Tag Archives: Pagan
Fifteen years ago, a fabulous magic shop opened on our high street.
Its shelves were packed with books, there were rows and rows of shiny crystals, they stocked candles and incense, all for the general public to purchase. They also stocked all the magical tools a witch could possibly ask for: wands, athames, bells, chalices, cauldrons, bolines, pentagrams/pentacles, statues, altar cloths. With so much more besides.
Sadly, in 2007, for reasons I won’t go into, the owners decided to close their doors. No shop since has ever come close to offering those wonderful magical supplies or books, not here in my area, or online.
I miss the energies. Of walking over the threshold and smelling the fragrant herbs and incense, of picking up crystals and feeling their energy. I miss perusing the shelves and flicking the crisp pages of new books yet to be read, with the knowledge they held yet to be learned. I yearn for the social connection the shop bought to all its customers, the welcoming smiles and the gentle humour. The people I met and friendships I made while working there bought people into my life who I will always treasure. It is because of this shop that I have such wonderful friends – my magical family.
As much as I love having information at my fingertips, through my laptop, while sitting at home; there really is no substitute for a magic shop around the corner. A magic shop that sells all the supplies you could ever wish for, that offers knowledge in the form of books, classes and courses, that brings like minded people together for solid friendships that last a lifetime!
Most importantly, to me as a witch, I find it so difficult to buy things online that are required for my magical work. I look on the screen at the beautifully photographed items, but I can’t feel them. I can’t connect to them through smell, or touch, let alone through energy. I’m currently looking for a new chalice (mine broke) and it is proving to be the Holy Grail that I may as well be seeking!
I realised today that I’m going to have to take a trip to Glastonbury. Don’t get me wrong, Glastonbury is gorgeous, its a great place to visit. A little further than I’d like to go for one item though. Plus, let’s face it, if I go to Glastonbury I’m likely to buy more than just a chalice, and I will of course have to visit the Well, and the Abbey, and Tor. Not to mention a thousand other things to do whilst there. I’m planning a holiday around the need to buy one item!
I miss my local magic shop. I would love to open my own. I have been working on a plan to open one, but is now the right time to be investing money, time and energy into starting a new business?
The shops in Glastonbury survive, I believe, because of the community in which the shops are nestled. A magical place, most residents, I’m sure, are Witches, Druids and Fay 🙂 It is, after all, famous for King Arthur, the Chalice Well, with its healing waters, bring in plenty of tourists and trade, which generates most of the shops footfall and sales.
Everywhere, the High Streets seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate. How could a small and independent magic shop survive when even the big name stores are having to close because of the competition available to consumers online?
Do we, as shoppers, care about being able to pick up and “feel” the items we want to buy? Is it only important for those items which have magical, spiritual, or religious significance, if at all?
I love it. I loathe it.
This is where we start to notice the first signs of spring. The earth begins to stir. Awakening. The crone sheds her robes for those of the maiden, and all of nature shows the promise of new life and rebirth.
I celebrate Imbolc on the 2nd February, not all witches share this date, some will celebrate on the first, some on the closest full moon – which, this year, is on the 3rd.
In our house, we share Imbolc with my eldest sons birthday. Plenty of festivities revolving around him, the family, and lots of cake!
I do always set aside a little time for my own personal ritual, sometimes one that is shared with friends, but mostly it’s my own.
For me, Imbolc begins the week before. I have a huge spring clean: I open all of the windows, regardless of the weather, I scrub and polish and sweep and mop. Once the physical act of cleaning is done, I will then cleanse the house. I sweep again, usually with my besom, I polish the light bulbs with lemon juice, I drum, and finally I go through each room with some healing, before closing all the windows again.
I will also spend time out in the garden.This is the time of year that I will potter around the garden, get some general tidying up done, and make a list of things I will need to do. This year, I’ve made my list early! Plans are afoot for a mosaic path, seeds have been purchased for ground cover; Thyme, Lobelia, Allyssum, and Chamomile. I can already see the signs of growth and new life showing. My roses are budding, the catkins on my hazel are gently nosing their way out, the crocus plants are pushing through! Even the birds are becoming more vocal.
By the time the day arrives, I will be buzzing with anticipation. Jakes birthday always rushes by in a haze. After the crazy, and the cake, I usually find myself lighting the candles, enjoying the moment, meditating, and relaxing into the flow of my ritual.
Boom! Snow, and frost, and ice, and cold, and the misery of wet socks!
I hate this time of year!
I am a complete grouch.
I am the bitch with the attitude of the wicked witch of the west – hell, I’m the wicked witch of everywhere…
Because I’m cold, I’m fed up, I grow weary of this wintery hell.
Woe. Woe. Woe. What is it with this holiday?
Hubby will, of course, be grinning at this point, he knows what’s about to happen. He has seen me getting excited about Imbolc, year upon year. We will have planned the birthday. He’ll watch me chase around and make lists, and delve into my house cleaning frenzy.
He also knows what will happen next: I’ll get my wellies on, my big coat, gloves, hat, etc, I’ll run outside with the dogs and enjoy the crisp air on my face, I’ll laugh at the dogs as they jump around like lambs, and I’ll go check the jobs on my list, surveying the situation. I might even at this point begin with clearing the ground. Then I’ll stand in the middle of the lawn and begin to cry. It’s true. Every damn year. It’s not a real “I’m so sad” cry. It’s frustration. My wellies aren’t keeping my feet warm, my coat is too bulky, my hands are useless in the gloves and my hat is, well actually, my hat is fine. I will then slam back indoors, crank up the heating and throw myself onto the sofa. Every year.
Can I be different this year? I’ll let you know.
For now, whenever and however you celebrate Imbolc, I do wish you a happy one, and hope that the holiday brings you much light and warmth.
(Just please let it be soon!)
The winds of change are blustering at the moment here in Michelle-Land.
I got in a little time with my writing buddy last week, and the project that we are working on has come to the glorious point of the beginning! It’s taken us a long time to get here, with world building, creating our characters, and plotting the three books, but I’m pleased to say that the time has arrived!
It sometimes feels strange to write with someone else. I am so used to sitting and contemplating, then scribbling notes and sometimes just allowing myself to type as a stream of consciousness, that when we get together, I forget that another person is involved in all the ideas, the creation, and the work. Also, as we can’t get together very often, it feels as though we spend most of the time recapping, sharing new ideas and (ahem) finding pretty pictures on Pinterest. Still, it’s coming along nicely, and I can now begin writing the sub-plot which includes one of the villains. Yay.
As far as Wytch goes, I haven’t written a single word since NaNo. Bad, bad, bad. As I have said, I lost my way a little.
Yesterday, as I sat in the garden chatting with my hubby, a gust of wind sent a bluster of leaves down the side of the house and up into the air, to land in a whirl on our patio. It was beautiful to see, this merry little dance. Instantly, I smelled the rain that followed the gust, and a few of the local crows flew across the sky to the rooftops behind our house. This small event, that took place in a matter of seconds, seemed to reawaken the wytch in me, and I suddenly had answers. I was shown the direction I needed to go. Good old Crow. Simple things can grab our attention, small gestures can spark a fire within us, and sometimes if you listen, the winds of change bring inspiration your way.
I’m off to write now, because I finally know what comes next.
Happy writing. x
Wishing you all a merry and bright Christmas, and brightest blessings for the Yuletide.
Yule is one of the two solstices in the turning of the years wheel, where the daylight hours stop decreasing and begin to lengthen. Yay!
The days will be getting longer, and this is reason enough for celebrating!
The true date and time for Yule, this year, is on Sunday 21st December at just after 11 (23:03) The solstice marks the point of the year when the sun is at its highest point (in the north or south) and the hours between sunrise and set are the longest. We celebrate these days as the shortest day (Yule) and the longest day (Litha).
As witches, we make merry to celebrate the rebirth of the sun. It is a day steeped in tradition, and with many connotations with healing. As the shortest day, Yule can also be seen as the darkest night of the soul. It reminds us that there is always light to follow, and that no matter how bad a situation you find yourself in, you can always make it to the other side.
Easy words, for me to type as I sit in my warm and comfortable home, surrounded by wonderful friends and family, and with a well stocked cupboard of food. Not so easy to accept when faced with uncertainty, ill health, financial worries or more.
I know that this is time of year in which we are reminded of the homeless, the poor, the starving, and the elderly. The media coverage and charity organisations go all out at Christmas – to guilt us into giving, to helping, to sparing a thought. It angers me, that we are not reminded more throughout the rest of the year. But. This is what Yuletide represents, the light returning. The end of the darkest night of the soul. The end of suffering. So actually yes, spare a thought, give a little time, get active in the community, make offerings to the wildlife in your back yard.
It is not my intention to try to put a downer on your Christmas, but the Yuletide custom is to think beyond the self, to the family and to the community. Chandlers would gift candles to their customers; to honour the returning light and also the returning customer!
Throughout the year, as the wheel turns, we are reminded to think beyond the limitations of self. More so, I feel, at Yule. Be a Lord or a Lady of Misrule, to ensure everyone can enjoy the festivities, or at least a small token of kindness.
Greet the sunrise to honour the traditions of old, and the ancestors. Bid hail to the Goddess and the God, be thankful for the light returning. Enjoy the day with feasting and spending time with friends and relatives. Bring in the Yule log and burn it brightly until its end (if you don’t have an open fire, a candle is just as good!) and watch the flames flicker and dance.
Eat, drink and be merry, for the hours of sunlight begin to lengthen and the wheel continues to turn. Light will always follow darkness, and when you offer a tiny flicker of light to someone, the way out of the darkness is easier to find.