Sunday, January 27, 2013


I've been trying for some time to put together a spreadsheet of magick tools by intention. It's easy enough to go and find information on a particular tool. Most sites have a page devoted to the various scents of incense and what types of spells for which they work best. Then you have to find a completely different page for which color candle, which day, or which stones to use. I want to compile all of those tools into one place. We usually know exactly what the spell is intended to do and having all the possibilities in one list can save time and several searches.

This post is to poll my readers, find out which types of spells you do the most often. Which intentions would you like to see on the list? My current list contains about sixty different intentions. I want to make the list as inclusive as possible without filling it with spells that no one ever needs. Also, which tools do you use the most often? At the moment, the spreadsheet has color (whether it be candle or cloth), days of the week, element, stones, oils, herbs, and deities. Should I add others? Let me know what you think. I hope to have the list done and added to the site by the end of February. Thanks!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Affordable Magick - B is for Budget

I was at a loss for a good topic starting with the letter B that wasn't already covered. Enter crisis of cashflow and perfect topic! In fact, it should have been so obvious. My plan several years ago for Luna's Gathering was about magick on a budget. I wanted to share ways of practicing the Craft without emptying the bank account. "Spells, supplies, and more for the Practical Witch," or so the website claims, even now. I still have grand plans for making this happen. First, I must learn it for myself.

My great epiphany, use what you have, came about when I found I'd have to move. Again. Well, that and a few overdraft fees (insert crisis of cashflow here). Changing homes was nowhere in my itinerary for many years. I looked around at lots of stuff and realized I had no desire to pack most of it up and haul it to my next home. I have three shelves of books on magick, many of which have the same information. There is also a cabinet full of candles in many colors, originally purchased for the website. I already gave away the hundreds of sticks of incense to others before they got too stale. Did you know that if you store several scents in the same box, even if they're in their own bags, the scents begin to blend? I found that out the hard way.  :-)

There are plenty of wonderful ways to do magick; spells that require little to no tools. For those spells that need a little more focus, there are alternatives. A simple kitchen knife can be just as effective as an athame. Tea lights from the dollar store burn just as bright, and are perfect when time is also tight. Simple notebook paper works as well as parchment. A lot of the information needed can be found on the internet. The only thing that can't be substituted is intention. As long as the thoughts and energy are right, so too will the spell. My favorite tool for doing magick? My computer. I can share my feelings, send positive thoughts and energy to far off friends, and connect to communities in a way that's not so easy in the middle of the Bible belt.

Don't get me wrong. I love stepping into a shop and feeling the positive energy all around. I make mental shopping lists of things I want, knowing that when I can afford them, I'm giving back to the community. The nicer tools have their time and place when the budget will allow. Until then, I don't have to put off what needs to be done because I can't balance a checkbook, Gus (my car) decides he needs a little attention, or rent is going up $120 a month. Using ordinary items in a spell also means we recognize the magick in everything.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Brave: The Movie

Pixar Makes Magick

Though I know the movie has come and gone from theaters, I felt it deserved mention here. And it was one of my Christmas presents. :) I read many reviews that absolutely hated this film. I couldn't understand the ugliness and anger. They ranged from things like "The whole movie reeks of feminist fantasy" to "weird politically correct preaching, overdone action scenes, and generally random and weird plot." They called Merida whiny, petulant, and selfish. It really made me wonder what was behind all the vitriol.

The movie I saw was a beautifully animated, well told story that stands with the best of Pixar as an equal. The mother-daughter relationship, which is rare in a Disney film that usually opts for single fathers, was wonderful and complex, like real life. It was a bit more serious than most Pixar or Disney and lacked musical numbers to lighten the mood, but that doesn't make a lesser story. What some saw as petulance was a typical teenage girl rebelling against parents who had her whole life planned; an arranged marriage and being a "proper lady" like her mother. The major difference with Brave's heroine was that her act of rebellion had dangerous consequences for which she had to take full responsibility. I also loved that the witch who supplies the potion that creates the main conflict of the story isn't evil or playing with dark magick for her own purposes. She warns Merida of the abuse of magick, that it doesn't always work how you want. Personal responsibility is an important message.

With all the magick in the story (and not of the evil variety), I wonder if some of the negative reviews weren't fueled by fear. Certain organizations don't take kindly to telling girls that they don't necessarily need to find a husband and settle down to have a great life. They have the power within themselves to be great.

The added bonus to this fabulous movie was the enchanting short film "La Luna." It was a simple little story of a boy going with his father and grandfather to learn the family trade; cleaning up all the loose stars on the surface of the moon. It was one of the most Pagan things I'd ever seen from Disney (until I saw the Tinkerbell movie). That six minutes alone was worth the ticket price to see in 3D.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Need to Connect - Ancestors

I recently came across a wonderful group of bloggers participating in something called the "Pagan Blog Project." The idea is that they send out prompt suggestions for each letter of the alphabet and ask bloggers to write about something in their magickal life that starts with the corresponding letter (each letter is used two weeks in a row; 26 letters, 52 weeks) and share that blog with the group. It seems the perfect way to motivate me to focus more on my spirituality and post regularly. It is also my hope this will push me to step outside my safe little comfort zone and take a few risks. Okay, explanations over. On to my first post. :)

My mom (right) with her older sister and younger brother.
Though I don't have children of my own, family has always been important. But it never occurred to me while growing up to ask questions about the people who came before. I knew I was part English and part Italian on my mother's side, which I thought explained the love of Italian food and my preference for tea (with cream) over coffee. I never even though to ask my Gram's maiden name. It wasn't until I found an old photo album that thoughts of great grandparents ever entered my mind. My mom told me the pictures were of her grandparents and their relatives. I suddenly felt this connection, this need to know all I could find about these people; my family. Starting out, I made a list of all the names and began to grill my mother for information. Then I asked Gram as well. Though it would take me years to figure out the right questions to ask. I will always regret that my maternal grandfather passed away before I could talk to him too. So many of our old photos are of the Terni-Diekmann line, his Italian-German roots, and many of them don't have names. The most prominent figure in his family was his mother, a strong person despite many losses, including her husband and younger sister.
My new obsession began in earnest in 2001 when I posted my first tree on Ancestry, pitiful though it was. I would spend the next 12 years digging through death records, census records, and marriage licenses to track from Texas, back to Missouri, Louisiana, then England, Germany, France and Austria, going back 5 generations so far. Suddenly I was no longer just a Texan. It was no longer just my immediate family. I have a history. I am a part of history. And a recent DNA test showed that future generations will lead me back to two main regions; Southern Europe (specifically Spain and Italy) and Scandinavia (specifically Norway and Sweden). The more I search, the more I want to know. Do I have an affinity for the Greek pantheon from my Southern European roots? Is my long line of strong female figures from my Scandinavian roots? What in my blood pushes me to love nature, to seek it as my spiritual choice? Do I have any wise women in my past? My Samhain rituals are so much richer for all the family I can now celebrate as mine.