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Candle reading is the practice of noticing signs and omens in the candle’s behavior and how the signs pertain to the work at hand. The mountain witch is always conscious of behavior, natural and unnatural, while also utilizing common sense first. If the candle is burning slow or the candle flickers profusely, we first wonder what the humidity or weather is and if a window is open. I suggest you practice putting the same sense first.
Many people, sadly even those who do work for others, have asked me to “read the wax”. This is far from all that should be done. The flame’s behavior, how the candle deconstructs, and how it extinguishes must be noted frequently first and foremost. This will show more than the cooled wax will, which is often just plain wax.
Things to take into account when reading the flame:…
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I do this especially with decks of tarot or oracle cards I carry with me. I charge the stone(s) on the full moons and keep them in the bag or wrap with my deck. In a way it works like a battery- to keep them spiritually clean and charged, and helps me make a better connection in my readings as well. 🙂
It’s not, at least according to the traditional version of “maiden, mother, crone” as in being a mother and giving birth, etc.
After having talks with some other childfree friends of mine, we’ve noticed that there is an overabundance of focus on the “mother” aspect of Paganism, especially since most of it relates to Wicca. It’s not necessarily because some of us may be repulsed by motherhood and completely reject the idea, or that any little bit is too much, but Paganism doesn’t have much of a focus on the non-mother aspect of Paganism, in the very least the non-traditional version of the nurturing feminine body. I ask myself, what are we really doing honoring the Goddess in her many forms, if we’re just going to reduce her down to her “primary” function- that is, giving birth?
I feel this also comes along with sweeping the more “scary” versions of the Goddess under the rug (see “Dark Goddesses”). The Mother facet (or aspect) of the Goddess is something most people can relate to, because we’ve either had a great mother we aspire to be like, or seek some kind of nurturing figure to fill a space we haven’t had for some time where the mother in our lives was absent. Others aspire to be mothers, so all of this makes sense. But where are we nurturing the “maiden”? Why are we avoiding frivolity and calling it naivete? Why are we still hung up on that cultural fear of getting old, saving up for botox injections instead of welcoming the smile creases and crows feet and still be regarded as beautiful? Why do we stop at cronehood with the air of “I’ve learned all there is for me to learn, so now I have it all figured out, you should too”?
Most of it chalks up to personality, even though I know some amazing elders I hope to be like when I am older, I still find many other crones to be jaded and judgmental and putting down younger Pagans for making mistakes because “they don’t know better”. Yes there is a lot of information out there, at the same time, we should really be doing better bringing forward “accurate” information, and then watching the younger Pagans develop and enrich their own practices. I genuinely feel that this is what we should be nurturing.
Back to going over the “mother” fixation, we can look at basic things and see that there is little to support the decision NOT to be a mother. Infertility rituals are “black magic” (as a matter of fact, you really cant find them because most regard infertility as a grave sin and not even to be wished on your greatest enemy), the earth is synonymous with “womb”, the Venus of Willendorf is still very iconic of womanhood and feminism, and considering how many feminists there are in modern Paganism, you would think there would be a balance on fertility rites, right?
Childfreedom is still an aspect many people are trying to accept and bring to the forefront as an acceptable alternative to parenting. My own group has a childfree focus- less about the mother, and more about the other faces of the goddess, and reflecting upon our youth and ourselves as we age and coming to terms that sometimes we have to bite the bullet and make difficult decisions for ourselves and our environment. Personally I’m more interested in looking into the Crone and Destroyer aspect of the Goddess (again, see “Dark Goddesses”), and that women of all kinds (yes transwomen are women) can tap into that primal instinct of protecting their own and themselves without being referred to as “mama bear” mode or “raging pregnant hormones”.
It’s slowly starting to creep up on society that motherhood is not a mandatory life stage, but just an option, and I think this honestly scares people. Society gets hostile towards the idea that some women aren’t making that life changing step that seems to be the norm for most people, and they assume that childfree women just cant make the decision for themselves. This seems to be normal in modern Paganism, and still looked down upon, as if the decision to be childfree was somehow irrational, or evil, as if all of us are sitting around dreaming of raising our own “little witches”. This couldn’t be any further from the truth.
(By the way, I’m still working on that infertility spell for my fellow childfree Pagans. Why? Because why not!)
I couldn’t wait blog about this one, but now is the perfect time!
So there’s this thing some of us go through, called “post-concert depression”, after you go to a concert so good, the feelings just linger and you miss it so much, and you want it to happen again and again, but it’s like one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences.
Well that’s what this year’s Farm Rock Chicago was like, the lineup was amazing and my fiance and I particularly went to go see (and hopefully meet) Tom Keifer- which we did meet him and it was amazing. We were on cloud nine during the whole thing, I couldn’t ask for a better experience and such an amazing chance to meet such down to earth people. I left my windows partially cracked open (it was a hot September day), and I found dust all over the outside and covering the dashboard of my car from people driving up and down the dirt road behind us. I couldn’t even get mad about it, instead I was like “oh my god I can do something with this!”
So, I did.
Its like literally putting a memory in a bottle, and it’ll be great during the winter, especially if I’m feeling the winter “blues” (haha pun). I grabbed one of the empty bottles I had lying around and labeled it. (Remember I mentioned about how things shouldn’t be expensive? A whole travel pack plastic bottle set for a dollar, and a pair of rubber bulb droppers for the same price. Bam.)
So if I’m making a witchy bottle, what stuff should I add to it? I dug into my black box of herbs and pulled out Clove. Each bag of herbs I have cost a dollar a piece, sometimes less if I’m buying in bulk. I took out five dried buds (thats a good power number to go with). So why clove? It’s magical properties associate it with Jupiter, fire, prosperity, friendship, healing, protection, and psychic awareness (among a few other things). On top of that, Clove is an essential staple of the herbal first aid kit. It’s a well known antibacterial and anesthetic (the traditional toothache remedy- yes I’ve used it for that too). This was really the first thing I thought of.
I throw my clove in the bottle and now what do I want to add? A stone. I found the cutest clear quartz that’s just small enough to fit. Mental clarity, protection, healing- perfect.
Now I decide if I want to use water or oil. I decided to use oil for this, and specifically almond oil. Almond oil is a carrier oil and if I want to bring out the scent of the clove, almond oil was my best option at hand. (Almond oil cost me a few bucks but it lasted me a very long time.) I also added some flowers too (they look cute suspended in fluid and the oil will bring the scent out a little too.)
Last but not least- the dust. I took a clean Q-Tip and went out to the car and got a good sample of that farm rock dust on my dashboard. I dipped it in my bottle of oil and herbs and swished it around and disposed of the Q-Tip. I put the cap on the bottle and shook it. When to charge it? On the full moon! 🙂
Voila, and that is how you make a memory into magic!
Before I made my own altar, I used a portion of my dresser as my “altar” for years. My altar cloth is made out of remnant fabric, I got my candles at the dollar store, my goddess statuette was discounted, my chalice was a gift, making my altar only cost me $15 bucks to build and suit my purposes and I’ve been able to move it with me, conveniently placed on top of my altar box with similar dimensions (also discounted).
Bottom line is, making decent magic(k) doesn’t have to be expensive. I know, there’s so many altar tools out there that are shiny and cool, but is it going to make your magick better? Do you need to spend $100 on an athame, or $200 on a staff? Is your magick breaking your bank?
Understandably, every now and then we will need to buy things, at the same time, these things should be reasonable. We don’t need to buy the brass wand for $300. We don’t need to buy the $20 candle because it says “wicca” on it. Walmart sells unscented, colored 7-day candles for a buck. This is where I began collecting my parts for my rituals. I said I needed to have a candle at each quarter of the circle. Tealights from the dollar store did well for a while until I wanted to see a representation of each quarter- Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and of course, spirit.
While supporting small businesses is definitely a good thing, it’s necessary to know when the consumer is being taken advantage of. Personally I’m not sure if the market for Witchcraft is as big as it was throughout the 70’s and on, when everybody wanted to be the next “Sabrina”, or wanted to be in a coven like The Craft in the 90’s. Lately the sensation has been all about the series Supernatural (which I could never get into, but “Winchestercest” is an insanely popular ship), but most just end up at Hot Topic for that stuff. Recognizing when a product is being hyped up over its name and not its quality is something to keep an eye on, and also remembering that small businesses often sell these products as a source of income, so it’s good to help them out. Unfortunately, Pagans aren’t made of money.
There’s many resources related to “witchcraft on a shoestring”, websites, books, you name it. The only thing I really spent money on was my books. These books really support the authors they’re coming from, especially buying new, otherwise yes, I am a huge fan of Half Price Books- I buy a ton of books and research stuff as part of my craft.
So, expensive tools does not make better magick. At one point in time it was common for witches to literally use the earth to perform spells. Sometimes that can be hard especially if you’re in a metropolitan city or a very urban area, being able to improvise is essential. You are the being that calls out the quarters, you do the drumming, you cast the circle, you read the sacred words to call the elements and the gods, and the intent is all yours. You’re in charge. The only tool you need is you.