Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Creating natural gift wrapping with natural materials at Lake Erie Metropark

Creating natural gift wrapping with natural materials at Lake Erie Metropark


Dark Blessings.
As the time of the Yule Tree reigning supreme in many households, the question of how to be responsible to the Earth comes up, and designing your own gift wrap using natural items is almost a no brainer.. After all, gifts being opened the morning after the Long Night of Yule, where there is no sleeping, are a great treat.
Those billowing piles of commercial wrapping paper aching to be put in a landfill are not what one would call being in the vibe of the season. That is where the the Marshlands Museum & Nature Center, located at Lake Erie Metropark, 32481 West Jefferson, Rockwood, MI, comes into the picture.
Gift giving by Pagans for Yule is a long held here in Metro Detroit, with many choosing themes for decorating at Yule Night in Detroit, when all the fineries are arrayed in the various shops on Woodward. The inspiration there is not to be discounted. And though it would seem a new phenomenon to some, the giving of gifts is not a new thing for us as
"Holiday gift giving began long before Christmas. The Romans would give gifts to one another on pagan festivals like Saturnalia, the winter solstice, and the Roman New Year" according to www.mymerrychristmas.com
But it was not until the Victorian Period that things really took off. At this author's household, the usual option i s that of fabrics which may be reused. Hand sewn bags are also a delight, and can be handed down for year. Wrapping papers usually were bought, but with the environment being priority, hand made is now the way to go forward.
On Sunday December 15th, at 2:00 PM, they will hosting a workshop on using ink, paint, and natural items to create your own Yule masterpieces of wrapping art at Lake Erie Metropark.
The fee is only $4.00 per person and preregistration is required.
For additional details, or to register, call 734-379-5020.
For more on the history of Yule, go to http://www.simnet.is/gardarj/yule1.htm
Blessed Be


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Beginning at the Beginning

Dark Blessings!
As the nights grow long, the wind blows sharp and cold, many are seeking light in the Dark that is across the land, looking for where to begin on the chosen Paths, and the Witches abide. Those of us who are Heathen await Odin's Ride, and all are eager for the the Winter Solstice where we keep watch all night for the promise of a new spin of the Wheel, and new chances to learn and teach.
This is a good time to be thankful for the teachers who have helped shape the existence of Wicca here in our nation. In this writer's travels across the boards and rooms of the web, a question came that led to many responding with answers that are common today. However, many answers that would be standard to those at the beginnings of the Great Witch Awakening here in the late 50's and 60's might have found curious to see were missing.
The question was as follows:
"I am actually seeking guidance on where to start. The library here offered one Wiccan book & its missing. The people that Ive met that have claimed to be Wiccan (sic), it was just a phase for them. Thank you for any help or guidance"
A query familiar enough to many on the Path. The expected names of Buckland, Grimassi, and our own native son from the Land of the Fresh Water Seas Scott Cunningham were there, as well as Donald Michael Kraig. A name glaringly absent was Ed Fitch.
For those unfamiliar with him, he was one of the major contributors to how Witchraft and Wicca formed here in the United States of America today. What did he do? Well, as Pagan Poet's site fondly conveys
"He is one of the creators (along with Joseph B. Wilson and Thomas Giles) of “The Pagan Way”, a non-initiatory Wiccan tradition. He was one of the editors of “The Waxing Moon”, a magazine founded by Joseph B. Wilson in 1964, and the first magazine devoted to Witchcraft in America (later re-named “The Crystal Well""
But more than this, he helped shape a generation of young minds and souls. A Pagan Veteran and prolific writer, he helped guide many of us in our first steps through his works. Yet his name is not as well circulated in many forums as his peers. As you light your altar candles for all of our Veterans to keep watch for them throughout the year would be kind and proper.
Also, while the writers at Llewellyn Publishing are always delivering new and original authors, there is a firm foundation of excellent works that have been on the scene that they released many years ago. For the beginner, a great start would be to look into their Practical Techniques books.
It is also important to remember that there are other publishers and authors near and dear to us that may not be as well known, but offer a treasure of gifts to the student and sage alike. Publishers and writers, Shetan Noir of Shetan Noir Books and Corvis Nocturnum of , are local Mid Western favorites for good titles and useful information. Authors Andrieh Vitimus, Puck Shadowdake, Shauna Aura Knight, Michelle Belanger, and others are all adding to the tapestry of Magick and the Craft here in the Mid West. Do not neglect the pearls in your own garden.
So in as we approach Thanksgiving here in the States, let us give thanks for those who have Served and those who continue to Serve the community. And since it is near the holiday's here is a suggested rite called
The Light of Thankfulness
You will need an altar dressed in the appropriate colors for your Tradition. Suggested colors are red for Life Blood, Purple for Achievement, and Gold for Divine Guidance. A Silver Candle, a Gold Candle,and a Light Blue Candle,( for the Lady, the Lord, and for Blessed Healing) should be at center. A small bowl, which can be inverted over a stone is placed under the Blue Candle. Anoint the Blue with Rose oil. A small red or garnet stone should be there to help offer protection to those who you Honor, and charged with protective thoughts.Set out a cup of water you have prayed over to sustain those who have passed on. Bread should be there to bring remembrance of the solidity and the impermanence of this human life. If desired, incense of Sandlewood is appropriate.
Compose a prayer of simple words to thank deity for observing your rite. Light the Lord and Lady candles. No Circle is needed. Light your incense, name all those who you would heal and see placed in Divine protection and light the blue candle. For those whom you wish to give special thanks, you can write out a simple prayer of thanksgiving and burn in the flame of the blue candle. Let this stay in place during your Thanksgiving meal, encouraging guests to stop by the area and give their own moments of prayer and reflection. The garnet should be wrapped in a cloth afterward and sent to one who needs it most. Let the candle burn all meal, until it burns out. Extinguish the deity candles and save until next year.
~ Mistress Belladonna ~
So when asked where to begin, remember to begin at the beginning. Begin with remembering what came before you, that there is joy in thankfulness for being able to have those teachings to draw upon, and then go out and find that within you that is a light to others that you may share. And that can be a beautiful beginning.
Blessed Be.

First published in http://www.examiner.com/article/beginning-at-the-beginning-when-starting-wicca?cid=db_articles

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dark Blessings!
In Michigan, we have come to the time for us to recognize that the time of Eldering is upon us in order to ensure the next generations of magickians, witches, Wiccans, occultists, Pagans, etc, are properly prepared and guided. The sixties have come and gone, and the icons have begun to age and pass down their torches to those who are coming after them. This is a vital time, because every generation is a new challenge, a new opportunity, a new time to either save the values and foundations of belief of our Traditions, or see them destroyed, dissembled, and degraded to the lowest forms. This is why Eldering is so important.
What is Eldering? The Eldering Institute defines it as
"... living life as a contribution.
When we share the best of who we are, we have purposeful conversations that matter. We are generous with our time and energy. We listen non-judgmentally and give people our full attention. Rather than focusing on contributing knowledge or information (which quickly becomes obsolete or redundant), we share our wisdom—our insights and perspectives, our ‘way of being’ in the world—in a way that brings out the best in others and helps them live life more successfully on their own terms"
This is what those who have come before, gone through the trials and rites, and lived the life have to offer us. Too often their insight is seen as censure, and experienced observations are seen as attacks when they are not. Right now in the Land of the Fresh Water Seas, the Elders are quietly leaving us to find our own ways. But not in the best way in many times.
There is a perceivable wave of despair shadowing the land. Those with knowledge to share are being ignored, pushed aside, and sometimes even purposefully subjected to character attacks by those who would replace them. It is one thing to find your place in the sun. It is another to be shone upon by the light from the flames of the pyre upon which you sacrifice your rival.
The need to grow and change is ever present. However, to grow implies a starting point. If one does not acknowledge where the beginnings are, what the basis of beliefs were founded upon, good and bad, then how does the community rise as a whole. How do you cut off the roots and expect the tree to stand?
Money has been a real motivator the world over, and throughout the ages. That being said, it is insinuating itself among the leadership that is taking the helm of the ship. Instead of it being a means to and end, the would be Now Generation of Michigan Magick is being slowly affected by false elders, those described by Quill Mastercraft in "The Travail of Pagan Elders" as ones who
"set a goal to become a Pagan elder, thinking they can amass money, fame or power in such a position. They promote themselves as experts, usually on a specific tradition or subject matter, and either offer themselves as public speakers or preachers, hold classes for a fee, write articles or books. In today's society, where so many people gullibly (sic) believe what they see and hear - often ignoring their intuition or better judgement - such self-proclaimed elders draw the naive to them, and proceed to mislead, confuse and sometimes totally disillusion them about the true meaning of their Pagan faith"
This does not mean that the earning of money for time and work is wrong or to be looked down upon. However, there is more to being an elder than gathering followers willing to finance you. As Patti Wigington wrote in "Elders - What Is a Pagan Elder?",
"Often, someone who has been involved in the Pagan community for a long time, and has shown that they have a significant amount of knowledge and wisdom to share, can be considered an Elder. People who are teachers, counselors, authors, and other leaders can all be designated as Elders, if others feel they have earned it"
Thus, the author can sell the books, the teacher can charge for classes, the festival organizer can charge event admission, etc, without losing their spirituality in the process. The key is that they have earned the title through doing the work and it will show in everything they do, not in the grand way they turn a phrase when they self proclaim their status.
Lineages, Traditions, Paths, Books, all of these are valid things, but without the heart, blood, and Souls of those who have established them, practiced them, and learned from them, they mean nothing. If you have never heard the voice of your Gods, how can you lead others to that deity? If you have never walked the Way, then how do you find it?
Elders are there as guides and pools of knowledge and experience that are here if people will use them and allow them to share it. When you walk into the local store and see that woman behind the counter with the serene face, the grey streak, the energy pouring off of her, and you decide that you know it all and do not have anything to gain, you have missed the boat.
People give a lot of lip service to honoring the ancestors. But why wait until they are the Mighty and Beloved Dead before you recognize their worth? What good is sitting vigil years later, when the feast is before your eyes now? Sit at the table and be served.
When you go to the local events and the gentleman sagely watching it all and speaking little sometimes, or who is sometimes very vocal about things that mean a lot to him, pay attention. There is the lesson. You may not agree, but you have had the blessing to hear and the chance to process what you have heard from those who have sailed those waters before you and can say, yes, there there be dragons.
One more thing to remember when we do wrongly by our Elders was summed up best by local
Elder L.J. Rose, local owner of Lotions Potions Notions is that
"there is no way that they will ever get an elder to come back to serve after the way they have been treated"
Words to heed.
Blessed Be.

Republished from http://www.examiner.com/article/eldering-a-new-generation-of-pagans-michigan

Special Regards to Ki'a Dragon

Monday, March 11, 2013

Getting Dirty: Do's and Don'ts for the Pagan Gardener for Spring

Bright Blessings!


Boom Shaka Laka Laka ,  Boom Shaka Laka Laka, Boom Shaka Laka Laka, Boom!

That, my fellow Green Witches, is the sound of your respective garden areas awakening to the sounds of oncoming Spring and the Blessing Rite that is coming.

Blessing?  Yep.  You read right.  You did not just think you could hitch up your petticoats and get digging without some prep work did you?  (face palm break)

Get out there and do a Blessing Rite you have either written, or use one you have seen elsewhere that speaks to you.  Do this on the Spring Equinox if you can.  Gather some friends and spill the wine as you celebrate and consecrate.  Scott Cunningham is a great source of inspiration, so maybe a visit through his works would be in order.

I mean, you are a magickal person, right?  And that means that in loving and living the simple Way of the Wise, you show love to all.  Especially the Mother.  And since you are about to offer unto her your service in growing another generation of food with this turn of the Wheel, what better way to show your reverence for the act than to make spirituality a part of your practice here?

Those who are planting for the feeding of their families, whether immediate or community, want a bountiful harvest in the months to come.  Those who are planting with the goal in mind of selling their wares also wish this.  And for those who intend to use the harvest in ways of the Hidden Children, in the ways of the Wise, as a Witch, HooDoo, Magickian, Herbalist, etc., the evidence of the unseen at work in the herbs shall be proof in their effectiveness.

When planting with purpose, always decide first what your garden will look like - not just on paper, but walk the ground.  Or if without space, survey your container areas, or window boxes.  Really look.  Step outside your human self, and see it as the plant may see it.

Does that dusty corner in the kitchen really feel like light will get to a sun loving plant enough to not only let it survive, but thrive?  Will it get care, or be neglected?  Is the land prepared properly, or is there junk and what not next to it?  Does the land feel your care?

This is also the time when you should be selecting what you will grow this year.  Be reasonable.  You cannot have an entire herb farm in your apartment.  Where will the fronds of the fennel go, after all?  There is only so much space.  And while the thought of that monkshood may sound like a good idea, the neighborhood daycare may not appreciate it growing next to their fence.

Get good seed catalogs.  Try to go as traditional as possible in your seed source, preferably non GMO. Sellers such as  https://www.horizonherbs.com/http://www.botanicalinterests.com/, http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/ , http://www.alchemy-works.com/ are a few good sources  I can recommend, but there are many others.

Educate yourself on the needs of the plants and what you realistically can provide during the growing season.  Do not try to grow belladonna if you have never been able to sprout garlic.  Start small, and do not give up.  If you are a traveling sort, a plant that is high maintenance is not for you.

 The plants have spirits, do not abuse them.  You are facilitating the blossoming of new life, and therefore are responsible for its well being and care.  That includes cutting down the weak and malformed in your crop.

So let us cover some steps in your gardening to get going.

Step one:  Clean it up.  Really do it.  Prepare a clean, clutter free area where the earth can breathe.  This is the time to do it.

Step two:  Turn your soil once it is warm enough.  Let it breathe.  Turn under and spade in the grass and other growths.  For the perennials in your garden, they will be fine.  Just do not pull up their roots.

Step three:  Feed your soil.  Check the readings if you can, or at least feel it out and add some of whatever it needs.  This is a good time to mix in your compost if you have not already been doing so earlier.

Step four:  Check the Moon phase and proceed accordingly.  Get an almanac. Start your seeds indoors and finish your ordering.  Seedlings and transplants may not come when you think they will, so be prepared.  Bless your seeds for extra oomph.

Step five:  Draw your garden sigils and runes into the ground before you begin to transplant your plants.  By this time, your borders should be set, so place your wards at the cardinal points.  Any offerings to devas, fey, or other forms should be done at this time.

Step six:  Transplant and direct sew.  Give a little wine, some honey, some blood meal, or whatever is appropriate in your practice.  If plants are being sewn for a specific property or purpose, visualize it and instruct the plant.  Be thankful.

Step seven:  Be attentive and a good watcher behind the rows.  Weed, weed, weed, and watch for fungus and non beneficial bugs.  Learn companion planting.  Do not harm the good guys.  Educate yourself on what you need and do not want in your green kingdom.

Step eight:  Begin to prune and cut.  Yes, it seems cruel, but like in life, without pain and cutting away what is not needed, we do not thrive.  Get rid of overgrowth and do not overfeed.  Keep order and allow chaos only under your watchful eye in certain areas that are resting for next season.

Step nine:  Do not be discouraged.  Be empowered by your successes and educated by your not so good results.

Step ten:  Harvest and leave ten percent for seeding.  Then collect the seeds.  Leave any that can winter over in good shape and protect from the elements as best you can.  Leave what remains in the field after Samhain for the Lord and the creatures of nature.  Unless it is a winter crop.

Step eleven:  Preserve, dry, can, and otherwise store your fruits of your labor.  Clearly label all ingredients and store properly.  Have a harvest party where you exchange recipes and spells with your friends.  Many hands make light work.  Also, make sure you log and journal what you have stored and dated.

Step twelve:  Put the garden to bed.  Clean up all the dead and dying crops and either compost or dispose of properly.  Leave it clean and make an offering, thanking the land for its use and bounty.

Step thirteen:  Rest while the garden rests.

This should get you started.  The rest is up to you.

Greenest Wishes,

M. Belladonna

Video of the Day http://youtu.be/bUzZV3q_KNQ .

*He is always with you somewhere in your garden*

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fingers in the pies concept.

Many years ago while attending a panel at a local convention, I sat and listened to an Author speak about how he enhances his income in between book sales and still supports his family.
His biggest and most well received message that I took to heart was to have your fingers in as many pies as you can and have many more baking in the oven.
The truth of this message is that many people can not live on the source of one income revenue. If they only work one job that pays minimum wage and are fired from that job, they have little to fall back on.
But if that same person works at a regular job and also does craft sales online  at Etsy.com or Storevny.com or craft sales at local craft shows and farmers markets then they have added an extra source of income and something to fall back on.
The more pies you have your fingers in, Then more opportunities you give your self in life. -Shetan Noir