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Everything posted by woodwitchofthewest

  1. Hi Onyx - well, you dissolve some saltpeter in a small cup of water, and briefly soak the paper you want to make incense from in the water, and let it dry. (Sometimes people paint the saltpeter solution on the paper - more than once, usually, and let it dry in between. Probably works better than soaking if the paper is thin or easily dissolved.) Then you add fragrance to the paper, let it dry again, and then you can write or paint on it (if you paint on it, let it dry again!) and then burn it. Depending on the paper, you can often light it, blow it gently out, then let it finish smouldering and turning to ash on a censer.
  2. 'Tis near the time of The Greenening!

  3. On the subject of words - I personally try to keep mine as succinct as I can. Sometimes that's not possible or desirable, for example when storytelling, but when it is possible, that is my goal. There are reasons behind that. First, it's a matter of style. I try to be clear and simple in most of what I write because in a world that constantly bombards us with noise, you risk losing people's attention if you are not. Second, it's a matter of energy. Writing takes energy from the author to write, and for the reader to absorb, so a high signal-to-noise ratio is helpful for all. Third, I have found that the more I talk, the easier it is to accidentally say something I didn't really mean to say. Editing for conciseness helps me stick to that which I intended to convey. Edited to add: Fourth, focus and intent is something that can be practiced outside of ritual and spellwork. The more areas of your life in which you practice being concise and focused in what you do, the more that focus will feed into the quality and effectiveness of your craft work.
  4. In a world where it often seems to be more common to wish others ill than to wish them well, I think sincere "blessings" in any form are a nice, gentle kind of low magic that has the ability to make at least one person's life better in that moment. Two, if you count the "bless-er" along with the "bless-ee." The only problem I can see with the practice in general is that some people use it as a foil for their bad intent (for example, the common southernism "well, bless your heart!" :D ) , and some others use it so indiscriminately that the practice becomes essentially meaningless. In those cases I think discernment is called for, and so that's why I say I accept blessings in the manner in which they were intended, because blessings come in all sorts of forms (a plate of homemade cookies given to a friend who is having a tough time of it could actually be taken as a non-verbal blessing) so IMO, intent is pretty much the only important thing to keep in mind about the practice. All of the "blessings" I've seen here so far appear to have had good intent behind them so I acknowledge them with gratitude.
  5. That reminds me, I have been meaning to make more "incense papers" for sigil magic. I'm going to try mulberry paper this time, thank you for the idea!
  6. This is really interesting! I'm going to work with it this year and see what I think about it. Thanks for posting!
  7. I have a niece who is autistic and was born with other genetic anomalies. My sister had her DNA and her daughter's DNA tested to see what sort of health issues they might need to keep a look out for, and asked that I and another family member do the same. So we did. The ancestry stuff was just kind of an interesting sideline from the other testing, but I was able at last to put to rest a family myth that we had a significant amount of Cherokee on my mom's side. I could never find any evidence in the genealogy, but some family members insisted it was so! (Hint: DNA results basically say "not one drop." I was actually a bit disappointed, but that's the way it goes.) So, if the tests are to be believed, I'm 99.9% European - 38% Irish, 32% French and German, a little Scandinavian, the rest a mix of other European ethnicities. Basically, looking at the map, it seems that the Celts roamed and left some offspring in lots of places who later became woven into my family tree.
  8. The daffies are almost set to bloom!

  9. I'm sorry for your family's loss as well. Dementia is a really hard way for someone to go, not only for the family, but the person themselves. That makes sense. And I guess that means I talk to dead relatives and interact with dead pets more often than I realized, because when I see them in dreams, I am almost always conscious of the fact that they are gone, and that it is a dream and not reality which I'm experiencing.
  10. It did feel very, very real. Especially the time where I dreamed I was talking on the phone to my late mother. She was talking like she did a few months before she died (demented, a lot of "word salad" and paranoia...) Now that I recall it here, I have realized this was actually a very vivid lucid dream. I realized during the dream that I was dreaming, but on the chance that something I could say might get through to her, I deliberately chose to not "follow the dream script" and instead just started telling her that I loved her, that everything would be alright, and I really missed her. So, maybe you are right. I am just sad to think that even months after her death, her spirit is still so confused and upset. Or, maybe time as we know it just doesn't figure in here and how she was "on the phone" that early morning is not really an indication of how she actually is now, wherever she is. Anyway, thank you for your response. It is sad but also comforting.
  11. Thank you for the validation on that, BlackbirdSong. It was definitely an interesting experience. I was shocked that my mother could also see it, because that meant I couldn't easily explain it away as just my imagination. I can't readily think of any other time I've felt or seen anything that could be described as a "spirit." I have talked to dead relatives in dreams, though, but I don't think that's the same.
  12. I remember one day that my mother and I were having a lot of anger and arguments. We ended up working together some time that afternoon trying to get our dining table to come apart so we could get the extra middle leaf out. We were still arguing, tugging on the table, and then suddenly, it finally gave and the two halves just flew apart. And as it did, up from the middle, rose a black plume of dense "smoke." I saw it, my mother saw it, too. We were both in shock. It rose up from the middle of the table and then dissipated before it reached the ceiling. I don't know if that was a dark spirit causing some of the anger and strife in the house that day, but I do know that after it left, we stopped arguing. Could have just been the shock, though.
  13. I've dropped a lot of things that just didn't work for me, like complex rituals. The things that do work for me, I've tried to make simpler as time goes on. I don't feel so rushed to do a ritual within a certain frame of time. Sometimes I take MONTHS to get ready to do something, doing a little bit here and there, sort of letting it "cook" for a while until I'm ready. I've also integrated more of my craft into my every day life and into my art. I'm also more open about what I believe with people I trust.
  14. I don't think I possess any physical "traits" but I have learned over the years that there are very few things I cannot grow if I put my mind to it.
  15. My first deck is the Robin Wood deck, mainly because I really liked the illustrations. I just picked up a Wildwood Tarot, and will be learning to work with it this year to see if I like it as well.
  16. For me it's mainly dreams, and Tarot. I am going to work with runes this year, though, to see if I can gain any new insights that way.
  17. I wonder now if that is what happened to me when my mom passed this summer. As I mentioned, I was pretty sure I felt her trying to "settle into me" within a few minutes of her passing. She was quite ill, mentally, abusive for my entire life, and also towards the end very tormented and psychotic and living in a memory care facility. It makes sense to me that those sort of places would attract negative energies, whatever they might be.
  18. A typical batch of mead has about 3 pounds of honey per gallon. It can vary a bit by recipe - I'd just grab a good beginner's recipe and use that as your base, adding the dried elderberries into it for the first fermentation. Let us know how it goes! :-)
  19. I am kind of partial to meads, myself - if it were me, I'd set up a mead to ferment and throw the berries into that to reconstitute and infuse. I agree that reconstituting the berries and making the wine with that alone is not likely to yield a very tasty product.
  20. I use the word "tradition" as an alternative to the word "path." I don't use it in the sense that it means passed down through the generations, although I believe being "traditional" requires some adherence to the older ways. (Having knowledge passed down through the generations would be cool, but from what I can see, very few actually have that sort of resource to draw upon.) I also use the label "tradition" as a way of differentiating what I do and believe from what Wiccans do and believe. Common usage in many places seems to say that Wicca is Wicca, and other paths that honor older ways are called "Trads" - so that seems to be an acceptable way to communicate my non-Wiccan-ness to other folks. Is it correct? Heck if I know. But it is the best label I've found for what I do.
  21. I wear whatever is comfortable, generally whatever it is that I'm wearing that day. I do have a few more "witchy" pieces in my wardrobe that I have worn when in a group, and a woolen cloak with a hood as well. But mostly it's jeans and a casual blouse or Tshirt for me. Edited to add: I forgot, I do wear a fair bit of semi-precious gemstone jewelry, most of which I make myself! That's my main type of "ritual wear."
  22. I have a lovely "breen" (brown/green) woolen cloak with a hood that I wear sometimes. It's a good way to stay warm outdoors in a drizzly climate.
  23. I am not really interested in Krampus at all. But I do have a fair number of "green man" type "Santa" figures that I've collected over the years that generally go up around the holidays.
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