Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fun with facial toner

We think of things like beauty products in such a mundane manner. Lipstick, in the right hands, can be a very potent tool of glamoury and the guarding of ones words. It can easily say I have secrets and mean to keep them. Or even: I know you have secrets and you will tell them to me ;) if you are feeling rather evil dark sidey.

But what about facial toner, I mused as I looked at my bottle of home brew. That would be a circle! A protective action of the skin to close pores so they do not fill with muck! What a perfect thing to do first thing in the morning! Or before a business meeting. Or before dealing with people with or sans coffee.
I splashed it on with a new sense of purpose this morning. Huh the things we do without knowing it.

Here's the recipe for my facial toner. You can alter this with other skin friendly herbs and flowers but this is one I made after coming home from the ocean last summer and missed it so much.

rose petals

4 oz witch hazel
4 oz glass bottle

you will need just one strip broken up a little to fit in the bottle. I put in a sprig of fresh lavender in there, but a tsp will do ya if that's not available to you. Add a few rose petals to your liking and pour the witch hazel over everything to cover. Leave this to sit for a couple weeks in a cool dark corner somewhere and remember to shake periodically. When it is done strain and put in a bottle for use in the bathroom. Use as you would and facial toner.

I wish I had taken pictures of this when it was brewing. It was really beautiful sitting on my dark bathroom counter. *kicks herself in the arse*

I suppose it's time to let you go so you can go ahead and play in your beauty supplies with new eyes.
Have fun!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Extra patience lessons here.

From the Book of Purple

Hecate Apotropaios! Averter of evil, send harm fleeing from me and mine by the power of your light!

My warding aloe plant is one who puts forth babies so profusely that I have to thin her out every so often and do something with the babies or they will crush each other in the pot. Most of them get put into smaller pots and given away, some of them become amulets. Aloe has been used to avert evil and household accidents for generations in the families that observe their folklore culture. It was dried and hung above doors. It was wrapped in cloths with visages of holy people upon them and hung from doorways, it was grown and left to run riot so that evil would be turned away from the property and it's dwellers.

This was a thinning year. If left to grow as it was, there would be squishy, gooey aloe babies in no time. Instead, now there are gifts and amulets! the whole process took much longer than I anticipated. I had pulled out the babies, listened to which of them would become one of seven amulets, set up altar, gather supplies. Basically I had everything ready to go on day one. Something was missing. Something important. It turned out that special something was time. Time to devote and honor the spirits of the plants I had harvested. I had plucked up some fresh sow weed to accompany the aloe. I sprinkled them one last time with viridarium dust ( magical vitamins) and water. I left a fresh bowl of water, a goblet of spirits I brewed, and Hecate a fresh organic brown egg from a local who has chickens. You offer up your best right?

And the altar sat.

The alchemy still wasn't where I wanted it. I was becoming frustrated. It's like I had the engine running but the gears weren't engaged. I continued for three days to devote the altar. I fed it with my finest lavender wands, said prayers over it and added energy. Each time it felt closer, but not quite. Each session of devotion ended with a no, not yet. Until yesterday. It was like the engine opened full throttle and blasted out of the drive way like a drag race was happening. All those not yets had added up and finally the individual components of the amulet were finally steeped in enough magic to do what it was being asked of them. Hecate the Aptropaios came forth like a guardian angel, so bright,  her visage was concealed. Her energy was, however, unmistakable. A watch tower on a very dark shore suddenly came to life. Darkness fleed before Her, denying a hiding spot for the evil that likes to lurk in. Now the amulets could be made!

I should be used to long magical processes. I use them all the time to create my own oils. It takes at least a moon to get some of them done to my snooty standards of good. This surprised me. I don't know why. I guess this was an extra lesson in patience and how it relates to power.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Spring Tease Stumble

The last of the lemons this year.
I always find myself stumbling into Spring. It's like the Auld Woman froze me through and as I thaw, I do so unevenly. There is one thing I am learning to look forward to: lemons ripening on the tree. My husband and I pulled the last of the lemons off our side of the tree. It hangs over our backyard wall and the neighbors have encouraged us to take everything we can reach. Getting a closer look at the tree while trimming it, informed me that we will be caring for about 1/3 of the tree.  This time of year we have lemons pouring from the seams and no one seems to mind when we come bearing fruited gifts. I like to take advantage of the moment and freeze some of the squeezed juice for lemonade later.

The lemon zest comes off first. I dry some and put the rest in either vinegar for cleaning or vodka as an extract. This year, I also got a batch soaked over night in water to use for baking and cleansing of charms. I am looking to make a mean batch of lemon lavender cookies. I love working with lemons enmass in this manner. There is absolutely no way ( unless you are allergic) to escape the happy resonance left all over you and lingering in the kitchen. The lemon oils eventually permeate the whole living space of the home and my hands hold their scent for the rest of the day. There is also a cleansing effect. Everything seems clearer and you see things with a fresh perspective. The lemon harvest comes just in time to clear out the muck that winter built and the rest of the year when lemons are not available, it's leaves does a grand job.

***However, I do find that when working with Brigit and you ask for clearing, make sure to add the word gentle. You may find yourself clearing out more than you expected and feeling quite under the weather if that detail is neglected. ***

Squeezing out the juices allowed for another kind of magic to happen. I retained the fattest of the lemon seeds and planted them in a small kitchen pot. I am hoping they sprout well and I have a mini grove of lemon trees to nurture happy friendships and a joyful hearth and home. They will later become gifts and I will start the process over if I find it to work well. It's a long term project, but most things like friendships and happy hearths take time to ripen and develop as well. Most of all I, want to form a good working relationship with the tree, even if I am not it's primary guardian. So in short, that means there will be no wasting of his gifts.

In the curiouser and curiouser file, we have a martenitsa, which I am almost sure that was not intended as such, found its way to me. I had ordered a crown ring that I wanted to use in a ritual for myself and it came with a strand of red and white threads bound together and immediately it felt like the Universe had handed me an unexpected gift. I tied it on and will be wearing it until this weekend when all the other martenitsi will be tied to the tree. So even as I am stumbling out of my winter hidey hole, it portends to be a Spring that will put a smile on my face, maybe without that first cup of proverbial joe.

I will be making more Oddling Mojo Poppets around seasonal things like brewing Oleum of the Faery Queen, stuffing egg shells with paper confetti so they can be smashed in grand manner on someone's head later and giving those bunny buns a try with out them coming out as hell hounds. You know things that keep me out of trouble. Usually, I center my Ostara activities around gardening. I feel pulled in a different direction this year and have not put my finger on it yet. So as usual, I am stumbling into Spring. . . again.

Even though it is clearly Spring here in the desert, she is still keeping secrets.

What is that little minx up to?????

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oh Spring, you tease. . .

 After reading Georgi Mishev's Thracian Magic, I decided two things: I was going to learn how to make sourdough bread from starter and I was going to make Martenitsi ( as threatened, there is a ribbon shoved into that section. Yes, the pretty blue one.)

I got really lucky, I think, with the sourdough starter and followed the directions given for catching wild yeast. I gave myself plenty of failing time just in case and before December 20, I had a nice starter and was able to make a ritual loaf of bread for my ancestors and family. My yeast beastie is happily brewing away in my fridge and gets pulled out weekly for feeding. If anyone asks if there is something living in there I can, in fact, say there is something alive in there and to watch out it may bite. Okay, maybe the biting part is over kill, but if Hagrid can unleash a monster book of monsters on his students, than a yeast beastie in my fridge should be nothing.

There has always been something a little different about bread I made myself. Something extra that comforted and nourish all those little life cravings that only melting butter on hot bread can soothe. What I experience while eating the sourdough bread was just that to an Xth degree. I suspect it was the difference in the genii intelligence of the yeast culture. It is the only thing that has shifted in my ritual breads. I will be using this recipe for all bloodless offerings. It's a good thing that this bread is so good, it will not keep very long so it's just best to eat it while it's hot.

Within the book, Georgi discusses a ritual that is literally days long all surrounding the making and  kneading of dough. It is a very communal thing and only participants of the rite walk away with the bread ( and any puzzle pieces from the Mysteries.) Secret herbs are poured in by the elders, the bread is serenaded and danced for, magic is definitely afoot. I may not be able to get together with the 'village' and perform the full rites, but I can have my daughter help me knead the dough while blasting out our favorite holiday Jingle Spells songs. ( as I said earlier, some traditions are going to have to be tossed out the window and seeing as how I am the only one in the family to dig up and pass on family and cultural trads, the whole grandma thing will have to take a back seat.)

Speaking of Grandma, another thing that will have to be done by myself are the Martenitsi. I liked the whole description of how the eyes were supposed to be closed during the crafting. That and a whole other list of proscriptions, reminded me of the faery tales of one eye open: one eye closed, on one leg in the door jam was where faeries could be seen in their realm. In another story, the whole one eye, one leg, in a door jam thing is done completely upside down! Immediately, you can see where one thought form is of protection and the other of sight or insight, but both can be infused upon crafting with specific conditions. Technically, anything can be infused during crafting. . . we have all heard about the One Ring business.

My first set of martenitsi, was of course, like all first draft writings. . . crap, but canon. I kept it and hung it in my office; it will be joining the others in the tree out front on Ostara. I thought about my failing with the martenitsis and a new design began to form in my head. I really liked the comfort stars shape as I was making them, they just turn right between your fingers making them perfect places to catch wishes. I stuffed them with lavender, a fresh smell during the last dark days of winter. I decided they would be best functional as zipper pulls as we would all be wearing jackets for a while yet.

 I stuck with the canon colors of red and whites and as I began making these, I saw that these things were not only familiar to me, but in ways I didn't quite expect. I looked around the web for some lore on the tradition and found several different variations. I had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions from the author and his answer at first vexed me. He said that it was more about the experience of creating and wearing them than the lore. As I was focusing on my connections with Hecate, I did so in a manner that spoke very deeply to my Feri views. When I pulled back and looked at what I had created, I put together that both the iron and pearl pentacles were involved in the whole wishing process. It had become a reminder to run both exercises as I was walking through the neighborhood.

I know the magic is not quite done and that my tree will probably not look as awesome as the one in that pic. The little zipper pulls will all dangle from the limbs of the honey mesquite tree and soak up more of the sky as spring pushes into my life. It's good to know that Hecate has a faery smile too.

I am finding it easier than I imagined to add ancestral cultural practices into my personal Feri praxis. I think that makes me sigh in relief. It is also good to know that, even though it's been a long time coming back, that war and hate cannot strip us of our heritage completely. The tracks of the beast are still in the forest.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Flying Pig Broadcast

I should be writing. Instead, I have been pulled in every other direction in thought than what to write about. Even at this moment, after accomplishing a face that was screaming to be done, I am still thinking about something else for the poppet. Wings. This whole last few days has been nothing but wings, birds, angels, flying pigs. . . no really, go hurry and check out Penelope the flying pig at Pier1! I thought about getting her, she was really a cute little trinket. I just didn't want to stand in line again I guess. And since I have seen a flying pig this week, I figure ANYTHING is possible.

Every once in a while I sit and pour through some of the spell books I acquired in my past and find a working that just seems to fit the bill. Usually I end up altering it a bit to accommodate my Feri perspective, but that's just how it's done. I found myself a few months ago steeped in Valerie Worth and a piece from Victor Anderson. Precisely the working I focused on was enlisting the moon's aid for your own purposes. I kind of hemmed and hawed over how I could make it a piece that felt more like me. I could see how the small quartz sphere would be preferable, but my ideas revolved more about just a visual cue. I don't look at my jewelry as much as I feel it and hear it. I like to fidget with my stones and metals while I am thinking.'

 I was pretty resigned to using a quartz sphere, until I went through the lost collection of jewelry that I have stashed away in a corner. I knew the moment I saw it, that this was the piece to enchant and use for this purpose. It had texture, it was silver, and it made a pleasant sound as it was moved around. Even as I knew that this was the right piece, I still fought with the logical part of my mind that wished to remain true to canon. I kept hunting for that quartz piece and when I found it I knew that I didn't have what I wanted to use in my hand.

I went through and translated the latin to be sure I understood what I was saying, I cleared the jewelry, wrote an appropriate chant for myself to draw the energies close and then I let it sit. It sat for about a month before I had a good idea as to what I would ask of the moon. Sure there are lots of things going on in my life and you would think that picking a subject for the moon to help me in that I would already have a list a mile long. OOOps no. . . I have always been like that . . . Mom: what do you want for your Birthday?? Me: I don't know.

It was good for me to sit and stew. I got to think about what I needed and in what direction and order I would need go to manifest what I desire. I picked up the charm from it's home and charged with the full moon and cast at the new. I did all the things prescribed of the spell's intentions and I would have to say that if it is the moon you wish to call upon for aid, the working Valerie published, even with alterations, is tried and true. I intend to keep the charm alive as it seems to work well. Keep calm, cast on. . . or make poppets. That works too.

This has been your flying pig broadcast.