Relaxing Natural Spa Day (With Items From Your Kitchen!)

I have a confession to make—I don't like primping and preening.

It's weird, because I love colorful clothes and skirts and bangle bracelets and all things sparkly. But I really don't like taking the time for facials, pedicures, and many of the things most women view as "me time." Makeup to me is mascara and face powder. I'm really dressed up if I bother with eye shadow. And while I loved me some thick eyeliner as a teen, I almost never wear it any longer. 

Don't get my wrong—I still wash my face nightly, shave my legs, and try my best not to smell like old gym socks, but all the extraneous stuff feels like a chore. I still do it, but only because I want my hair soft and shiny, and I don't want eyebrows that rival Bert from Sesame Street

Maybe it's because I'm kind of a hippie. Maybe some of the luster was lost the day I threw out all of my hormone-disrupting perfumes and swapped my shampoo for clay-based masks. But not all my grooming love is lost, because I do enjoy experimenting with essential oils for new fragrances, and I take pride in making my own lotions and tinctures. And I adore the soft feel of my hands after a good coconut coffee scrub.

See, not all hippies are dirty hippies. ;)

So whether you're feeling the need for some you time, or you're just tired of the cold winter weather wreaking havoc on your dry skin, I'm sharing three of my favorite spa day kitchen-born treats that will make you feel pampered and refreshed without having to take off your sweats or put on a bra!

Honey Face Mask
Did you know raw honey is great for your face? It's hydrating and naturally antibacterial, which makes it both soothing and nourishing if you're struggling with breakouts! And just a teaspoon is enough for your entire face.

I smear a dab on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. Then I lightly dampen my fingertips and massage the honey into my face, letting it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. No chemicals needed! You can do this weekly (or even daily) for a natural, chemical-free glow! ;)

Green Tea Detox Footbath
If there's one spa-ish thing I do love it's a nice, hot footbath. And creating a detox footbath is super easy! Simply throw a couple of green tea bags into hot water and you're ready for an episode of Gilmore Girls while you relax and detox! If you're looking for an added boost, stir in a couple of spoonfuls of bentonite clay to invigorate your tootsies. Slather on some lotion when you're done, and you will have some happy feet!

Oh my, why did I just say that? There's no need for puns. Let's pretend this never happened... 

Coconut Coffee Hand Scrub
Living in the desert makes keeping your skin hydrated almost impossible. I can drink anyone under the table in water, and I use enough lotion to make a lizard's skin look soft and supple. But it's a losing battle, and my hands are in constant need of attention.

A simple mixture of one tablespoon of coconut oil and two teaspoons of coffee grounds is a great way to exfoliate and nourish your dry skin! You may also substitute olive oil or sugar if you're out of coconut oil and/or coffee.

But you should never be out of coffee. *shakes head*

I focus primarily on the backs of my hands, because that's where they are the most dry. Give some love to whatever your trouble spot is. Then rinse the mixture off in the sink. Your hands will be oily, so use a paper towel to remove the excess and then rub the remaining oil into your skin. It's a fantastic way to pamper yourself in just five short minutes!

Since we Pagans take our nature very seriously, it's comforting to know we can still treat ourselves to a little pampering without taxing the environment. Good for us and good for Mother Earth. That's a winning combination!

What's your favorite kitchen-inspired beauty treatment?

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NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.

Natural Yule Altar

Happy Yule, everyone! It's almost here, which puts me in a holly, jolly mood.

Oh yes, I'm one of those people. The ones who play holiday music from the moment the Thanksgiving turkey is carved until I woefully take down my tree. I just love festiveness. Don't fault me!

Yule is truly a time of rest and respite, which I take pretty seriously. Therefore, my altar is extremely simplistic this time of year. I prefer to spend more time making memories with my family, reflecting on my spirituality, and reading (some enlightening books, some wholly not) rather than performing in-depth circles and castings. While there is a place for strict ritual, and while some people deeply resonate with that, I do not. Reflection at Yule IS my ritual. I don’t need an elaborate altar or a solemn rite to solidify that. Nor do you! =D

Simplicity is beautiful, isn’t it?! ;)

My suggestion to you, dear reader, is to take a Yuletide walk and let nature guide you. Find a fallen bough of evergreens? Perfect! Stumble upon acorns? Score! Don’t overcomplicate it. We do that enough in life. Let intuition guide you. Let this be enjoyable and serene. On a social level, this tends to be a stressful season, which is kind of bogus when you consider Yule is intended to be the antithesis of stress! 

As a matter of fact, this is a time when heavy workloads are frowned upon from a Pagan perspective. This is a time for YOU! A time of deep introspection to check in with your spiritual self and see what said spiritual self desires. Even nature is taking a deep breath right now, resetting and restoring for the bountiful spring. Embrace this beautiful interlude! Don’t spend it berating yourself about missed holiday parties and not having Martha-Stewart-grade cookies. The same applies to your altar!

For my altar I kept it simple with evergreen trimmings, pine cones, and white votive candles. This allows me to honor the day while still giving myself time to recoup from a busy year. 

Because, honestly, this was quite a kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck kind of a year. There's been so many amazing things that I am deeply grateful for, but also a lot of heartache and sorrow. This year, I need a little extra time to heal and reflect. Some years are like that. Honor that. Don't struggle through it. That is precisely the intent of Yule—a time to check-in with yourself and feed any needs.

I hope you all have a candy-cane eating, carol-singing, gingerbread-baking, bonfire-dancing kind of Yule! 🎄

Blessings! ♥♥♥

How do you celebrate Yule? Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle, or do you like to keep it calm and laid back?

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NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.

5 Ways to Celebrate Yule Without Spending a Dime

Yule is one of my favorite times of year. The weather finally cools down here in the desert. There's holiday music and movies. I feel no regrets about spending an evening cozied up on the couch with my husband and a mug of spiced tea. Um, fuzzy socks, anyone?! I adore fuzzy socks! The only thing better than fuzzy socks is Yuletide fuzzy socks! Ahhhh!

But I also love the intent of Yule. Now is the time for us to reflect on our lives. As Pagans, we have several Sabbats to honor this, but this is the most poignant of the self-reflection periods. 

Yule is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. After today, the daylight hours grow by about one minute a day. Spiritually, Yule is representative of the return of the sun. The God, who died on Samhain, is now reborn. It's a reminder that while death is part of life (as seen in nature as winter), birth is also a part of life.

Much in the way we take time to rest and restore in the cold winter months, death is a respite for the soul, a time for that spirit to reflect on lessons learned in life. Ultimately, Yule is about transformation and rebirth, both physically and spiritually. This can also mean transformation of yourself. If the path you're on is uncomfortable, now is the time to make changes towards the life you desire.

As we all know, red and green (God and Goddess respectively) are the colors of Yule, as are gold and silver (God/Goddess). Hot foods representing the return of the sun are very much appropriate, like ginger (yay gingerbread!), cinnamon, cloves, and—out here in the Southwest—hot peppers! Of course pine, cedar, and evergreens are an important incorporation of the Sabbat, representing the eternal soul. 

If you're looking for ways to celebrate Yule that don't include elbowing angry shoppers for the newest iPhone, you've come to the right place! Let's get started!

Watch the sunrise
When my husband and I were living in Phoenix, we'd get up early, bundle up in sweatshirts and mittens, and hike into the mountains to watch the sunrise from a precipice. It was amazing and magickal. Watching the sun breech the horizon is truly like watching a birth. It's innate and raw and deeply spiritual. Since we no longer live so close to hiking trails, we now watch the sunrise crest the mountains from our backyard (what a blessing to have a mountain view from our yard!). 

Wherever you choose to watch the sunrise, you won't be disappointed! Make some hot cocoa, slip into your favorite sweatshirt, stumble sleepily into the cold December air, and watch the Yule sunrise. It's truly spiritual. 

Light a Yule candle
Nothing says Yule like a Yule log. Traditionally, carving wishes and spells into a Yule log and then burning it is a meaningful and simple way to cast and celebrate Yule. But I also understand that some parts of the country (and world) don't have 60* Decembers. 

Just so we're clear, that's not me bragging. You're talking to someone who adores the cold and snow. If anything, that's whining.  

*Do you wanna build a snowmaaaan?*

Yes, Anna, I'd love to build a snowman. But since I only have sand and some &#$%ing desert brush, and I don't have a sister who can whip up ice rinks and shit, I guess I'll just leave that to you. 

Where was I before I made a fictional child cry? Oh, right. Too cold outside for a Yule log....Use a candle! 

Of course you can treat yourself to a new Yule candle (I love these!). But generally us Pagans have a spare candle or two laying around. Carve in your wishes for the New Year and light that bad boy up! If you're super in-tuned with fire, you may even try your hand at divination! =D

Bake gingerbread
We all know gingerbread men are a huge part of Christmas. And without getting into a big debate, that tradition stems from Yule. The reason they're gingerbread men is because they are representing the God. Makes sense, right?

So whether you bake some men or get creative and make gingerbread suns, anything incorporating ginger and cinnamon is most definitely a Yuletide-appropriate treat! Make your home smell amazing, make your belly happy, and treat yourself to some holiday music while you bake! 

Listen to the silence
Winter is a pretty quiet time in nature. Most animals have migrated or are hibernating. Even people seem to stay inside after dark. One of the ways I love to relish the winter solitude is to simply go outside and listen to the silence, especially at night. There's a magickal quality to the quiet, a certain hum of energy that can't be felt any other time of year. Maybe it's the impending renewal. Maybe it's the promise of possibility. Whatever it is, it's tranquil and serene.

Bundle up, bring some tea, and sit outside for a few minutes in the silence. Star gaze. Watch the snow fall. Take the cool night air deep into your lungs. Enjoy the quiet whisper of the wind cutting through the trees. Breathe in the season. Winter, after all, is a magickal one!

Enjoy the holiday lights
Being that Yule is about the return of the sun, clearly light plays a vital role. My husband and I love to bundle up and spend a couple of hours in the evening just walking through the neighborhood and enjoying the light displays. Exercise and celebration—win,win!

Your community may also have a luminarias celebration, which is extremely popular in the Southwest. Again, there are blurred lines here with Christianity, but I'm not here to mud sling. There's enough aggravation in life without me looking for it. 

New Mexico takes their luminarias seriously, and it's inspiring to watch the community come together to decorate the town in glowing paper lanterns. Watching the warm light as it dances and flickers across the sidewalk on a cold December evening is spiritual and breathtaking. I look forward to it every year! As I weave through those candlelit paths, I'm celebrating the return of the sun. It doesn't matter what the other people are there for. It's not really any of my business.  Not my pizza, not my pepperoni. Know what I mean?

....great. Now I'm hungry.

Remember to take some time to unwind this Yule! Try not to let yourself get too frazzled by all the hustle and bustle. And if all else fails, put on some fuzzy socks. Fuzzy socks are the answer to everything!

What's your favorite Yule tradition?

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NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.

Penniless Pagan:The Spells of 2016 FREE Printable Download!

Ahhhh Yule! A time of rich hot cocoa stirred with peppermint sticks, gingerbread cake slathered in cream cheese frosting, chilly December nights curled up by the crackling fire with eggnog and a good book. 

There's so much to love about December! For me it's the cool weather, yummy food, the endless holiday movies, and feeling not one bit guilty about relaxing. I tend to slow down on the day-to-day to allow more time for reading. In fact, I have a stack of holiday romance novels that is so out of control I actually bought the same book twice without realizing it.


This happened.

I think I have a problem.

But there is a downside to the holidays—the hefty price tag that comes with making everything merry and bright. Does everything have to cost so much?

No. The answer is no!

Since launching the blog in February, I've been truly astounded by the kindness with which you lovely ladies and lads have welcomed me. So, as a way to say thank you, I've complied all the spells from 2016 into one convenient PDF! It's my Yule gift to you—a free printable download that makes feeding your Book of Shadows all the more easier! I hope you enjoy!!

Click here for your free download! The Spells of 2016 is no longer available. But that doesn't mean you're leaving empty handed! Enjoy a FREE 5 Minute Healing Tides Anxiety Release Meditation by subscribing to the Penniless Pagan Newsletter located on the top right side of the site! 

Remember to take some time for yourself during this busy season. Kick back with Netflix and cookies. Turn on some holiday music and take a hot bath. Or just go to bed early when you're feeling tired. Enjoy the season! Don't let it snowball you (see what I did there?) with too many engagements and guilt for wanting to unwind. That's what Yule is about—respite and reflection. Our bodies want to slow down this time of year. It's healthy to give in to that!

Check back next week for 5 Ways to Celebrate Yule Without Spending a Dime. And if you're looking for last-minute Yule gifts, don't forget to check out my post on 10 Witchy Yule Gifts for Under $20!

Now break out that BoS and start printing! =D

Do you have a favorite Penniless Pagan spell from 2016? What's your favorite holiday movie that makes you want to curl up on the couch and drink hot cocoa?

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.

10 Witchy Yule Gifts for Under $20

Since Yule is only a few weeks away, I decided to share some of my favorite witchy gifts with you. And because this is the Penniless Pagan, all suggestions are under $20*! So if you don't want to overspend and you're looking for witchy goodies, you've come to the right place! Best part? There's no need to risk getting trampled in a flash sale, because everything can be ordered from the comfort of your couch (which means pants are optional).

Ahhhh! Nothing says the Season of Giving like trampling a total stranger just to save $7 on the newest Xbox. The holidays, right?!

Brew yourself a cup of tea, turn on the holiday Netflix (I highly recommend 12 Dates of Christmas), and get your Yule shopping done without having to circle the lot sixteen times for a parking space! 

1. Chakra Candle Set-$16
There's nothing like a good chakra balancing! And while you don't need candles to do so, it can help add an extra layer of depth and cleansing. These candles are great because they're so versatile they can be used for anything from spell work to simply lending beauty and aroma to your home! And because everyone loves candles, they even make a great secret Santa gift! For the hippies among us (hear, hear!), they're made with essential oils. Yay for nature! 

I treated myself to this journal a few months ago and I LOVE it! I love the leather strap wrap-around. I love the charms attached to the woven leather binding. I love the tree of life imprinted on the front. The paper quality is great. Seriously, guys, $20 is a steal for this. And it comes in a variety of colors and images!

Since I purchased this online, I understood I might be getting a less-than-stellar product. But I was wrong! This would make an AWESOME Book of Shadows for your fellow Pagans, or a kick-ass journal for the writers in your life. I honestly love this journal so much I plan on purchasing a second for my herbal medicine notes. I mean, I'm getting excited over a JOURNAL here, folks! Trust me, it's awesome. 

3. Blessings Incense-$16

Now, before you think I must have completely lost my penniless mind to spend $16 on incense, let me tell you this is a box of TWELVE! As in, 12 gifts. Or 12 stocking stuffers. Or, if you're anything like me and have an unhealthy obsession with incense (and blessings...?) one super awesome gift of a year's supply of yummy, blessing-scented incense.

"WTF does a blessing smell like?" you ask.

Generally, I'd say puppy breath. But this particular blessing incense smells fantastic! It's floral yet earthy and not at all overpowering. You're talking to someone who gets migraines from perfumey scents, so I can assure you this is a wonderful balance of feminine and aromatic yet grounded and herbal. Unfortunately, Google doesn't have a scratch-and-sniff app yet, so you're just going to have to trust me on this one! It's my favorite incense, and I bet it will be yours too! 

4. Himalayan Salt Lamp-$20

Salt lamps don't just had tranquil ambiance to a room, they also help purify the air! I keep mine on my nightstand so I can read (Ahem...into the wee hours of the morning) without waking my husband or disrupting my own melatonin production. Their warm, fire-like light is perfect for creating a witchy ambiance for an altar or spell room! Love me a good salt lamp!

This book is great for those who like to cast in the kitchen since it's filled with the magickal properties of herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables... even honey and syrup! Scott Cunningham was a unique individual who loved encouraging people to explore their own innate power. He wrote many books on solitary witchcraft, and I highly recommend his work to people who are new to Paganism. 

6. Tiger's Eye Hamsa Hand Bracelet-$15

I love Etsy. You get to purchase really unique items while supporting people who are pursuing their passion. What's not to love? 

Recently, I started having a lot of trouble absorbing other people's energy. No matter how much I grounded or shielded myself I just couldn't keep myself from sucking up others' crappy moods (due to my own vulnerable state, but that's another story). So I decided to get a piece of jewelry worn just for shielding. 

This bracelet is beautiful! The tiger's eye is great for energy shielding, and you can select from the Tree of Life charm or the Hamsa Hand, which is what I chose. After cleansing, charging, and blessing, I've noticed a marked difference in my energy field when out in public. And if you keep an eye out, the seller often has 50% off coupons on her store page, which is how I got this gorgeous baby at a steal of a price! Check her out and support small business!

I talk more about it here, but Fairy Tarot Cards are my favorite tarot cards. They are perfect for beginners because they have the meanings already printed on them. And while they are upbeat, they WILL tell you if you need to get your act together. I've found them to be accurate, easy to use, and they're under $14. Score! 

If you'd like a more direct answer (think Magic 8 ball for the New Age), these Magical Unicorn Oracle Cards are amazing! I go into more detail here, but essentially I happened upon them and felt compelled to purchase them, which was surprising because I'm not much of a unicorn person. I've been using these for years, and have always found them to be uplifting and reassuring! And their art is gorgeous! 

9. White Sage Smudge Sticks-$8

Boy, do I love to smudge! I smudge myself. I smudge the house. I smudge the cat...when he's not looking. He gets pretty annoyed with me once he sees the smoke circling his head. These white sage smudge sticks come in a three pack for less than $8. That's a smoking deal!

...Did you see what I did there? Did you see it?

While you can purchase kits that include shells and feathers, I recommend using a bowl that's either personal to you or is something you already have. Of course, if you want a treat then by all means get a pretty bowl. You work hard. You deserve it. =D But if you're new to smudging and aren't sure where to start—all you need is some sage, a match, and a quick tutorial on how to smudge. No need to complicate things! ;)

Shameless plug? Yup! It keeps the blog running, so you have to cut me a little slack. ;) Give a gift that will keep them immersed in full moon magick all year long! Thirteen spells and rituals (enough to cover those super special blue moon years!) that are easy and affordable, as well as an herbal substitution guide, money-saving tips for spell supplies, advice on successful casting, and more! Available in e-book AND paperback!

Wishing you a Blessed Yule!

What's your favorite thing about Yule?

*Prices may change. Please note all items were under $20 at the time of this post. Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means I make a small percentage AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU. Affiliate links help keep alive and supplied, 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.

Pinterest Gone Pagan: Pumpkin Pie Money Spell

It's almost Thanksgiving! At least in America. Which means us Yanks are baking and cooking and eating away. And in between all that gratitude and turkey, I'm guessing you're probably going to help yourself to a slice of pumpkin pie. Or sweet potato pie, which you could absolutely substitute for this Pinterest Gone Pagan spell.

...But just so you know, this is a pumpkin household, mmmkay?

Whew...I think my morning tea just kicked in. Feeling a touch feisty. It's English Breakfast, which I'm drinking out of a pumpkin mug. I wonder if England has American Breakfast tea. I doubt it. But if they did, I bet it would be doughnut flavored. Or bacon cheeseburger flavored. At the very least it would most definitely taste like freedom...which I think has subtle undertones of vanilla and bergamot?

There I go again. My apologies. It's the first truly chilly morning here in New Mexico, and all this fresh air has me and my cat feeling a little spunky. Don't hold it against us. We just spent the last six months in climate control. It's sort of like kids on the last day of school, so much pent up energy and we're not totally sure how to dispel it. Maybe I should break out the yarn. For me. For crocheting. The cat's terrible at crocheting. He always chews on his yarn, thus making his blankets smell like fish. It's quite off-putting.


Where were we?  Ahh, yes! Money! It's that time of year, the season where everyone seems to overspend in one form or another. But rather than focus on the budget being tight (which isn't a good place to concentrate your attention!), why not put that nutmeg-dusted pumpkin pie to use and conjure up a money spell? And since this pie is most likely shared among a group (though it's none of my business if you want to grab a fork and head on down to bloat town), this spell will have a positive effect on all those who indulge in your sweet, creamy treat! 

...Just going to leave that unintended double entendre there for you to do with it what you will.

I like The Kitchn's recipe for pumpkin pie (Here's the pin) because it uses individual spices rather than pre-made pumpkin pie spice mix. There's nothing wrong with using pre-made; your spell will manifest just fine. My qualm is simply because I already have those spices on hand and don't want to spend more money on a pre-made mixture. Which, if we're being honest, isn't really much of a qualm. 

The best part about this Pumpkin Pie Money Spell is that it's LOADED with money-magnetized ingredients! Pumpkin, cinnamon, & ginger are all money-attracting goodies. Milk, which represents fruitfulness, will also contribute abundance and wealth to your life. The eggs are a potent symbol of possibility and potential. And lastly the sugar, which represents the sweet aspects of life—the indulgences, the comforts, the icing-on-the-cake so to speak.

If you're using a pie crust— *overly analytical voice in head interrupts* 

Voice in head: What do you mean "if?"

Me: Well, I don't use pie crust.

Voice in head: Then what you have is pumpkin custard.

Me: What I have is tasty GOODNESS, but back to the spell...

If you're using a pie crust, take a moment to lightly score money symbols into the bottom of your crust. You could draw the standard $ symbol, but even just the words "wealth" and/or "abundance" work splendidly. As you sprinkle in the cinnamon and ginger into your filling, imagine it's money falling into your lap, heaping into a giant pile until it falls onto the floor because it's that abundant. As you crack open the eggs, picture opportunities opening before you (maybe in the form of a new job, more hours, or a new career adventure). While you pour the milk into the bowl, envision abundance flowing into your life just as freely as the milk cascades from the measuring cup. 

Lastly, before you take that first decadent, cinnamon-laced, creamy, pumpkin-y bite, remember to share a bit of gratitude. After all, it is Thanksgiving, and we have a lot to be thankful for. If you're looking for a simple Pagan blessing, check out this one I use daily:

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Blessings to you and yours! And if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving in November, then Happy 4th Week of November! ;)

What's your favorite holiday dessert? Do you weave magick into your holiday recipes?

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.

Paper Moon Blessings Spell

It's that time again—full moon time! Isn't it great being a Pagan? You get 8 Sabbats plus 12-13 full moons AND new moons. I mean, we party, like, every other week.

No wonder we are so cool and popular and everyone wants to hang out with us and wear their hair like we do and drive the same cars as us. =P

If you follow Jasmeine over at you may have already seen this spell from me since she was kind enough to host a guest post from yours truly. =D But since it's such a fun and simple spell, I wanted to share it again just in case you missed it! So grab a pencil and paper, put on your casting hat, and enjoy this easy yet powerful full moon spell!

What You'll Need:
-A sheet of paper
-A pen or pencil
-A piece of ribbon or string

How to Conjure:
-Cut your sheet of paper into a circle. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

-Using a pen, pencil, or marker, write your desires in a spiral pattern starting from the edge of the paper and circling toward the center (which will draw your needs to you). End your list of blessings with the phrase, “Three times three, I draw these to me!”
o  For example, if you’re looking for generalized blessings you may write things like, “Happiness… Health… Joy… Laughter…Creativity… Abundance… Strength… Courage…Three times three, I draw these to me!”
o  If you’re looking for something in particular, like a new job, you’ll want to write very specific characteristics of what you’re seeking. For example, “A new job that brings me a sense of fulfillment…that is within ten miles from my house…that pays me $18 an hour…that has friendly and welcoming co-workers…that has a supportive and understanding boss…Three times three, I draw these to me!”
o  Just make sure you stay positive! Instead of saying, “I don’t want a jerk for a boss.” Say something like, “I want a boss that is friendly and treats me with respect.” Remember, we attract what we project. If you want positivity, you have to THINK positively.

 -After you have your desires all written out, take your Paper Moon outside or by a moonlit window. Once you’re calm and centered, take a moment to imagine your spell manifesting. If you’re casting for a new job, imagine your first day at work. Envision your new co-workers welcoming you. Imagine what your desk looks like. What scents float through the room. Picture yourself happy and enjoying your new career. If you’re casting for generalized blessings, envision what each of those means to you. Picture yourself happy and healthy, feeling alert and strong. Imagine your family enjoying a belly laugh over dinner. Envision abundance freely and easily entering your life. 

-Holding the Paper Moon before you, say the following:

Lunar Goddess, full and bright;
Grant me these blessings I’ve conjured tonight.
With the power of the moon, gentle yet strong;
I ask you, dear Goddess, to hurry these along.
As I stand in your luminescence, I feel your power within me;
As I will it, So Mote It Be!

-Using string or ribbon, hang your Paper Moon in a moonlit window for three nights, taking a moment each night to envision your blessings manifesting. Once the third night is complete (as in the following morning), tuck away your Paper Moon somewhere safe where it won’t be disturbed. I often hide spells behind pictures. Just make sure the picture is of something and not someone or else you may put a spell on them!

That’s it! A mere fifteen minutes and you’ve got all sorts of blessings coming your way! Now slip into some PJs and queue up the Netflix! You earned it! ;)

If you’re interested in more full moon spells, check out my new book By the Light ofthe Moon: 13 Simple & Affordable Pagan Spells & Rituals for a Year ofFull Moon Celebrations. Every purchase helps keep this site alive and supplied with loads of free spells, rituals, natural altars, and natural living techniques! So, thank you! ♥

What's your favorite way to celebrate a full moon?

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.

Anxiety Release Spell

I once read that anxiety doesn't come from thinking about the future but from trying to control it. I believe this to be absolutely true.

Case in point: my recent trip to Phoenix.

My husband and I decided to take a short trip to Phoenix for a variety of reasons, not limited to our need for REAL desert. Not this scraggly plot of nothing that mocks me from just outside my window. I mean, not that there's any burnout or resentment going on here. Nope. Nada. After all, I do have a beautiful tree that hangs into my yard. All is well. BREATHE, I said! All is well! ;)

Whew, I think we hit a nerve there.

ANYWAY, knowing we'd be away for two days, we did what any pet owner would do and asked a trusted friend to watch our feline furbaby.

...and then I proceeded to spend the weeks leading up to the trip imagining the worst possible outcomes in my mind. I was raised by a worrier. This shit is in my blood. And while I've made strides in silencing that nagging Type A voice, nothing gets me more freaked out than thinking about something happening to my whisker-faced baby! But I needed to go to Phoenix. The trip wasn't just for pleasure; I needed to see my acupuncturist. Therefore, I had to let go. I had to relinquish my control.

Which gave me anxiety.

Which I didn't enjoy.

So I turned to magick, because that's where I find my solace. Well, that and nature. Hence my love for the aforementioned tree that hangs into my yard. I spend many-a-hours staring at that leafy blessing. *sigh* It's the little things, I tell you. You have to relish those little things. ;)

Below you'll find my Anxiety Release Spell. And you know what? It WORKED! Anytime a worry popped into my head, I reminded myself of the spell, took a deep breath, and trusted all would be well. And since my little fur bottom is sitting behind me as I write this, purring as he takes in the mild scents of a Southwestern fall, I know my anxiety was all for naught! And I did myself and my body a favor by releasing that crap to the Universe, knowing those infinite energies would handle the rest. 

Anxiety Release Spell

What You'll Need:
-A sheet of paper
-A pen or pencil
-A burning bowl or fire pit
-Matches or lighter

How to Conjure:

- On one side of the paper, write down what you're worried about. Don't concern yourself with messy handwriting or spelling. Just let that anxiety flow. For example, if you're anxious about giving a presentation at work you may write something like, "I'm worried my presentation will be a flop. I'm concerned I'll stutter and have difficulty finding words. I don't want my nerves to undermine my purpose."

-On the other side of the paper, write down the outcome you desire. Back to the presentation example, you may write, "I want the words to come to me easily, so I can present my point with confidence and clear communication. I want to be calm and centered. I want my presentation to be well received." 

- Fold the piece of paper as desired and take it outside to be burned. As always, please exercise caution when using fire. Have a fire extinguisher or water hose readily available. 

-Place the sheet of paper in the bowl. As you touch the match or lighter to the paper, say:

Universe, carry my worries into the sky;
In your hands it will be all right.

-Once the paper is completely burned, pour a good amount of water over the ashes and stir until all the embers are doused and the water is gray (or grey if you're in the UK ;D). Pour the mixture into the grass or soil, thus relinquishing your worries to nature!

You're all done! Now, anytime that fruitless anxiety creeps in, remind yourself that you released it into the Universe. Those concerns are no longer yours!

And remember, my fretful friend, all is well! Just breathe! ♥

Still having trouble letting go? Check out my post on anxiety journaling

What do you do to let go of stress?

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NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.

Natural Samhain Altar

Happy Samhain, everyone! I can't believe it's already here! Have you had your pumpkin spice latte yet? If not, don't forget to add a little spell work to your brew!

Haha...because of witches...

We'll be spending our day enjoying the cool-ish weather. After all, 83* hardly calls for sweatshirts. But the mornings are cool enough to give a hint of the fall, and for that I'm thankful. 

For my altar, I let nature do the guiding (as usual!) and used leaves and small acorns that I found around my home. How I long for orange and red leaves! But this is the desert, and since basically none of the vegetation in my neighborhood is indigenous, I'm fortunate to have any leaves at all!

I used a black candle in the center of my circle to honor the transcended, balanced with five white votives. And, of course, I had to use mini pumpkins. Come on, now. It's October!

On each leaf I wrote the name of a departed loved one, people who I've spent a lot of time thinking about these past few weeks. If you're feeling extra spunky, you could add a few personal items of theirs or your favorite photographs. I chose to keep mine simple, because that's how I roll. 

The candles will be lit tonight at dusk, and I'll let them burn until they're spent, which usually takes a few hours. I'll also leave a small plate of food outside beneath a candle in the window, my favorite Samhain tradition! I prefer Samhain rituals to be done in the darkness; that's when I feel most connected to the transcended. How about you? Do you wait until sundown, or do you feel most in-tuned during the day?

While Samhain can be a bit heavy, remember to do something fun today. The best way to honor the dead is to embrace life. And when we raise our own mood, we're raising the vibrations for those spirits around us, making it easier for them to send us messages. Because, let's face it, we're all waiting for a little message from a loved one tonight!

Blessed Be, everyone! May your Samhain be filled with love, laughter, and warm memories!

What's your favorite Samhain ritual? Do you wait to cast until after dark? Do you balance the somber with a little fun?

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.

5 Ways to Celebrate Samhain (Without Spending a Dime)

It's almost here! The day every Pagan, witch, and Practical Magic fan spends all year eagerly awaiting—Samhain!

In case you're new to this Pagan party, or you need a refresher, let me fill you in on some of the spectacular details of this spectacular Sabbat! 

Samhain (pronounced sow-in) is celebrated on October 31st and is often considered the most important Sabbat of the Pagan year. It's a revered time when we honor our transcended loved ones as the veil between the physical and spiritual planes thins. But it is also a time of reflection and sacrifice. The Goddess becomes a crone (seen as autumn in nature), the God has departed, and nature begins it's descent into winter, reminding us that death is an inevitable part of life. And yet, death is not a finality, merely a transition from one form to another. We confirm this on Yule when, as The Wheel continues to turn, the God (sun) is reborn, reminding us that every ending is accompanied by a new beginning. 

Samhain feasts are a wonderful way to celebrate the Sabbat! Remember to set an extra place setting as a simple yet powerful way to honor your transcended loved ones. Pumpkin, squash, and apples are tasty and appropriate for the Samhain menu, as are spiritually-enlightening herbs like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg! Feeling extra inspired to remember the souls of the departed? Place a plate outside with treats for the deceased. As their spirits roam the physical plane (due to the thinned veil), this serves as a sacrifice to their journey. For the safety of nature's critters, use animal-friendly foods, like carrots or cored pieces of apple. Never use chocolate or raisins, as these are very dangerous for dogs. You can check this list for dog-friendly foods. 

We all know orange and black are the colors of Samhain, representing the waning sun (God) and death respectively. But don't forget to turn to nature for your color palette inspiration! Rich crimson, earthy brown, and deep gold are all wonderful choices for decorations or designing your altar. 

Feeling conflicted about trick-or-treating with the kiddos? Don't! Handing out candy is a modern-day method of offering a sacrifice. Plus it's a fun tradition that encourages neighborhood camaraderie. Embrace the festiveness of the evening without stressing and overthinking! You're not pooh-poohing your Pagan roots; you're conjuring happy, positive, light-hearted energy on a night when spirits can utilize these buoyant vibrations to share messages with their loved ones! Remember, nature reminds us to keep life in balance! There's room to enjoy the merriment AND honor the Sabbat! =D

...and you can do it all without spending a dime! Here's how:

Go for a spiritual hike 
It's not unusual for me to recommend you take a hike...especially if you're on my lawn screaming profanities at me.

Bad joke? Sorry. My afternoon smoothie has me on a fruit-induced high.

Anywho, I recommend getting out into nature A LOT. I think the reason why is pretty obvious. But I also know how easy it is to not really BE somewhere. Sure, we're at the park. But we're checking our phones. We're thinking about the grocery list. We're wondering what the hell happened to Happy Endings. That show was great. Why did it get canceled???

None of the above is allowed on a spiritual hike. This hike is about you and nature. It's a time to turn off the cell phone (completely deserve an hour of alone time!), push away the endless stream of thoughts, and to simply take in the world around you. Focus on the smell of the fallen leaves. Pause and let the cool wind caress your face. Place your hands against the tree bark and explore the knotty texture. This is a time to commune, to let the stress of modern life fall away so you can return to your roots. If you happen upon some pretty leaves or a cool stone, pick it up and take it home. Instant Samhain altar! 

Take a peek into your future
With the veil between the worlds thinning, now is a time of heightened psychic ability! Try your hand at tarot cards. Break out those runes. Experiement with reading tea leaves. Whatever your oracle vice, put it to good use on Samhain and see what the future holds! If you're looking for an autumn-themed spread, check this one out!

Leave a candle in the window
I must admit, this is my FAVORITE tradition of Samhain. Sure, I love garlic-laced pumpkin seeds, brightly-colored Halloween decorations, and a small indulgence of chocolate. (Small is all relative, okay?!) But the thing I most look forward to is leaving a candle in the window. 

Leaving a candle in the window is an old tradition to help guide the spirits of the departed to us, letting our loved ones know they are never forgotten. For safety, I use a battery-operated candle and leave it in the window all night, thus symbolizing the eternal-nature of our souls. Personally, I set my plate of sacrificial food beneath the same window. It's a small yet profound gesture that I look forward to all day!

Watch the sunset
There's little that's more grounding and spiritual than taking a moment to simply watch the sunset. It's a reminder that we are part of this beautiful cycle, that we ARE nature. This is especially poignant on a Sabbat like Samhain, because Samhain is the death of the God (represented by the sun). Watching that blazing orange glow fade beneath the horizon into a sea of purple and pink hues reminds us that this glorious life is not forever, that we must cherish the now because we don't know when our time on this majestic plane will end. But, all is not lost! Not only will the sun rise tomorrow morning, but the rebirth of the sun (Yule) is not far away, promising us that death is not an end, merely a transition.

Put down the phone. Forget whatever drama happened at work. Brew yourself a cup of tea or steal a piece of chocolate from the trick-or-treat stash, and take a precious moment to watch the sunset. 

Remember the forgotten
Growing up in New England, historical cemeteries are abundant and plentiful. And because modern life has crept in, you can find them in some strange places! The weirdest place I've seen one? In the parking lot of a Barnes and Noble. Like, literally IN the parking lot.

As a little girl, my father nurtured my love for reading with a trip to the bookstore every Friday night. Part of the routine was to scale a small, rocky hill atop which perched a historical cemetery. As I peered over the wrought-iron fence, admiring the illegible headstones, I wondered about the people whose bodies rested beneath the soft mossy earth. It was clearly a family cemetery, with no more than six or eight headstones nestled closely together, and I couldn't help but wonder what their time on this plane had been like.  Alone on this minuscule hilltop, the cool night air whispering against my skin, I would imagine the area stripped of streetlights and shopping plazas, the earth returned to its natural state of emerald grass, towering oak trees, and maybe a stream or two. The family, who were most-likely farmers, probably had a large vegetable garden, maybe a cow or some sheep. 

It was mesmerizing and wondrous to a fanciful child, but also a little sad. These people once had purpose on this Earth. They lived rich lives filled with children and family. They loved. They suffered heartbreak. They had favorite colors and disliked certain foods. They were real. They were alive. They stood on this very patch of soil and wept as their loved ones were returned to the earth. 

...And now they were simply an oddity surrounded by asphalt and strip malls, all but forgotten as people fussed over designer jeans and Egyptian cotton sheets. 

So every Friday night I would amble up that steep little hill as my dad, who has arthritic knees, waited patiently below. In hindsight, I think I felt like I was paying them some sort of homage, honoring their memory simply by recognizing that their Earthly bodies were there. That they weren't forgotten.  
Samhain is a fantastic time to remember these souls. As Pagans, I think we're innately drawn to cemeteries, so you probably know of a cool little haunt (see what I did there??) near you. Take a stroll, pick some wildflowers or find a pretty stone, and place it on an old grave. Or any grave that looks like it hasn't had visitors in a while. This is a powerful recognition that we are all bound by the same limitless energy. Like the spider's web, our lives are interwoven. Even if we do not live in the same time period, our current lives ARE shaped, formed, and affected by the lives that came before us. Connect with another soul. Take a moment to let their spirit know they are not forgotten. 

Bonus suggestion:

Let Loose!
You didn't think I was going to end on a somber note, did you?! While Samhain can be a solemn Sabbat, especially if you're missing someone that has departed, you shouldn't forget to have a little fun. After all, the biggest lesson we learn from death is that life is a gift—a gift that's meant to be enjoyed! So whether you want to watch a scary movie, binge on chocolate, roast pumpkin seeds, or harass the neighborhood children while dressed as Winifred from Hocus Pocus, remember to have some laughs and enjoy the night. After all, what better way to honor the dead than to live?!

Happy Samhain, everyone! 🎃

What's your favorite way to celebrate Samhain?

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NOTE: As with any recommendation found on this blog, consult your doctor or naturopath before use.

5 Ways to Honor Your Ancestors This Samhain

While I firmly believe in the sugar-laden fun of Samhain (hence my annual Treehouse of Horror marathon), I also think it's important to remember the core of this Sabbat—honoring our transcended loved ones. Now, I'm the first person to admit death is one of the shittiest parts—Nay! THE shittiest part— of life. Trust me, you don't want to see me at a funeral. It's UGLY! I'm just a curly-headed blob of tears and Kleenex topped with a touch of hyperventilation. It's quite the spectacle. 

But regardless of the snot-fest that is mourning, there are ways to honor our loved ones that don't need to be so painfully miserable. Here are 5!

Reflect on the lessons you learned from them
Oh sheesh. I could go on for hours about things I learned from my transcended loved ones. The honor of hard work from my Grandpa Raymond. The gift of embracing life with positivity from my Grandpa Mario. Self-love, self-acceptance, gratitude, and compassion from my beloved and sorely missed furry soulmate, Barley. 

Losing someone who brought you so much happiness is an excruciatingly painful thing. Okay, that's an understatement. It f#@&ing blows, and I don't much appreciate it! I doubt you do either. But it IS part of life. It's the one surefire promise we are given upon our first breath. 

Take this time to reflect on what their time on this planet has taught you. Maybe it was a direct lesson, like learning to drive or sew. Maybe it was something you gleaned from watching them live. Most-likely it's a mixture of both. Spend time this season honoring their lives, not mourning their deaths. It's okay to miss them, but they don't want you to be sad. The best way we can honor our loved ones is by living our lives! Which brings me to my next point...

Do an activity they enjoyed
My Grandpa Raymond loved bird watching. My Grandpa Mario loved music. My beautiful Barley lived to walk, ala Forest Gump. Whether it was crocheting, cooking, dancing, or just having a beer, take some time to remember your loved ones by doing what they most enjoyed! It's a fantastic way to feel connected to them, to remember them, and to ultimately honor them. And while you're doing so, keep an eye out! It's very likely they will send you a sign that they appreciate your nod to their happiness, especially as the veil between the physical plane and spiritual plane thins. 

Write about how they influenced your life in a journal
...Or social media. Or on a piece of paper you can tuck away someplace special. Writing is cathartic and can often reveal emotions we didn't know we were repressing. Don't judge your handwriting, your spelling, your verbiage. Just write down what your heart is expressing and reflect on how your loved ones influenced your life. 

Tell the younger generation a story about your loved one (or write it down for them to keep!)
I was two when my great grandmother died, but that doesn't mean I don't miss and think about her. Throughout my life, I've always felt a strong connection to a woman I essentially never knew. And yet, I did. Through the stories my family told me about her, I developed a connection to her and learned we both have a lot in common. Not only did this allow me to feel close to her, but it ensured her spirit would be remembered even after the people who knew her personally are gone. 

Take a few moments to tell your child, niece, or nephew those fond memories so they can feel connected to their ancestors. Better yet, write them down for posterity! One day they will cherish those memories the way I cherish stories of flour-covered aprons and massive Sunday breakfasts. Even if they are too young to truly appreciate the gesture now, they will some day. =D

Prepare their favorite meal or a dish that reminds you of them

When I think of my Grandpa Raymond, I immediately think of rhubarb. It was one of the stranger things he had in his vegetable garden. I mean, who the heck actually eats rhubarb? But every summer he made rhubarb pies and rhubarb jam. Being a highly picky eater as a child, I never tried either, and I sorely regret it now.

My other grandfather, Grandpa Mario, loved food but had to watch his diet after his first heart attack. Well, my Nana watched it. He just sort of went along with it, though he never complained. It just wasn't in his nature to do so. But on holidays he'd indulge and my Nana would pretend not to notice. What was his favorite holiday treat? Without question, chocolate-covered cherries.

You see, just like me, my mother was the only daughter. And my mother and Grandfather shared a very close bond (as did he and I!) Every Christmas—Every. Single. Christmas—my mother would give him one individually-wrapped chocolate-covered cherry on the sly. "Don't tell Mom!" she'd warn. He'd wink. And the two would laugh quietly over their nefarious, yet not so devious, secret. 

The first Christmas after my Grandfather passed, just ten short weeks after his death, I knew my mother's heart would sink every time she saw those individually-wrapped chocolate-covered cherries on the checkout counter (a common thing in New England). When she called on Christmas Eve, she told me her and my heartbroken Nana were toasting my Grandfather with chocolate-covered cherries. 

"Do you remember how I used to give him one?" she asked. But how could I forget? It was something I looked forward to every year, watching those two giggle like they had just committed a high-risk crime.

"I made a batch from scratch," I'd told her. "I'm eating one right now."

And so now, every December, I break out the candy molds and remember my dear Grandfather.

Food is such a prominent part of mingling and bonding with friends and family. And while you may never have deeply thought about it before, I bet there's a particular food or dish that reminds you of your transcended loved one. Take the time to make that special something this October. It's a way for us to honor and remember them through something that brought them joy. 

And while you prepare that special dish, think about all the lovely memories you have of them. Dismiss the sad, heavy thoughts. Let go of the what-if's. Forget any painful memories of seeing them ill. They don't want you to reflect on that. They want you to remember their LIFE, not their death. Death is merely a mechanism for moving on to other planes; it's not a defining characteristic of that person's life. Steep yourself in the love, the happiness, the goofy stories, that crazy time Aunt Hilda locked herself out of the house and you pulled up just in time to see her bright yellow underwear as she crawled in through a casement window. Those are the moments they want you to treasure. Those are the gifts they gave us to cherish. 

Yes, life comes with blistered memories. Yes, there are things we could have done differently and probably a few things we wish we'd never said. But that's the purpose of us being here—to learn and grow from our mistakes. Departed souls don't hold these lessons against you. They made mistakes themselves! Like us, they were human and bumbled through life. Except now, they can see the grand scheme. They understand that the ultimate gift we can give to anyone—including ourselves!—is to offer them love, and love includes forgiveness. Samhain is a time to embrace those cherished memories, not a season to berate yourself. Honor them! Remember them with love! ♥

...and maybe just a little bit of rhubarb pie. ;)

Blessed Samhain! 

What was your loved one's favorite dish or pastime? 

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