The Hag of Winter

I’m the only practicing witch here at the Haven.

I have hopes for the younger minions; Peter Pan, Dark&Twisty and maybe even Dennis the Menace. The rest are doing their own thing.

Just because I’m the only witch doesn’t mean I’m the only one affected by the energy.

Both The Renaissance Man and The Princess are complaining about being tired and not wanting to do the Things. My reply is always, “Then don’t”. Unfortunately their work ethic compels them to defy my suggestion.

The weather finally turned cold here. The Hag of Winter flew through and dropped a few inches of snow, she’ll be back around this week, bringing bitter arctic, record-breaking cold. The local weather stations are dubbing this cold snap “Chi-beria” .  *We live just outside Chicago*

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There’s a reason Cailliech Bheur is depicted as blind, seeing only from her third eye; winter doesn’t discriminate. It drops its load anywhere it feel like with no regard to our schedules, plans, and to-do lists. It knows what the land needs, She knows what we need.

We need to stop, we need to reflect, we need to turn inward and review our life choices. We need to dream and hope and plan for warmer days. We need to bundle up in warm cozy blankets and fleece-lined wool socks. We need to daydream and find solace in doing nothing.

The land benefits from the winter freeze as well. A deep frost depth, or how deep the ground freezes, helps to keep nutrients in place, loosens the soil and kills off certain insects know to cause havoc on crops.

Yes, it puts a damper on our to-do list but maybe our to-do list shouldn’t be so long in the winter. Maybe this is the Goddess’ way of telling us to STOP!

The sky is gray
The sand is gray
And the ocean is gray

And I feel right at home
In this stunning monochrome
Alone in my way

I smoke and I drink
And every time I blink
I have a tiny dream

But as bad as I am
I’m proud of the fact
That I’m worse than I seem

What kind of paradise am I looking for?
I’ve got everything I want and still I want more
Maybe some tiny shiny key
Will wash up on the shore

 

This song has been playing in my head the past week. In my mind its the embodiment of January. It begs us to reflect, to open our eyes and take a good look at ourselves and our life choices thus far.

January is the month of resolutions. The month of starting new habits; the month of hope and possibility. *Capricorn influence*

By the end of January most people have lost their gusto, and that’s okay because we enter Aquarius which, in my observation, tends to be much more cerebral and altruistic.

An excellent time to think through these early year goals and evaluate if they’re the best choice we can make for ourselves and our world.

The Hag of Winter is here again, to remind us – to force us to rest our bodies and enter the realm of our mind.

So seriously, turn off Netflix for a little while, grab a cup of something warm, a notebook and pen and start writing – don’t think, just write.

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This is my second depiction of Caillech Bheur. I decided last month that I really miss making dolls and I wanted to spend this year exploring different forms.

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Caillech Bheur – The Hag of Winter

This is the first attempt at creating a polymer clay and wire sculpture. I blended blue clay with doll clay to get the deathly gray color fitting for the Goddess of Winter. She’s  been painted with a dry brush technique to give her a ‘frosted’ look.

I attached her to a wood block, which I decorated with modeling paste to give that rugged winter landscape look.

Her hair is made with Speckled Tweed recycled silk yarn from Darn Good Yarn. *my newest obsession*

Her cloak and pussy hat were crocheted with scrap yarn I had on hand.

Why a pussy hat? Because she’s an ancient and incredibly powerful Goddess. And she totally supports our movement away from the patriarchy. The path forward is always about finding and honoring the balance between the Feminine and Masculine aspects of our society.

Her staff, said to be covered with human flesh, is carved with ancient Celtic writing and Ogham characters.

Caillech Bheur is known as the Storm Bringer who, through bitter winds and blizzards, changed the landscape.

She is also said to be the  Goddess of Sovereignty offering us the right to govern our own lives. This offering is accompanied by cold, hard honesty that may be brutal and painful but is always necessary to our personal development.

Her themes relate to balance, cycles, overcoming struggle and rebirth.  She is said to have fostered many children and is the protector of wild animals.

I hope The Cailleach visits you as you take some time this winter to reflect. I hope she offers you guidance and sovereignty to become Ruler of your World.

 

It’s 2019 B!tches!

Yeah for the new year! Are you feeling feisty and ready to conquer? I am.

It’s been awhile since I’ve made a Spirit Doll. It’s been awhile since I’ve connected with any specific Goddess.

The last two years have been rough. I feel like I’ve been in constant contact with my personal guides and ancestors, begging them to help me process the anger and the outrage. Frustrated by my inability to make the big changes that the world needs right now.

Some artist excel in that kind of energy.

I don’t.

So no art and very little writing; most of that was scrapped because I couldn’t stop the venom from leaching into it. If I couldn’t contribute to the greater good, then I shouldn’t be adding to the collective misery. Those writings will stay private.

2017 is long gone and 2018 is over.

Welcome 2019 and this little swirly ball of hope and light; This warm tingly desire to create art.

So I sat down one night after the kids were asleep. I wrapped myself in the warm fuzzy blanket that my (soon to be) daughter-in-law gifted me, lit a candle and called in my ancestors.

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What do I want? I asked them, What is the potential of this tiny seed I feel swirling around in my magic?

(because you can’t manifest if you don’t know what you want.)

I needed clarity, I needed a picture in my head and a feeling in my heart.

I didn’t have to wait long. I felt the warm glow of hope. I visioned a pictures of dolls, fully sculpted and clothed in funky fibers, bright colors and pussy hats. Goddesses, spirits, and physical representation of energy and abstract ideas.

I felt my crazy Aunt Joy, who passed away last summer. She too, was a doll maker and jack of all arts. Her daughter gave me all her doll making supplies. Bright colors and radical ideas were kind of her thing.

Yes, this is what my soul desires. To re-connect with the hopeful parts of myself, to reach out and offer the world a little bit of my enthusiastic optimism.

Then we had a planning session. Because they know me. I was given strict instructions.

  • No more than 6 dolls this year.
  • I must have a clearly defined project design sheet before I can start.
  • I must log my time and materials.
  • No ridiculous deadlines that make me dread the making process

I’m also allowed only one alternate art type to clean my pallet.  They’re pushing for art journal. They tell me Art journals are needed plus I enjoy the process of making them. I have a tendency to let my creative to-do list get excessively long, try to do it all and then burn out in frustration.

Maybe because it’s January, or maybe it’s because it’s a rather mild winter, or maybe it’s just the Old Hag calling to me. I’ve decided to re-visit with Cailleach Bhuer. It’s been 5 years. I think she has something else to tell me.

Pictures will be coming soon, I’m taking my time, enjoying the process.

What are your big plans for 2019? What are your personal conquests for the year?

Drop me a note and let me know so I can cheer you on.

 

 

Uncrossing Spell and Whatnot

17-7-22Uncrossing

By the light of moon’s wane
Cleanse my soul of this stain
Let the spell be reverse
Lift away this dark curse
As I enter sacred space
Return my soul to grace
I forgive what was done
Let the spell be undone
By the dark and the light
Your spell ends tonight

I received an interesting phone call the other day. Big Red’s friend found himself in an interesting conundrum of which he wasn’t familiar. My son listened like a good friend and admitted it was something that would be more up my ally, so they called.

The friend, I’ll just call him The Poet, was informed by his ex that she put a binding spell on him and he wanted to know what to do to take it off. His time with this woman had been chaotic which is why they’re not together but he still wants to have some kind of peaceful working relationship because they have a son together.

Yes, this is more up my ally that Big Red’s. Yes, I’m familiar with binding spells. I’m quite comfortable with magical self-defense and protective spells. However, being as I’ve been practicing as a solitary and pretty picky about whom I let get close, I’ve never had to perform uncrossing spells.

Before I make any suggestions, I asked more questions, I want to get a feel for his beliefs, his understanding and experience of magic. I want to know what he feels about this situation.

Let’s face it, most people are skeptical at best. Hell, I’m skeptical when a non-magical person says they’ve been cursed or they saw a ghost or had some kind of magic work for them. And I’m on the believing side, I’ve had magic work for me, I talk to ghosts and spirits regularly, I’ve known things I have no business knowing. But skepticism is healthy and normal so I really want to know where he’s at and how open he is to any of my options.

I was told the baby-mama confessed she put a binding spell on him to protect him from himself but he feels like it was more likely that she bound him to herself.

The Poet explained that he was seeing someone else when this alleged spell was cast and that new relationship just dissolved for no apparent reason, the two of them just drifted apart.

Around the same time, he ran into an eccentric woman who told him he had a hex on him; she could see it in his aura.

He believes in magic and finds it kind of amazing and scary at the same time.

He’s also walked away from two car accidents in the last month, both times the car was totaled and both times he was traveling with a car charm that I gave Big Red.

(I sprout new grey hair every time I think of my son driving)

He’s taken up a daily meditation practice where he seeks a sense of peace in his relationship with this woman. And this is why I believe his version of the spell.

When we meditate regularly, we open our 3rd eye, strengthen our intuition and find ourselves ‘knowing’ things. Trust that!

I suggested that in his meditations he should visualize the cord connecting them and imagine cutting it. And then imagine the two of them floating away from each other peacefully.

Ideally, we would all do that when relationships end but usually we’re either too sad or too angry to sever those cosmic ties neatly. It’s okay if it takes you months or years to get to that point. When you’re ready, do it!

I had to do some research on the rest so I got back to him the next day.

Most hex-breaking or uncrossing spells involve sending the curse back. A lot of the spells involve mirrors to reflect the effects of the curse back to the sender. The rebound effect is pretty wicked. I didn’t think he wanted that for his son’s mother. Whatever her intentions were, he didn’t believe them to be malicious.

So my next suggestion was a poppet. I like poppets but they required some work. I can only do so much of the magic; he would have to do the rest.

A poppet can act as a stand in for the person in question. In The Poet’s case, it would stand in for him, to ‘catch’ any spells, curse, hexes or negative energy sent in his direction. It would then dissipate the energy. I made the poppet, stuffed it with wormwood and rue to break the binding spell, coffee to neutralized harmful or unwanted energy, and hyssop to ward off negative intentions.

It will be his responsibility to add a part of himself (hair, fingernails, blood, sweat, etc) , sew up the doll, name it and give it instructions.

He’ll keep it hidden until such time as he feels it’s no longer needed. At that point I highly suggest he burns it. I know some practitioners suggesting burying or tossing in a garbage far away from home but I feel like it’s a part of you and you wouldn’t want that in someone else’s hands….

I also suggested a talisman. A talisman is a magical object empowered with a certain intent that helps you keep certain energy about you. It should be carried at all times (or you know, as often as possible) In this case I would keep it simple; I would sew up a little black square of fabric with the fore mentioned herbs as well as gemstone chips. I feel like jet and obsidian to banish negative energy, quarts to amplify the energy of the herbs & stones and rose quartz or rhodochrosite to fill the space with loving intentions.

This could be carried in his wallet or pocket during the day and kept on a bedside table, or under a pillow at night. I would also encourage him to spend some time focusing on his intent; to break the binding spell and repel any other magic sent his way.

Witches can do magic for you, they can cast spells on your behalf but I feel like it works so much better if you add your own intentions and energy. Even if you’re just buying a talisman or gemstone or piece of jewelry, it’s a good idea to set your intentions and charge it with your own energies.

I like using charged jewelry as talisman, it makes it easy to always carry when you need it, but in this case I really want to use the herbs.

Another option is a ritual bath, adding in curse breaking herbs as well as salt and anything else that strikes you as beneficial, like lavender for peace or rose petals to add love to the situation. Imagine the bonds of the curse dissolve as you soak.

Once you feel the curse or hex is lifted, it’s important to set up some protection spells to ward off any future curses.

I’ll leave that for another day.

The poet has options now, and he’s feeling better about the situation. If nothing else, that alone will help to shift his energy and make life better. A magical practice is all about self-empowerment.

Update: August 2018, (one year after the original post): The Poet has peacefully severed the connection with his ex and is in a fresh new relationship with a wonderful and supportive woman.

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Making and Using Poppets in Magic

17-7-24Poppets

Poppets!

I’ve been making dolls since I was just a little freckle-faced kid. I guess it was because I could. I saw faces and personalities in everything.

I made pompom dolls with yarn.
I made corn husk dolls.
I carved faces in apples and let them dry.
I wrapped dried corn cobs in long grass.
I saw people in the shapes of flowers and trees.

I made paper dolls and cloth rag dolls. As an adult I’ve made art dolls, mixed media, beaded, assembled, folk dolls. Most recently, I make Spirit dolls.

So of course I make poppets.

Poppets are awesome little tools with a wide range of uses.

When people see poppets (or any other folk art doll) they think voodoo doll. They’re not wrong…..poppets can be used in voodoo but voodoo has negative connotations. Voodoo Dolls are scary.

For the purpose of this article, let’s just move forward with the assumption that we’re practicing beneficial magic with good intentions.

Magical practice is all about intent! A poppet can be used to harm others or it can be used to heal yourself. (I’m not a big supporter of using magic on others, especially without their permission, I prefer to use magic to adjust the energy around a situation)

A poppet stands in for a person. Usually it’s a cloth rag doll with some basic rudimentary people features; eyes, mouth, heart. It can be as detailed as you want.

It can be stuffed with doll stuffing or herbs or both. You can add gemstones by either stuffing them inside or sewing chips outside. You can add ‘clothes’ by wrapping them with cloth, write words on them on them or decorate them in anyway you see fit.

When you’re happy with your doll you need to add a bit of yourself (or the person the poppet is representing). It’s best to add this inside the doll with the stuffing.

Hair or fingernail clippings are usually the easiest to access. Blood, sweat, spit or other body fluid would work too. If all else fails, a scrap of clothing, an small object that belonged to the person or a picture of the person will work in a pinch.

Once you’ve added the personal touch, sew the opening closed.

Now you need to ‘wake ‘ the doll, give it a name and a purpose. First “breathe” life into it. (I’ve always interpreted this as blowing into its face) Then say something like this:

“ Wake up little poppet. You are complete, I will call you _______. You job is _______.”

So….what kind of ‘jobs’ can you give a poppet? It can be anything you feel is necessary. Healing, love, peace, protection.

Healing Poppets are common and convenient. You can make one to stand in place for a distant loved one who may need healing. (Get permission first) You can perform healing spells or Reiki on the doll, stuff it with healing herbs, anoint it with a healing oil and it will send the energy to its human equivalent.

Do you or a friend needs courage during a trying time? You can stuff it with herbs for courage and instruct it to absorb some of your fears.

Do you need protection from psychic attacks? Add some protective herbs and stones and instruct it to absorb and dissipate any negative energy coming your way.

Do you seek peace? Want more love in your life? Looking for some good luck or more prosperity? You can create a poppet for any of these by adding the right colors, herbs, stones, oils and then giving your poppet a job.

Can’t sew? It’s cool, I can. Check it out.

If you wanted something more personalized, shoot me a line (either here or on Facebook)

In the Spirit of Cailleach Bhuer

I’m happy to say that I’ve finished the Cailleach Bhuer Spirit Doll. Every spirit doll is a journey but the Goddess dolls are very interesting journeys.

*edit* I’m even happier to report that Cailleach Bhuer found  a home shortly after being listed.

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Cailleach Bhuer – the Blue-Faced Hag –  is an ancient Celtic Crone Goddess, said to have power over the winter. She was believed to blow in the freezing cold winds and snow. She flies through the air on the back of a wolf  or a boar, zapping the world with her freeze ray and dropping boulders randomly thus changing the landscape, making life on the surface unfamiliar.

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As the blizzard blew in last week, followed by the cold snap, or polar vortex, as the weather channel called it, I could hear the Blue Faced Hag whispering to me….explaining….telling me her message.

Change is inevitable. Life transforms, becomes unfamiliar until it’s familiar again. Have patience and faith that everything will work out better than you imagined. It’s important and necessary to shake things up. It changes the energy, clears out the stagnant air, removes that which no longer serves you. Change makes room for new empowering positive energy to bring you closer to the dreams.

If you’re not willing to make the changes yourself then the Universe, (Cailleach) will do this for you. 

Your personal  growth is that important! 

Not only to yourself but also to everyone you encounter. We are all connected. 

I was reminded of an experience.

A few years ago, The Renaissance Man lost his job. He wasn’t happy with the job. For months he came home from work complaining about everything. I would suggest he look for another but he never did.

Shortly (like 2 months) after the birth of our last child, his boss sat him down with a 30 day action plan that included parameters that were mathematically impossible. It’s not fair but it’s business. Working in his field, he wasn’t entirely surprised.

But he was angry, so angry that he wanted to quit right then and there. I suggested he wait it out. I’m not one for making permanent decisions while I’m emotional.

My logic was if he waited to be fired he could  collect his last paychecks and the vacation pay he was allotted, file for Unemployment Insurance and take time to find a job that he really wanted.

Inside, just behind the anxiety,  I was listening to the quiet voice that kept telling me, “Everything will be fine, just follow the path and see what happens next.” And that’s exactly how it played out.

It went against everything he believed in but we wouldn’t change it for all the gold in the world. During the time off work, while he was looking for another job, he took over as primary caregiver and I worked more at the restaurant and also looked for a better job. He had the opportunity to bond with the baby, experiencing all the firsts that he missed with the other kids, took up baking with our daughter and started an Ebay side business.

I gave up control of the house and kids, allowing him to take over. I pursued a whim, trying my hand at a new profession and worked the full work week for the first time in my life.

The landscape of our life looked totally unfamiliar; everything changed but through the experience of switching roles we both grew personally and as a couple.

This, I believe, is the message of Cailleach Bhuer.

And as I do with all my Spirit Dolls, I pulled a single Tarot card, Temperance, which I interpreted as finding a sense of peace amid the chaos of change. Keeping things in balance and seeing the lesson in the challenge and having faith that it’s all good.

Has the Blue-Faced Hag paid you a visit lately?