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.