Monday, 30 January 2012


Well its time for Imbolc again! Time to clean out your life and wake up the slumbering earth. Im not going to go into too much detail of what Imbolc is because if you don't already know, it is quite easy to do a bit of research on the almighty Google. Instead I will be focusing on what I will be doing to celebrate and some ideas you can use in your own lives.

First off Imboc is the traditional time for Spring Cleaning! Thats right, break out your kerchiefs and baggy sweatpants and get cleaning! Weed out clothing, books. knickknacks,  etc that you don't use anymore and donate them or put them aside in storage in preparation for a garage sale when it gets a bit warmer.Clean your grout, dust your ceilings, whitewash your fence (do people do that anymore?). Also don't forget to wash your mirrors and windows in a mixture of vinegar and mugwort. It not  only physically cleans them but it also spiritually cleans and seals them so unwanted things cant use them as portals.

The next thing on your Imbolc spring cleaning list is to energetically clear out our house. Do a clearing and ward and bless all your rooms. One way of doing this is to cast a protective circle in each room and leave it up to soak into the walls. Also throw out any old, dusty charms that isn't salvageable.

Now your home is all squeaky clean and warded. The next thing to clean is yourself. So hop in the shower or bath and scrub yourself clean. Get all the crevices you may sometimes neglect like under your nails, in between your toes, and behind your ears. Also energetically cleans yourself while your in there. A great way of doing this is visualizing the water washing away all negative emotions and thoughts, illness and gunk in your chakras and energetic body and washing it all down the drain.
You can also add this simple bath scrub salt mix to your bath to aid in your cleansing:

Cleaning Bath Salt

Half a cup of sea salt
A table spoon of lavendar
A table spoon of vervain
(optional) 3 tablepoons of raw oats (helps to moisturize)

Now you and your home are clean what next? Well since Imbolc is sacred to the Goddess Brigid (and she is one of my patron goddesses) I plan to do a Brigid blessing for the household inspired by Yasmine Galenorns's festival of lights ritual:

Brigid Blessing Imbolc Ritual - to be done after sunset

Set up an Imbolc altar with a bowl of cream or milk in an offering bowl.
Turn off all the lights in your house.
Cast circle in your usual way and draw down Brigid into the acting priestess.
The woman representing Brigid should then stand outside with a lit candle. Everyone should wait inside the dark house.
The woman representing Brigid should knock on the door three times. Someone should open the door and say:
"Brigid has come! Brigid has come! Brigid has come!" and 'Brigid' steps inside.
A second person steps forward and says to her:
"May Brigid give blessing to the home that is here. Brigid the fair and tender! Bless our house, fiery maiden. Let health fill our walls, let success fill our careers and let love fill our hearts."
'Brigid' should then go through every room in the house, turning on all the lights with everyone following behind her, till every light in the house is on. She then says to everyone:
"The light has returned and the season of growth draws near. May health fill your walls, may you succeed and prosper may love encompass your lives. I am Brigid the fair, Brigid the wise, Brigid the fiery arrow of power and so I bless your home and family. Remember me and honour me  on this night."
She should then place her candle on the altar and everyone should join hands and chant:
" Fire, fire growing higher, bring to us what we desire.
Fire, Fire glowing bright, welcome Brigid this Imbolc night!"
Repeat the chant until the power peaks and release it, focusing on the return of spring, the growth you want to accomplish and the projects you want to accomplish and/or start during this time.
At this time you may sit and drink wine and cakes as celebration while sharing stories, poetry, song, artwork, or crafts you have written/made in honour of Brigid as the goddess of inspiration and  poetry.
To end the ritual take the bowl/pitcher of cream/milk off the altar and bring it outside and pour it as a libation into the earth saying:
"Lady Brigid, we honour you and return to you the cream that  is life itself. We ask for your blessing in the coming season. Blessed be."
Close down the circle.

Other ritual ideas are stomping and dancing to wake up the earth. Lighting candles in a spiral dance do draw the sun and light the dark. Honouring the fay folk. I chose not to include a lot of candles in the ritual because my 3 year old would like to take part and I want to make it safe and fun for her and not exclude her at all.

Foods to be enjoyed during this time is traditionally dairy based foods and dishes, cream soups, bread, fruit preserves and seafood (esp salmon as it is seen as the fish of wisdom). I plan on eating much cheesecake, which is my favourite desert EVER.

Here are two really easy recipes I like doing:
 Fairy Wine:
1.5 cups milk/serving
1tsp honey
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
I find mixing and serving it warm is best though it can be made cold.

Wise and Creamy Salmon Soup
1 kg cream cheese cut into cubes
1 cup of milk
2 tsp Dijon mustard (to bring wealth)
1.5 tsp chopped fresh dill/.5 tsp dried dill (protection of home & job)
2 green onions chopped
1 can of chicken broth
12 oz smoked salmon, flaked.
Heat cream cheese, milk, mustad, dill, onions and chicken broth in a saucepan over medium heat
until cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in salmon. Let simmer until done.

Making a corn dolly and Brigid's bed is also traditional at this time of year and a great craft do do with the kidlets!

So, enjoy your Imbolc and may it bring you inspiration and energy for the coming year! I am headed back to my spring cleaning!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Daily Devotional

Hello wonderful people. It's been a little while, I know, work has been crazy! But with all the running around, long work days and lack of rest what really keeps me going is my daily devotional. So that will be today's topic.

A daily devotional is something you do everyday that honours the divine externally or within yourself. It doesn't have to be elaborate or time consuming, actually it works best when it is something simple. It can be a prayer, a self healing, a mantra, a 5 minute meditation, a yoga practice. Anything that centres yourself and brings your spirituality to the forefront.

I find the best times to do your daily devotional is in the morning when you get up and/or in the night before you go to sleep. I do mine in the morning, I find its a great way to start the day and get me going. I am an Usui Reiki master so my daily devotional is a Reiki self healing and reciting the 5 Precepts of Reiki.

5 Principles of Reiki:
Just for today, I will not anger.
Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will be grateful.
Just for today, I will work hard on myself.
Just for today, I will be kind for others.

The Reiki Principles stress the importance of living in the present and that goals are easier to attain when you take it day by day. Most spiritual people wish to get to a state of mind and soul where they no longer hold anger, worry and stress and live their life in a state of gratitude and compassion for themselves and others. Many take vows to live these principles but it is hard over the long term because we are human and tend to get discouraged when we trip up. It is much easier when the length of time you concentrate of holding these principles is only for a day. Do this everyday and before you know it a week has gone by,  a month, then years.

When I am not as busy and time permits, my daily devotional also includes a yoga practice everyday before bed. For me it's a great way to let go of the stresses of the day and it relaxes and centres me.

Take some time and figure out your daily devotional. If you have an altar or shrine set up at home you can light a candle and say a quick prayer of gratitude and acknowledgement. Mantras, Affirmations as a part of  Neuro-lingustic programming, chakra works and self healing are all great ideas for daily devotionals. Figure out what works best for you. It should help to bring you closer to the divine and bring balance within yourself.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Mysteries of Fermentation

The last post on hangover cures inspired me to talk about the mysteries of fermentation. Most of us adults drink alcohol  at some time or another. We drink to party and loose our inhibitions, to relax,  to celebrate important happenings in our lives, as pagans we drink it ritually. And the most consumed alcohols worldwide and throughout history are wine and beer.
Now, taking a moment to recognize the sacred nature of drinking when you do indulge is one great way to bring the sacred into daily life. Many Wiccans have cakes and ale as a part of ritual but I'm surprised to know most Wiccans who do don't really understand the symbolism and mysteries of the cakes and ale.

As fermentation is the topic of this post I will focus on the 'ale' part of cakes and ale. This is the mystery of fermentation as I understand it:

The whole process of fermentation actually starts with the planting of the crop. Planting the seed  is symbolic of death, burial and the goddess’ descent into the underworld.
When the seed is beneath the soil it germinates by feeding off and transforming decay, this is symbolic of the meeting and union of the Goddess and the Lord of the Underworld. The germination and sprouting of the plant from the seed beneath the soil is symbolic of the process of rebirth within the Underworld, conception and growth of fragile life within the womb, as well as the ascent of the goddess as she journeys back to the world of the living. The emergence of the new plant from the soil is indicative of birth and the goddess as she returns transformed and renewed.
As the plant grows as a result of being properly nurtured by sunshine, water and sustenance taken from the roots in the soil (the lessons she learned in the underworld) she grows and blooms (symbolic of the maiden goddess coming into her womanhood). Then she meets the wild, virile god of nature, unites with him and takes him into herself through fertilization (the process of being fertilized by bees and birds). This is part of the mysteries of Beltane. As the product of this union, the fruit, grows it is indicative of the goddess entering her mother stage.
As the fruit (or Grain) ripens and falls or is picked it can be seen as symbolic of the goddess giving birth giving birth to the Harvest Lord who contains within himself the essence of the goddess (the seed).
The fermentation of Grape (into wine) or grain (into beer) is the blood and body of the god undergoing transformation so that we may consume it and take into ourselves the blood, body and power of the god and taking on his nature that leads to the stripping of our civility and baring of our base selves though intoxication and initiation into his wild mysteries through loss of inhibitions and opening to his power and chaos.
The flip side of fermentation of the grain is the making of the grain into flour and making bread and cakes. This concept is the basis for the Wiccan tradition of cakes and wine.

So there you have it. Every-time you drink, you are symbolically taking in the essence of the god (and goddess) an they become a part of you. Taking a moment to meditate on that whenever you drink is a great way to recognize the sacred in the mundane.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Natural Hangover Cures

Well its officially 2012 and I know that many of you celebrated last night by getting skunk drunk (no judgment, I did the same). Unfortunately, it also means that many of you are suffering the after effects. Don't worry I aim to help.
Now the only thing that will CURE a hangover is time but there are natural ways of alleviating some of the symptoms.
The 1st thing is liquids. Alcohol dehydrates you and that is the main culprit. So drink lots of fluids and fluids with electrolytes is best.
Then there are some herbs that will help such as:

-Chinese Skullcap- Great for treating headaches
-Ginseng - Aids fatigue
-Chamomile - gently treats nausea and indigestion
-Green Tea - aids with vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue and headaches
-Nux Vomica - aids in hangover headaches specifically, irritability, nausea, indigestion, constipation AND diarrhea.

There are two "potions" that I have found works, one hot and one cold.

Cold Hangover Potion

You will need:
-your favourite V-8 Juice
-As many of the above mentioned herbs that you have or can get in either herb form or tincture form.
-A mortar and pestle or grinder
-Optional: a cucumber

Its really easy. Grind half a teaspoon of each herb and mix it in with the cold or room temp V-8 Juice, or add two to three drops of the tincture (if store bought tincture follow  the dosage recomendations).
Mix it well and drink it.
Follow with eating a  few slices of cool cucumber. it not only helps to clean the palate of the taste of the potion, it is also full of water and electrolytes.

Hot Hangover Potion

You will need:
-Green Tea (either a tea bag or loose leaf is fine)
-As much of the rest of the herbs that you can get in herb or tincture form
-A infuser or empty tea bag

Simply put a teaspoon of each herb into the infuser or empty tea bag and brew it with the green tea. Alternately add 2-3 drops (or recommended dosage) of the herb tinctures into your green tea.
Drink it!

Now to PREVENT a hangover here are some tips:
-Drink lots of water before you go out drinking, drink a few glasses of water in between alcoholic drink, Dink a glass of water or  two before going to bed.
-Take Milk Thistle (capsule form is prob easiest) before going out drinking
-Dont drink on an empty tummy.

You may also try a few prayers to some gods of fermentation before going out to ask to keep you safe and for mercy from hangovers :)
Some Gods of fermentation are: Silenus (Greek) , Dionysus (Greek), Baccus (Roman), Ninkasi (Sumerian), Osiris (Egyptian), Aegir (Norse), Tezcatzontecatl (Aztec), Yasigi (African), Radegast (Czech), Raugupatis and Ragutiene (Baltic/Slavic)

Happy partying!