Christina's Country

The Magickal, Merry Meanderings of Gypsy Soul!

Tips for the Asthmatic Witch, Or What to Do if you Don’t Like Smoke!

It seems that Wicca is synonymous with billowing smoke! Every scene on television and related in books, seems to show witches associated with great volumes of smoke.

I myself am not asthmatic, but have attended rituals and circles where either the leader burned enough material to purify the entire area of all living entities (cough! Cough!), or, once, where the hostess decided to burn so much incense prior to my arrival, that I literally felt uncomfortable burning what I had prepared for ritual!

Witch   In these cases, not only is the smell was overwhelming, but I usually wash all of my clothes upon going home, as I don’t like smelling like a stinky bar the next day!

And if my throat was dry and I was overwhelmed by the stench, I cannot even imagine the discomfort this would cause someone with asthma, a cold, allergies or any number of other breathing troubles!

Further more, and I have ALWAYS wanted to say this!, I cannot imagine why the people attending the ritual did not say anything, especially upon finding out they they were almost all involved in some form of healing ( for themselves or others), Yoga, and/or most were very health conscious. It is like they feel that they have to endure such foolishness a and it is just a part of being involved!

   Well, I have one word for that… SHEEPLE!

A) Witchcraft has nothing to do with smoke and we all know this!

B) If you are being made uncomfortable, then you need to say something (or you certainly aren’t taking responsibility for your own comfort, much less health!)!

   Ok, so what to do about it?

Well, for those for whom the smoke is the issue, there are many alternatives:

* A fragrance diffuser can be set up to release a gentle aroma into the air.

* A spray can be made using essential oils and distilled water, or can be purchased.

* Natural elements such as potpourri and flowers can serve just as well.

* You can even cleanse or smudge with energy or intention (if you can cast a Circle, you can certainly do this. If not, you need to go back and learn how to direct energy!)

And for those whom the fragrance is the issue, first of all try using way less fragrance! Most of us burn or use way too much incense or use too much perfume.

Also, be sure that the fragrance or perfume is truly natural, as in essential oils, and try Coventry Creations Candles. Jackie, the company’s owner/founder is allergic to most fragrances and designs her candles with this in mind! (Hers are by far some of the best magickal candles that I’ve come across and used! And I carry only candles made conscientiously with respect to our health and Mother Earth!). Calling them up will help to ease your mind greatly. So call them and ASK. That’s what telephone numbers are for… use them!

Of course, if it is simply the Element of Air that is what you are trying to represent, then you can dispense completely with fragrances, incense and flames and just use a feather, a decorative fan, a wand,  a figurine of an angel a bird or a fairy, or any number of other reminders.

Your practice is all about you and your connection with Deity/Spirit/Nature. etc. not about following someone else’s dogma, especially if it causes you discomfort in any way.

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Organic Witchcraft: How to Perform True Magickal Acts

What does one do when making magick?

I’ve been asked this a number of times in a number of ways… “What do you actually do?”

I think that first, I should explain what magick is and that should help make how to do it allot more clear.

I know, there are hundreds of definitions of magick, and I will not reprint them here. I want to give, instead, an explanation of what who you are and why you can do magick!

This is according to how I understand the workings of the Universe… We are made of Creation. We are Creators… Gods and Goddesses if you will.

But, if that is so, then  there isn’t a God and Goddess?

Well, yes and no. I feel that we ascribe the names and attributes that we can best relate to to Creation. And because we believe that They are there.. They are! This also means that we are of Them ( or Him, or Her, or what have you!), and so we are Creators too, imbued with unused, untapped and unimaginable abilities!

We do not ask Them to do things for us, but to guide us (as though we were their children) to do things for ourselves! We make magick to affect and altar the Creation that is our World for our own betterment and enjoyment. OR, we will end up doing so unconsciously, as most of the population does, and end up creating more of what we do not enjoy and is generally not for our betterment!

So, what do we do to make magick? Well, how would a Creator/God/Goddess candles do it? Any way they want to! That’s how!

We can do it all in our minds.

We can wave our arms, building our temples in the air, unseen by the human eye, yet constructed on the astral, soon to be manifest on the physical plane!

We can sing it, draw it, think it, dream it…

 We can use wands, candles, crystals, and tools of every sort, or nothing at all (after all, we are all powerful!), or tools only we can see!

   One of the greatest leaps of faith is to trust ourselves and journey to meet our own inner Creator/God/Goddess and ask Them how They do it. Each of us is different and each needs to tread their own path.

A-hem… This is a good time to get out  that journal that you bought the other day and write about this! Who have you always envisioned yourself as, if you were an all powerful Creator? What are your attributes? What Elements, Creatures, etc. are your consorts?

It is time to create your own mythology, and as you learn your own inner landscape, you will also learn about your power and how to perform true magickal acts!

The Lure (Allure?) of Witchcraft… or Zombies R Us!

There has been a rash of popularity for anything zombie lately. And I wondered why, but now I think I know.
We are fascinated with death. We wonder what comes after it. We think about what will remain of us when we are gone.
I feel that this is especially so in these days of quiet and growing dread. Because we know that ignorance is bliss, and because we still can, we ignore the fast approaching results of many years of mistreatment of our bodies and the environment. We may not instinctively know that GMO’s are bad for the Earth’s fertility and the soil, and the animals that they are fed to and are causing rampant disease and failure in our human systems, but we do know that we have abused the Earth in the name of comforts and laziness.
We are like children who know they are going to get caught doing wrong, but are trying to squeeze that last bit of fun out of whatever we are doing that is wrong!
We have been ignorant, we have ignored, scoffed at and have in general turned off, tuned out and dropped out of thinking for ourselves and taking any responsibility for any aspect of our lives. This makes us one thing and one thing only… Zombies!

Is it any wonder that we have become fascinated with our own reflections in the mirror?

There is plenty to worry about:
* The environment
* The weather
* The government
* The economy
* Our Health
* What the World will be like for future generations…

But what can we do about it? Just be led along like pigs to the slaughter?

No, there is an ancient path of forming communicative connections to the environment around us in which we must live and our own bodies,  so that they can help us and tell us what we ought to, and indeed may need to, do to live well and perhaps even survive any cataclysms that may befall us.
Some call it shamanism or witchcraft, or by a thousand different names, and the names don’t matter. What does is that we don’t lose the ability to do communicate with the Earth, Spirit and our own bodies!

There are allot of people out there searching for “something”, and I do not have all of the answers for them. But I know whee they can find the answers… within!
We need to learn to ask ourselves and then trust what answers come. We can call it asking God, Goddess, our Soul, or anything we wish to name it… Names are a decidedly human thing. I doubt that many other beings or things need them. They probably just go by their own unique energetic signatures. So call things what ever you want to , just don’t call ’em late for dinner!

I believe that some people are called to these ancient ways and instinctively need, although they may not know what that is at first.

sense that it will offer them something that they
After some time, they will begin to understand what it is and who they are once they are separated from those who just come seeking the promise of instant Dineyanna-style magic that they hope will solve all of their problems with little or no effort on their part.
Hey! I never said I was nice. I am not here to “there, there” anyone. I am simply sharing what I know, and what works well. If it’s not for you, then I bid you a fond “Farewell!”
This strains out the ones who are not truly called to this anyway. I mean, think about it, how many wise folk were in an average village of 150 people? Was it one, and perhaps they knew of another one, or were there 150 out of 150 wisefolk, because “We are all special!”

What I am trying to say is that, and you may have some idea of this after reading my previous post, few are called and of them, only a small percentage will be willing to devote themselves to the work of it. Actually, that is incorrect, only a very few of those not be able to help themselves from devoting the time and energy needed to the work of it.
That’s OK, we all don’t need to be chiefs, as there would be no Indians left to chiefdom over! But now ifs a good time to stop dilly dallying around and get on with the skill-building, as there are allot of zombies out there that are going to need someone who really knows what’s what when they finally do wake up!
Our society has left us undernourished and the promises of love, health and happiness that consumerism promised have not panned out. Right now, we are buying all we can to try and fill the void, but we already sense that it isn’t helping and most don’t know what to do but keep on keepin’ on. It is all they know.
Even the professionals that they have looked to for answers are becoming ineffective in stemming the angst and many have simply “stepped out” and are just functioning.

Someone has to keep the old timey, tried and true ways alive for when they are needed again. Someone has to remain unhardened from the constant chaffing, and unaffected by the ticker-tape of propaganda and, well, just  awake!
That is what Organic Witchcraft is to me. A window onto reality. A view of what is true and what works. What will help. What will heal.

Let me know how you feel about this. I’d like to know.

Organic Witchcraft Step 1: The Hardest Part of Conveying a Sense of Witchcraft….

I say “conveying a sense of” instead of teaching, as one cannot teach someone that persons’ innate spiritual beliefs.

Let me back up a bit. If you have 26 people in a room, there will be 26 different sets of spiritual beliefs, regardless of what the tally is of the various religions represented there.

Think of religion as a social club where people have many similar interests and beliefs. Now think of spirituality as each of those people’s uniquely wonderful expression of their own personal set of morals, beliefs, ideas, opinions and such. See?

That is why one cannot be taught witchcraft. (One can be offered up a set of common rules and regulations that they will need to adhere to in order to belong to a certain tradition, or social group, but that is more akin to religion than to a spiritual path of discovery such as Organic Witchcraft, and we’ll leave that for a whole other conversation. OK?).

First of all, witchcraft isn’t even definable, except on a personal level, as there are Witches who believe in a God and Goddess, those who don’t those who practice only magick, those who don’t and so on and so forth. It is more of an adjective that is understood in the terms of that particular group or culture.

 

So, my quest has been to discover how I could present the common fibers of Organic Witchcraft and leave the seeker to weave their own spiritual path from them.

Not as easy a task as it sounds! If one offers too many common threads, a group of like minded individuals may form which takes on a life of its own, and becomes solidified as a kind of tradition.

If one offers too few threads, the like-mindedness becomes too diffuse, and does not offer enough satisfying sustenance, like many Universal Unitarian Church groups who, in a valiant effort to provide all-inclusiveness, lose their focus all together.

We neither want the end resultant garment woven of the threads to be too restrictive, nor shapeless.

 

However, There are certain strains that do run through this kind of Natural spiritual path. There are, for example, common beliefs in Energy and some sort of directing or guiding force behind it; There is an understanding in what one experiences as Truth; And there are ways that one must tread that tend to diverge from the mainly traveled roads of society in thought and deed.

As few as these initial fibers seem, they are immensely all encompassing. Energy is everywhere and makes up all things, seen and unseen, scientific and not, from radio and microwaves, to the sound we hear and the light that enables us to see, to the molecules that give us our environment its deceptively solid appearance, to the Spirits, auras and other intangibles that fill the time-space continuum around us.

 

Witchcraft has far less to do with the accouterments commonly associated with it of wand, cup, crystal and pentacle, than it does with thought, intention, projection and experience. Only after familiarity with the latter can the former really be appreciated, enjoyed and used to any potential.

 

So where do we begin……

I was having a talk about this with a friend of mine yesterday and we decided two things:

First, that once we are programmed out of our natural state of childhood and taught “what is real and what is not” and have our thoughts and words so misguidedly corrected to fit “normalcy”, we may need to spend the rest of our lives trying to get back to that pristine state of pure wisdom, love and trust of our childish selves.

Second: That 90% of what most normal people do, say, think and the way they react are simply knee jerk reactions based on prior-programming to avoid hurt, pain or fear. The second being a direct and unfortunate result of the first.

 

Where we need to begin is to seek to know ourselves as well as possible. Why we do what we do. Why we like what we like.  Why we think what we think and believe as we do.

   One very simple way is to begin asking yourself constantly:

*Why do I react that way? Or, Why did I just react that way to that situation/person/etc.?

*Did my reaction cause an emotional response within me?

* Was my reaction “genuine to me”, or did I react that way because of some prior programming?

Say, you loved bugs as a little child, but someone you loved was afraid of them and that caused you to begin to be afraid of them too. In this case, someone else’s fear begat fear in you and destroyed your natural sense of curiosity in the creepers, fliers and crawlers that share our world. You no longer need to fear them. You aren’t really afraid of bugs, they were!

 

   Remember that who, what, why, where and when are unimportant in comparison to the  acknowledgment of the personal inauthenticity of the reaction. This is not psychotherapy, it is simple homespun getting to know yourself!

   This little exercise can help you begin to develop an understanding of who you are and “where you end and the rest of the world begins”, which comes in mighty handy down the line when you need to be able to discern if an energy or emotion originates with you or something/one else! It provides a good, healthy mental platform from which to explore psychic skills.

   It also helps you to set attainable intentions because you know what you believe.  You will not be thwarted, as so many repeatedly are, by your own negative associations and beliefs because you will be able to work around them or dissolve them!

 

   Yes, it is a long way from wand waving, but even Merlin had to begin somewhere, and I think that you may be beginning to see the value in it. Besides, even old pointy hatted pros will occasionally become stuck in a rut and need to go back to the beginning and clear the debris from their paths. It is easy to read a few books, and practice the words that others have written and hope for something to happen. It is far more difficult, effective, powerful and satisfying to write your own personal spirit-lead book about where you have been and where you hope your path will lead. Essentially, this is a peaceful path that you must walk alone. You may meet others along the way, but your were never meant to walk in their footsteps!

 

So, go, right now!…

get a book, a blank one!…

and begin asking questions!

Then write it all down!

An Old Movie… or For Any Woman That Does Not Feel “Beautiful”

I opened my email this morning and there was one from Molly Larkin. She always writes things that make you think and I was eager to read her latest post. It was titled “Why “Tootsie” is one of my favorite films”. At the end of the post is a link to a 3 minute talk by Dustin Hoffman, who played Tootsie. You really should see it.
Go and read this short article and watch the film now if you haven’t already and then come back here….

Ok. Let me begin by telling you that I know that I am not alone, and am not an ogre by any means, but I am also no “mother’s masterpiece”, to borrow a line from a song that tends to tweak this particular heart string. I am a dark haired, stocky, woman born of a tall, lithe blond (bottle, but still) mother who never had much self esteem but did have a full compliment of emotional issues.
From a little girl, it was firmly and openly impressed upon me that one must be thin and attractive “to be respected in this world”, and that all overweight/fat people are “out of control” and they “could not possibly be happy like that”.
My mother was nothing short of clinically obsessed with her weight. I’ve read the books, and I know of what I speak. I have no issue with truth. We all have to work with what we are given.
I grew up to become what I was… a stocky, dark haired woman who would never look like Twiggy and, because of my sturdy build, would never fit into standard “B” cup designed clothing that my mother always bragged the she could go into any store and try on any outfit and look good in it because she was thin. (This whole scenario was born of her abandonment issues with her father for being a very large man that died very young of heart disease and diabetes, who was looked upon as the voice of reason and stability in a very emotionally chaotic household. See how causes form effects on down the line?)
So, By the time I began to try and convince myself that looks maybe weren’t everything, the scar tissue had already formed and one can plaster that with as much make-up as one wishes, but that sort of scar will never goes away. There is no emotional plastic surgery for a little girl who is lead to believe that she can never measure up to the standard of what beauty is supposed to be. Not even after I was literally sent to modelling classes “to learn how to walk and apply make-up, so I could look my best”.
I have always kind of felt that I would never really be respected for just being me. I just didn’t have stunningly engaging attractiveness, or that professional, polished air and, besides, I was a bit off in left field, with the whole psychic thing.

The two things that I feel that I value most are honesty and self-awareness, or the ability to realize how one’s thoughts, words and deeds affects the rest of the world (a gift born of constantly being told that I did not know how I “sounded”!).
I suffered a lack of both of these virtues in my upbringing and the road to accepting that you can depend upon or trust anyone, ever, is a hard one I walk still. But the feeling that I wasn’t shaped right and didn’t look as good enough; that I was somehow big, clumsy and awkward is something that I will battle forever. It has effected every aspect of my life to date despite my awareness of it and its utter ridiculousness and invalidity in reality.
I do not believe in blaming one’s past for one’s present problems, to the effect that so many become stuck at one event in their lives and never are able move past it. We all need to take responsibility for ourselves at some point, unless we are mentally incapable of doing so. BUT, it is like trying to build a house having been given the wrong set of tools. It’s just hard. I mean, Dustin Hoffman “got” a rare glimpse of what if feels like to be a real woman trapped in a world of unrealistically artificial beauty and eternal youth that is supposed to determine your value as  a human being.

Believe me, if you have similar feelings, you are far from alone! You are far from being damaged goods and there is always still time to break free from the self-imposed prisons that we have created for ourselves.
Who, what , where, when and how it happened does not matter. You don’t have to accept it, come to terms with it, forgive it, or get over it. You simply have to redirect your attention to what you are missing and have missed by dwelling on it and muster up some vigilance, a good measure of awareness and recognition of what causes you to think an act/re-act the way that you do, and the strength to feel the horror of looking foolish, awkward, acceptable, ugly, improper, abnormal (really, normal?), out of place or what have you, and muscle through it however you must, and just act, think and do as your truest self. You owe that to yourself and it is all that really matters.

Free Pattern to Crochet Your Own Indian Corn for Harvest Time

Mosquitoes, sweating, bugs, humidity, bugs… Did I mention BUGS!?

Ok, I am done with Summer. Thank the Lady it’s August and we can get on to the “good” (aka “my favorite, and therefore the best“) parts of the year… Lovely , gentle Autumn and crisp, clean, cozy Winter!

Besides, they put the Halloween candy out in the grocery store yesterday, and “Michael’s Arts & Craps :0)” store has had Fall things out for sale for weeeeeks already. So long , in fact, that they are already on sale.

“Buy, buy, buy! Clear ’em out, it’s Christmas time!”

So, it must be time to think of all things autumnal, right? Good!

I found the most amazing thing this morning! It’s Indian Corn you can crochet! Glory be! Look at this….

indian corn  Does this not just give you the warm fuzzies all over!?

   Every year I buy a bundle of Indian Corn to hang on the front door of our 170 year old house. It is not only lovely to look at against the pine green door, but, to me, it symbolizes our harvest of abundances for the year.

We have worked hard in all aspects of our lives and have earned our harvest, so i like to acknowledge it. ( They call this “gratitude”… It’s a good thing!)

Wield the three different colors that you choose to add a touch of magickal significance and meaning as well. Perhaps a golden ear of corn for monetary stability and growth; a rich red ear of corn for the growth of love through the year; and a slate blue ear for the growth of communication and the wisdom that is gained by it. Or perhaps a rich brownish ear for all that Mother Earth has given us throughout the past seasons!

NOTE: You can mix two strands of yarn together to create just the right shade and effect! That would be ideal for this, and you may just find enough in your scraps basket to make a few ears!

   The Pattern is FREE just CLICK HERE!

   I am going out TODAY to get yarn to make this. I think I’ll be using “Homespun” by Lion Yarn. It’s a favorite and the colors are just perfect!

Alicia Kachmar, the blogstress who created this, and many other amazing patterns, (check out here blog here) has a book out too that looks like another “must have for the upcoming season!

Free Navajo Blanket Crochet Lap Blanket or Large Square Pattern

navajo-blanket

   This pattern has such potential! I’d love to see it in a dark turquoise, garnet red, amber and tan, but many color combos would work. it has a wonderful Navaho inspired design to it.

   It is small, a lap blanket (or lapghan), like one might crochet to donate to senior center, but I could see perhaps four of these joined to form a larger afghan as well.

   Best yet, the pattern is FREE, just CLICK HERE!

August 1st… a Rainy Day Just Right for Cuddling in an Old Quilt

My husband and I call call each other during the day, usually around lunch time, on our “break”. He always asks what the critters are doing.

Well, here’s Bella….

Bella   Snoozing on an old quilt I made with her favorite napping pillow. So where is the cat?

Phoebe

“turn off that light! Can’t you see that I am trying to sleep here!”

  Phoebe is beneath the computer curled up on the carpet by my feet and the wire spaghetti that keeps the physical aspects of my busienss attached to cyber-space. ( It’s like reverse magic…. I take physical things and make them into non-physical things. Weird!)

   It’s a tough life for the critters. i rudely wake them up to snap pics, and then prod them out of their peaceful slumbers to walk or feed them at lunch time…. But, hey, someone has to keep we humans company!

Fox in the Snow free Knitting Mittens Pattern

fox-in-the-snow-mittens-k   These are wonderful!

What a creative use of sock yarns!

This free knitting pattern design was made in Kroy Sock Yarn by Patons.

CLICK HERE to download the PDF pattern now!

Wow! Who wouldn’t want to receive a pair of these this Winter in their stocking?

The “Amazing” Granny Square Bag & an Even More Amazing Afghan In Progress!

I had a hankering for a fun, colorful new purse, like the kind you see on line, but did not want it to be so obnoxiously colored as to be unwearable. ( I loooove to look at those crazy rainbow crochet projects, but I’m not so sure I’d actually end up using or wearing them.)The Amazing Bag

Lion brand’s “Amazing” yarn was the answer! It comes in a zillion swaying shades of wonderful and is soft and fuzzy, but wears well and will not morph into one of those horrid fur ball things that gets stuffed deep into the back of the closet after two uses never (hopefully!) to see the light of day again!

This bag was done with two balls of Amazing, I believe it was Wildflowers and either Glacier Bay or Regatta (something with a water name). Watch my Etsy store and here for the pattern coming soon!

I love this yarn so much that I took it camping with us, switched to a larger sized hook and began feverishly crocheting more of these same basic granny squares that I used to make the bag that are ear marked to become a soft, snugly and colorful afghan for the camper (which has burgundy or maroon decor).

I can just imagine sitting by the fire with the hubby on a chilly autumn night with this afghan over us. Oh, and a cup of hot chai for me and cocoa for him! I can’t wait till Fall!

So far I’ve used a skein each of Glacier Bay, Violets and Constellation. I have another Violets and a Mesa and a few nameless remnant balls of Amazing left overs, which, conveniently look seamless when used together!

I love, love, love this yarn! It’s fun to watch the colors change and each Amazing SquaresAmazing Squares granny square ends up looking completely different. See how great they look?!

I’m planning on choosing a solid color for the base and trim, but I haven’t chosen it yet… So many possibilities!

 

 

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