Monday, November 6, 2017

Cleanse Your Tarot Cards, Ya Filthy Animal!


It's happened to all of us. We get a little bored sometimes. Same route to work. Same daily routine. Laundry on Sundays. Dishes... well, those are flipping non-stop. Sure, taco night really spiced up the ol' schedule...a year ago. Now not even mango salsa can brighten your mood.

So you do what every Pagan has done, you peruse Amazon or Etsy until you find that special something-something deck that makes your heart flutter. Yes, this is the tarot deck of serious witches. This is the deck that will reveal those secret numbers that will win me the jackpot and get me the hell out of suburbia.

Okay, that might be a little embellished for theatrical effect.

A few weeks ago I was feeling the ho-hum of relentless desert sun (allow me to duck while you northerns throw rotten fruit at the screen.) The summer had yet to break from those 90* days...in late October... and I was going a bit stir crazy. So I did what any self-respecting witch would do: I decided to treat myself to a new tarot deck. 

I actually got the idea from a blog reader (Hello, Angel!) who said she rotates decks depending on the season. This never occurred to me, but makes perfect sense! After all, I feel introspective in the fall, enlivened in spring, and homicidal restless in the blistering summer. If my vibrations are changing, does my connection to a specific deck also adapt?

Evidently the answer is yes, because I treated myself to the Everyday Witch Tarot deck by Deborah Blake, and boy did my readings perk right up! But as I tore the cellophane off my new treasure, I got to thinking about something I hadn't pondered in a while: how to cleanse a new deck.

It's something that should be done periodically, especially if you perform readings for others. But as someone who royally sucks at reading tarot for other people (I finally discovered why this is the case after reading the book included with the deck. Not a pamphlet, a downright book!), I'd gotten lazy with keeping my previous deck clean and tidy.

Yes, I get lazy. I'm human, okay? Half the time I just ball up my kitchen towels and shove them in a drawer. No one sees in there anyway. And if they do, they should probably stay the hell out of my kitchen drawers. What kind of person does that?!

=P

Below you will find three easy ways to cleanse your tarot with items you probably already have on hand. And you can trust they're easy-peasey because, well, I'm lazy. 

Break out the sage
When you open a new deck of tarot cards, each minor and major arcana crisp and untouched, the smell of fresh ink permeating the air, the last thing you want to do is wait to use them. Smudging your cards is a great way to get an immediate and thorough cleaning while familiarizing yourself with a new deck.

I like to keep a bowl beside me when smudging tarot so I can tap off the ash without damaging the cards or my carpet.

...Yes, I'm 32 and still sit on the floor like a toddler. I'm sort of an overgrown child with bills and an acerbic sense of humor. Not sure what to tell you.

Anyway, grab yourself a bowl and a smudge stick. Then simply waft the smoldering sage bundle over each individual card—front and back— allowing the smoke to cleanse the deck. This will take anywhere from fifteen minutes to a half hour, during which time you can visually explore your new deck and note any impressions or intuitive feelings you experience upon first look. It's a great way to bond with your deck while cleansing. 

Crystal cleansing
This method is similar to the smudging except you'll use a crystal as your medium. I recommend clear quartz, which is excellent for cleansing and purifying. Amethyst or rose quartz are also useful. These will not only cleanse your tarot but help you connect with your new deck through your crown and heart chakra, respectively.

Using a stone that has been purified from previous use, touch the crystal to your card and drag the stone across the front and back of each card. When you're done, place the stone in the sunlight to cleanse and recharge for your next use. Many tarot readers choose to keep a gemstone or two with their decks when not in use to help amplify their psychic connection.  Any of the above suggestions as well as moonstone, labradorite, and azurite are all wonderful options.

Random tip: keep your gemstones in a bowl of dirt or sand on a windowsill so they are always ready for use!

Sun and Moon
If you're looking for the easiest way to charge your cards, cleansing in the sun and moonlight is the way to go! The sun will purify with it's strong, masculine energy while the soft luminescence of the moon will balance your deck with feminine energy as well as heighten intuition. 

Lay your cards on a windowsill, taking care to ensure a portion of each card is exposed to the light. Allow the cards to sit for a full 24 hours, and you're ready to read! I would recommend doing this on a full moon night, but any night is fine, though I would advise against doing so on a new moon. There's nothing disastrous about doing so, I just personally feel you'll get a deeper cleansing when at least part of the moon is visible. 


There you have it, my friends! Three simple ways to get your decks cleansed, charged, and ready for some insightful readings. If you're looking for a little indulgence, I highly recommend the Everyday Witch Tarot deck. I find the deck to be very intuitive, due in large part to the talented Elisabeth Alba's breathtaking illustrations. See?



Alba did such a remarkable job of painting the cards that it's quite easy to decipher their meanings without even opening the book. But I suggest you do, because Blake has a lot of helpful information in the 250 page book included with the deck. 

Now if only I could divine those darn Powerball numbers!


Do you keep crystals with your tarot cards? What's your favorite deck?



By using this site, you agree you have read the full DISCLAIMER.
I was NOT asked to review this deck. I am recommending this product simply because I enjoy it and hope you do too!
NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase a product I make a small percentage that helps keep this blog running (but does NOT affect your cost). Thank you for your support!

Monday, October 23, 2017

5 (More) Ways to Celebrate Samhain (Without Spending a Dime)


Isn't Samhain the most wonderful time of The Wheel? Nutmeg-dusted pumpkin pie. Sweet apple cider. Sweatshirts. Cute boots. A warm mug of pumpkin-spiced latte. That crisp aroma of promise dancing through the trees, rattling the colorful leaves from their perch high upon a swaying branch.

Are you one of those people that kicks their way through a leaf pile like a leggy Rockette dancing her way down 5th Avenue? Best part of autumn, if you ask me—all those magical, wonderfully crunchy leaves skittering across pavement, each step releasing that blissful plume of sweet woodsy fragrance.

*sigh* I'm there...

As Samhain draws near and the veil between our world and the next thins to near transparency, celebration is probably on your mind. 

Well, celebration and miniature chocolate bars. Who doesn't love stuffing a whole minature Milky Way into their mouth?

If you're looking for the basics of Samhain, such as meaning, appropriate colors, and symbolic foods, head on over here. But if you're looking for 5 (more) ways to celebrate Samhain without spending a dime, you've come to the right place! Grab a mug of cinnamon tea, kick up those fuzzy-socked feet, snack on a slice of Pumpkin Pie Money Spell, and let's look at all the ways we can honor our departed loved ones as well as the cycle of life!

Carve a pumpkin
She's kidding, right? As if I don't already know carving a pumpkin on Samhain is like, well, carving a flipping pumpkin on Samhain!

Nope, I'm not kidding. Instead of your typical toothy jack-o-lantern, take a few extra moments to carve a loved one's initial into a pumpkin and honor them on this sacred Sabbat. 

Here's mine from last year. Now, please understand I had no intentions of sharing this photo, so it's not my best camera work. But I enjoyed this tribute so much that I decided I had to share it with you fine individuals. I will most definitely be including another memorial pumpkin in my Samhain rituals this year.



I didn't use a template; I simply drew out what I wanted and started hacking away, making sure enough of the "B" remained attached so it wouldn't break off during carving. Barley's beautiful soul walked this planet on four legs, hence the (albeit awkwardly carved) paw print. Feel free to get creative! If your grandfather loved fishing, center the letter in a fish cutout. Maybe use a maple leaf for a nature-loving friend. If you decide to carve a sentimental jack-o-lantern, please send me a photo! I'd love to see it!

Paper Pumpkin Cutouts
Whether you make pumpkin shapes from construction paper or buy some pre-designed pumpkin cutouts at the store, take a few moments to write your departed loved one's names on the decorations and tape them in a window. On this night of the thinned veil, legend says the departed spirits walk the earth, looking for their loved ones. Let them know they are remembered and missed. Feeling extra attuned with the season? Use fallen leaves instead!

Eat your feelings
Listen, we've all done it—eaten junk food to squelch our emotions. Plus it's Halloween and, you know, sugar.

If you're baking cookies for Samhain or any time during October, use a toothpick or butter knife to write your transcended loved ones' names into the cookies before baking. When you're ready to snack, take a moment to remember their life and what contributions they made to yours. Before digging in, simply say, "You are remembered."

Raise your vibrations by raising the roof
You know how shitty you feel after a loved one dies? That swampy-pile-of-regurgitated-doo-doo-sitting-in-the-summer-heat feeling of despair that only great loss can bring about? That makes it really difficult for spirits to communicate with us because our vibrational signature is churning at an extraordinarily low frequency. Like, Brad Garrett levels of low. 

If you're feeling the raw burn of a recent loss, nothing is going to shake you from that grief, and it's important to let yourself experience those painful emotions so you can heal. But if you're feeling just a touch blue because of the meaning of the Sabbat, now is the time to take a deep breath, think of a funny memory, and celebrate life. Their life. Your life. All life. 

Watch a funny Halloween movie (Hocus Pocus is a favorite!). Sing loudly to a goofy Halloween song ("Monster Mash" is routinely sung in my home during the month of October.). Dance. Take a walk. Call a friend. Whatever you need to do to embrace the beauty of life, take the time to do so. Because while sadness is a normal response, swimming in those dark waters too long can be very damaging—to your health, to your mind, to your spirit. Throw a bonfire. Host a movie marathon. Plan a costume party. Find something that makes you happy and chase it. Because the best way to honor the dead is by embracing life! 


Use a sigil
Carved into a candle, hidden in the soft inner flesh of a jack-o-lantern, or written on the bottom of a stone to be left on your doorstep, a sigil is a simple symbol used to cast...well, anything!

While you can find designated sigils on the internet, such as runes, I highly recommend creating your own, which is much easier than you may think! Simply combine the letters of your wish to form one cohesive symbol, as seen in the (messy) example below.
If you're feeling particularly jaded by the news inspired to spread the love, write a blessing sigil, such as "peace" or "health" in chalk on your front step or the sidewalk in front of your house to bless all those who walk over it! 

Personalized sigils are extraordinarily useful! I plan on writing an entire post dedicated to these hardworking little emblems, so keep an eye out! 


There you have it! Five simple ways to honor the Sabbat and you haven't even finished your mug of tea. Didn't I promise you simple?! Hope you have an apple-bobbing, wood-fire-scented, cozy-sweater-wearing, pumpkin-spiced-flavored kind of Samhain! 

Happy Samhain, everyone! 


Looking for more ways to celebrate Samhain? Check out Samhain Traditions: 13 Simple & Affordable Halloween Spells & Rituals for the Witches' New Year! Every purchase helps keep PennilessPagan.com alive and supplied with tons of free material, so thank you! ♥


By using this site, you agree you have read the full DISCLAIMER.
NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase a product I make a small percentage that helps keep this blog running (but does NOT affect your cost). Thank you for your support!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Samhain Protection Salt


If you haven't heard, Samhain Traditions is now available in e-book and paperback!

...And if you have somehow managed to not hear me sqwak about it, I'm kind of sad. I mean, it's sort of all I'm talking about at the moment, so you must be avoiding me. Which makes the halls of the internet awakward as we pass each other on the way to bio class. Was it something I said? Is it because Jimmy claims we went to second base at Make-out Point down past the old soda shop? Because Jimmy's a goddamn liar. And we're not in the 1950's. So I'm not sure why I can't come up with a better make-out location than an empty cliff.

I've had a lot of tea this morning and it's a mere three weeks before Samhain. You'll have to forgive me if I'm unusually, ehh, feisty. We'll say feisty. So much more socially acceptable than certifiably insane.

ANYWHO! Samhain Traditions is out and all the cool kids are doing it. But, like the creepy twenty-year-old who still hangs out by the high school cafeteria, mourning his golden years and skeeving out the freshmen, I'm here to give you a free sample. Letcha see why all the cool kids are doing it.

...I think this kitschy scenerio got away from me somewhere. Should probably just get back to the facts before this gets any weirder.

Samhain Protection Salt is one of thirteen simple and affordable spells from Samhain Traditions. Well, actually one of fourteen. Because there's a simple BONUS spell. It's kind of my thing to toss in bonus spells, the way it's kind of Jimmy's thing to spread rumors.

Damn it, James!

If you're looking for a meaninful way to honor Samhain that will last throughout the year, Samhain Protection Salt is the ritual for you. But rather than talking about it—and leading us down a weird Stephen King-esque reminiscence of a decade of which I was not even alive— let's get straight to the spell!


Samhain Protection Salt
Approximate Hands-on time: 15 minutes



Whether it’s the scent of pumpkin bread and apple crisp, or the crimson leaves dancing in the October wind, or the warm embrace of a woolen sweater plucked from the depths of your closet, there’s something cozy and indulgent about autumn that brings out the domesticity in all of us. This is ever present in the magickal enchantment of Samhain.

Samhain Protection Salt is a ritual that provides strong protection all year long. Utilizing shielding herbs and the energy of your ancestors, this salt is a potent safeguard against negativity of all kinds. Sprinkle some in a sachet to banish nightmares. Use some around the exterior of your home to ward away those with ill intent. Add a sprinkle to a good-luck bauble to dispel unwanted vibrations. This herbal-infused salt literally has endless uses in your Craft to encourage protection, safety, and to disrupt negativity.


What You’ll Need:
Pen and paper
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons dried rosemary (or several springs)
2 Tablespoons dried sage leaves (or several springs)
1 Tablespoon dried dill
Clean dry jar for storage


How to Conjure:
★ In bold letters on a small slip of paper, simply write:


PROTECTION

★ Roll up the slip of paper and place it at the bottom of a cauldron or burning receptacle. Place the dried herbs on top. 

★ Standing in front of your cauldron with your palms facing the herbs, envision your ancestors standing beside you. Feel their energy, their love and blessings. Allow the peace of their presence to settle over you before lighting the herbs. When you are ready, ignite the paper and let the herbs burn to complete ash. You may need to reignite if the fire burns out. That’s okay! Be patient and enjoy the ritual.

★ Once your herbs are fully burned, grind them into powder by using a spoon, or pestle and mortar if you have one. It doesn’t need to be a perfect dust, just as fine as you can get it. No need to stress.

★ In a bowl, combine the salts and ash. Mix thoroughly. 

★ Take the bowl in your hands and say the following, all the while envisioning your ancestors standing beside you:

For protection, for safety, to banish negativity;
With my ancestors’ spirits united beside me.
To encourage the positive and dispel the rest,
I consecrate these salts, this spell is now blessed.

★ Pour the salts into a clean jar and store in a cool, dry place. If your salts clump, don’t fret! Simply stir before using.


Note: This salt is NOT suitable for ingestion! This salt is for spell use only!
Due to the ash, these salts can stain fabric, so please exercise caution.



See, I told you it'd be simple yet meaningful. I may go haywire on fictional boyfriends, but I'm a straight shooter when it comes to magick!

I hope you enjoyed this free spell from Samhain Traditions! If you're looking for more spells and rituals to help you celebrate Samhain year after year, grab yourself a copy today—available in e-book AND paperback! 

Get your copy today!
Amazon (US) -Ebook & paperback
Amazon (UK) -Ebook & paperback
Amazon (CA) -Ebook & paperback

Happy Samhain season, everyone!



What's your favorite Samhain tradition?

By using this site, you agree you have read the full DISCLAIMER.
NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase a product I make a small percentage that helps keep this blog running (but does NOT affect your cost). Thank you for your support!

Monday, September 25, 2017

It's Here! Samhain Traditions is Now on Sale!!!


A few weeks ago I promised you I wouldn't start talking about Samhain in August...but I didn't say anything about late September!

I'm a peacock witch, you gotta let me fly!

I am SO flipping excited to share with you my newest book, Samhain Traditions: 13 Simple & Affordable Halloween Spells & Rituals for the Witches’ New Year

Not going to lie, it was a touch intimidating writing a book for THE Sabbat of the Pagan year. But it was also a lot of fun to blend the macabre merriment of Halloween with the somber, deeply spiritual aspects of Samhain. So whether you're looking to party hard or have a quiet ritual, there is something for everyone in Samhain Traditions!

Hell, why don't I just show you? ;)

Mind's Eye Divination Tea 
(The hippie chick icon is NOT on photos in the book. Icon for web security only.)

Spells Include:

New Year Blessings Light Catcher
Aura-Cleansing Spirit Spray
Candle in the Window Ritual
Lost Souls Lighted Garland
Samhain Seed Spell*
Samhain Blessing Log
Spiced Hot Chocolate Money Spell
Sacred Souls Altar
Paper Pumpkins*
Tumbled Tarot Stones
Mind's Eye Divination Tea & 4 Elements Spread
Light of Their Soul Pumpkin
Samhain Protection Salt
BONUS: Samhain Sunset Ritual

*These spells offer three variations to suit your casting needs!

All spells can be completed in less than an hour, most in under 20 minutes! And if Samhain tends to be a hectic night for you, don't fret! I've got you covered with a BONUS 14th spell! The Samhain Sunset Ritual is a beautiful way to honor your ancestors in just five minutes. After all, just because you're spiritual doesn't mean you're not busy. 

*Channels inner info-mercial voice* But wait! There's more! ;)

Paper Pumpkins
(The hippie chick icon is NOT on photos in the book. Icon for web security only.)


Samhain Traditions also includes:

-Autumnal-scented essential oil blends to imbue your home with magickal aromas! 

-A simple guide to understanding Samhain

-A letter to readers

-Simple ways to honor your transcended loved ones

-A guide to finding your own personal brand of magick

-Notes on successful casting

-What to do with offerings once a sacrifice is complete

-Autumn-themed herbal substitution guide in case you don't have a prescribed herb on hand

-Color Me Magickal color guide


If you're looking to create meaningful Samhain traditions to enjoy year after year, or you're seeking a fun spell that inspires the spooky whimsy of Halloween, treat yourself to a copy of Samhain Traditions available in e-book AND paperback!

Oh, that's right! I learned my lesson with By the Light of the Moon.  No more waiting for paperbacks, my tangible-loving friends! ;)


Samhain Protection Salt
(The hippie chick icon is NOT on photos in the book. Icon for web security only.)


Before you fly off to get your Samhain on, I'd just like to take a moment to thank you for your readership. Every purchase helps keep PennilessPagan.com alive and supplied with FREE content for you wonderful folks. Thank you so very much for allowing me into your lives and granting me the opportunity to write about spirituality and magick. I can't tell you how much I deeply appreciate your support!

Now grab your cauldrons and get to casting! ♥ 🎃


Get your copy today!
Amazon (US) -Ebook & paperback
Amazon (UK) -Ebook & paperback
Amazon (CA) -Ebook & paperback

What's your favorite thing about Samhain? 


By using this site, you agree you have read the full DISCLAIMER.
NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase a product I make a small percentage that helps keep this blog running (but does NOT affect your cost). Thank you for your support!

Monday, September 11, 2017

5 (More) Ways to Celebrate Mabon


Ahh Mabon! The season when bright orange pumpkins begin to pop up in stores. Sweet apple pies become a downright necessity. Cinnamon-laced coffee feels like a caffeinated hug. The weather dips to a crisp 90*.

Err....if you're stuck in the desert. One thing this New England native will never understand is women who wear Uggs in 90*, which is a common autumn staple in this not-so-autumn-like land. Listen, I get that fuzzy boots are cute and the calendar says September, but it's flipping 90*. Take your hipster scarf back into Starbucks and make that pumpkin latte iced, mmmkay?

Whew, got a little heated there. A thousand apologies. That's what happens when you drop Celtic blood into BFE, New Mexico. Fortunately, this is my LAST Mabon in the Southwest. Oh, that's right! Your days are numbered, hot September! *she yelled, shaking her fist at a befuddled cresote bush*

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth...

Considered the first day of autumn, Mabon is the fall equinox, meaning daylight and darkness are in balance. And while the equinox can fall anywhere between the 20th-23rd, this year Mabon lands on the 22nd. Mark your calendars and get the pumpkins ready, my friend! 

If you're looking for more information on Mabon, such as appropriate foods and colors, click here to check out last year's five ways to celebrate. They're still relevant and still free, so definitely worth the visit. But if you're looking for five MORE ways to celebrate, I've got you covered!

Welcome in the darkness
As the sun sets on Mabon, we welcome in the darkness of the coming season. Grab a blanket, some lawn chairs, and allow yourself to be fully in the moment as the sun sets this equinox. Once the orange globe has dipped below the horizon, breathe in the darkness of fall and honor the tranquil introspection this season inspires. With tea, of course! ;)

Bring on the cozy!
Having spent the last 15 years in the desert due to my husband's job requirements, what I miss most about autumn is the coziness. Soft sweaters. Knitted throws. Hot drinks. Crisp morning air. Chilly noses on rainy days. 

Envelop yourself in the coziness of autumn. Whether that means decorating your home in autumnal flare, pulling out those sweaters from the cedar chest, lighting a pumpkin-spice candle, or baking a cinnamon-scented apple pie, do something special that puts you in that autumn state of mind. Looking for inspiration? Check out my autumn Pinterest board. It's totally my happy place, so please use coasters! 

Take it in
The best part of autumn is undoubtedly the simplicity. Life seems to slow down just a little, following the graceful dance of nature herself. Take the time to slowdown alongside her. Treat yourself to a pumpkin latte, head over to your favorite park or even your own backyard, and just exist. Watch the passersby as you sip your drink. Observe the colors of autumn, the slight crisp that's beginning to blossom in the air, the chatter of birds as they prepare for winter. Breathe deep. Slow your mind. Just exist. It's something we don't do often enough, but fall is most definitely the time for it!

Find balance
Whether autumnal or vernal, equinoxes are the perfect opportunity to find balance, just like nature! If you've been doing a little too much of anything—eating, working, worrying, whatever!—now is the time to take a step back and evaluate how to change your behavior in favor of a more healthy approach. Remember, anything in excess is damaging. Hell, even drinking too much water will kill you.

I know! Crazy, right?!

If you find it difficult to disconnect from work. If your vice is copious amounts of sugar. If exercise has become obsessive. If spending has exceeded income, take the time to make positive changes. NOT to belittle and berate yourself. NOT to feel guilty and swim among the self-loathing waters. Objectively look at the situation, find a reasonable solution, and make changes. Shame doesn't fix the problem. It's a warning bell that alerts us to the need for change. Nothing more. Take a deep breath of that fresh autumn air and start again. You've got this!

Cinnamon flames
Like tailgating and football, autumn seems to bring out the craving for bonfires and campfires. If you're lighting one up this Mabon, toss in a couple of cinnamon sticks for good luck in the coming season. Plus your backyard will smell heavenly!


Whether you use this time to reflect or to indulge, I hope you have a spectacular Mabon filled with love, coziness, and an extra dash of magick!

Happy Mabon, everyone! 🍁🍂🍏


What's your favorite way to celebrate Mabon? 

By using this site, you agree you have read the full DISCLAIMER.
NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Third Eye Apple Pie Intuition Spell


As summer begins to wan and the apple trees start to fruit, there's a hint of magick in the air as The Wheel churns toward Mabon, autumn, and that special little Sabbat we call Samhain.

Don't worry, I'm not going to shove Halloween down your throat in August. ;)

But late August IS the beginning of apple season, which is a wonderful time of year. If you've never experienced the excitement of plucking an apple straight from the tree, rubbing that bad boy on your shirt, and sinking your teeth into a juicy, crisp sampling of nature, you need to stop what you're doing right now and go find an apple farm.

Well, bookmark this spell first and THEN find an apple farm.

Apples are magickal for a multitude of reasons, not limited to the fact that the insides hold a five-point star when sliced across the middle. They also resonant the magickal energies of love, health, and intuition. What Pagan couldn't use a little more third eye action?!

Toss in a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to boost your psychic awareness, sugar for enrichment, lemon for purity, and salt for protection, and you've got yourself a delightful third eye-opening treat! 

If you're short on time (or you're like me and not pastry-inclined), using a store-bought pie crust will keep this spell easy yet effective. Midget Mama's apple pie recipe is wonderfully simple and will have your home smelling heavenly and grandma-like in no time! (You can find the pin here.)

Prior to spooning the cinnamon-y filling into the crust, draw an eye in the dough. This sigil will represent the psychic awakening (i.e. Third Eye) that you will experience upon eating a luscious slice of this aromatic spell! And just before you slip the pie into the oven, waiting patiently for it to bake with your face pressed against the warm glass, watching the gooey insides heat to a sweet, sticky perfection—just me, then?— hold your hands above your pre-baked good and say the following:


Fruit of the earth, gift of sight;
Intuition strengthens with every bite.



Savor a slice in a quiet place, allowing your psychic senses to be awakened by the spicy cinnamon and tart apple. Bonus witchy points if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Being a sacred and once highly prized spice, vanilla will lend it's spirituality (and tastiness) to your sugary mix.

But let's be honest, do you ever really need an excuse to top dessert with more dessert? ;)

What's your favorite apple spell? Do you have a special ritual you practice before divination?


By using this site, you agree you have read the full DISCLAIMER.
NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fun Books for Hard Times



Recently, I've had quite a few readers contact me, telling me they are at difficult points in their life and are struggling to find happiness in the day-to-day. The thing about adulthood is we can't always evade our troubles, which kind of sucks. Isn't that why, as children, we so desperately wanted to become adults? So we had freedom to do as we please at any given moment?

...Suddenly I'm reminded of Adam Sandler in Billy Madison when he grabs the child by the face and vehemently warns the kid to cherish his childhood. If you weren't a 90's kid (Sucker!), here's the clip

Now (somewhat begrudgingly) back to the 21st century....

When life gets treacherous, sometimes the only thing you can do is fortify yourself to endure the storm, keeping your head down and eyes forward as you watch for that glimmer of promising sunlight. Since we can't avoid all stress, the key is to take care of yourself, giving yourself a strong foundation, so that when you come out the other side you aren't standing around taking in the damage, like a victim of a tornado.

Side note, have you ever thought about how much it would stink to be taking a shower when a tornado hit? Or to be sleeping in that super-old, horribly-tattered, totally-beloved T-shirt when disaster strikes and you suddenly find yourself standing before a news camera answering inane questions? No? Just me? Guess I watch too many disaster movies...

I've discussed soul-weariness, anxiety journaling, natural approaches to stress and self-care, among other healthy coping mechanisms on the blog, but I have yet to discuss my ultimate line of defense when I need to retreat from the world:

Books.

Now, if you're looking for spiritual, thought-provoking reads, you won't find it here. The good news is you can find it here: Unusual Books for Your Spiritual Path.

Personally, I need a little fluff when life gets rough. When I'm in a not-so-stellar place, books are my escapism, my solace. Sometimes I want a little meat, something to reignite and inspire. But often, when things are particularly...cow pie-scented?....I reach for lighthearted reads with the sole purpose of entertainment. 

These recommendations are about fun, about giving yourself a few minutes of airy happiness while you get lost between the crisp, parchment-scented pages of a book. 

...Or the faint glow of an e-reader. Whatever paddles your canoe. 

These books are recommended purely for enjoyment, because sometimes life kinda sucks. And sometimes you can't run from adulthood. And sometimes your state has yet to legalize marijuana, and you don't drink, and you've given up sugar, and a girl can only handle so much before she has a meltdown, shaves her head, quits her job via an obscene gesture on Instragram, and drives to Canada to live among the elk. 

Which isn't a good thing, especially if you (unwillingly) spent the last 15 years in the desert and don't even own a winter coat. 

So before we get to places that involve soothing tones and strangers in white coats that are here to help, make yourself a cup of tea, treat yourself to a hot bath, and settle in with some deliciously indulgent reads to soothe your rattled nerves. 

The Domestic Diva Series by Krista Davis


You ever heard of cover lust? It's when a reader loves a cover so much they read the book strictly based on the cover art. Herein lies how I came to read The Dive Runs Out of Thyme. That $#!@ is so cozy!!

Despite being a murder mystery series, Davis crafts such a cozy, charming, hot-mug-of comfort atmosphere I'm not troubled by the mayhem at all. And let me be clear, these aren't Dean Koontz-style murders. Sophie Winston spends more time whipping up treats for her endless guests and decorating the table in seasonal flare than describing dead bodies. Krista's detailing of old-town Alexandria is so beautifully vivid, my husband and I are stopping in next year as we pass through Virginia. 

If you're looking for a culinary-inspired snuggly read, this is your series. It's possible this novel is sitting on my nightstand as we speak, half-read for the second time over. But there's no reason to head in there to confirm this. It's rude to wander into people's bedrooms...


The Cupcake Lovers Series by Beth Ciotta


Beth Ciotta is the reason I read romance. About six years ago a fellow book hoarder friend gave me a box of books. Said friend is a romance junky, something I was rigidly not at the time. But Ms. Ciotta's Out of Eden caught my attention, and thus began my love affair (pun intended) with the romance genre. 

The Cupcake Lovers Series is by and large my favorite creation of Beth's, particularly Rocky and Jayce's story, The Trouble with Love. I stumbled upon this series last year after our family suffered a great loss that put me in a dark, grimy, foul-smelling place. I can't begin to tell you the happiness I felt when I opened the mailbox to see the next book had arrived. It was such an event during this dreadful time that it became a joke in my house—"Uh oh! Michaela has another book!" my husband would sing-song as I scattered undesired mail (namely bills and unsolicited catalogs) across the couch so I could tear open the package, tenderly tracing my fingers along the cover as I took in the book art.

...I told you I adore books...

This is a whimsical, almost silly, definitely sexy series, but it's not shallow. Rocky's story was particularly meaningful to me because her character learns that there's a lot to be lost when you shield yourself from love as a defense to pain, which was something I was experiencing after an extraordinarily detrimental death to someone I loved very, very deeply. This series was such a sparkle in the abyss I actually e-mailed Beth, something I've only done once before with another beloved author, to let her know how much I'd come to treasure her stories. I was surprised when she not only replied but did so in such a kind, heartfelt way, sharing some of her personal life with me. She really is a sweet, thoughtful woman, and I encourage you to check out her work!


Three Little Words by Susan Mallery


Mallery's Fool's Gold series is a fun collection set in Fool's Gold, California, a place that embraces any excuse to decorate the town and host over-the-top festivals. This series can be read in any order since each book focuses on a different couple falling in love, but I highly recommend you start with Three Little Words. I've read about half of the impressive 29 novels in this series, and this is most definitely my favorite thus far. It's super sexy, has lots of juicy sexual tension, and involves a military man, which is major swoon points for me. What can I say? I love a dude in camo. Yummy with a capital "drool!"

Running Wild by Linda Howard & Linda Jones




If you've got a thing for strong, silent cowboys, this is a novel for you! Carlin (Carly) Reed is on the run from an insane ex-boyfriend. Zeke doesn't want any trouble on his ranch. Hello, sexual tension! It's a tried-and-true formula because it works! But that doesn't mean this story is stale. Once these two start knocking (cowboy) boots, look out! Running Wild is a spicy read with lots of humor, a little sass, and some serious comeuppance.

Fun Fact: I got the audiobook a few years after reading the novel. I thought the narrator did such a wonderful job I looked her up out of curiosity. Boy, was I surprised to discover it was Janice from Friends! Oh...my...God!



If you're looking to stock your shelves with page-fueled getaways, let me introduce you to my FAVORITE used book website. And before you question my authenticity, no, I was not asked to write this. I just genuinely love this site and wanted to pass it along. 

Living in a remote town whose sole bookstore recently closed down (despite my teary-eyed pleas to stay. What will I do without you, Bookstore? Who will ever love me if you leave me, Bookstore?), I needed to find a new method of feeding my obsession hobby fast! Imagine my relief when I discovered a kick-ass site for used books: Thriftbooks. Not only are most books under $4, they offer free shipping on ANY order over $10, which is an easy-peasey threshold for a book lover! 

But wait, there's more!

Sign-up today and save 15% on your first order by clicking on this offer:




If you're an avid reader and a used-book-loving kind of Pagan, make sure to sign up for their FREE Reading Rewards Program where you'll earn $5 off for every $50 spent. There's a strong possibility I've earned a coupon or two in the past few months... 

Don't forget to check out their Pagan books, which you can pick up at a steep discount! I just treated myself to three Sabbat books for less than $12 shipped. *Pretty* excited for that order to arrive.



If your path seems to be unpaved with worn-out shock absorbers and a stun gun under your ass, I hope these novels offer you a few moments of much-needed escape. Cheaper than a drinking habit, healthier than binge eating, reading is a beloved pastime that can make those garbage-heap moments of life just a little cozier, a bit more bearable, and a smidge sexier. 

...because garbage heaps can always use a little sexiness? Not sure where I was going with that one...

Anyway, happy reading! 


Do you have a favorite book that helped you through a hard time? What are some of your favorite authors?


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