Tag Archives: kitchen witchcraft

Big-C Crafting, Little-C Crafting, Moving Your Body, and Unblocking Your Magic

As I’m writing this, people I care about are making their way towards my city (and, in a couple of case, my house) for a Leather Family Reunion of sorts. I’ll be bringing my handspinning with me (again, and along with a couple of big vats of food because: this is me we’re talking about) in order to soak up some of The Fam into the yarn I’m spinning (and spinning, and spinning… I’ve been doing this for most of a year now and, possibly because I’ve been deliberately felting the yearn when I wash it, I’m still not finished my various shawl stripes and keep needing to generate more yarn to get the lengths right…).
For a brief little bit (like a couple of hours – there was, to my relief, a bit of a crossed wire there) I was on the hook for a short-notice workshop/craft-and-chatter-session about the work of one’s hands and how it relates to Power (in the kink sense) and also Power (in the spirituality sense).
 
My personal unified theory of How I Function Best has a lot to do with how (and if) I move around. Given that I spend a tonne of my time ensconsed on a couch, or in a chair (less frequently), typing away at All The Things, this may explain why it’s so easy for me to become despondent and generally get bogged down the Swamp of the Psyche (if you’re familiar with Brene Brown, you will probably alreqdy know that this means Shame).
Doing things with my hands – and, more generally, working my body – is a way to combat/avoid this, yes. But It’s the WHY of it that gets my attention from a Witchy perspective. Dancing, singing, blending yin and yang (hatha) yoga, going walking, working in the garden, doing handicrafts, doing the chopping/kneading/general-prep of a slow-cooking meal, even hand-cranking our little, borrowed laundry pod… all of that stuff helps to get my Energy moving freely. No blockages. It shakes off the random, yet never-ending, tiredness. It helps me direct my own energy (practically and magically) towards whatever goals I happen to be wrestling with at the time.
 
I realize that this probably sounds pretty Artists-Way-y, but there it is. Move your body, make things with your hands, and you (or at least I) will find it easier to make things (create things, create changes, make things happen) with your mind and your magic.

New Moon – Cold Moon Begins

Normally, this is Ice Moon, but – in honour of the ice jam covering the north-west corner of our house – we’re actually just coming out of that one.
So “Cold Moon” it is, for this year at least. Having just spent the weekend in the Coldest Spot on the Planet (that being my town, because it was -45 or something with the wind chill, and that’s pretty fucking cold kiddos, pretty fucking cold), I figure it works.
Technically, Cold Moon started about a week ago, around-which-time my father-in-law called to remind me to start my leeks and onions before March turns up.
I don’t even want to grow leeks and onions at this point. I mean, I’m not saying they’re bad things to grow, but since I don’t yet actually have the giant containers for our raised beds yet, I’m really disinclined to start stuff early from seed. I want to make sure I have somewhere to transplant it once it’s ready.
None the less, it’s a good reminder that things are already stirring underground, in spite of the umpteen feet of snow and nasty wind-chill situation happening on the surface.
 
Last week, I got a call to come in for a job interview. Yes, I’m trying to land myself a part-time (mid-afternoon into early evening) job that would net me a few short shifts per week and, as such, give me a couple of hundred extra dollars per month to help keep my income quilt functional and covering everything. The interview is today (so do send me good vibes, right around 1pm, plz), and I’m hoping it’ll go well enough that they decide to hire me. There will definitely be prep-stuff done today to ensure that I’m magically delicious when I walk in the door. 🙂 I’m thinking bay leaves in my (new – arrived yesterday) purse and sweet orange + coconut oil for luck, optimism, and likeability. Maybe some echanecea tea for money-drawing, too, although it would also be for Being Less Sick, which is kind of a thin at the moment.
 
So that’s what’s stirring and (maybe) getting started in my neck of the woods right now. How ’bout you? What wee seeds have you planted in the hopes of making an early start? What ideas are germinating and starting to take shape?
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden. 🙂

Full Moon – Ice Moon Crests

Today’s list of things to do includes:
Buy coffee
Buy food for the parotlet
Buy honey. For the honey pots I’ll be making today. Using old, already empty honey jars, of all things… Maybe I went about this the wrong way?
 
I have leatherwork to mail out (my wife’s work, not mine), the gas bill to pay (in cash, because apparently we’re sketchy in this neck of the woods), and dinner for three to come up with. And all I want to do is soak my ice-cold feet in a hot bath until they thaw out again. The thought of venturing into today’ -30C weather is just… Ick. Don’t wanna!
But you gotta do the work, even (especially) when The Work is the boring, mundane stuff that you’d rather just avoid. Otherwise, nothing gets done.
So.
Errands. Then glamoury and kitchen witchcraft and a hot, HOT shower to warm me up will definitely be part of it! And after that, I can get on with the making of good art and good food.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Personal Practice – Pagan Experience 2015

So my personal practice is somewhat lacadaisical at best.
I have an altar/shrine in my living room that I (ostensibly) light candles at every Friday – a practice that developed partially in conjunction with setting aside time to write three years worth of PBP posts, but also because it gave me an opportunity to almost-meditatively focus on My Hearth and the holiness there-in[1]. I do New Moon Pizza (more or less – I admit the past four months have NOT involved me making pizza dough in ANY way) that features home preserves plus whatever left-over critter (frequently pork shoulder roast, sometimes rabbit or chicken or some kind of cured meat) I have in the fridge and any veggies I can haul out of the garden/freezer/fridge/etc at the time. I do little magics – enchanted baths & makeup, candle spells and honey pots, sigils (lately, at least), and Writing Things Into Being (which works surprisingly… at all, really. Go me?). I try to practice Good Witching in the Terry Pratchett sense of the word – activities that are more in line with grassroots activism than with religious ritual per se, but which still fall under the heading of “village witch” when your village has rainbow flags and homeless kids all over it.
 
In spite of that, I think within my worldview pretty consistently. I’m not a “holy days pagan” in that particular regard, even if my rituals and devotions don’t look like much. I get to know The Neighbours – the non-human (and human) people in the neighbourhood where I live. Learning which local plants I can eat (and where I can harvest them so that I’m not also eating a heap of lead – this is key), which ones make a good dye, and which ones are good for which magics. It also means paying attention to who gets my attention (like how naturalized Catnip kept calling to my sight all last spring and summer, until I went and found out what it was) and trying to figure out why this or that plant is calling to me. It means eating what grows here and growing – now that I have the opportunity to do so – at least some of what we eat. It means greeting the bees, the crows, the spiers, the pigeons, and whoever else happens to be around (like the homeless people, the nieghbourhood friends, and the folks I used to share a building with… just as a for-instance).
 
So that’s a start for what my particular practice looks like. Next week, I’ll (re-)introduce my particular pantheon and talk a little about some of the specific Spirits in my life.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] I do a thing called Fabulous Friday Dinner that, in significant part, is meant to signal The Weekend to my work-from-hom brain, but which is also a way to nicely usher it in for my works-two-jobs wife AND a means for me to learn how to cook leftovers-producing pot-dishes that will keep us fed for 2-3 meals in a row (not counting extras for lunches, which is part for the course). But this is also a time to water the house plants, do a little home-maintenance, make the bread for the following week, read (or listen) up on other Pagan Stuff via the interwebs, and generally give myself a day to study and focus when the rest of thew eek needs to be focuses somewhat elsewhere (like on my erswhile novel, or on hustling for modeling gigs).

Z is for Zest and Zigzags – Pagan Blog Project 2014

So, my shiny Candian English dictionary and thesaurus offers this as the second (so less frequently used) definition for “zest”:
 

2 Interest, flavour, or charm

 
I am focusing on the very last word in that definition: Charm. There’s a post of Miss Sugar’s entitled You Need Glamour that has pushed a couple of buttons for me.
Specifically, I’ve started looking at how I can use little magics – the kind that you post-it to your bathroom mirror or doodle onto your skin or build into your daily leaving-the-house-for-real-now routine – to give me a bit of a boost. How can I spritz a little bit of magical je-ne-sais-quoi over myself to help me glow when I walk out the door, or to help me Push Through The Suck on my way to Making Good Art when I’m at home (or out and about)? As such, I’ve started designing sigils (thense the “zigzag” part of my post-subject, even if mine look less “zigzag” and more “curly-cue” to my way of thinking) that I can charge and plaqce strategically around the house (above the stove, around the mirror, etc) and have started charging elements of my makup box as well.
 
Things that I’m sorting out how to enchant for:
Physical strength
Stick-to-it-ivness and timely action
Creative inspiration and output on various fronts
Seeing opportunities when they present themselves
People-I-like generally liking, and seeking out, my company
 
Still on the list:
Regular influxes of significant cash (I’m saying “significant” because finding a quarter, while handy, is not the same as finding a five-dollar bill or getting a last-minute modeling gig exactly when I need it) both the reliable, expected kind and the unexpected-bonus kind
+
Self confidence
+
Good food (I’m hoping that this will be general enough to cover both (a) a really productive garden, (b) affordable ethical animal-based food, and (b) various friends and phamily dropping by and bringing excellent cheese/chutney/chocolate or whatever with them for me/us to enjoy)
+
Romantic & sexual magnetism (minus the potential for Stalker Problems)
 
Like I said, the idea is to give myself a boost in these areas so that, when I try to put myself out there – by flirting with a potential date; by sitting down and chugging through those 1000 words/day; by applying for a gig or a contract; you name it – it won’t just be me against everything. My hope is that things will flow a little more easily in the directions that I want them to go and it won’t feel like I’m always trying to shove a boulder up the hill. (It’ll feel like I’ve got some traction behind me, perhaps, or like the rock is significantly lighter, even if it’s still the same size?)
Here’s hoping it works!
Onwards into 2015.
 
~*~
 
BLOGGER’S NOTE: So this brings us to the end of 2014’s Pagan Blog Project. The individual who curates the PBP has decided not to keep doing it, so if you like my posts, now would be the time to click the Subscribe Button or otherwise follow along.
I like having something to post for in a weekly kind of way, so I will be participating in The Pagan Experience weekly writing challenge over the course of 2015.
I look forward to talking your ear off in 2015. 🙂
See you then. 🙂
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Long Nights Moon Crests

We watched the moon come up on Saturday night.
That was when the moon was full, this time ’round. (Long Nights Moon will be nearly gone by the time Solstice rolls around – a long, dark night, indeed).
 
I’m having a lot of trouble finding my Get Up And Go. All I want to do is (a) sleep – because the bed is warm and cozy and nest-like, (b) watch Laura Jane Grace videos on youtube, and (c) eat store-bought lasagna & other stuff that I didn’t have to cook myself.
 
I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that I am Just Not going to get the baby blanket, let alone the baby blanket AND a coordinating scarf-for-daddy AND the knitted bats (for my wife) done in any kind of a timely manner. The baby blanket doesn’t matter so much, since the sprog isn’t due for another 3 months or so. BUT it would have been nice to get the rest done.
I’m at the point where I’m hunting through 2nd hand book stores to find appropriate gifts for Various People and, while books make great gifts, I’m feeling a bit like I’m betraying my Make All The Things mentality quite a bit by doing so.
 
It’s a struggle to just make dinner. Let a lone make bread, candles, breakfast muffins; let alone the kind of seasonal stuff that turns up on top of that (shortbread, ginger snaps, truffles, cranberry curd… plus knitwear and jewelry and other goodies that can be handed around to people as need arises).
I feel like I’ve been looking at my kitchen counter – which continues in its usual “we have no space to work because every surface is covered with dirty dishes” state – and feeling demoralized and defeated for months. Like the 6 weeks during-which we moved from one place to another and, particularly, the three weeks that overlapped the move and during-which I was working full-time, I feel like I had an excuse to be exhausted and miserable and escapist at that point, but by now – five weeks after completing the move – I should (a) have all the boxes unpacked, and (b) be back into my routine of cooking everything from scratch (in a timely fashion), making a lot of household supplies on my own, doing regular yoga, writing 1000 words every day (rain or shine!), and reliably lighting my altars every Friday.
 
I told my wife I’d make bread today. And breakfast muffins. If I do dishes, then mix up bread dough, then make muffins, then knead & proof bread dough, then bake bread & do more dishes while its baking… I can have this dealt with before 5pm, when I need to start the wild rice (stove-top) and the buttercup squash (oven) so that everything can be ready for 6:30 when my girl gets home.
 
I applied for a half-time, work-from-home job yesterday. I hope I get an interview. I hope I get the job. (And, yes, I can – maybe even will – dress and burn an ensorselled candle to that effect, since today’s the closing date and they’ll be going through the resumes starting tomorrow). It would open a lot of doors for us, and maybe give me a chance to feel a lot less useless about myself. Heh. My We’Moon horroscope has suggested that 2015 is my year to “learn how money works” which… I kind of feel like I’m starting from Zero on that front, so how hard can it be to make some progress there?
 
Anyway. That a whole lot of personal stuff, and not a lot about the time of year. The snow is sticking around now – even though we’ve had a few melty days – and we’re due to get a whole lot more before Friday. The days feel really short – I mean, they are really short, but when dusk starts falling a little, and the light’s already slanting towards night at 3:35 in the afternoon… It’s hard to get things done.
 
I think I need to break out the sweet orange essential oil, breathe in the scent of it, and stir up a little bit of joy.

W is for Winter – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Wow… We’re really getting down to the bottom of the alphabet, aren’t we?
I figured that “Winter” was a good one to go with, seeing as we’re getting our first Snow That Stays (most likely – it’s a wet snow, but it’s piling up with the apparent intention of sticking around) today, and there has been ice on the puddles the past couple of nights.
So. Winter.
 
I’ve talked a little bit about how my particular path seems to have strains of land-guardianship built into it. What does that mean, when the ground is frozen solid, when it’s asleep? What does it mean when you live in a house that burns fossil fuels to keep warm?
 
It means things like sawdust or sand instead of salt on the front steps to cut the ice; suplementary-heating with beeswax and terracotta/cast-iron rather than by turning up the thermostat. It means knowing how and when to turn the compost so that it steams all through the winter, and hanging bird feeders of seeds and suet for the sparrows and crows (and squirrels – I know).
I’m sure you can imagine just how hypocritical I feel having written that, only to learn that my lovely wife has brought us home a box of rock salt for the front steps. Yes, we’re using it. So it goes.
 
The nights are getting longer (approaching longest quite quickly, really), and the temperatures, for all that they’re still fluctuating, are staying below freezing for longer.
Good Witching comes into play with regards to things like donating warm socks, winter boots, mitts, coats, hats, scarves, and other items to drop-ins and things like the Snow Suit Fund, as well as filling the food banks’ pantries with hearty, protein-rich foods that can be cooked in one pot on a hot plate (think: tinned pre-fab stew, but also mixes of rice & red lentils – or pot-barley and black lentils, or “grains and beans” dry soup mixes – along with tinned tomatoes, cartons of pre-grated parmesan cheese, tinned fruit, and herb/spice mixes).
 
Now is an excellent time to avoid going outside invite broke friends over for casual meals, so that they don’t have to worry so much about feeding themselves now that they’ve got heating bills coming due (it’s a good way to start incorporating your Summer/Autumn preserves into meals, too[1]). Likewise, inviting lonely/stressed friends over for some no-pressure company and hot tea can offer comfort on multiple levels.
 
Winter is, for many people, a time to pick up knitting projects – I admit I’m at the point where I’ll knit through the summer, too, but this is a new development for me – and getting people together to work on crafty projects (with or without charitable-donation intentions) is a lovely way to pass the time, look up from your phone once in a while, and connect with people you care about.
 
Happy Winter. Happy Witching.
 
 
TTFN,
Amazon.
 
 
[1] For example, I put an entire 1-cup jar of chunky asparagus relish into a stir-fry along with some left-over braised pork (the last of last week’s Fabulous Friday Dinner), a small head of nappa, half a red onion, three cloves of garlic, and some diced carrots. We had it over fusilli pasta, and it was delish. Gave just the right kick of sour-bright to the meal.

U is for Un-Covered and Up-Cycling – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Maybe this is a silly way to go about this, but here we go. I’m currently lacking an altar cloth. This isn’t typically a huge big deal because, for the past seven years, I’ve had multiple small altars all over the house and have put them on surfaces that I’m not worried about over-heating or getting wet.
This time around, though, I’m putting everybody in (more or less) the same place – in part so that, when I have the altars lit, I don’t have to keep running up the stairs to make sure the top floor hasn’t inadvertently caught fire.
But my new altar/shrine space is on top of my fancy marquetry cabinet, and I do not want to wreck that lovely surface.
Consequently, I’m kind of in the market for an altar cloth.
You want to know what I’m considering?
Our new fridge? Rather than putting in the two bottom drawers, we’re just going to slide a Rubbermaid bin into the bottom of the fridge[1]. So we’ve got a piece of glass shelving just… sitting around, available.
So I’m thinking I’ll grab one of my many, MANY shawls – probably the white one that was my grandmother’s (she may or may not have woven it herself, I’m not sure) – and use that as an altar cloth, which I’ll then cover with the glass shelf, so that the fabric and the wood are both covered with a fire-and-water-proof medium that I can put candles and incense on, and that I can wash easily when I need to.
This feels both brilliant-creative (‘cause it is) and a bit silly/opportunistic because… fridge parts? Really? But cooking and preserving are a huge part of my life and my religiosity, so having a piece of a refrigerator incorporated into my altar doesn’t seem entirely out of place, even as it does seem a little… I dunno… like I’m going to wind up in one of those lists of signs that you’re a “red neck”[2] pagan.
In any case, that’s what I’m planning.
On with the washing of the fridge parts!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] We’ll see how well that works… um… I’ll keep you posted.
 
[2] I know. And also, really… It still fits. Broke. Prone to fermenting my own ale in a large, plastic bucket and making my altar candles out of re-purposed bacon grease, I have totally used a chicken leg as a wand. Yes, actually, that’s me. On with the fridge!

S is for Singing (and Shelter) – Pagan Blog Project 2014

I was singing in the new house, yesterday, filling the walls up with song (lots of hard surfaces, so a great echo!) while I moved around the house, putting bags and boxes into their respective rooms. It’s one of the ways that I put my energy into a place in a very literal way. I learned that eons ago, during my first vocal class in high school. A decade of singers had already passed through that room and their voices are imbedded, imprinted on (in) the walls. Singing – whatever you’re singing – is one way to bless and claim a place, to make it your own and fill it with life. To wake it up.
My wife, after a quarter-century in the house-building industry, can feel it when a house is hungry, feel it when they’re happy. According to her, houses are very self-contained. They may or may not notice when the house next door has a power-outage, gets knocked down, or stands empty for years. But they feel it when it happens to them. People want to fulfill their purposes. You can read that in Aristotle or hear the Oracle say so in The Matrix, if you want to, but it’s true for everything, everyone. A house’s purpose is to have people in it[1]. And by the feel of things, this one hasn’t. Not for a while.
So when I go over there, I say hello to the house, I touch the walls, the lintels, the banisters, to say “I’m here, you’re lived in” (or will be shortly, at any rate), put my footsteps into the floor and my voice into the walls. Slowly, slowly, we are waking her up. 🙂
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden,
 
 
[1] Gardens, for what it’s worth, are the same way, and they’ll pick up on the feel of a place real easily. My garden, the last time I had one? The squash turned bitter at the same rate that my then-marriage did. I call that telling. O.O

R is for Relocation – Pagan Blog Project 2014

It doesn’t seem like all that long ago (just shy of two years, as it happens, though it feels like even less than that) that we moved out of our fourth-floor one-bedroom apartment and into a two-bedroom place in the same building.
It’s funny how things come around again. I moved into this building, less than two months from the beginning of my fifth Seven Year cycle, alone and recently separated. Now, with the same move-in date as before (September 15th), I’ll be moving out again, this time with a wife at my side, ready to begin my sixth Seven Year in a new house.
Yes, you heard me, house.
A rental place opened up down the street – so same neighbourhood, still walking-distance from just about everywhere we might want to go, still close to the vast majority of our friends – for a price that we’re pretty comfortable with. It’ll only be my second time paying utility bills, so I admit I’m kind of bracing for the shock and horror of the heating bills to come (and recognizing that I’m going to have to get used to being – eugh – cold for a lot of months of the year. But just watch me learn how to crochet a rag rug in record time, y’all…), but as a house – rather than an apartment – it comes with its own cold/storage room (the basement) and an unusually large-for-downtown, if shared, back yard where I can readily do container gardening next Summer. There is room enough for my wife’s workshop. Room enough for a dining table in the kitchen. Room enough for a library/office on the second floor that will double as a spare bedroom when we have guests. Room enough to store the canoes and the unicycles, the bicycle and the spare motorcycle parts, indoors without losing the second bedroom to equipment. Even with the nail-biting, stomach-knotting stress of uncertain heating costs and – ye gods – purging and packing before the move (yikes)… I’m still excited about this.
As I said, our move-in date is just a few days shy of the Autumn Equinox. But our official “move out date”, when we stop living in two places at once and the lease on our soon-to-be-former appartment is finished, will be on Hallowe’en. Meaning that – and this is how this post connects with the PBP, if you were wondering – our Samhain ritual will involve welcoming the ancestors (and no small number of People) into our new home. And, yes, probably handing out goodies to trick-or-treaters as well.
 
When your religiosity is rooted in Place, how does relocation affect that connection? (In my case, not tonnes, at least from the PoV of moving all of a block away from where we are now… in terms of cultivation, however… potentially a lot). When you’re a kitchen witch – when your calling, in so far as you (or I) have one, is hearth-tending, land-guardianship, building Family/Phamily in creative ways, and singing the praises of holy Earth and Sky in your own public and private ways – how does relocation effect what you do and how you do it?
 
With this move, my hearth will get a little bit bigger; my garden will, once again, have a place to actually grow (and my pantry, with it). My Altar spaces may get changed around again in a number of ways.
Not so long ago, I was saying how much I wanted (and want) a house. And I think Someone must have been listening, when I wrote it, because – as my lovely wife was speculating this morning – the house we’re about to move into? It probably went on the market the very same day that we saw the For Rent sign on the porch. My wife asked if the Someone in question was one of mine, since her particular Lady (sovereignty notwithstanding) is less hearth-oriented than mine are, and mine are very hearth-oriented indeed. So we’re calling this one a Yes for my Girls. 😉
 
So let’s put it this way:
Thank you, all my gods, for sending us this house in-which to make a home. Thank you, and may we live up to it and make it wonderful. ❤
 
Wish us luck in moving into our new home. 🙂
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.