Look! It’s a marvellous portable altar!

19 Sep

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After some (soul) searching and saving, I finally got myself a tiny portable altar from the German shop “Schamanisches Kunsthandwerk” (let’s say, “Shaman Crafts”). By no means am I a shaman, but I like their work – mostly all-natural, handmade stuff. They have amulets made from wood engraved with totem animals or trees, prayer beads, magical mirrors and such. And, yes, they do offer altars. And while I am in love with their tabletop altar, I went for this ingenious portable (almost) all-natural travel altar kit instead. Above you see the pictures. Isn’t it pretty? There were several options to choose from, and I went for the crystal variety without special engraving. It is based on the 5-element-theory and mostly suitable to my needs, including five different crystals, a tiny candle in a glass container with a matching wooden coaster, miniature tools made from wood, triple moon and horned god symbol, a necklace with a pentagram burned into wood and a tiny pendulum, also from all natural material. And yes, it all fits in a leather pouch that, when flattened, turns into a tiny altar surface of about ten inches. The package comes with short instructions on the items included. Nifty, right?

(Sorry for going heavy on the links, I wanted to provide some help in case you want to look around the story a bit.)

For everyday purposes, I plan to use a slimmed-down variety with only the tools and the candle on the coaster with the leather pouch/altar cloth, but I am sure I can make good use of the other items as well. Now, I know that many of you are incredibly crafty and make their own amazing altars for travelling and such, but for the less handy ones such as me, this is a great solution!

What are your solutions for witching “on the go”?

How zen should we be?

18 Sep

Tiny confession: I have a terrible temper. Ask my colleagues, or friends, or family – I can explode pretty well when I want to, and I have a tendency to be mean on the spot. Some days I fear that, had I been one of the popular kids at school, I might have been a real bully.

Anyway, since I know this, I constantly strive to improve this area. I do breathing exercises at the desk, count to three before countering an argument and try to be as kind, in general, as possible. And that is tough for someone who used to have among her mottos the phrase, “I’d rather lose a good friend than a bad joke.”

(Blame my family for this. Meeting them for the first time tends to scare people away.)

And every now and again I get confused. How much of my temper is character, and how much is bad habit? I do not intend to step out of my skin, for I believe that everyone is perfect the way they come, we only get warped and twisted by society (and yes, that includes our families).

Right now I am working on expressing my feelings, the good and the bad ones. In the past I used to wall up and become all passive-aggressive – that trait can be used for hilarity in friendly banter, but is abso*fucking*lutely useless in reality. And to avoid my temper spilling over into my real emotions, I have a how-to guide: Everytime someone says something that makes me want to explode, I take a step back. Like, a mile. And then I try to find out whether I am really upset, or if it was just something insignificant that flipped my switch because I am weird like that. When during our last meeting my sister made a few remarks that made me want to rip out her throat – please tell me that’s normal among sisters! – I thought about it for more than two weeks before approaching her about it, to be sure I was not being mean just because I could. (Now it is her turn to express herself, and I hate waiting, but… we’re sisters. What’s the worst that can happen? We hate each other for a few months and then get back together, we’re family.)

On the other hand, I have learned that being too nice is often considered a weakness. Clashing with colleagues in the workplace has, after several years, earned me a tiny advantage, being a European woman among Muslim men – not that they respect me or anything, I am not delusional, but they suspect I may be batshit crazy. Fine by me.

End of ramblings: How zen (or kind) do you think we should be in everyday life? And when do we have to take up the battle? When is it okay to embody Pele, and when should we rather be Guanyin-like? Gosh, I wish I were a fungus. ^^

Fall cleaning, writers’ edition

2 Sep

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Fall is arriving, and I am feeling more alive with every day. And since there is too much energy to use it up in 24 hours, I have started to clean and polish my urban fantasy novel “All Souls’ Children”. Take a look at the new cover – pretty, right? Hopefully it will be all shiny and new in time for a cozy Samhain read…

Falling towards fall

18 Aug

Richard is sad. Summer is almost over. And we have not had much summer, neither in terms of sunshine nor in terms of summer passtimes. Well, that’s life for you. And while I am sad that my guy is sad, I am also giddy, because… fall is coming, complete with apples and nuts and skulls and bones and dead people drinking blood and – you get the idea.

So, all you people who like fall (and especially Halloween) as much as I do, Magaly is hosting her fourth annual Witches in Fiction event, called “Crafting Blooming Howls”. I can’t promise anything, with my mad schedule and all, but I will try my best to get something done in time for the event – which is October 17, in case you were wondering – and most of all, I urge you to go ahead and party!!! 

(More updates as we inch towards the event.)

Cursed you are, and hexed you’ll be

13 Aug

I took a two-step approach concerning the guy I talked about yesterday. But first, the obligatory take on “black” magic. I know not everyone is for hexing your way through life. And even less people recommend hexing on behalf of other people. There are always, and in these cases even more so, plenty of things to consider and precautionary steps to take, and when meddling with other people’s lives a witch must be even more aware of the fact that she may not know everything and may end up giving a spell to someone who uses them not in the way they promised to. (That is one reason I never, ever give away charms that might be used in a harmful way, and often put special protection on incense etc. I make for others. My personal decision.)

Glad we talked about that. Now, my two-step approach.

First, I prepared a worst-case scenario spell to prevent him from sexually abusing her. I know, that sounds far-fetched, but he has somehow gotten it into his head that once she is pregnant she will stay with him instead of getting a divorce, and with a history of physical abuse… anyway, I just wanted to be on the safe side. Always planning for worst-case scenarios this witch is.

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This is a real kitchen witch spell. All you need is a condom, a black marker and some hot spices – anything works, I used cayenne pepper, chili flakes and black pepper. I worked this one based on something I found in “Utterly Wicked” and changed it to suit my needs:

  1. Write the name of the target on the condom.
  2. Fill the condom with your spices.
  3. While tying three knots into the filled condom, chant/hex: “This prevents you from touching [name] against her will. You will be physically incapable of harming her.” (Sorry, no pretty rhymes here. Not that kind of girl.)
  4. Leave it on your altar for a few hours or over night (I put it with the firy element, obviously.)
  5. Get rid of the condom by throwing it in a public wastebin, and don’t look back.

(Random fun fact: I always know a spell is well-charged when the cats try to steal it – they like the energy levels, it seems. Trying to steal this one was not the best idea, poor cats. ^^ )

Second, I wanted a spell to reflect all his negativity and anger and hate directed at her back at him. Once again I turned to my kitchen for inspiration…

IMG_0254What you cannot see in this picture is a tiny clay poppet with a picture of him attached inside the jar. You will need some modelling clay or putty (preferrably black or grey), a picture (or anything, really) of your target, an empty jar with a tight-screwing lid, some tin foil, a length, respectively, of black, grey and black ribbon and a black marker.

  1. Line the jar with tin foil, reflecting side facing the inside. Make sure there are no holes, tears or gaps. Takes sume fumbling, but is worth the effort.
  2. Make a tiny clay/putty poppet of your target – mine is a blog with a broad base for proper standing, you don’t have to be an artist to do this. Include your picture or target-related object.
  3. Insert the poppet into the jar, screw the lid on. Chant/hex: “[Target], you are trapped by your own hate. All negativity you send out flies right back at you.”
  4. Wrap each length of ribbon around your jar three times counterclockwise and secure it with a tight knot. Chant/hex: “You are bound in darkness, [target], by your own hate and anger.”
  5. Write a pentagram on the lid and circle it counterclockwise with your black marker.
  6. Put the jar on a shelf where it cannot be broken by accident and keep it there until the situation has resolved itself.

Both spells require a solid grip on your emotions, mind you, least you end up causing more harm than necessary. Yesterday I did not trust my own emotions until after two hours of solid scrubbing. But since we all know that taking back a spell is incredibly hard at the best of times (and more often, impossible), I would consider it mandatory to not hex in anger.

Need your advice

12 Aug

Okay, I need your advice. Nothing much in the way of witching, just plain old boring everyday life.

A friend is being physically abused by her husband. Yes, that friend. Obviously things have gone south since she discovered the affair. I told her to go ahead and get a divorce, but a religious leader told her she could not divorce him unless she presented eyewitnesses of his affair. (Any idea which religion she belongs to? Yeah, that one.) Funny fact is, no one else was in the room when they got their game on. I wonder how that happened?

I have told her to go to the police, but she does not want to – after all he is her husband. So I have recommended she should write down every assault with as much detail as she remembers, have a physician examine and document every bruise and injury, and keep it somewhere safe for the day she finally decides to go to the police.

I have also told her repeatedly that she can call me, any time of the day (or night), I’ll get in the car and come get her. So far she has not called – she says teh moment it happens, she is in shock, and when she tries to get out of the flat he drags her back inside and physically prevents her from leaving. So I have suggested she should write down my number (or anyone else’s she trusts), put the paper in her pocket and the next time things get out of hand run to the neighbors immediately, from where she should call first the police and then me. That way she has witnesses as well as protection.

The problem is, I cannot get her to see that this is a serious matter – everytime he confesses his love for her and begs her forgiveness, she is willing to believe him. She does not want to believe that things will only get worse, although his attacks have been escalating recently. Her family is not willing to support her in this matter, and friends have started turning away from her because “she is always complaining and not willing to change her situation” – yes, I *do* understand that they are trying not to enable her, but I am afraid of what may happen if she feels she has no one to turn to.

This thing is driving me mad. I try to listen and support her, but that is not my strength, really. Every time she tells me another of his follies, I go home and try not to cry or punch someone. Now that the moon is waning again, I do have a tiny present for him waiting to be completed as soon as I have the time (and nerve), but I am wondering – what else can I do to keep her safe?

(Yes, I’ll share the spell – and no, it is not “black magic”, at least not strictly speaking. I am convinced that most people are not evil, but merely victims of their own history.)

These are not my mother’s thumbs

22 Jul

Nope, definitely not. While mine are brown and able to kill almost everything, my mother has a gift with plants.

She also probably has a sadistic streak, for she sent three of her darlings to our place for torture and slow death.

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My very own avocado plant.

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A tiny orange tree.

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And wine. The picture is blurry because it is trembling with fear.

(I keep trying to explain that wine should only enter our home in bottles.)

I’ll do my best to keep the plant babies alive, but their chances are… well, surprisingly neither apple nor currant nor blueberry have died so far. Maybe I can help breed resilien and strong post-zombie-apocalypse (flesh-eating) plants…

 

 

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