Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A point of time

Time is something we measure and certainly can be measured in effect. But, most of all it's felt. We try to use it wisely. Sometimes it gets away from us. Sometimes it seems endless. But, although you can't hold it in your hand, we spend a lot of effort to capture it.

Time can give you a magical boost. While many pagans are aware of timing their rituals according to the phases of the moon, spell working is also effected by the time of day it is performed. Magically, the day is divided into quarters: sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight.

Each has a set of attributes:

Sunrise: new beginnings or new projects. Sunrise rituals are best for a new job, home, romance, etc.

Noon: the solar hour is for health, energy and increase. Want to grow your business or add to your family? This is the time of day for it.

Sunset: Twilight spells cross the veil into the emotional and spiritual realm. It is a time of endings, like getting rid of bad habits, or sending away negativity. If you want to make contact with someone on the other side this is the time to do it.

Midnight: The witching hour. The perfect time to create rituals to increase your knowledge of the occult. If you study any of the divination methods, such as Tarot, this is a wonderful time to ritually increase your knowledge of the arcane. Secrets are revealed in the dark so they may come to light at the right time...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To purify your home in winter

If you have pine boughs left over from your Yule decorations this is a wonderful way to use them before they dry up.

To purify your home in winter, mix a pinch of ginger and all spice with a drop of olive oil in a 1/4 cup of water. Anoint the tips of a small pine branch and sprinkle in the corners of your home. Begin in the north and work clockwise around your home. Give special attention to the windows, doors and fireplaces.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Labyrinth Meditation Solstice Ritual

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life's journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to "That Which Is Within."

This year we used the labyrinth to create our circle for Winter Solstice ritual. The labyrinth ended with our Yule tree in the center. Our ceremony included a blessing of the tree and decoration, giving thanks to all that has been sacrificed to sustain us.

The addition of a walking meditation was critical to developing a new level of magic for our coven. It created a sacred space for each individual and heightened the trance state of all who entered. It automatically cast the circle for us and held the energy invoked. Then, as we processed out, the labyrinth served as a division between the worlds that we could re-enter slowly in contemplation and at our own pace. For rituals centered on giving thanks, a labyrinth is a highly recommended addition.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winter Wassail and a tribute to the trees

As a tribute to the apple trees that fed them year round, the Anglo-Saxons made a drink of mulled cider that they would bring to wassail the trees in the orchard.

The drink was simmered apple cider, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice, a slice of orange, a dash of ginger, and a finger full of honey. Since apples are the property of Bride, honey should be added from the mount of Bride (Venus) - having been tasted first, so the Goddess may trust the honey's source.

When the Wassail was ready it was custom to gather in the apple orchard and sing and toast with drink. Sing to the trees your thanks for all they give - asking nothing but good stewardship in return. Sacrifice some of the Wassail at the root of the trees with your blessing.

If you do not have apple trees, then choose what works for you. The winter is when nature takes her rest from all the work she does to provide us with sustenance the rest of the seasons. Any time around the solstice is a great time to appreciate her with this simple ritual.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sugar Body Scrub

This is a great spa treatment that you can make at home.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, this is a good choice for you.

1 cup sugar (preferably raw)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (olive or grape seed are good choices)
7 drops Lavender essential oil
4 drops geranium essential oil
2 drops sandalwood essential oil
2 drops ylang ylang essential oil
optional: 2 Tbs jojoba, avocado, or almond oils

Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl. Use a stainless steel spoon to combine the sugar and oil.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kitchen Witchen: Lavender Salt

Flavored salts are very easy make and give the heavier winter meats a nice lift.
For this recipe, you will need

1 Cup Celtic Sea Salt

1 Tbs. Lavender flowers
1 tsp. dried lemon peel
1/2 tsp rosemary

Place the dried lavender, lemon peel and rosemary in a dedicated coffee grinder. Pulse until powdered. In a glass bowl, combine Celtic Sea Salt
with powdered herb mix. Place mixture into airtight glass jar. This herbed salt mixture is great as a lamb rub, on fresh tomatoes or steamed veggies, like asparagus.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Evergreen Kissing Balls

Mistletoe, or the golden bough, is a parasitic plant that grows on a variety of host trees, including the mighty Oak. Mistletoe is a sacred plant to the Druids and is also featured in Greek, Norse and Roman mythology and lore. It is an evergreen that bears fruit at Winter Solstice and is thought to have been used in the Druid Solstice Rites as a symbol of immortality.

For this project, you will need:
  • A potato
  • evergreens like holly, ivy, pine, rosemary, and of course, mistletoe
  • ribbons & tiny ornaments to decorate
  • a sturdy wire to hang the ball

Many people make the kissing ball with foam balls or florists forms, but I think that using a round potato for the base is better for the Earth. The moisture in the potato will naturally help keep the cut greens fresh. Gather evergreens like holly, ivy, pine, rosemary, and of course, mistletoe (to be added as a trim at the end).
Soak greenery to be used in water overnight. You may need to poke starter holes in the potato with a skewer. Insert evenly sized sprigs of the evergreens into the potato until it is completely covered. You can make a wild, more organic shape, or carefully space the evergreen sprays to form an even, well-rounded ball. When the ball is shaped to your liking, trim it with ribbons, berries, mistletoe or tiny ornaments. In order to hang from a doorway, fasten a long piece of wire to the ball.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kitchen Witchen: Spicy Chocolate Cookies

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and spices) and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together well, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
Add eggs, vanilla, and rum and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add dry mixture gradually, blending at low speed just until combined.
Carefully mix in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet.
Bake 11-13 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kitchen Witchen: Love Chocolate

This loved up cocoa mix is a great way to keep you and your beloved warm. Package in a red or pink jar for tasty gift.

For this recipe, you will need:
  • 3 cups powdered milk
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup vanilla sugar
  • 2 Tbs rose petals (make sure these are unsprayed and suitable for human consumption)
  • 1 tsp lavender
  • 1 tsp cardamom

Grind the rose petals and lavender in a dedicated coffee grinder. Add the powdered flowers to the remaining ingredients in a large glass bowl. Pack the mix into an airtight jar or decorative tin.
Make a label with instructions to prepare the mixture.
Hot Chocolate
Serves 1
4 tablespoons Hot Chocolate Mix
8 ounces boiling water
Add marshmallows or whipped cream.

NOTICE: All material on this site is Copyright © 2008 by Free Spells Daily unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vanilla Love Sugar

Vanilla is a sexy smell and flavor that comes from an orchid, pictured above. A native plant of Mexico, it is the only edible fruit in the orchid family. Mexico's Totonac people, tell a folk tale about Xanat, the youngest daughter of a fertility goddess who fell in love with a mortal. Because they were unable to marry, she decided to transform herself into the first vanilla plant. With this self sacrificing act of eternal love, she hoped to always provide he true love with pleasure and happiness. I wonder if this is the root of vanilla's aphrodisiac qualities? It has been administered by doctors as a tonic to ensure male potency and "stimulate the sexual propensities"

Making Vanilla Love sugar is very easy.
For this recipe, you will need:
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups of sugar

Put sugar in to a glass, airtight container. Split the side of bean with back of knife and scrape seeds into the container with the sugar. Bury bean in sugar and seal tightly with lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 weeks.
One tablespoon of vanilla sugar has the flavoring power of 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Everlasting Love Necklace - a charm for loved ones young and old.

This is a gift for the young and old. It's a favorite of mine for nieces, nephews and your own children. It serves as a protective charm and cloak of unconditional love, just as a mother would. And like mother's love, this necklace is delicate but strong. It's effects are quite like the charm Harry Potter's mother put on him to protect him.

The making of the beads is fun but takes patience. It will take a couple of weeks to prepare the paste. And then several more to dry the beads formed of the paste.

You will need half a bushel of rose petals and an eighth of a bushel of lavender bells and a couple of packets of embroidery needles. Collect the petals and the bells on a dry Friday morning once the dew has dried. Discard any that have wilted or discolored. Macerate them with a mortar and pestle while concentrating all your love into them. (You can puree them in a blender if need be).

Simmer the paste gently for about an hour in an iron pot or skillet in just enough water to cover. Then let the petals cool and simmer them again. The iron should react with the petals and turn them a dull ebony color. Grind the mixture each day for about two weeks until a paste forms that is thick enough to roll into beads. The paste should be the consistency of clay.

When the paste is ready roll it into beads. I like to use a few drops of rose oil in my palm when I roll the beads. (The beads will shrink to about half size after they dry). Take a thick sewing needle, like one for embroidery, and pierce a hole through the center of the bead.

If you have several needles you can leave the beads on the pins and dry them on cardboard. (You can also hang them on no.22 gauge florists wire). Turn them everyday so they don't stick to the pins or cardboard. When turning say a protective chant. The beads should be dry in about two weeks. Polish them and string them.

Use a clasp that is sturdy and "childproof". I use a Celtic Knotwork jewelry clasp. It's an everlasting love knot pattern. But choose what works for you.

These necklaces are best stored in a cool dry place, such as a jewelry box, when not in use.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kitchen Witchen: Wassail

The word 'Wassail' is derived from the Old Norse 'Ves heill'. The Old English salutation 'Wes Hal' is derived from this Norse greeting and means 'Be In Good Health'. Wassailing is not just an excuse to drink and be merry, but is a serious ritual in areas like rural Devon where the apple plays an important part of the local economy. People gather in the orchards around a selected tree with the hardy spiced wassail in tow. The tree is celebrated and honored with music, singing, dancing and offerings of wassail soaked toast. Shotguns are fired and a general racket is created by the crowd, banging their saucepan lids and making percussive noises on all manner of improvised instruments. I imagine this is for purification as well as the traditional reason - to wake up the tree ready for the next crop. Anything that will help the trees produce a generous harvest is wholeheartedly encouraged.

Old Apple tree, old apple tree;
We've come to wassail thee;
To bear and to bow apples enow;
Hats full, caps full, three bushel bags full;
Barn floors full and a little heap under the stairs

Traditional recipes often have eggs and ale or mead in them. Here is a adapted modern version of wassail with honey and spiced red wine.

  • 2 Cups water
  • 1 Cup organic honey
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 apples cored and wedged
  • 1 inch of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 bottle medium dry red wine

Boil together water, honey, cloves, ginger and cinnamon for five minutes. Add apple wedges and thinly sliced lemon and orange (rind and all) and allow to stand for 7 or 8 minutes on low simmer heat. Add the red wine and heat slowly until just below boiling point.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wassail Bowl as a Pagan Present

There is a wondrous feeling of commradery and celebration when you pass a bowl of tasty grog around the circle. The Winter's Solstice is a time to give thanks for making it through the season, as it marks the shortest day of the year. "We have faith that spring will return in her veiled robes of the green goddess."

But the Wassail Bowl has an interesting origin.

The passing of the bowl probably originates from a toast that still exists in Scandinavia. The familiar modern Scandinavian toast "sköl" derives from "scole", the drinking bowl shaped like the upper half of a human skull.

Originally, these bowls were fashioned from the actual skulls of enemy killed in battle. The pagan Scandinavians celebrated Juul (Yule) and passed skulls full of drink to celebrate. The actual verbal toast used was the old Norse wes heill meaning "to your good health."

When Norse invaders came to Celtic lands, they brought their own customs. They passed eventually into local culture. They were adopted and morphed into their more familiar forms of today. Now we commonly pass a wooden bowl, perhaps the influence of the druids and the reverence of mistletoe.

If you are a master with a lathe, you may enjoy the challenge the making a wooden bowl to suit. But, if you cannot, you may carve symbols and decoration into a pre-made wooden bowl instead. If carving doesn't suit you, you might get creative with some silver paint.

Giving a Wassail Bowl is a highly symbolic gift. It should be treasured among loyal friends and family.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Aztec Hot Chocolate Mix

This spiced cocoa mix is a great way to keep warm, all winter long. Packaged in a cool jar and it makes a unique and tasty gift.

For this recipe, you will need:
  • 3 cups powdered milk
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Sift the ingredients into a large glass bowl. Pack the mix into an airtight jar or decorative tin.
Make a label with instructions to prepare the mixture.
Hot Chocolate
Serves 1
4 tablespoons Hot Chocolate Mix
8 ounces boiling water
Add marshmallows or whipped cream.

I have even been known to add tequila! If you want to try a delicious spicy hot chocolate, but don't have the time or desire to make this mix, try Organic Fair Trade Xocolatl Hot Chocolate from Dagoba

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ouanga Bags

If your Pagan friends practice Charm Magick, then having a handy stash of Ouanga Bags is a great gift. Used for charms and as personal power bags, they are small fabric "carrying cases" for herbs, stones, parchments, seals, and any other magick necessities.

I usually sew mine out of various types of cloth, some in every color of the rainbow. Cut velvet red bags work well for Love Charms. Green Hemp bags work amazing for money spells. Purple silk bags are wonderful for divination charms.

I make mine with draw string closures, if I am feeling fancy. Otherwise I can just tie them off with the appropriate cord. Sometimes I will paint a symbol on them, but most of the time I leave them blank, so I can carry them more discreetly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm Fuming!

Perfuming, that is.

While perfumes are worn as a highly personalized bit of self-expression, they are acutely interactive. Why? because they engage one of our most acute senses, smell. Scents can be invigorating, relaxing, seductive, and trigger memories. Memory is a cornerstone of our personality. Who we are is built on our experiences. So, we can effect each other on a deeply intimate level through the perfumes we wear.

I love to create perfumes with someone in mind. I get great satisfaction from being a mixologist. I will include a few of my favorite recipes, but it's very satisfying come up with your own. Feel free to experiment!

Moonlight Perfume (to bring out The Goddess)
Alcohol (at least 60%) = 1 .5 Cups
Tincture of Tonka Bean = 2 T(Tablespoon)
Essential Oil of Rose Attar = 1 T
Essential Oil of Neroli = 1.5 T
Hydrosol Extract of Tuberose = 2 T
Hydrosol Extract of Pikake (Hawaiian Jasmine) = 1 T

Dissolve the oils into the alcohol. Seal in a bottle wait at last 1 week before you try the perfume as the mixture must blend together. Make sure that the bottle you use is glass, not plastic. The bottle needs a tight stopper, like cork.

Also, check out our friends at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Friday, November 14, 2008

Witches Brew: Prophetic Dreams Tea

Making batches of dried tea is a very inexpensive and lovely way to shared herb magic or botanical alchemy. Most everyone enjoys a good cuppa, pagan or not. We will post more tea recipes that both the muggles and pagans in your life will appreciate. But to kick off the Witches Brew series, timed with the full moon, it seems only right to start with a recipe for Prophetic Dreams Tea. You can usually find a good selection of bulk herbs at your local health food store or at a herb or magic shop. For this recipe, you will need

  • 3 parts Rose Petals
  • 2 parts mugwort
  • 2 parts Yarrow
  • 1 part mint
  • 1 part jasmine
  • 1 part chamomile
  • 1/2 part Cinnamon Stick, break or grind into chucks.

Mix all ingredients in a glass or wooden bowl. Package in a food grade, airtight container, amber glass is preferred as light degrades the aromatic and magical properties of dried herbs & flowers.

If you want to go the extra mile, you could create a tea kit with Organic Hawaiian Lehua Honey, a wand style tea infuser and a Fairy Magic Ceramic Travel Mug.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Altar Cloth

Altar Cloths made to express particular sentiment are a wonderful addition to any spell casting. Altar cloths can change an area of dedication from a love altar to a health altar rapidly. They are usually one of the first pieces of altar building to be considered for any ritual.

You can never have to many. As a matter of fact, as you build your own personal collection, you will start to determine what makes them "collectible". Consider your criteria when making them as gifts. There are several things to ponder:
  • Shape -rectangle, square, round, ect.
  • Color - choose according to the planetary attribute or vibration you wish to invoke.
  • Size - measurements have their own magic. Look to numerology and Magic Squares for more information.
  • Decoration - symbols and ornament can be added to the cloth. Your choices are endless, but pertinent. Beads, bones, feathers, fringe, ribbon, yarn, embroidery, painted stencils, and freehand painting are just a few of the choices you have to embellish the cloth.
  • Symbols and design - do your research. Choosing symbols for another can be tricky. I find meditating on my best intention for someone usually reaps reward.

As with any creative endeavor, its really an expression of your souls love for another. So flow with it. Imbue your project with the right vibration when making it and it will be cherished no matter what.

If you don't have time for such a sewing project but like the idea for a gift, here are a few I would recommend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Going Green for Solstice

One of my favorite Solstice gifts to give are small pots of kitchen herbs. They communicate the meaning of the season on many levels. First there is the literal "green" life affirming nature of a live plant in the middle of winter. Second, anyone doing any cooking knows the power of a little herbal magic..add some basil for love, rosemary for fond memories, lavender for protection, and so on. Third, they are very environmentally friendly and a sustainable gift that keeps on giving.

I love to paint the clay pots with positive messages that are fun to have in the kitchen or a home window sill somewhere. Quotes like " A Goddess Lives Here" or "Kitchen Witches Cook With Love" work for me. But you can just paint symbols or what have you to decorate the pots.

Typically, I will paint a set of six 2" pots and use herbs like Oregano, Rosemary, Chive, Basil, Sage, and Mint. You can choose whatever combination of herbs you wish. Happy planting!

If you are pressed for time or don't want to get dirty, you could always buy a kit, which contains three blue glazed planters with a matching drip tray, premium seeds, organic soil and growing instructions.

The French Country Herb Trio contains seeds for parsley, marjoram and lemon basil; while the Italian Herb Trio comes with basil, oregano and chives.

All content here is copyrighted by Free Spells Daily 2008. Rabbit stop stealing our posts and reposting them as yours.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Citrus Bay Flavored Vinegar

5 cups organic apple cider vinegar
pared zest of an orange
16 fresh bay leaves
optional bay leaves & orange zest to put int he bottle after infusion

Bring apple cider vinegar just to the boiling point in glass pan.
Put orange zest and bay leaves into a clean, sterilized wide mouthed jar.
Pour vinegar over the zest and leaves.
Seal tightly and leave in a sunny place for 2-3 weeks.
Feel free to gently agitate or invert jar.

After 2- 3 weeks, strain the infused vinegar, discarding zest and herb.
Pour into clean, sterilized bottles or jars.
Add optional pared zest and bay leaves for decoration.
Seal and store in a cool, dry, dark place.

If you are pressed for time or lack the kitchen witch gene, you could always buy a fabulous flavored vinegar and add a little of your own magic. This Citrus Oil & Mango Chardonnay Vinegar is created individually, by hand, bottle by bottle, in small batches.

All content here is copyrighted by Free Spells Daily 2008. Rabbit stop stealing our posts and reposting them as yours.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Organic Cranberry Cordial

For this project, you will need
  • 6 Cups (24oz) organic cranberries, chopped
  • 4 cups sugar, organic
  • 3 cups premium vodka, I prefer organic Ocean vodka

Mix all ingredients in 2 quart jar.
Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature 2 weeks.
Stir mixture or invert the jar daily.
Strain; pour cordial into decorative food grade bottles and seal.
Makes about 5 cups cordial.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Orange Clove Pomanders

Both oranges and cloves have long been magically associated with love, money and prosperity. Giving the gift of a prosperity charm is always welcome.

For this project, you will need
  • Large orange
  • Whole Cloves
  • Ribbon for hanging
  • Toothpick

Using the toothpick, make holes in your orange. These holes will be used to poke the whole clove into. Keep adding the cloves until your design is complete. You can cover the entire orange with cloves, or you can make patterns by arranging the cloves in circles, lines or spirals. The fruit will shrink as it dries so space the cloves about 1/8" apart.

Use some ribbon to tie a large bow around the orange for hanging. These make great end of year gifts for kids to give teachers and are lovely to have around during solstice.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bath Salts

Bath salts are really easy to make and are a gift appreciated by almost everyone.
For this project, you will need
  • 3 cups of Epsom salt
  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 1 cup of sea salt salt
  • essential oils & herbs (I have suggested combinations below)

Add all
dry ingredients into a glass bowl.
Mix with your hand or a spoon.
Add essential oils and mix.
Scent should be concentrated, but be careful with "hot" oils like peppermint and cinnamon.
Add optional herbs appropriate for essential oil blends

Winter Solstice
3pts Lavender, 2 pts Cedarwood, 2 pts Vetiver, 1 pt Lemon, 1 pt Orange and 1/2 pt Pine

Lunar (floral)
2 pts jasmine, 1 pt ylang ylang, 1pt sandalwood

Prosperity (earthy)
5 pts patchouli, 2 pts sandalwood, 1 pt cedarwood, 1/2pt cinnamon

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cocoa Butter Shaving Cream

Shaving cream is an all around handy gift, as it can be given to both men and women. Where possible purchase organic, local grown ingredients. The fresher the ingredients the better your recipes will turn out.

You will need:

Stearic Acid - 1/4 Cup
Cocoa Butter - 1 Tablespoon
Sodium Carbonate - 1 Tablespoon
Borax - 2 Tablespoons
Glycerin - 1/4 Cup
Alcohol - 2 Tablespoons
Water, hot - 1 3/4 Cup

Dissolve the Sodium Carbonate, Borax, and Glycerin in the hot water. Melt the Stearic Acid and Cocoa Butter over low heat preferably in a double boiler, and add the water solution. Stir briskly until a smooth white soapy mixture is formed. Continue stirring until cool and then add the alcohol. Spoon the mixture into your jar of choice.

This is a wonderfully moisturizing shave cream.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Organic Milk Bath

Milk has many powerful properties that would be welcome in any gift. Cow's milk is a powerful ingredient in any magickal working summoning nurturing, prosperity and protection. Milk is ruled by the Moon, so a bath ritual is best performed on Mondays or new or full moons.

Organic Powdered Whole Milk - 1/3 cup
Gelatin - 2 Tablespoons
Epsom Salts - 1 Cup
Powdered Hops - 1/4 Cup
Elder Flowers - 1/4 Cup

Makes approximately 16oz. You can double or triple the recipe depending on how large a batch you want to make. Instructions: Use 1/2 Cup per bath.

Packaging: you have many options here. I would start with a beautiful bottle and sterilize it well (boiling water works). You might create personalized labels of some kind or write on the bottle in glitter glue. Ribbon, wax seals, or even an acid etched design can be used to decorate your gift. Get creative! I like to use a blue bottle and place a silver foil moon on the side. Remember to charge it with love.

Total cost is about $5 per bottle depending on what packaging you choose.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pagan Presents - 30 under $30

The next High Holiday we will celebrate is the Winter Solstice. With only little more than a month to prepare, we are always trying to think of unique gifts for our pagan friends and family. Solstice is the shortest day of the year. The darkness is at its apex. No wonder we decided so long ago to give each other something to cheer each other up.

This year, we decided to create a list of posts called Pagan Presents - 30 under $30.

This list concentrates on gifts you can make under $30. With so many in our pagan family feeling a bit thin in the wallet this season, we decided to concentrate on creations that you could empower in the making. Witch is, after all, what we do.

Our posts will vary from simple projects to complex ones. We invite you feedback, comments, suggestions, improvements, or ideas. Blessed Be.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ancient female shamans part 2

A few years ago, I was obsessed with the Siberian Ice Maiden. I stumbled up on her existence by accident, while researching flying ointment lore in the book Pharmako/Gnosis: Plant Teachers and the Poison Path by Dale Pendell. It referenced items that were offered and found in the burial site of the Siberian Ice Maiden. This one sentence lead me on a odyssey of research and I now more about Pazyryk culture than any non anthropologist should. I have even considered getting a tattoo of the beautiful stag image above.

In 1993, a team on Russian archaeologists led by Nancy Polosmak, discovered a rare example of a single woman given a full ceremonial burial high in the Altai Mountains near the Mongolian border. She was buried alone—not a mistress or concubine—but a powerful figure in her own right. Called "The Ice Maiden," she had been buried for over 2,400 and was found perfectly intact, from her blond hair and beautiful tattoos to her clothes, which include a silk blouse and thigh-high riding boots.

Although her body had been carefully embalmed with peat and bark, it was the flooding and freezing of water that preserved the entire contents of the burial chamber. She was buried in a hollowed-out trunk of a larch tree, which was considered a sacred tree. The casket was so grand, the archaeologists initially thought it might contain two people. The outside of the casket was elaborately carved leather with stylized images of snow leopards and deer. The coffin itself, was made long enough to accommodate her 5 foot six inch frame and the 3 foot felt headdress she was wearing. This shaman's crown is thought to represent the tree of life and had 15 wooden birds sewn to it. She must have been an extraordinary woman of power, for six horses were sacrificed in her honor.

I often think about the young, tall, blond, heavily tattooed nomadic shaman, roaming the Siberian hills. I wonder if she traveled to India to select her blouse in person, or if it was found along the trade route. Was she a priestess? A warrior chief?

If you want to learn more, here are the transcripts to the PBS documentary

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ancient female shamans

The discovery of a 12,000-year-old grave of a female shaman reminds me of my earlier obsession with the Ice Maiden, who was discovered in the Altai Mountains near the Mongolian border. More about her in another post, lets talk about this new powerful woman.

It is believed to be the oldest known shamanic burial sites and was discovered in modern-day Israel. A body of a woman of great status was found buried with 50 tortoise shells, a complete human foot and various animal parts, including select body-parts of a wild boar, an eagle, a cow, a leopard, and two martens.

When she was buried, more than 10 large stones were placed directly on the head, pelvis, and arms of the woman whose body was laid on its side. Her legs were spread apart and folded inward at the knee. I wonder if they were splayed wide like the Sheila Na Gig or if they are in a dancing or leaping position consistent with her sideways positioning?

Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher Leore Grosman and colleagues said, "The interment rituals and the method used to construct and seal the grave suggest this is the burial of an ancient shaman, one of the earliest known from the archaeological record," they wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The unique treatment of the body and use of stones to maintain positioning suggests the woman held a revered position in the community. This burial site is unlike any burial found in the Natufian or the preceding Palaeolithic periods.

original article
learn more about The Natufians, click here or click here

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dia de los Muertos

In many cultures, there are special ways to honor the ancestors. Time is taken to celebrate and remember our relations known and unknown to us. In Mexico, November 1st or 2nd Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is the festival to honor the ancestors.

The origins of the modern holiday has been traced to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years. The ancient roots of this festival are honoring the Aztec Goddess Mictecacihuatl, which translates to The Lady of the Dead in English. She is the Queen of the Underworld, who rules over the afterlife and is the keeper of the bones.

Traditional ways to celebrate the Day fo the Dead include building altars in the home to honor the deceased, making and eating sugar skulls, cleaning and tending to the gravesite, offering marigolds and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. People believe that it is easier for the souls of the departed to visit the living on these days. Celebrations can take a cheeky tone, as celebrants remember funny events, off color tales and anecdotes about the departed. It's almost like a "roasting" with offerings of tequila, sweets and flowers.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Calabaza en Tacha

Candied Pumpkin


  • 1- 4 to 5 lb pumpkin
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • zest of one orange
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses.

Directions: Cut off the stem off of the pumpkin and cut the pumpkin in half. Scrape out the seeds and stringy mess. Now, cut each piece in half lengthwise again and repeat until you have 8-10 long pieces of pumpkin. Cut the skin off of each piece (or not) and then cut the flesh into approximately 1 to 2-inch pieces. Place into a large saucepan and bring sugar, molasses, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon sticks and water to a boil. Carefully add in pumpkin pieces and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 2 hours or until pumpkin is fork tender and the rest of the ingredients have reduced to a thick glaze. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before serving. You can serve with cream if you like

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Samhain Bonfire

Traditionally, Samhain was time to take stock of the herds and grain supplies. The village would decide which animals were to be slaughtered in order for the people and the remaining livestock to survive the winter. The word bonfire is a contraction of "bone fire" and is a direct translation of the Gaelic tine cnámh.

By casting the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames was a sacrifice for the Celts, as cattle were considered a form of currency. This form of sacrifice was one of the highest offering to the Gods. Often two separate bonfires would be built side by side, so the cattle and other livestock would be driven between the fires for protection and purification.

In medieval Ireland, Samhain was celebrated as a major festival with a great gathering at the royal court in Tara, lasting for three days. After a fire was ritually started by druids on the Hill of Tlachtga, a bonfire was set alight on the Hill of Tara, which was a signal to people gathered atop hills all across Ireland to light their ritual bonfires.

I encourage you to make a bonfire (even if it is in your tiny cauldron) and accompanying offerings. Suggested sacrifices are paper money, a poem of piece of art you have created and baked goods. If your ancestors are fond of particular foods or items, that would be appropriate as well. In our coven, we make a singular bonfire and leap over it to wild traditional music (pipes, bodhran, fiddle, whistle etc)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Clearing Incense

For this spell, you will need:
  1. Grind up each herb or resin one at at time, adding to the mixing bowl
  2. When ingredients are powdered and in the bowl, mix it up with you hands (or a wooden spoon if you prefer)
  3. As you are combining the powders, use your powers of intention. Themes are banishing, clearing, purification, letting go, release, cutting cords & bonds that no longer serve you.
  4. This incense is powdered for use on a charcoal in a cauldron or open fire.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pleiades Rising

The Celtic Year is split in 2 halves, Summer's Beginning (Beltane) and Summers' End (Samhain). The position of the Pleiades (also known as the Sieve or an Criathar in Irish) in the sky is the marker for the seasons. Samhain begins when the Pleiades rise at sunset.

The Pleiades' high visibility in the night sky has guaranteed it a special place in many cultures, both ancient and modern.
To the Greeks, they are the Seven Sisters.
To the Vikings, they are Freya's Hens
To the Maori, they are Matariki
To the Ban Raji, in western Nepal and northern India, they are the "Seven sisters-in-law and one brother-in-law"
To the Japanese, they are known as Subaru
In Arabic, they are known as al-Thurayya
In the Bible, they are mentioned as Khima and Talmud

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pan de Muertos

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise seed
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup sugar
for glaze
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons white sugar

Heat the milk andbutter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts.
Remove from the heat and add warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup sugar).
Beat in the warm milk mixture.
Add the eggs and orange zest, beat until well combined.
Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and slowly continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top.
Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.

Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for about 35 to 45 minutes.
Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.

To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes.
Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Samhain Cookies

2/3 Cup butter
1/4 Cup molasses
2 1/2 C flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 C sugar
1 egg
2 tsp baking soda

Preheat the over to 350.
Mix together butter and sugar ina large bowl.
Add the molasses and the egg. Stir until creamy.
Sift together flour, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice ina separate bowl.
Add the dry mixture tot he molasses mixture a little at a time while stirring.
Shape the dough into 1 inch balls.
Stamp with a Pentacle Cookie Stamp or mark with a knife.
Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degress for 10 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Samhain Altar

To build a Samhain altar, you can use:
  • Orange orwhite Candles
  • photographs or items representing your ancestors
  • A pumpkin or jack o-lantern
  • Flowers
  • A orange or red cloth

Set up altar facing the West, the land of the ancestors.
Once you have built your altar, you can design any number or rituals.