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Showing posts from 2008

Bamboo- Going Green for Sex

No, I'm not kidding. I just found an article in one of my favorite green websites that touts the benefits of bamboo fiber bedsheets. According to the article, they're silky and soft, but have the power to absorb sweat.

They're available at Bed, Bath and Beyond HERE. While I choked at the price of sheets for my king sized bed ($99!!!!) I might just have to splurge on a set in my favorite shade of blue.

The bamboo fiber bath towels at $25 a pop are still pricey, but for an experiment in going green I wouldn't mind splurging for one or two of the linen colored ones for the master bath.

I must say I do enjoy my bamboo cutting board! I got it for a housewarming gift last year, and I used it almost daily.

Bamboo is very sustainable. I have some at the back of my property, and unless we get out there several times a year to cut it all back, it would take over the yard. I love going green with bamboo.

Lena

A Winter Solstice Podcast

This guy is so good, I refuse to embellish.

http://www.theseanachai.com/2008/12/20/a-podcast-for-the-winter-solstice/

His sense of humor is amusing.

Lena

Reading with my Grown Kids

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Seems an odd choice for a pagan blog, right? Well, if you haven't learned by now from all my previous posts that being pagan is all-pervasive in one's life, I'm sorely disappointed. Okay, I'll explain for the new guys.

At this time of year, most of us are shut inside, and many of us pick up some sort of hand craft, needlework, or project to do. Some, if not all, of us do this in front of the television. We may enjoy a movie, a favorite tv show, or worst of all just use it for subliminal background noise. Even I caught myself humming mindlessly to ad jingles the other day while I sorted out my needlework silks for an upcoming project. (shudder)

My kids are mostly grown and gone, but one or two return to visit or even stay on a temporary basis. However, even over the phone one of our favorite activities is "storytime." Two of us are published authors, two are book reviewers, and all of us love to share what we read. Three of us are famous for "storytime&quo…

Sorry for the delay

I'm having surgery on January 2. Busier than a flea at a dog show getting ready. Bear with me.

Lena

Cloven Fruit and Pagan Ornaments

If you've never made cloven fruit, now's the time to make this fun, fragrant and easy decorative fruit.

You'll need:

1 nail (large is better)
1 bottle of whole cloves
1 orange
1 wire hanger to disassemble and use for a wire hanger. (Wire cutters may be necessary)
Ribbon for decoration
Powdered cinnamon (optional) in a deep bowl. (A small souffle dish is what I use.)

Use the nail to punch a hole in the orange's skin. Stick one clove, stem down, into the hole. Repeat all over the orange as desired. The more, the better. Some cloves will break. Just set them aside for use in a potpourri or wassail. Once the orange is covered to your satisfaction, you may roll it in the cinnamon, if desired. I rarely bother, but it does increase the fragrance.

Straighten the wire and shove it through the orange from the stem to blossom end. Use the wire cutters to bend the end at the bottom to secure the wire. Bend the top to form a hook to hang the cloven fruit where you wish, be it on the tree or…

Cutting the Evergreen Tree

There are many traditions associated with the evergreen tree in the house for the holiday. Most, you've heard since childhood.

I like the pickle ornament for the tree tradition. The kid who finds the pickle ornament on the tree on Christmas morning gets a special goodie. A smart parent makes sure it's a minimal reward that is best shared, like first pick of the morning cinnamon buns or something.

I loved the wearing of Morris Bells. The ankle bracelet of bells and dancing around is so happy, very few can remain in a bad mood.

When the time comes to cut the tree, cut a Circle in the earth around it with your athame and conscecrate it with salt and water. Then stand within the Circle facing the tree and explain to its spirit:

O sacred tree
Tree of rebirth
Symbol of the Child of Promise
I require of you
Your uppermost branches
That they may be adorned and honored
This Winter Solstice.

Tap on the uypper part of the tree trunk three times with a wand or athame to drive the spirit of the tree …

Okay, so it isn't pagan...Who cares? It's Wolverine

Flames in the Snow -- Candles

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Flames in the Snow
Flickering votive candles are staples of holiday decorating, but they don't have to be plain. Dress up painted terra-cotta pots by coating them in glittering "snow," and add wax snow (made by whipping melted wax) to top off the candles. My blessed mother-in-law is a wonderful and truly Christian woman. She is the mother of six and grandmother of more than I can count, so you know she relishes frugality and practicality. She also believes in the old expression: "A bayberry candle burned to the socket brings food to the pantry and money to the pocket." Every Christmas Eve, my dear husband follows this family tradition. Dante and I smile and add our own wishes for prosperity to this lovely old act. We do believe that burning bayberry candles both at Yule and Christmas are lovely charms. The fact that we secretly annoint the candles in magnetic oil and inscribe them with prosperity runes are simply our way of melding old traditions with no harm don…

The Yule Fire-- Ashes in a Bottle

If you are fortunate enough to have a fireplace or outdoor burning of the Yule Log, don't forget to gather the ashes and save an unburned portion as a powerful amulet of protection.

I personally don't hold with this "a sacred fire should never be put out" nonsense. Sorry, but when the outdoor sabbat is over, it is polite to ensure there won't be a forest fire later. Douse that thing! Your fireplace flame depends a great deal on your personal comfort levels. I had a woodburning stove that served well as my fireplace for many years, and I was quite content to let the fire burn down of its own accord overnight, knowing very little could go wrong.

However, I would not do so with a big old fireplace. I'd bank the logs and ashes thriftily and safely. All it takes is one pop and I'd have a house fire to worry about. The fire elementals had to deal with my controls.

I bottled my Yulefire ashes and sealed the top. Old glass spice bottles with glass stoppers from the …

The Yule Log

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This excellent article does a good job of explaining the Yule log. Why re-invent the wheel? Above is a picture of the cake version.

http://www.noelnoelnoel.com/trad/yulelog.html Perhaps I'm weird, but I like a third alternative of turning a log of wood into a candleabra able to hold three taper candles. I simply use a spade bit of the appropriate size for my candles on a drill, and in a few minutes I have a Yule Log to "burn" with reasonable care. No, I don't let the tapers burn down into the socket I've made and set the log alight! I'm not that stupid. However, this does give me the opportunity to decorate the log with burnable decorations such as sprigs of evergreen and holly. Trust me on this, don't use silk or plastic. The smell will run you right out of the area if you ever do burn your Yule Log. Oh, and I highly recommend finding a copy of "Wheel of the Year" by Pauline and Dan Campanelli. They have a lovely bit of ritual suitable for the b…

Evergreen and Holly Decor-- The Wreath

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Wreath Basics


Wreath making is one of the easiest ways to begin working with flowers, since it usually starts with a pre-made structure. Wreath bases come in many forms, including straw, grapevine, evergreen, foam and wire. Wreaths can be round, square, or a freeform shape; no matter what the shape, they are basically built decorated in the same way.

To attach decorations to your wreath, you will need floral wire, or a glue gun and glue sticks. For floral wire, use any color or size of paddle wire with which you are comfortable. Use wire cutters rather than scissors, since wire may dull or chip a scissor blade. Low temp glue can be used on wreaths that will not be placed outside exposed to the elements. Heavier decorations, such as fruit, should be both wired and glued in place. The goal, whether gluing or wiring, is to attach the decorations without allowing the method of attachment to show.

When wiring in decorations, it is best to run the wire through the wreath, not just wrap it arou…

Towers of Sweets

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Towers of Sweets
Hard-to-resist dessert pedestals are really metal candlesticks topped with clear glass plates. Fill them with chocolates, candies, cookies, or ornaments to enhance the mood. I urge you to spend a bit of money and buy clear glass items either at craft stores or thrift stores and decorate them to suit each Sabbat and Esbat. Nothing puts you in the correct frame of mind than having a matched set of altar accoutrements "purposed" for the task at hand. In fact, even your Sabbat altar and matching Cakes and Ale dinnerware can fit the mood and the season. What harm is it if the Yule offering plate has a picture of Santa (the epitome of the Holly King) or a lovely Yule tree, or in the depths of winter if the Imbolg plate has snowflakes painted on it? Or if you find a plate and cup with Easter bunnies on them, those too are symbols of our own holiday of Ostara/Eostar. Use what you have, and make what you need. In this way, we embrace the pagan philosophy of going gree…

Mistletoe Magic

Let us consider the mistletoe, long held sacred by the Druids of old. The tradition of kissing beneath the mistletoe has an ancient past, because mistletoe is a symbol of fertility. The next time you kiss someone beneath those lovely dark leaves and white berries, remember to focus your will to tell the fertility magic where to go. Fertility of the mind? Fertility of the body? Or perhaps a bit of fertility of the wallet instead? LOL!

A sprig of mistletoe or a small pouch containing leaves and twigs of mistletoe can be hung over your headboard of your bed as an amulet if you want that kind of fertility, or simply hang a sprig or two over a doorway to invite fertility into your home.

Don't forget to wear a little mistletoe in your hair as you cast your circle on Yule to welcome the God back, whether you choose to welcome the Sun God, the Oak King, or any other version of reborn God you choose.

Please feel free to make a misteltoe kissing ball if you like. They're simple to do! Purc…

The Kitchen Witch at Yuletide

I'm assuming you've been following my blogs, both my new one here and my old one at this old address: http://thirdinifinity.blogspot.com long enough to figure out I'm a kitchen witch.

I wish I lived in a cute little white-washed cottage with a thatched roof and a big old fireplace, but instead I live happily with modern plumbing and a furnace. A stove does me just fine for my witchery, or the grill outside when I feel it's important. The interior ceiling of my laundry room is occasionally festooned with bunches of herbs and braids of onions and garlic in their seasons.

Still, I am a kitchen witch. I am content to stir my pot in a sunwise direction and use herbs, salts, and spices to create my magicks. My wand stays happily on my altar and I'll stir my dishes with an olive wood or bamboo spoon, thank you.

Magick goes in every dish I make because I remember that each ingredient brings its own energies to the meal. Salt cleanses and heals. The herbs and seasonings not on…

Plan Your Spring Garden NOW and Save

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Taking Today Off

I'm taking today off to prepare for our next adventure into the Smelly Arts -- Candles and Bath Soaps!

Remember that next month is Yule, so our Smelly Arts will be an overview, not an in-depth study. Soaps and candles also make great presents.

Lena

Spiritual Bath Salts

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While I agree with using only a minute drop of the cinnamon oil, this is a marvelous bath when you are sure the Divine is speaking to you, but you're not sure of the message. This lovely scent helps clear the detritus from your mind so your "ears" can hear.

Psychic Bath Salts for Awareness

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As usual, I urge caution when using this formula. Too much awareness can be a very bad thing indeed. Especially, I recommend avoiding this formular around Samhain.

Healing and High Awareness Bath Salts

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Yes, they do belong together. High Awareness is another form of healing by cleansing the body of bad habits and materialism, making the body more receptive to energies.

Love, Lust and Celibacy Salts

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Please be careful when using any love spell. Remember the axiom, "Be careful what you wish for because you may get it." The gods are not above a sense of humor and teaching you a lesson.
I lucked into a lovely supply of Egyptian Rose essential oil. Very nice! Still, be careful.


Why add celibacy? Because occasionally, we all need to cool down and know we cannot have everything we want in life.
Lena

Cleansing and Purification Bath Salts

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Both of these are for cleansing and purification. I like to use the Exorcism formula after a hard day out in public, such as going to the mall during the holiday season. After dealing with grumpy people all day, my protections need a full overhaul!

Water Bath Salts Times Three

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The Sea Witch is one of my favorite baths to hand out as a gift, even to the cowan. The scent is divine and the blue color can be adjusted to match the tastes of the recipient.

Fire Bath Salts

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Again, be careful. This is one formula I do not give out as a gift in the form of bath salts. Some folks don't know how to control the fire within, with disasterous results.


Earth Bath Salts

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Be very careful in your visualizations. This is a fertility spell. You may only want fertility of the mind, not the body. Need I say more?

Air Bath- Clear Thinking, Study, Concentration and More

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Who couldn't use a little brain boost now and then?

Circle and Protection Bath Salts

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These two form the basis of protective magicks. A bath before ritual, Sabbat, or esbat is always a good idea. If you bath in protection salts, you're protected on a daily basis! How convenient to have that extra layer of defense. Like Chicken Soup, it can't hurt!


The Easiest Basic Bath Salt

This recipe came from "Incenses, Oils and Brews" by Scott Cunningham. I personally prefer these over the herbs. This makes a great gift, if you put it in a sealed jar.

In a large glass bowl, mix the following:

3 parts Epsom Salts
2 parts baking soda
1 part table salt or borax

Mix thoroughly. This is the base for the formulae I'll post over the next few days. You are certainly welcome to use plain food coloring, drop by drop into the salt. To mix a color like purple, mix them in a spoon first. For the ones labeled White, just leave them untinted. Use a spoon to mix it all up.

Now add the essential oils. (Please use genuine essential oils.) Visualize the energies in the oils merging with the salt. Keep the goal in mind.

Clean the tub first! To use, add two tablespoons to 1/2 cup of the salt mix to a full tub.

Love Bath

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No coercion, please! Note these formulae are to bring love into your life that fits you, and nothing more!

Money Bath

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Remember to specify "An it Harm None" when casting and visualizing this. There's nothing worse than gaining that little bit of money at the expense of losing a beloved relative or facing a disaster to get a pittance from the insurance. Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it.

Divination and Psychic Baths

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I sincerely hope you know how to ground, center and shield before trying these. I refuse to be responsible for foolish behavior.

Dieter's and Energy Bath

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Okay, we all know how difficult dieting can be. I recommend following instructions with the Dieter's Bath. I had trouble locating Kelp in bulk, but I finally found it here:http://www.theherbalist.com/kelp_bulk.htmlMost of the rest are easy enough to find either as dried herbs or essential oils to add to bath water. Lena

Break the Habit Bath

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Don't we all need this one? Nobody is perfect. I'm an ex-smoker myself, and I used a similar spell to rid myself of the taint of nicotine.

Every little bit helps! I added the Peace Bath because there are just some days where the monkey not only rides your back, he digs his claws in. Since many bad habits are stress related (eating, smoking, and alcohol being the most common) I figured a little peace would be good.
After rinsing, I'd sprinkle myself with some lemon water for the cleansing effect all day. Do this before you get dressed, or you'll ruin your clothes! Lemon has a bleaching effect.

Give Thanks Naturally

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Okay, so I stole this from BHG.com...

Give Thoughtful Thanks
Cards on each plate invite guests to write down the things they are most thankful for this year. Use a leaf-shape hold punch to decorate the envelopes holding the cards.

Wrap candles in pea pods, asparagus, or set them in hollowed out artichokes. I'd rather cook the asparagus, but I know some twigs and greens in the yard that might serve just as well. Now picture this on your altar when you give thanks. Yes, it's the Dark Time. You don't have to light the candles to decorate them.
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Both of these are protection solutions, and both will work. I agree that you should let the water carry the negativity away, and rinse carefully afterwards to remove the last traces. Think of the Protection Bath as more of a daily armor, and the exorcism for after the fact. Lena

Aphrodesiac Bath

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I admit, I'd have trouble making this particular Aphrodesiac mix. First off, I can't get myrtle or acacia from Earth Gifts. I can substitute gum arabic for the acacia, and myrtle essential oil for the myrtle flowers, though.

To me, this mix is more trouble than it's worth. Good grief, if you have this much trouble getting frisky with a willing partner, then something is definitely wrong. If your lover is willing, then soap may be the only aphrodesiac you need. After all, we wouldn't want to coerce.

If lighting a red candle, throwing some rose petals on the bed, and getting naked doesn't put my lover in the mood, then I'd better give it up for the evening. However, as part of a night of passion with the lover of my dreams, I might take the trouble. The beauty bath is always a worthwhile investment. When you feel beautiful, you are beautiful.

Lena

Anti-(Negativity) Hex Bath

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"All ills" in this case can also mean outside negativity. Let's say you've been in a situation where a lot of people were angry, tired, or hurting. Some of that negativity may have even been directed at you. I shop at Earth Gifts, a store that also has a very nice online order for herbs. http://www.earthgifts.com/ (I have to really restrain myself and only look at the section I need, or I'll spend every last dime. LOL!)

A Gift for Yule-- Stratified Spices

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What could be simpler and easier than creating these layered spices? Why, doing something "witchy" of course! Okay, now we step outside the cowan box. Think of mixing your own herbal creations, such as some of the bath mixes I'll post later in the weeks ahead. Wouldn't it be nice to give a person a money bath mix in a container that matches his/her bathroom? How about a Citrus Cleanse bath salt? Now let's really pump up the magick and put in a money symbol painted, etched, or drawn on the jar in green. How about a green bow, or some green crystals on the top? Are you getting ideas now?

November's Practical Pagan- Bath Sachets, Soaps, Salts, and Candles

I found my old copy of "Incenses, Oils, and Brews" by Scott Cunningham the other day. It had been lost for a few weeks, buried in some other research material until I needed it, apparently. The poor thing is so old, it falls into many pieces without careful handling, but the scents wafting up from this well-used book cannot be duplicated.

We'll talk about Bath Sachets first. They're easy and cheap.

However, I have deviated slightly from Mr. Cunningham's excellent work in but one important regard: I can and will use the same commercial herbal teas I drink to bathe in. I'm not above dumping in two or three teabags of "Constant Comment" or "Celestial Seasonings' Honey Chamomile" when I don't have the time/money/energy to create an herb bath from scratch.

I do recommend strongly that you do not simply dump the herbs in your bath water unless you enjoy finding rosemary sprigs in painful places! You do not have to get fancy, either. Pick up…

craft to Craft: Halloween Eyeball Silverware to your Altar Ware

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Okay! As I said on my old blog... This is a fun craft for Halloween, but the creativity can go much farther than a mere day. Think of your other holidays. Think of your stemware being wrapped with colorful Sculpey and perhaps crystals embedded in it. Think of the rest of your altarware. Could your athame use a bit of sprucing up? How about the bolline, incense burner, or offering plate? How about a bit of razzle dazzle for each Sabbat? Envision this: Your Beltane set now has a goblet with a green base and a green "vine" that wraps up to the bottom of the bowl. You found tiny strawberry buttons in the crafts center, and a little glue adheres them to the base of your goblet. You found a green plate at the thrift store and adhered a few strawberries to it as well. (Or, you found a really ugly plate with an interesting shape and painted it with a ceramic paint like PermEnamel.) Two large balls of Sculpey had a taper candle jammed into them and removed before baking and now hold y…

I have moved!

Because my other Third Infinity account was inconvenient compared to the others, I've chosen to move it to here! Forgive me while I set up...

Lena

The Practical Pagan

The Practical Pagan

MM, Ave, 96's, hellos, and all greetings. Welcome to my blog on living your religion as a pagan.I will state frankly that I saw myself and others becoming the classic, "sabbath-go-to-meeting" that I had so despised in my parents as Christians.I realized that I had slipped into that mindless state of going to Sabbats (when it was convenient) and then allowing my religion to just lay dormant until next Sabbat when I might wax enthusiastic for a day or two.Please try to keep in mind that I am a retired High Priestess of the Wiccan faith with a bad habit of putting things in Wiccan terminology. Please feel free to translate to your own belief system.If I use a term you don't know, forgive me and ask if you can't puzzle it out.

LET'S SYNCHRONIZE OUR DEFINITIONS
Belief:
1) acceptance of the truth or actuality of anything without certain proof. In other words, FAITH. You believe a certain way without having proof that it is the absolute (or only) tru…

Jello Jigglers for Eostar

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Making Jello Jigglers for Eostar is an easy way to make fun finger food to feed the entire coven with little to no effort. All you need are the molds, hot water, and the necessary amount of Jello.

You can buy the molds here: http://jellostore.archway.com/KraftCornerEStore/jell_mold_catalog.seam?cid=323

An Alternate is to use cookie cutters. I have a pile of cutters for every holiday.
Prep: 10 minutes
Stir 2-1/2 cups boiling water (DO NOT add cold water!) into 4 pkgs (4-serving size each) gelatin in a bowl. Stir three minutes to ensure the gelatin is completely dissolved.Pour into a 13x9 pan, or the molds.Refrigerate 3 hours or until completely set.

Dip bottom of pan or molds in warm water about fifteen seconds to loosen.Remove from the mold OR cut into shapes and lift them gently from the pan using a spatula.While jigglers remain fairly firm, I do recommend storage in the refrigerator until serving and the same for leftovers. Gel food colorings from any good craft store also, if you need sp…

Sewing for your needs, including robes

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As I sit here typing this, it is mid-September. For us here in Florida, it is still warm and sunny. Out west in Denver, my daughter has already put her children in long sleeves and wondered if it might snow. The fall colors are beginning their annual performance. What has this got to do with sewing and the pictures? Everything. It's learning to judge your needs according to what you will wear the most. These shirts above came from three Simplicity patterns, yet each is unique because of the fabric. Design #'s are: 3893, 4552, and 7236 and can be purchased at http://www.simplicity.com/. Yes, they're Plus Sized. I'm not a shrimp. I've learned to ignore the pictures and go straight to the sidebar on the left to look at "Front and Back View" which are line drawings without the distraction of someone else's taste in materials. Here in Florida, I invariably choose the versatility of a fabric known as broadcloth, a cotton blend that comes in a vast rainbow o…