Mind, Body, and Soul

I’ve been really preoccupied with thoughts about what I am putting into my body lately. I feel that as a Wiccan, being connected to nature in its purest forms is becoming increasingly important to me. Reading about all of the horrible chemicals BigPharma is putting in skincare products is disheartening; not to mention that my skin has been misbehaving for quite a while now. I try to shop organic in nearly every facet of my life when I can, but it is difficult to find skin products that are truly organic and safe. I can’t even pronounce some of the ingredients on the “all-natural” lotions. What I’ve learned is most important is to avoid carcinogens, which include formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3 diol), phenacetin, benzene, ethylene oxide, coal tar, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, crystalline silica (or quartz), and parabens. I don’t even know what half of those are, but they sound gross.

I’ve been trying to cut chemicals out of my life, but it is not easy. I tried that whole no-shampoo fad, and it just didn’t work out for me. I gave it 3 good months to no avail, and let me tell you it was amazing to wash my hair after all of that time. I can’t give up shampoo, but I use sulfate-free, so I figure I’m doing my hair some favors. I currently use L’oreal sulfate-free, and sometimes Organix Teatree Mint (not sulfate-free; however, tea tree is helpful in combatting a dry scalp). I’m still shopping around for alternatives that have fewer ingredients and are completely organic, but I haven’t had much luck.

I’ve really been interested in making my own face and body lotion lately, though. I’m not very familiar with oils and ingredient ratios, so I have been all around the internet looking for some recipes that are do-able. I’m most concerned with finding a way to incorporate ceramides, but it’s hard to find recipes that include oils high in ceramides. If you’re interested in a basic low-down on how ceramides work, visit this site (although, I personally do not like/endorse their products at all and find that they irritate my skin; still, the info on ceramides is good). Ceramides are essential for healthy skin. I found an article a while back that talked about which oils contain the most ceramides. Safflower and grapeseed oils have the highest concentrations, hovering just below 80%. Other great contenders (in case you have any allergies, etc.) are poppyseed oil, sunflower oil, hemp oil, corn oil, wheat germ oil, and walnut oil.

So far, this recipe for hand and body lotion seems the easiest and most promising. I am curious as to whether or not the beeswax can be replaced with honey to increase the shelf-life of the lotion (as honey is a natural anti-bacterial and I love putting raw honey in just about everything), but again, I don’t really know anything about how that might turn out. Unfortunately, I am a total novice.

I would love to hear thoughts, suggestions,  opinions, or tips on how you stay close to nature and live a natural lifestyle.

 

Brightest blessings,

Luna )O(

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Crystals

selenite_tower

Gorgeous Selenite Tower

I am the first to admit that I don’t really know all that much about crystals, but I have always had a certain fascination with them. They’re just so beautiful and magical, and they all have their own unique energies. There are times when I touch a crystal and it just vibrates in my hand; it’s an otherworldly experience. No matter where I go, I am drawn to the natural beauty of crystals. It’s so strange that nature can make something so geometric and decidedly perfect.

Like I said, I am a total newbie to crystals, but I just love them so much, so I am beginning to explore more and more. I have been collecting the ones that speak to me here and there, and I have amassed a cute little collection. Most recently, I picked up a Selenite tower (similar to the one pictured, but I borrowed that one from some nice person on the internet). It’s like my own little ice tower, and I just love its radiant energy. So, I started looking into it.

As it turns out, Selenite is great for clearing negative energy and increasing psychic connections. Using it in meditation allows you to connect to its specific vibration and tune into yourself. Supposedly, it can help you connect to your past lives, which is pretty neat as well. Finally, I found out that holding the crystal to your heart during meditation can calm stress and anxiety, which is something that I have been struggling with for years. I always believe that I am connected to the things that I need when I need them. Clearly, I needed this crystal. I can’t wait to try it out in meditation. If you’re interested in owning a piece of Selenite, just keep in mind that it can break apart or become discolored in water, so be sure to keep it dry.

Before I picked up Selenite, I picked up three Clear Quartz pieces at a psychic fair. Clear Quartz is also connected with the higher spiritual plain. It helps to clarify thoughts and amplify thinking, as well as protect the aura. Unsurprisingly, Clear Quartz also aids in clairvoyance. Mostly, I just love the energy that my points give off. But knowing their purpose will help me to better utilize them in my meditations.

I don’t know why I have been so drawn to clear and white crystals lately, but after reading about them, I must need to reconnect with my higher self and my psychic energies. I feel that. I’m definitely not as spiritual as I once was. But I love crystal magic, and I really want to get into it. I used to think that it was very complicated and expensive, but it really isn’t any more of a commitment than candle magic. And it doesn’t involve the possibility of burning down the house, so that’s a definite benefit for the pyro-challenged. I am excited to learn more about crystals and begin to grow my collection.

Blessings,

♦Luna♦

Beltane

Belfire 2008, Dancing around the MayPole.  Eli Reiman -- www.yelloideas.comAs we come to the end of April, we welcome May with the festival of Beltane. Beltane is the midpoint between Ostara and Midsummer. It is a celebration of the beginning of summer and the fertility of Earth. Now, not everyone is interested in fertility in the typical sense. Being young myself, I don’t feel particularly interested in my own fertility. I take this holiday to be a celebration of the earth, mother goddess, and the great rebirth of life during springtime. As such, the colors of this festival are lush greens, bright yellows, blues, and purples.

If you are planning on setting up a festival altar, here are some basic guidelines:

  • Beltane is the time when the god is most potent and should be honored; however, being a Dianic Wiccan, I don’t generally worship male deities. If you wish to, you may represent his potency with a phallic object on your altar such as a stick, maypole, or antlers.
  • To honor the goddess, you may adorn your altar with cups or cauldrons to represent the womb. An egg itself may also represent fertility.
  • Adding the fresh flowers of spring to your altar is a great way to add color and honor the growth and life that Earth yields. If you’re really ambitious, you could make yourself a gorgeous flower crown. Added bonus: you can wear it around and feel like a fairy princess 🙂

As I mentioned before, I am Dianic Wiccan, so I celebrate the goddess. Because of this, I have decided to post a goddess ritual. You can find the original ritual here. I’m not usually a big fan of long and wordy rituals, but this one was so lovely that I have decided to keep my variation as close to the original as possible.

Ingredients:

  • White candle
  • Bowl of water
  • Handful of small stones/pebbles
  • A Personal offering (a great offering during Beltane would be flowers)

Steps:

  • Stand before your altar and say:

“I am (your name), and I stand before you,
goddesses of the sky and earth and sea,
I honor you, for your blood runs through my veins,
one woman, standing on the edge of the universe.
Tonight, I make an offering in Your names,
As my thanks for all you have given me.”

  • Light the candle and place your offering before it. Call upon your favorite goddesses (or you can use the ones that I listed which are some of my favorites*) by name:

“I am (your name), and I stand before you,
Diana, Isis, Bast, Hecate, Gaia, Persephone.
Mothers of the ancient people,
guardians of those who walked the earth thousands of years ago,
I offer you this as a way of showing my gratitude.
Your strength has flowed within me,
your wisdom has given me knowledge,
your inspiration has given birth to harmony in my soul”

  • Honor the women in your life. As you honor each one, place a pebble in the bowl of water.

“I am (your name), and I stand before you,
to honor the sacred feminine that has touched my heart.
I honor (name of woman), who (action) (Ex: I honor my mother who 
gave birth to me and raised me to be strong)”

  • Save one pebble for yourself. Hold it and say the following:

“I am (your name), and I honor myself,
for my strength, my creativity, my knowledge, my inspiration,
and for all the other remarkable things that make me a woman.”

  • Place your final pebble in the bowl. Leave the bowl on your altar for at least the two days of Beltane (April 30th and May 1st), if not all month.

*In case any of you were wondering, these are the functions/powers of the goddesses that I chose:

  • Diana: Goddess of the hunt, virginity, and child birth; strongly associated with the moon
  • Isis: Egyptian mother goddess; matron of nature and creativity
  • Bast: Egyptian solar and war goddess (takes on the form of a cat)
  • Hecate: Greek goddess of witchcraft and the harvest moon
  • Gaia: Greek goddess of earth
  • Persephone: Queen of the underworld; grain goddess

Best blessings to all of you this Beltane ♥

-Luna

Pink Moon

pinkmoon

The Pink Moon/Total Lunar Eclipse is coming. It has me thinking about how I have neglected the craft in many ways. And right now, I think that I need the craft more than ever. It’s been a really tough year for me for many reasons. I think that I really stopped taking good care of myself. I was complacent and lazy, and I lost some of the bits that make me, well, me. I’m not going to make any sort of commitment to writing a post every week or anything like that; I just can’t be accountable to a computer. But, when I have a spark of good witchy feelings, I hope that I’ll remember to share it here.

I don’t really know much about the Pink Moon, so I have been browsing the internet (instead of writing a boring politics paper) to find out. Some people seem to think that the Pink Moon is a harbinger of death. I tend to disagree. What does the color pink have to do with death anyways? Shouldn’t a more ominous moon be an omen of death? According to Pagan’s Path, a Pink moon is a good time to work on relationships. That seems very fitting to me. We are coming out of a cold winter, a hibernation of sorts. Now is the time to shed our winter coats and let in the spring air. Now is the time to air out our feelings in preparation for a fun-filled springtime. Spring always conjures up images of rebirth and new life, so why can we not renew our relationships, foster the growth of new relationships, and shed old relationships that do us no good?

The Pink Moon can also be referred to as the Wind Moon, and this suggested transience makes it seem like a good time to do away with the bad and batten down the hatches with the good. This makes sense to me because full moons are great for letting go. I’ve been reading up on spells for letting go, but many of them are complicated and archaic. Being a new-age witch, I like simple and concise spells that don’t take up a lot of time. Many of us have busy lives, so being able to set aside just 10 minutes versus a few hours can make all of the difference. I have gathered what some of the standard ingredients are and assembled my own letting go ritual.

Ingredients:

  • White flowers (you can sub paper flowers or silk flowers if you can’t get your hands on fresh ones)
  • A white candle
  • A fire-safe bowl (a cauldron or pot will work great)
  • A bowl of water (any size)
  • Incense (preferably myrrh, cinnamon, or mint; but anything soothing will do)
  • Pen and parchment
  • Rose Quartz
  • Salt
  • Sage

Steps:

  1. Fill the bowl halfway with water.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sage to the water.
  3. Lay the white flowers around the bowl in a diamond shape, with the bowl at the center. Leave the fire-safe bowl off to the side.
  4. Center yourself. Create a safe space to work in. Light the incense; ambiance is key to getting into a meditative state of mind.
  5. Take a few moments to write about what you want to let go of. This can include feelings, people, insecurities, etc.; there isn’t a wrong answer.
  6. Light the white candle and place it centered behind the bowl of water.
  7. Begin to tear up the pieces of paper that you wrote on. Light each one, feeling yourself let go with each exhalation. Place the burning pieces in the fire-safe bowl. I think that breathing really serves as its own incantation or mantra for this spell, but by all means, make it your own. If you have ideas for an incantation about letting go, reciting it during the burning process would be ideal.
  8. Wait for the flames to extinguish. As everything turns to ash, feel yourself fully let go. Grab your rose quartz and allow it to fill you with confidence, positive energy, and security. Meditate and picture yourself filling up with soft pink until all of you is glowing.
  9. Put down the rose quartz and submerge your hands in the bowl of water. Remove your hands and anoint yourself with the water wherever needed. Do what feels right to you.
  10. Extinguish the candle and take the ashes outside. Toss them into the woods, allowing them to be recycled into the universe in a positive way.

I based this spell on quite a few ideas that I came across. Firstly, the idea of fire consuming and burning up the old. Fire can also be symbolic of a spiritual rebirth. This idea also led me to choose water as an ingredient. Water cleanses and purifies, and sage and salt (common cleansing ritual ingredients) intensify the effects. White is the all-encompassing color of purity and good intentions, so a white candle is fitting. Flowers signify spring and rebirth. Finally, rose quartz pays homage to the namesake (Pink Moon), but it is also a really great stone for finding inner peace. Rose quartz boosts confidence and positivity towards the self.

I plan to try this spell out myself in the coming days, and I am hopeful for good results. The most important thing to remember, though, is that witchcraft is all about intention. Without intention, your spell will never work. You must be clear, decisive, and fully committed to the spell.

Feel free to share your thoughts or your own rituals in the comments.

Blessed Pink Moon to all of you! )O(

-Luna

This Day Might Be From Hell…

meditation

I know the title sounds pretty bleak, but trust me; (if you’ve stuck around to this point) it gets better. The title stems from some general frustration over various occurrences on this gift of a day. First, I’ve been having a lot of personal issues (I won’t detail them here…I do like to keep some things private). Those aside, today really wasn’t that bad, but I did have a rough time installing Microsoft Office on my mum’s new computer…6 hours later, the deed is finally done. Anyways, my troubles aren’t the topic of this post; I promise.

What I wanted to get to was the importance of meditation. Not every day is hell, but we all go through days where nothing is going right. Stress overtakes us and everything turns some mish-moshy brownish red color. Let’s be honest; life is hard. But what we need to remember (and what I always seem to conveniently forget) is that we can take time to meditate. Now many of you may be passing it off as a waste, but I encourage you to give it a shot; try it on for size for a few days and see how you like it. Others of you may be saying, “I know this stuff. Better move on to the next post,” and to that I say, stay a while for a refresher and see if you can perhaps learn something new. To the rest of you, I’m going to break down the process step-by-step.

First, let me answer some FAQs….

What is it?

Meditation is a simple breathing technique that brings your levels down, calms/relaxes the body, and aids in the process of achieving cosmic oneness. It’s a great technique for general stress, anxiety, and worry.

What do I have to do?

All you have to do is set aside time. 20 minutes is optimal once or twice a day. 20 minutes may seem like a lot of time to dedicate to breathing, but it doesn’t always have to be that long. If you have 5, 10, 0r 15 minutes here and/or there, you’re good. This meditation time is all for you. You get to do it when, where, and how you want…you also get to determine for how long. You just need enough time to successfully bring your levels down (heartbeat, breathing, stress responses, etc.).

What’s the best way?

There is no one-stop shop for this information. You could scour the internet for days and find all sorts of recommendations, but remember, this is your time. Do it how you want to. You can meditate when you get up in the morning, before you go to bed, during your lunch break, during your bubble bath, during your daily walk/run…whenever. The thing about meditation is that you don’t necessarily have to close your eyes to do it. You just need to clear your mind. You can close your eyes, sit for a while and focus on your breathing; but you can also just focus on your breathing and your surroundings while doing other things (nothing too heavy though; you do want to be relaxed).

So let’s get down to basics…

I find that the easiest way to meditate is to plop down on the couch, close my eyes, and focus on my breathing. In….out…..in…..out. That’s it. Whatever environment makes you the most comfortable and distracts you the least is probably best. You can adapt your routine when you get good at meditating, but until then, stick with the basics; in…out…in…out.

Your mind will begin to drift to other things: the project you need to finish, the fight you had with your significant other, what you have to make for dinner, etc. This is okay. As soon as you notice that your attention has been drawn to these things, bring it back to your breathing…in…out….in….out. Repeat this process as many times as you need to until you feel calm.

Some days will be better than others. Some days you’ll be able to focus on your breathing and calm yourself in just a few minutes. Other days, you’ll be constantly distracted and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of thoughts exploding from your head. This is okay too. Power through; you’re doing good for yourself. The process of meditating is cleansing your mind of all of these troubling thoughts, worries, anxieties, and stressors. It gets better.

Once you get comfortable with the process and learn to focus yourself, you can meditate virtually anywhere. You can also try other methods of meditation. There are many different forms, but one that I recommend is the “notice your surroundings” form. This entails looking around outside, inside, anywhere. Notice the little things around you: the shine on the countertops, the knots in the wood floors; weird things. This helps refocus your attention and diverts it from the stress and anxiety.

I can’t even begin to stress the importance of working meditation into your daily routine. I’m beginning to realize this more and more myself. It’s also an integral part of witchcraft. Many spells require intense concentration, which is eerily similar to meditation. It’s also super helpful in learning to scry with any medium (mirrors, candle wax, crystal balls, bowls). Concentration is a key component of connecting with your personal powers and psychic energy. When you become one with yourself, you can learn to become one with the universe, the gods and goddesses, and the planes. It’s only the beginning…the gateway to everything spiritual.

Please feel free to share your own experiences 🙂

Warm wishes and happy meditating,

Luna )O(

The Book of Shadows: Witch’s Best Friend

I’m coming to you today from the mobile app, and I’m fairly lost on how this works, so I apologize for how basic this post appears…and any spelling errors.

Anyways, I’ve been thinking about how to start my own book of shadows, so I thought I would share some quick info with all of you 🙂

I absolutely love the idea of a book of shadows. For those of you that don’t know what it is, a book of shadows is a single compilation of all of your spells. It is usually passed down within families (so if you’re the first witch in your family, you better get cracking!) and most books are set up generally the same way. An example of a page would be the ingredients needed (with any appropriate pictures that would aid in identifying said ingredients…I suppose in this day and age you could print them from the internet, but in the old days they were hand drawn), the steps to the spell (with all of the words, chants, etc.), and space at the bottom to write about how the spell went afterwards. The last part is particularly important because it helps you to brainstorm better spells and/or keep track of your favorite and most powerful spells.
That being said, a book of shadows can be anything from an ornate leather-bound book to a stack of papers stapled together, though I recommend keeping them in a safe place. Notebooks work just fine, or you can buy a nice fancy book of shadows and a notebook, work your spells out in the notebook, then transfer them to your book of shadows later. That’s what I plan to do. I am the first witch in my family to begin a book of shadows, at least as far as I know, and I want to do it right. My mum thinks there may be witches in her bloodline, but we can’t get our hands on any of their stuff.

Anyways, once you have a book of shadows, it is important to make it your own. My suggestion is to use the first page to either describe your family history or draw a picture that represents your family. This personalization will follow your family through the ages and is a nice tribute to old-style witchcraft.

Also keep in mind that the book of shadows isn’t just for spells. Spells make up an important component (and usually the majority) of books of shadows, but many families keep records of important family happenings, favorite remedies, perfumes, or potions; etc. Anything that you think is worthy to be passed down to your children and theirs, put it in the book. It’s really as easy as that 🙂

Feel free to address or ask any questions that I haven’t covered and happy spell-writing!

Luna )O(

Why Do We Scry? A How-To Guide

scry

Hello to the Blogosphere. I know we’ve been seemingly out of commission for quite some time, but the hectic overkill that is junior year is coming to a close, and we will hopefully be getting back to you more regularly. This has been the year of the anti-witch for Misty and myself. We have had the least amount of time to dedicate to The Craft imaginable. We still try to brush up on our tarot in study halls, but it has become so difficult to keep up with our monthly spells. Perhaps Misty has been a bit more active than I have, but I know for sure that I have been shirking and I’m disappointed in myself.

So recently I went on a Big Wiccan Shopping Extravaganza. Well, it wasn’t that big, but I got some supplies and I’m ready to get back to it. Anyways, among the things that I got (a few candles, some dragon’s blood, a cauldron) was a scrying mirror. I know that they tend to be outrageously expensive (trust me, I know; we sell them where I work), but I bought one with a broken design for half off. The mirror itself was in perfect condition. Anyways, I’ve been playing around with it but I haven’t really gotten anywhere. So, I thought I would do some research and share with all of you.

Okay, the number one rule of mirror scrying is to make sure that you cannot see any reflections in the mirror, especially yourself. So in general, you should place the mirror slightly in front of you on a flat surface parallel to the floor. The mirror needs to be clean and free of dust particles and all that. You can clean it with alcohol and a soft cloth. In general, others should not be allowed to look into your mirror, and it should be stored in a black bag when not in use.

Scrying, as I have figured out, is hard. You have to prepare yourself and practice a LOT before you can even get into the right state of mind. Usually, meditation is a good way to get into a “scrying state of mind.” You want to be able to see with your third eye, not your actual eyes (if that makes any sense) so you must relax your eyes. Now, you’ll meditate and get all ready…and nothing will happen. Don’t fret. Like I said, it takes time…a lot of time. The mirror tends to work best at the new and full moons, but you can scry whenever you want (nighttimes is best). Lighting votive candles next to the mirror can help channel certain energies (orange for healing, red for love, etc. (see our candle blog for more info)). Some websites suggests lighting psychic blend incense to help. In general, though, the main things you need to scry are yourself, the mirror, and a dark room (candle light is okay). Again, nothing should reflect in the mirror. Casting a protection circle before beginning is never a bad idea either.

Once you’re all set up, the steps to scrying are as follows:

  1. Have a purpose. What are you hoping to see while scrying? Keep this in mind throughout the process, and try not to lose focus.
  2. Relax. Breathe in and out; meditate; feel yourself enter into a light trance.
  3. Open your eyes and look into the mirror. You can blink as much as you need to, but keep your eyes relaxed and your mind alert. Soon, the surface will begin to shift and change, and a dark mist will appear.
  4. Keep your mind open. Your third eye has now been awakened, but you will not see things directly in the mirror. The mirror is a gateway to the other planes. Most of what you see will be in your mind’s eye.
  5. When you’ve completed your journey, slowly return back to the human plane. Do not abruptly break the trance. Begin breathing and feel yourself returning to this world.

Now, some of you (like me) will still have trouble seeing things. There are a few tips to help with this, but they must be practiced regularly. Sit in front of your mirror and picture different objects, one at a time. Keep your eyes open and try to see them as if they were reality. Try to see simple colors and shapes first, and keep visualizing them for about one minute each before dissolving them and moving onto the next. Spend about 15 to 20 minutes a day doing this until you have mastered it.

If you’re worried about negative energies invading your mirror and clouding your vision, here is another tip. Before you begin scrying, visualize a white light gathering within you. When the light is full and strong, project it into the mirror. This will purify the mirror and protect it from negative energy. You can repeat this process until the mirror feels full of positive energy. This process can also be done with different colored light to invoke certain energies into the mirror before beginning. Invoking energies can help your scrying to go more smoothly because it guides the mirror toward your purpose. When you are finished scrying, be sure to remove the light from the mirror and disperse it into the universe. Do not take it into yourself.

For a black scrying mirror, there is a general procedure to help the mirror hold a charge. It is called a fluid condenser. It is basically a mix of fluids and herbs, and can be used on any magickal tools. You can put whatever you want into the fluid; whatever will draw the energy you are looking for. For example, adding silver can invoke the power of the moon and the goddess for followers of Dianic wicca. You can apply this fluid to the mirror to recharge it, then clean it off with alcohol or distilled water.

To make a fluid condenser:

  1. Gather your herbs. See the herb list below, found on the internet, for ideas of herbs to add.
  2. Place the herbs in a pot of water. Add enough water to cover the contents completely, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the flame and let it simmer for an hour. Leave the pot lid on.
  3. Let the mixture cool, then strain it through a cheesecloth. Put the remainder of the liquid back into the pot and let simmer until 1/4 of the original liquid is left.
  4. When this is cool, add gold tincture and essence of moonstone or silver tincture to represent the god and goddess (gold chloride/gold salts can be used in place of real gold, and whole moonstones can be added)
  5. Place all ingredients in a sterile container and add isopropyl alcohol as a preservative. If kept in an airtight container, the condenser can last for years. For those of you that are adventurous and want really strong condensers, add a few drops of your blood to the mixture. Whole quartz crystals will keep the mixture clear.

Herbs:

“For the water element: elder flowers, water lily, orris root, white rose, willow, cucumber seeds, jasmine

For the fire element: red poppy, cinnamon bark, bay leaves, orange peel, rosemary, marigold, galangal, damiana, tobacco, nutmeg

For the earth element: oak, ivy, cypress, mugwort, vervain, patchouli herb, wheat, primrose

For the air element: mistletoe, acacia, clover, pine, sage, lavender, verbena For spirit: gold, blood, crystal

For healing: juniper, thyme, mandrake, tansy, elder, coriander, lavender, life-everlasting, sage, cypress

For universal fluid condenser: chamomile, dittany of Crete, ivy, oak leaves, bay leaves, almonds, cypress, clover, grape leaves, rose petals, mugwort, jasmine, vervain, mandrake root” (dailywicca.com)