to be logistically quite challenging.

If you want to try it, consider making the top hole big enough for a yarn needle (something with some weight), and then threading a pony bead (or something of similar size) with suitable knots to keep it attached, to hold on the inside. (A washer would probably do okay too.) Do this before you fill the egg with herbs.

[1] There would be cat photos, but she is basically entirely black, so most photos of her involve a black void, sometimes with teeth.

Witch in Practice: Week 24

Last week

Saturday: We had our first initiate discussion as a coven! Very exciting. We talked through the initiation ritual in a bit more detail, now it’s had time to settle, and then started what is known in the tradition as the Infamous Tools Worksheet, a deep dive into ritual tools in theory and practice. I’m looking forward to it!

Sunday: I had a consult with Ivy of Circle Thrice, which I’ve been contemplating doing for a bit, but I finally hit a point of wanting someone to help me refine and strategise about two different sets of magical goals.

One is some better integration of stuff that’s good for me (food, exercise, etc. I’m pretty good at getting enough sleep, because it’s my easiest to manage migraine trigger. Migraines are really good incentive to fix a thing.) The other is looking at some magic to support the romance writing to increase income there in ways I feel good about (and that are good for the people who might enjoy reading my stuff.)

This lead to a discussion of “Given what you’ve said about your practice, have you considered added a solar-focused deity” (because mostly my primary deity work is either All The Water or cthonic. Which are both great in their ways, but not optimal for certain kinds of energy management needs.) So I am cheerfully contemplating that.

This week

Voting in Super Tuesday tomorrow morning, a vet appointment for the cat in the afternoon.

Saturday we have a full moon ritual (for scheduling reasons – I’ve got an out of town work trip with awful flight times – we’re not going to manage to do a spring equinox ritual). So we’re doing one of my favourite magical workings with protection eggs.

Take an egg, blow out the contents (small hole at the narrow end of the egg, bigger one at the bottom) into a bowl (make something with them later). Decorate with protective symbols/words/etc. Fill with a mix of herbs/etc. that you like and are suited. Charge. Hang by your door or in another suitable place.

Sunday, I’m doing a hypnosis session with a friend I’ve been doing other discussions with, and I’m curious to see how that goes.

Witch in Practice: Week 23

Last week

A quiet week on the magical front, mostly – I was focusing on some editing and consulting work (outside of the usual day job) and the combo left neither much time nor brain for other things.

This week

I’ve got my first initiate discussion with my (last summer) initiate on Saturday, which I’m very much looking forward to.

I’m also doing a call with someone on Sunday about lining up some things magically more effectively.

See? Very quiet week. (On the other hand, I have gotten my editing done for the moment, and have some time to catch up on other stuff.)

Witch in Practice: Week 22

Last week

Mostly low-key. (I have had more migraines than usual, due to a combo of a new med and weather patterns, which does not leave a ton of energy for other things.)

Saturday, we had Dedicant class (they’re now just about exactly half way through Dedicant year), covering magical theory and theory of divination, as well as talking through about where they should be on some longer-term assignments.

Sunday, I managed some notes for initiate discussion and a plan of attack (our first one is on the 29th), and wrote up the class notes for the Dedicants, and … yeah.

This week

I am finally almost caught up on other projects eating my brain, caught up on one bit of consulting work, and have a good sense of when I’ll likely finish the other, which means next weekend is joyfully sorta free!

By which I mean it will likely have laundry in it, and some other tasks, and a bunch of writing, but that’s good.