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…

Samhain


I carved the turnips as I do every year. My turnip carving is getting better and faster – I may try something more ambitious than carving triangles for eyes, nose and mouth next year. I did divination with the tarot, which did not turn out too badly, but did not have any results I really wanted. Unfortunately them’s the breaks.

I went for a walk to my tribal tree where my baby is buried and made an offering of water to the tree. I found this very emotional.

Afterwards I went home and started cooking, which I had to break off to do a ritual when it got dark. After it had got dark I put the turnip lanterns out and did a spell to make sure that nothing that would hurt or harm us would come into the house that night.

I put a lot of candles in the kitchen, as we were hiding from the trick–or-treaters and cooked by candlelight. I had to put the lights on for a few seconds as I thought the pastry felt greasy (it was – I had measured out the flour wrong) but got away with it.

I made Homity Pie and Apple Dappy for pudding – both foods my Mother’s ancestors would have eaten. I don’t know any Scottish recipes for my Father’s ancestors as my Mother was English. I was careful to make the food with the imperial measurements instead of metric, as my ancestors would have done.

We ate food and talked about the dead, telling stories with especial emphasis on those who had died the past year.

Midwinter Solstice


Last Saturday I celebrated the Midwinter Solstice. Before breakfast I went out and did my ritual. It started well and then the rain came down. Despite my candles being in jam-jars the rain kept putting them out, so I gave up on the candles and did the rest of the ritual anyway.

After lunch I went wassailing. This is an old ritual where cider was splashed on apple trees and the trees were beaten to ensure a good harvest. I’ve adapted the ritual and I use it for the guardian trees around here, including my tribal tree. I use sloe gin, which is made from local blackthorn sloes I harvested awhile ago.

It’s celebrated in an old rhyme “a woman, a dog and an apple tree, the more you beat them the better they be”. Since I wish to become pregnant, I took the rhyme and applied it to myself and wassailed myself under my tribal tree.

I know this ritual is not Irish, but I am living on English land and the observances for that land need to be carried out.

Imbolc


As usual I cast the circle for my ritual. I’m not using a lighter to light candles again : that was the third time running that a lighter’s failed and I ended up lighting the candles from each other.

In the circle I welcomed Spring in, calling it by its Irish name of Earrach. I said a short piece about it being Brigit’s day. I then did the snake dance to wake the land up and cause things to grow.

I then broke the boxty bread I’d made, which is traditionally made in Ireland at Imbolc and placed each farl (which is a quarter) in the circle as an offering along with some milk. I then unwound the circle.

Candle-Making Course


A couple of Sundays ago I went to a candle-making course at Treadwell’s bookshop in London.

The class was divided into two groups and I ended up with the group that was learning how to make candles by dipping. Dipping takes a long time, but you can build up layers of magical intent with dipping.

Making candles by pouring wax into moulds, which we did next, is the easier and quicker way, but you would have to inscribe your intent on the candle.

The third way to make candles is to get a sheet of beeswax and roll it up with a wick in the middle to form a candle.

I enjoyed this class and will certainly be using my knowledge to make candles for ritual in the future. I’m not sure if I will be making them for candle magic, as I’ve never really got on with candle magic.