Infused Oils


I hadn’t oiled the wood I have for my stang for two years, as I forgot last year when I had my son.

Last weekend my hubby was available so we could go into the woods to gather oak leaves for the oil.

This is the first time I’ve done it in Spring and I’ve found that the young leaves are better for infusing oils. They’re softer and seem to lend the infused oil a better quality. I’ll be doing this in Spring from now on.

Beltane


For once I got my research into the festival finished, but only just before the festival so it didn’t leave me much time to prepare.

I was going to do a May bush which is used to ward off fairies on Beltane and try and catch the May dew to wash my face with it, but were unable to organise these in time.

Instead I did my ritual and took the day off.

I was also going watch Doctor Who and The Daemons as it’s based at Beltane and is pagany, but we didn’t have the episodes on DVD.

This is an example of a festival which just didn’t happen.

Disagreeing


I am writing this article as a result of having a disagreement on a Facebook group where someone is trying to convert me to her way of thinking.

The disagreement is that I think that only certain trees are sacred, whereas she thinks that all trees are sacred. It’s the sort of argument where either party could be correct, yet as far as she is concerned I have to come round to her point of view.

Sometimes there are arguments where one party is plainly wrong. For example, if I said that Brigit was Donn’s sister I would be wrong. Both are Irish deities, but Brigit is of the Tuatha De Danaan, whereas Donn is a Milesian.

However, there are many arguments where what is being argued is the philosophy and the interpretation of data and I may change my mind at some point in time to the opposing stance.

Now You’re Expecting…


First off, CONGRATULATIONS! It often takes a lot of hard work conceiving. However, as a pagan there are some extra things you have to do…

When your baby is newborn, at first the vast majority of your time will be taken up with looking after it, so this is a rough guide to enable the primary carer to be able to pick up the pieces of having a pagan life when your baby progresses beyond the newborn stage and you find yourself having a bit more time.

If you have a newborn, then unless it’s an emergency don’t bother trying to do any sort of magical work. If you’re lucky you’ll remember which day of the week it is and if you’re really intent on marking the festivals, light a candle, but it will probably come and go and you will have forgotten about it.

Firstly, make preparations before the baby comes. I typed up a lot of astrological information I knew I needed to run my daily horoscope, so I was two years ahead by the time my baby arrived. If you have a witchy garden and your baby is due to arrive in the Spring or Summer, then make sure it is all tidied up and get a responsible person who is not you or your partner to take care of them.

Also, in case herbs you need die or you are unable to get to your usual shop find a mail order system. I am unable to go into the woods because I can’t use a sling and two of my friends are unable to walk far due to pelvic problems. Another friend has a baby who screams when he is in the car despite trying everything. If you are in this situation you will want to keep car journeys to a minimum.

Essential oils and herbs need to be stored where little fingers cannot get at them. Also labelling everything is now of the utmost importance because if the worst happens and you have to take your baby or child to hospital, if the doctors know what they’ve ingested then they can get the best care. Children, babies and animals have smaller internal organs than us, so are less able to process medicines, herbs, essential oils and suchlike, which is why they have lower doses than adults.

These days I write all my spells on my mobile. This means that if I get a few minutes to myself I can look at the spell I’m working on and add or change a few bits. I also try and do something magical every day. This might be as simple as gathering together a few ingredients while on a walk, or consecrating them ready for use.

I also wait until I’ve put my son down and then perform a spell or ritual, because I know then that I have roughly half an hour before he wakes up and can concentrate fully on what I’m doing without fear of interruption. Spells are hard enough to do without worrying about whether your baby will wake up or not.

I mentioned candles earlier in this article. I flametend regularly and having a cat and a mobile baby plus naked flames can spell disaster. So I bought battery-operated candles. These are just as good as the real thing, plus using them again and again builds up the power in these objects. You can probably do the same thing with a real candle by making your own and using the remnants of the old candle in the making.

I hope you enjoy your babies and someday you get some sleep…

Spring Equinox


A couple of weeks ago I celebrated the Spring Equinox.

A lot of Celtic practitioners don’t celebrate the equinoxes and solstices as there is no evidence that the Celts celebrated them. I believe that the stone circles and barrows etc of which the sun strikes them at a certain point on equinox or solstice predate the Celts.

I know of no evidence in myth or folklore of celebrating equinoxes or solstices, so I have to conclude that the Celts didn’t celebrate them.

So why do I celebrate them? It’s because I believe they are an intrinsic part of our lives which denote certain points when the balance of the earth swings towards the summer or winter, or is equally balanced.

Land


For me, the land that I live on is an integral part of my practice and my life.

I celebrate the festivals on it, my home is on it and since I’m a housewife I work on it.

It’s only polite to introduce yourself to the land that you live on when you take up residence there. Even if you’ve only moved to a different part of town, just introduce yourself.

The introduction can be as simple as going outside and saying “hi, I’m X” and giving offerings to it or it can be a full-blown ritual that takes ages. Whatever you feel is necessary.

Defining Spells


I once visited Aberglasny, which is a National Trust property, in order to see it’s thousands year old yews.

What was apparent to me on setting foot on the property is that the place has an unnatural air of calm about it. Reading the history of the property, I learned that the families who inhabited the property never got beyond the third generation before dying out.

Talking later with a friend of mine with a lot more magical experience than myself, we came to the conclusion that a Bishop who originally owned the property had probably “blessed” it so it would have the calm he desired. Of course, he never wanted children, so what started out as a blessing became a curse.

Prayers


As some of you know, I have been flametending for a while now. Despite years of meditation I’m having trouble keeping my mind on Brigit while I flametend.

So I asked on a Facebook group for help and someone suggested praying to Brigit when I light the hob.

Unfortunately I seem to have a block about prayers. I was brought up Christian and I didn’t see the point of saying Grace. I asked why, but was not given an answer other than “that’s what we do”. So when it was my turn to say Grace I gabbled it as fast as I could with no feeling whatsoever behind it, which is not the point of a prayer. My prayers to the Christian God were never answered, even when I needed them the most, so I gave up on prayer a long time ago.

A few years ago there was an incident which illustrated the power of prayer to me. I called my friend Cathy, who is Irish and by accident I dialed one digit wrong. I did not realise this till I had talked to her for a while and the other person on the phone thought I was her Scottish niece Isobel.

However, by that time I had told her that my husband had lost her keys and she said she’d pray for his keys to be found even though she didn’t know me. Later that evening he found his keys, which had dropped into the boot of the car.

I have no idea how to get my head around my block, but think that it’s a necessary thing to do. However, I have said odd prayers to the deities when necessary and they have always been answered.

Imbolc


I missed last Imbolc, as I was in hospital waiting to start labour and give birth to my son, which seems appropriate for the start of Spring.

This time I did my ritual and thanked Brigit for my son, who will be one year old in a couple of days. As he is now mobile I waited until he was asleep and did the ritual in the bathroom, as my current baby monitor’s range will not stretch to the garden, which is something that needs to be remedied.

Afterwards I made my Brigit cross which is currently hanging over the front door and tried to put the old one up into the loft to ward against fire. Unfortunately I could not get the loft ladder down, which is yet another thing to look at soon.

Religion


As a pagan, I think we who live in Britain have it easy.

While religion is not a taboo subject, if it’s mentioned people will move off the subject quickly. On one hand this is a shame as it’s difficult to have a decent discussion about what people believe. On the other hand, we don’t have people shoving their religion down our necks, except for those who proselytise at the door.

This means that I can keep quiet about what I believe until people get to know me and accept me for who I am and not shy away from me because of my religion.

While I have not suffered discrimination myself, I cannot say it does not exist as there were the cases in Orkney and Scarborough in the ‘80’s of pagan children being removed from their families. Only one child was not returned and no restitution made to the families for their distress. I would not admit to social workers that I was pagan.

However, in general we are not in danger of being attacked for our religion unlike other countries in the world.

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