Monday, May 22, 2017

The Truth About Anxiety and Herbs to Help

Note: Anxiety can be a symptom of a medical condition, such as hypothyroidism or heart disease. Please seek the advice of a trusted healthcare professional before instituting any advice given in the article or on this blog. This post addresses generalized anxiety with no medical cause. 

You know what's weird? Getting anxiety about writing a post about addressing anxiety. That shit is weird.

But it's also telling. Let me explain why.

This morning as I made breakfast and began my morning routine, I found myself restless and unable to focus, mostly because I was planning on writing a money spell post. (Don't worry. There will be a money spell, just not today!) Because I've grown accustomed to addressing anxiety as a signal and not an illness, I mentally took a step back and asked myself what the hell the problem was. After all, there's no need for nail biting fifteen minutes after rolling out of bed.

The problem was I wasn't prepared to write the spell post. I hadn't finalized the spell and therefore felt rushed and, well, anxious! But I had spent time preparing for this anxiety post, so that's what I decided to do today.

And the anxiety went away.

That's the funny thing I've learned about anxiety—it goes away when you learn to listen.

Now, before you start a scathing e-mail, everyone is different and I'm not admonishing anyone's decision on their chosen method of treatment for any maladies. Just like anything else in life, a person needs to make their own decisions regarding the best path to take for their own personal health and happiness. But the focus of this blog is to help people embrace a natural and spiritual approach to life. I can only write from my own experience, and my journey is one of spirituality and natural medicine. So if you're not looking for spiritual or herbal alternatives, you've stumbled into the wrong place. Sorry about that. Take a cup of tea before you go. It's dandelion. Great for the liver.

It took me years to realize anxiety was on my side. As is my body, a lesson that took me decades to accept and appreciate. But we're taught to go against instinct. We're taught we are powerless in our own healing.

That's complete bullshit.

You have more influence over your own health and healing than you probably realize.

I can say this from experience, from healing illnesses I was told would never heal. The body was meant to heal. It was designed by a beautiful, omnipotent energy to be healthy and strong. And regardless of what you've been told, you—more than anyone else—have the ability to attain health and happiness in your own body. This is a subject I'm deeply passionate about, but for now let's stick to anxiety. =D

Despite how debilitating anxiety can sometimes feel, anxiety is actually a powerful tool once we've learned how to listen to its message. Anxiety is the warning sign, "Do Not Enter! Danger Ahead!" But we've been told to tune it out. "Silly, mind/body/spirit! You don't know what you're doing!" And we push ourselves further and further until we have panic attacks and emotional breakdowns.

When I take the time to listen to anxiety, life is a whole lot easier. Not perfect. Not without challenge. I'm not selling you a fairy tale. Life isn't easy. This is a learning plane and we have work to do! But in learning to trust and respect my inner voice, I've found peace.

Let me ask you this—what danger is there in listening to your anxiety?

If you're struggling with anxiety, have you taken a moment to evaluate what is causing it? If you have, have you asked yourself what you can do to eliminate the cause? If you know that answer, have you taken measures to remove the cause?

Anxiety over a blog post is obviously a very small, trivial thing that I mention solely as an example of listening to the signal. But there was a time when my experience with anxiety had blossomed into a fruitful tree of stress vomiting and panic attacks caused by a job (and eventually, I learned, the whole damn career) that was causing me great distress and unhappiness. It took me years to accept the career path I had chosen, that I went to college for, that I spent more time paying off than working in, was not the right career for me. I felt like a failure. I'd abandoned my dream. I was embarrassed to admit to people I no longer worked in a field I worked so hard to become a part of.

Yet the anxiety was gone. I didn't dread waking up every day. Life wasn't simple. In fact, in some ways it had become more complicated, like money being far tighter. But I was happy. I was free from self-imposed chains. I wasted time being unhappy and made myself sick because I didn't listen. Because I was ashamed. Because I was afraid. Had I listened to my inner voice, presenting itself through anxiety, I could have been a whole lot happier a whole lot sooner.

I wrote this post because I've had so many readers reach out to me regarding anxiety journaling. (which is awesome to hear from you, so thank you!) If you haven't read it I recommend you do so now. It's a wonderful method for listening to what our inner voice is trying to communicate without overthinking or blocking ourselves with judgment.

If you're struggling with anxiety, I truly empathize with you. Anxiety can be complex, but I encourage you to explore the root cause. Because anxiety is, at its basic essence, a symptom. It's easy to get overwhelmed when learning to trust your inner voice, and even easier to get frustrated with ourselves if we have a perceived backslide. But please be patient with yourself! You deserve the time it takes to find peace. You're worthy of the work it requires to understand yourself and the messenger that is anxiety.

And until then, here's some herbs and natural approaches to help you quiet the storm. Since you need to, you know, function.

Lemon Balm
According to Brigitte Mars, who is a brilliant herbalist, lemon balm causes the "mind and heart to be merry," a quote she attributes to Avicenna, an ancient Arabic physican. 

Personally, I love lemon balm for anxiety and to help with sleep. It can even be used to control general restlessness, nervousness, heart palpitations, and nausea, all things people experience when struggling with anxiety. 

Lemon balm is safe enough for use in children but can lower thyroid function, so please exercise caution if you have hypothyroidism. 


California Poppy
I loathe flying. I'm not afraid to fall out of the sky, but I strongly dislike dealing with security and the general icky energy that exists in airports. When I have no choice but to fly, I use California poppy tincture, which is a gentle way to soothe frayed nerves, exhaustion, stress, and even headaches! And according to Mars, California poppy is non-habit forming and contains no opiates. 

When used as a flower essence, California poppy encourages listening to one's inner voice. Huh. Isn't that convenient?! 

If you suffer with depression, California poppy can exacerbate symptoms, so avoid this herb. Excessive use can make one feel as if they finished off the boxed wine and a half a pack of Oreos, so please use in moderation. 


Chamomile
Most people are familiar with this gentle herb, but it wasn't until I began studying herbal medicine that I realized it's really quite a useful little flower. A steaming mug with a little milk and honey really chills me out, so much so I use it when I'm having trouble sleeping. 

Chamomile isn't just useful for sleep and anxiety, it can also help soothe digestive distress (including irritable bowel), nightmares, ulcers, and even help combat the urge to urinate. In fact, this is a go-to of mine for UTIs. It's even useful as a compress for irritated skin, rashes, and skin infections. Really, chamomile is a fantastic herb for nearly any irritant—inside or out.

Please be advised, chamomile is not recommended for people who are reactive to ragweed and should also be avoided in high doses during pregnancy. 


Ignatia Amara
Ignatia Amara is a homeopathic formula used to treat nervousness caused by "everyday" stress, but I personally use it when I need to manage anxiety, regardless of whether or not it's mundane stress or a visit from the ol' mother-in-law. In my opinion, homeopathy is a rather gentle approach to healing, which is quite necessary for some individuals, especially those with autoimmune disharmonies. This isn't going to knock you on your butt like Xanax, but it will help take the edge off and nudge you back to a nice, calm parasympathetic state. =D

Homeopathic medicines are generally regarded as safe, but it's always prudent to exercise caution when trying a new substance, especially if you're taking other medications. Boiron is the brand I most often use. This homeopathic formula is in pellet form, which you take by holding the pellets under the tongue until dissolved. 


Rescue Remedy
Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic combination of Bach flower essences that is designed to treat stress and anxiety. I keep this product on hand, especially when traveling.  Four drops under the tongue, and you're on your way to calm-down town. It can also be added to water and sipped throughout the day, but I've never used it in that manner. 

In general, I'm a big fan of Bach flower essences, especially when treating emotional disruptions, like grief or guilt. I've found them to be extremely helpful when struggling with grief last year and highly recommend them if you're experiencing anxiety in conjunction with grief.



Random goodies that help me:

Go to the movies
Okay, I know this one sounds odd, but I've always found going to the movies to be an effortless way to dispel anxiety. Not renting, going. Between the pitch-black darkness and the loud soundtrack, I don't have the option to entertain nagging thoughts. It's my cheap version of a sensory deprivation tank. If you're sensitive to noise, this may not be the best option. Strangely, I am sensitive to noise but I'm okay in a theater. I have no explanation for that. 


Animals
Animals are my answer to everything. Sad? Hug an animal. Happy? Hug an animal. Hungry? Eat an animal.

Aww... okay, now I feel kind of sad. I'm going to hug the cat and then have a meatless salad for lunch. 

Seriously, though, who can be worried in the presence of an exuberant Labrador? Many studies have been done on the positive health effects of owning an animal, so I won't delve into that here. But if you can't adopt a furry compadre or don't want the responsibility, spend some time in nature. Feed the birds. Watch the rabbits. Just enjoy the simplicity of the furred and feathered. The fresh air and sunshine is always good for the mind and body, plus a little grounding never hurt anyone! 


Alternate nostril breathing
I felt like a fool the first time I tried alternate nostril breathing despite being alone in my house. But it works! It not only focuses your thoughts away from anxiety, but it helps balance the left-right brain, which is often exacerbating anxiety symptoms due to imbalance. Adriene, the entertaining woman featured in the link above, is an entertaining yogi who doesn't mind making a crude joke. Now that's my kind of yogi! I also recommend her Yoga For When You're Angry. I use it when annoyed, but I mostly practice it when I'm anxious. Seriously. Go try it. 


Anxiety journaling
I mentioned this earlier in the post, but it's worth repeating. I've found anxiety journaling to be a pivotal tool in clearing mind clutter and listening to my inner voice. It's easy to become so engrossed with worry that we don't even know what we want any longer. Anxiety journaling is a simple yet highly effective way to help our ego—who seemingly enjoys causing anxiety—step aside and make room for our true desires to come forward. I'm often surprised to discover the cause of anxiety isn't even what I was fretting about!

Go to water
Did you know water is symbolically linked to emotions? It's also what cleanses undesired emotions. The weightlessness we experience while swimming is quite cathartic on a subconscious level. But even if you can't get to the ocean or a pool (like yours truly), a simple shower often helps me to feel refreshed and reinvigorated, especially if you end with a cool rinse. Just do yourself a favor and allow yourself to be IN the shower. Don't think about the bills. Now isn't the time to solve world hunger. Your sole priority is soaping the armpits and lathering your hair—nothing more! ...Okay, maybe just a *little* singing to the radio! ;)


Remember, it's okay to just curl up on the couch with your favorite book or a funny movie if you're feeling overwhelmed. While you're at it, brew yourself a cup of tea. Try chamomile. I hear it's delightful! ;)


Do you use herbs to settle anxiety? What's your favorite way to quiet your mind?


Wondering where I get my knowledge? The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine by Brigitte Mars isn't just my favorite reference, it's my herbal bible! 

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, May 8, 2017

Unusual Books for Your Spiritual Path


When I was younger, I had a spiritual teacher who once told me everything comes into your life for a reason, even if it arrives before you need it. "Even books," she said, "may cross your path at a time when you don’t need them. But if they resonate with you, hang onto them. And then, one day, you’ll come across that book when the time is right and the message can be received." 

I know this is a fairly universal concept. But being a mere thirteen years old, her words stuck with me. And not just because she mentioned books, which is totally my vice.

Around the same time, I had a friend in Columbia who I chatted with online. (AIM, anyone?) He was about fifteen years older than me, which sounds kind of creepy in this day and age, but he was really just a nice guy who was eager to move to America. It wasn't uncommon for me to have friends who were much older. Even now, I have more in common with eighty-year-olds than I do with thirty-year-olds. A love of tea, crocheting, and cozy mystery novels to name a few. 

Really...I don’t mean to sound egotistical, but I’m *kind* of a blast at parties. What with me standing off in the corner, petting the dog and nursing a bottled water. I dare you to recall one wild story that doesn't start with, “Okay, so I was adding lemon to my water glass when...”

Anywho, said Colombian friend (who did finally move to America. Yay for dreams!) recommended a book entitled Brida by Paulo Coelho. Most people have heard of The Alchemist, which is another fantastic read by this talented author. Being the late nineties, a time before Amazon was really huge, I scoured the shelves of bookstores but never found Brida. After an internet search, done on a Macintosh when Apples were still called Macintosh, I discovered Brida was only published in Spanish and had yet to be published in English. 

For years, any time I was in a store I kept an eye out for this book. And then, in 2009, I found Brida in a little brick-and-mortar called Barnes and Noble—in English!

"Michaela, it was 2009. Why didn’t you just order it online?" you ask.

Great question. Wish I had an answer. But I don’t. Tunnel vision, maybe? My propensity to act like an octogenarian? I’m not entirely sure. The point is I bought this book in 2009, which I know because I stuck the receipt in the book. A book I just dusted off and decided to read... in 2017.

Eight years almost to the day, I finally began reading this book. Weird, I know, since I spent years keeping an eye out for this novel. But for whatever reason, I wasn’t compelled to read it then and I stashed it away for another time. Which, evidently, was eight flipping years later.

But today, as I combined two boxes of books into one (I told you, vice.), I found Brida and knew I needed to read it. How? Because I’d been thinking about it a lot lately and meant to search my bookshelves for it, not knowing it was in a box. So happening upon it in a place where I wasn’t excepting to see it felt like a small sign. Now is the time!

So I began reading, and within the first few pages I was hooked. Not just because it is an interesting story that takes place in Ireland, a country I’m pretty sure I’d never leave if I ever decided to visit, but because the intention of the novel resonated with me at a time when I really needed affirmation. Which is precisely my point. 

In 2009, those words wouldn’t have held the same meaning. Life has changed, as it tends to do, and the message of Brida is something I needed right now, at this very spot in my life path. It's also what inspired me to write this post, which may have been why it resurfaced now. Maybe one of these novels is meant for you, and the timing had to be juuust so for you to have found your way to this site, on this very day, at this very time.

The Universe is mysterious that way. 

Here's to hoping one of these books changes your life! Books in themselves are such a magical thing, a wondrous binding of pages that let the mind explore and the soul wander.

....I love books!


For One More Day


From Amazon
For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

Why I Recommend it:
Mitch Albom holds a special place in my heart with The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The book itself is amazing, and the hardback copy safely tucked away on my shelf is a treasured gift from my father.

...who is still very much alive. I realize it may sound otherwise there. Let me just text him to confirm....yup, alive and well! *Whew!*

Albom's books became a thing between my father and me, and he eventually gifted me For One More Day. What I love most about this novel is its lesson in forgiveness. Humans are odd creatures, and it's much easier for us to experience anger than pain. This seems especially true in regards to resentment towards one's parents. And that's what For One More Day addresses.

We don't always have the full picture on others' choices. Barring extreme circumstances, people are generally doing the best they can in that very moment, even if it doesn’t feel like enough, or doesn’t fulfill a need we had as a child. With a captivating story line, this novel addresses the importance of letting go, of making peace with the past, and recognizing a painful truth—that life is unstable and often too short. Love while you can, because we do not know what awaits.

A similar and equally profound message is beautifully-written in The Five People You Meet in Heaven, though this speaks more to regrets over your own choices and the unequivocal, irreplaceable purpose each and every one of us has on this majestic planet. I highly recommend both!

Brida


From Amazon: 
Brida, a young Irish girl, has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her to trust in the goodness of the world, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world. As Brida seeks her destiny, she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to become a witch.

Why I Recommend it:
Spiritual growth isn't always a pleasant thing. I'd venture to say it's almost always uncomfortable, akin to physical growing pains. I find this to be especially true for solitary practitioners. 

It's common to feel alone during a period of spiritual development. Even if you're excited about what you've discovered, you don't really have anyone else to share your enthusiasm with, as people are rarely on the same path at the same time. This can lead to a depression-like period that many refer to as The Dark Night of the Soul. 

Brida speaks to this time, which is why I think it's such an important read. I read this book with a highlighter, because there were so many profound lines. My particular favorite? "She was beginning to understand that there was a big difference between danger and fear." At the time, this spoke deeply to me, and simply reading the words brought me peace.


Into the Wild


From Amazon: 
In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.  How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Why I recommend it:
For earth-loving, sensitive people, I think we've all experienced times when we wished we could walk away from society and disappear into the woods, to commune with that which makes sense to us and escape the chaotic mess that is humanity. Into the Wild explores just that. 

McCandless makes a profound statement in his journal, which is later recovered alongside his body, in which he says something my husband and I have incorporated into our lives ever since reading the book several years ago—"happiness is only real when shared."

While I think happiness (and certainly spiritual growth) can absolutely be found alone, I don't think it can be sustained in solitude. Even now as I type this prose, my heart is heavy thinking of McCandless alone in the cold darkness, desperate to see his loved ones one final time. As someone who thrives in solitude, this was an important message that we can't escape the pain of life in order to embrace the beauty. Beauty is woven into everything—even the pain—and life is meant to be shared, explored, and celebrated with those you love. This book will leave you in tears, I guarantee that much!

The Little Prince


From Amazon: 
Much more than the story of a little boy and his sheep, it is a story of individualism and determination told as a fairy-tale.

Why I recommend it:
Children's book? Yes. A profound message of losing belief in magic somewhere between adolescence and adulthood? Yup! 

If you don't want to read the book, the film adaptation on Netflix is equally moving. I actually read the book after seeing the movie so I could fully digest the wisdom gifted to us by De Saint-Exupery. Do yourself a favor and grab a box of tissues, because this story is a tragically beautiful tale that speaks deeply to adults who are determined to hold on to wonderment for life and the belief in miracles. 

Bonus Book: Winter of Fire


From Amazon: 
A slave girl's strange visions earn her a coveted place as the Firelord's handmaiden, but when the Firelord dies and is replaced by the handmaiden, she pays the price for her powers.

Why I Recommend it:
This is actually a young adult novel written before a time when young adult novels were mainstream, but don’t let that detour you. If you asked me what my favorite book is, this would be first on the list.

...But let’s not be coy. There’s most definitely a list. ;)

This poignant story of truth, fate, and following your intuition had a profound impact on my childhood and, honestly, my adult life. I’ve read this book so many times, my husband took pity on my well-worn copy and surprised me with a shiny new paperback for Yule several years ago, one where the pages didn’t fall out and you don’t have to hold entire sections like loose leaf.

This book is no longer in print, so it can be a little difficult to come by at a reasonable price. Upon peeking at Amazon just now, I just saw the paperbacks start at over $400. Because that’s totally reasonable. The hardcover is slightly more affordable, which was the exact opposite when my husband bought this super sweet gift. At this point I feel compelled to state my husband spent well under $25 for my newer copy, so hang tight and they may return from Mars with their outrageous prices! ;) 

If you happen upon Winter of Fire in a used bookstore, which is where I acquired my first copy many years ago, I recommend you snatch it up! And not just because you can apparently make a mint on Ebay. This story spoke to my soul so deeply, I vowed to name my daughter Elsha. She is such a strong, dignified, enchanting character, and I would want any child of mine to have her same virtue and self-love.

Side note, I don't have children. But if I did, I'd make her read this book and paint her walls with the cover and have her dress like Elsha. And then she'd grow to resent me for it because, well, see For One More Day.

Maybe with enough demand the publisher will re-release this book. I included this book as a bonus because I normally I wouldn’t recommend a book with such an unreasonable price tag. But Jordan's message in this novel is important—your life has a destiny. You have a purpose. Follow your fire. 



What are some of your favorite spiritual books?


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, April 24, 2017

5 Ways to Celebrate Beltane Without Spending a Dime



It's Beltane season, which means it's time to celebrate the Earth's abundance, fertility, and vitality! Metaphorically, this is when the God, who was born on Yule, has reached his manhood. And you know what that means?! Muscles!!

Ahh, this is what happens when you let a romance author discuss spirituality. 

The Goddess and God are celebrating their fertility, as is the nature around us! Flowers are blooming. Birds are nesting. Grass is lush and green. The trees are offering welcomed shade from the warm sun. Summer is upon us, and life is good.

Unless your summers mean 100*+ temperatures. But this is also my last full summer here in New Mexico....less than 500 days if anyone's counting...so I'm game. You hear me, August?! You don't scare me! 

If you're looking to decorate your home or circle, flowers and greenery are highly appropriate. Better yet, celebrate in the woods! If you enjoy dancing around a May pole, well...first off please let me know. Because as commonly referenced as these are, I've never met a person who's done it. But May pole dancing is a wonderfully phallic way to celebrate the God, where as cauldrons and flower pots are a fine representation of the Goddess and all her womb-liness.

For a Beltane feast, think anything fresh and vibrant— spring greens, fresh fruit, savory herbs, and even dairy to name a few.

Beltane colors are similar to Ostara—greens, yellows, blues, and pinks. Pretty much anything you see in a meadow or a maxi pad commercial.

...Are maxi pad commercials still done in meadows? I don't watch much T.V.

Looking to celebrate this fine May Day without spending a dime? Let me offer a few ideas!

Create in nature
Beltane is a time of creation, which doesn't necessarily have to mean offspring. Celebrate this Sabbat by getting artistic in nature. Whether you're painting, drawing, writing, or singing, get in touch with your creativity in the fresh air!

Bake with honey
When I think of thriving nature, I think of bees. Not only do they pollinate, which we all know is so vitally important, but they make that luscious nectar we call honey! Buy local and raw if you can, which will help combat environmental allergies, then bake yourself a honey cake! Yum yum! 

Have sex
Bet that got your attention! While there are many interpretations of Beltane, this Sabbat is generally regarded as a celebration of the fertility and vitality that has returned to nature, as well as the virility of the God.

Why not celebrate fertility with fertility? Of course, if you're not looking to procreate, take precautions. Because I don't babysit. You've been warned.

Pick wildflowers
If you've read any of my other "without spending a dime" posts, you know I push time in nature for Sabbats. Today is no different. Pick some wildflowers for a lovely Beltane bouquet. No wildflowers? Plant some! You can usually find wildflower seed packets for an affordable price at hardware stores or nurseries. Sprinkle them in your yard or flower pot, water, and await the impending blooms and thriving, fertile honey bees!

Make a wish and toss a pebble
Beltane isn't just about fertility, it's about possibility! It's the halfway mark between spring and summer. The Wheel is turning! New growth is around us! Celebrate opportunity by making a wish and casting a stone. Don't have a stream, pond, or ocean near by? Make your own! Check out my Dream Drop Wishing Well Spell that can easily be converted for Beltane! 


Happy Beltane, everyone! May all your wishes come true, your sex life be spicy, and your garden overflowing with flowers! 🌷


What's your favorite way to celebrate Beltane?



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, April 10, 2017

Door Protection Spell Bags


If you haven't heard, I recently moved into a new home at the beginning of the year. One of the first things I did, after unpacking the tea kettle and a bucket of Dorian Grey, was to secure the home with Door Protection Spell Bags after a good smudging and blessing.

I'm fiercely protective of my home, which is something that stems from my childhood. When you've lived in a volatile house with a step-parent that gives a whole new meaning to "human garbage," you tend to get a bit defensive.

Whew...got a little dark there. Puppies! Butterflies! Fields of daisies!

Everybody in a good place again? Good!

As trite as it may be, your home should be a refuge to all the gunk of the outside world. It should be a sanctuary where you kick off your shoes, take off your bra umm...wear sweatpants, and feel completely at peace and safe. So whenever I move into a new house I make sure to clean out the old energy, imbue some good vibes, and protect my new haven. 

If you were to walk through my home, preferably during the day and without a ski mask, you'll notice little charm bags hanging from the door handles. As the years pass, the herbs settle and the bags get a little more worn, but I leave them be, knowing they were set in place with good intentions and the power of the Goddess and God. I use a fresh set for every house, disposing of the old in a respectful manner. 

Now before we begin, I'll point out that I have a small fixation with pouches and sachets. I just think they're neat.  Plus, you can usually purchase a bundle for a good price. Even the earth-friendly muslin bags are affordable. It's common for jewelry or cosmetic sellers to use these bags for their products, so I tend to have a few on hand from online purchases. Yay for recycling!

Of course, you can always reuse scrap fabric and make your own pouches! What nature-lover doesn't appreciate a good re-purpose?! ;) I especially enjoy using scrap fabric pouches if it's a spell that's out of sight, like under a car seat. No sewing skills required! Simply bunch up the fabric around your herbs and tie it with a ribbon. Easy-peasy. 

Please remember, magick cannot work unless we give it a pathway. Therefore, you can't leave the doors open, the windows unlocked, and a trail of Oreos to your front door and expect no one to enter. Take precautions, but know the Universe is working in your favor!

Now on to casting!


What You'll Need:

A hefty pinch of each dried herb:

Lavender 
Dill**
Rosemary (I left mine on the branch)
Sage (Save any loose bits that fall out of smudge sticks!)
Rose petals 
A special rock* or gemstone (Tiger's eye is suitable)
A pouch or swatch of fabric 

*Note: I use red rocks gathered from Sedona, AZ. You can use whatever resonates with you. If you don't already, collect any stones that stand out to you for later spell use!
** Dill will usually fall out of the mesh bags. I recommend including this only if you're using muslin pouches. You can also pin a fresh sprig of dill above your door for protection! (It will dry over time.)

How to Cast:

While concentrating on feelings of peace and security, add the herbs and stone to the sachet in any order. 

When done, draw the pouch closed or tie with a ribbon. Red, blue, or purple are great for protection, but you can use whatever you have on hand.

Standing before the door to which you will affix your spell bag, hold the bag in your palms and imagine roots growing out of your feet, through the flooring, and burying themselves deep in the earth. Now envision a golden light spreading up through those roots, into your body, out your palms, and infusing the spell bag. 

When you feel the bag is nice and charged, tie the spell to the inside door handle with three knots. 

As you tie each knot, say the following:


This home is safe. (first knot)
This home is protected. (second knot)
This home is secure. (third knot)


Turn your palms toward the bag and envision a protective barrier over your entire home, as if your home were built inside a dome. Then say:

With the energy of the earth,
This home is safe.
This home is protected.
This home is secure.
So Mote it Be!



Now doesn't that feel all warm and cozy? Bear in mind you just tapped into the Earth's energy, so either filter your thoughts (always a good practice), or ensure that you don't unintentionally manifest something unbecoming by stating positive intentions. You can do so by saying:


The power of the Earth flows through me for the good of all Its creatures. Only good shall manifest from this sacred energy.

This way if you get riled up by The Bachelor, you don't have to worry about accidentally manifesting a broken stiletto. =D


What's your favorite way to protect your home? Have you ever performed a house blessing for a friend? 

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, March 27, 2017

Doubts and Fears Tarot Spread


I've been using tarot cards a lot lately, possibly because I finally found a deck that works for me. 

Or maybe because I occasionally need the Universe to tell me, "Hey, calm your ass down. All in good time."

I'm a Taurus, as in The Bull. I'm also an ox in Chinese zodiac. Basically, my life lesson is patience, to which I've decided I'll learn somewhere around 96 years old, thus granting me a long lifespan.

Universal loophole? Quite possibly.

Anywho, I have a way of worrying about shit that is 100% out of my control. Sure, you can plan for the future—savings accounts, spells and casting, taking steps toward your goal. But ultimately, the future is out of your control. Before you send me a nasty-gram, keep in mind I mean the literal future. You can't control 3 years from now. Hell, you can't truly control 3 minutes from now. If you could, no one would ever have car accidents, receive life-altering phone calls, or spill a glass of milk.

...I feel the order of importance was a little disorganized there.

But you get my point. At least, I hope you do. You absolutely need to take measures to ensure the future you want. That's why you learn a trade, save for a new home, and don't live off chocolate cake and coffee. Because no matter how good that indulgence tastes right now, you're *probably* not going to live to your declared 96 years of age off sugar and caffeine. 

So once the plans have been set, the spells have been cast, and money is stored away into savings, what can a Nervous Nelly do to quell (often irrational) fears?

Tarot. 

And maybe a little yoga. At least until pot is legalized. 

...now we're back to chocolate cake. I feel that most of life's problems could be solved by chocolate cake. 

What I'm trying to say is sometimes we just need a Divine message to tell us, "You're doing everything you can, and you're doing a great job. But now you need to let go and have a little faith in this wondrous, benevolent energy you call The Universe." Other times we need guidance to point us toward needed changes. Therein lies the heart of this spread.

Bear in mind tarot is not a rigid tool but an art of interpretation. It's a skill that, I believe, is a life-long journey which transforms over time. What a card means to you now might have an alternate meaning in thirty years. What a card illustrates to me may mean something entirely different to you. Just as nature shows us, nothing is permanent in this world. Everything is in a state of transition. And much of life is a matter of perspective. The same applies to tarot. Listen to your instincts when using this spread. Don't let guidelines limit you. And if you're very upset, wait until you're calm and clear-thinking before you draw. In my experience, when our emotions are jumbled the reading will be too.

If you're really feeling worried, try anxiety journaling. If you're seeking stress release, try a natural approach

Remember, if you've done everything within your control to attain your desires, it's time to step back and let your seeds grow. As long as you put forth the necessary effort, the Universe is working in your favor. Give it time. It kind of knows what It's doing! ;)


Do you have a favorite tarot spread for when you're feeling worried or doubtful?



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, March 13, 2017

Natural Ostara Altar 2017



Spring and fall are my two favorite seasons. Of course, I also loved summers in New England. ...and the way ice clung to bare tree branches in winter.

I guess I just love nature? Go figure.

While fall wins by a smidgen (pumpkins!!!), spring is a VERY close second as my favorite season. I love the tiny buds of unfolding leaves that seemingly appear overnight. I marvel at the delicate blades of grass that push through the muddied soil of the defrosting ground. Birds chirping in the cool, flower-scented breeze. Tulips and perfume-y jasmine and wild daffodils—oh my! 

And anything—anything!— in pastel. I'm kind of a boho gypsy that way, hence the turquoise dining table below.

So clearly, Ostara is one of my favorite Sabbats. It's a time of renewal and refreshment. A time to let go and be light. A time to see promise in what was once dark. 

If you're unfamiliar with Ostara, the Spring Equinox, check out my post on 10 Ways to Celebrate Ostara Without Spending a Dime to learn more about the meaning of Ostara as well as what foods and celebrations are appropriate for this vernal holiday!



Per the usual, I kept my altar simple. Egg shells for fertility. Lavender and rose petals for the coming blooms (remember to embrace what you have on hand!). The candle, which I had to take inside to light due to the gusty and dusty New Mexico spring, represents the growing warmth of the earth. Dirt because, you know, spring. The greenery is from olive leaf, which isn't just a beautiful tree but also a pretty friggen awesome anti-infective (among other things). Love, love, love olive leaf.

Fun fact: olive leaf is one of the first herbs I worked with when I began a path of herbalism. This will be on the test that I never give you, so make sure to write that down. 

If you live in a verdant place, an Ostara Altar will be easy! Simply step outside, take in the nature around you, and use what is available to you. Spring is such an amazing time for that.

With that said, you also may be buried in snow. If that's what your nature is providing, go with it. Write a wish in the snow, smile at the humor of Mother Nature, and try not to go The Shinning on your family. That's kind of the exact opposite of fertility and growth. More of a Samhain theme, really.

Happy Ostara, Everyone! May your spring be filled with flourishing flora, baby fauna, and just a liiiiitle bit of chocolate! ;)


What's your favorite way to celebrate Ostara?


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, February 27, 2017

Full Moon Dream Drop Wishing Well

UPDATE (5/25): For many months I've been working diligently to find you an affordable paperback option. Ask and you shall receive! A paperback version of  By the Light of the Moon will be available in the coming week, so check back for its official release!



Several months ago, I released my first book: By the Light of the Moon: 13 Simple & Affordable Pagan Spells & Rituals for a Year of Full Moon Celebrations.

You've probably heard me mention it a time or fifteen, mostly because it's what allows me to keep the blog financially alive. At the time of the release, I had a post detailing the contents of the book along with a few sneak peek photos.

But now the time has come, my friends. The time where I give you a sneak peek spell! Because, come on, what Pagan doesn't love themselves a good sneak peek spell?

Without further delay, go to nature and get to casting, my witchy friend! 




Full Moon Dream Drop Wishing Well
Approximate Hands-on Time: 20 minutes


When I was a child, I fantasized about having a wishing well in my backyard. Even the wooden wishing wells used as gardening accessories made me long for a well of my very own, convinced they were the gateway to a magickal realm just beyond my well-less grasp. Oh, how I yearned to be able to reach between the circular stone walls and draw my fingers across the mirror-like surface of the cool earth water, just like Snow White. Birds would gather ‘round, and we’d sing together and sew dresses and such. Yup, if I had me a well, life would be good!

Of course, as a kid I also wished I was a pilgrim and a whale. I was a very strange little child.

As an adult, I still desire a well, though it has a lot more to do with water bills than helpful chipmunks. Yet no witch can deny the mystical enticement of a well, especially the pretty ones with cool pails on a pulley. My inner child yearns to creep out on a moonlit night (dressed in a long velvet cloak, of course) to cast and conjure in the darkness, binding my spell by tossing pebbles into the water. I would listen carefully through the sound of rustling leaves and croaking frogs for the telltale splash that confirms my spell has begun, magick has been woven, my arcane wishes have been granted.

So, my fair ladies and lads, I invite you to satisfy your own well wishes (did you see what I did there? Double entendres are fun!) with your own personal Full Moon Dream Drop Wishing Well.

What You’ll Need:

-A jar or bowl, preferably clear
-Water
-4-6 small rocks or pebbles
-A permanent marker (Sharpie works best)

How to Conjure:

★Using the marker, write an aspiration on each rock, preferably one or two words each. For example: Abundance, happiness, health, new job, healthy relationship, new home, etc.

★Fill the jar or bowl with water. Take the jar and your wishing stones outside or by a moonlit window.

★Sit quietly for a moment (preferably in the grass or soil) and center yourself.

★One by one, carefully drop each wishing stone into the jar as you envision the assigned word coming to fruition. For example, if you’re casting for happiness, picture all the simple pleasures that make you happy as you release the stone into the water. If you’re casting for health, imagine yourself in tip-top shape, stretching and moving without any pain or illness.

★Once each wishing stone has been released into the water, hold the jar or bowl in your hands and say:

Water, Moon, Earth, and Night,
Bring forth the visions I’ve conjured in sight.
Water by ocean, by snow, and by rain,
This spell has been cast, these wishes attained.

★Leave the jar outside overnight or on a moonlit windowsill. In the morning, pull the stones from the water and allow to dry. Return the water to the earth. If desired, you may keep your wishing stones with you until your spell manifests. Otherwise, place them in a safe place and know the Goddess has heard your moon wishes!




I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek! If you're looking for more fun and magickal ways to celebrate the full moon, get your copy of By the Light of the Moon today!
Amazon (AU)
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Paperback


Do you have a favorite spell book?


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, February 13, 2017

Sucky People, Rabid Racoons, and Spells


We’re moving to a new house, which will be better in the long run but right now feels like I just drank a gallon of caustic battery acid and am now doing the tango with a rabid raccoon who keeps snapping for the jugular every time I move in close.

Raccoons are pesky like that.

We weren’t planning on moving for the next seventeen months. In fact, it was so off the radar that we were utterly blindsided, leaving us in an emotional tangle of instability and unease. I’m a Taurus. I don’t like change. I especially don’t like change when it leaves me feeling ungrounded, unsettled, and insecure. I really, REALLY don’t like change when it’s brought on by a….what’s the word? Asshat? Yeah, let’s go with asshat... 

I really, REALLY don’t like change when it’s brought on by an asshat who has no common decency or basic understanding that he lives in a duplex, and duplexes have neighbors. Who like to sleep. At night. Without the soothing thump-thump-thud of my vital organs jiggling to the vibrational equivalent of a freight train passing through my living room.

Trust me, he’s THAT much of a douche. Let me explain. 

It all began the morning of New Year’s Eve 2016, which actually started very well. My husband and I both got a good night’s sleep. We were very optimistic to begin our last full year here in New Mexico. Which, if you haven’t seen me discuss this on the blog, is not my favorite place to live. “Favorite” being a euphemism for the last place in America I would ever choose to live.

Forgive my candidness, I’m sleep-deprived.

But since my husband is contractually obligated to his job until mid 2018, here in the desert we be. So we both rolled out of bed, refreshed and eager to ring in the New Year with a Cops marathon and some freshly cut veggies. We party hard like that. 

All was going well until we found a gutted and decapitated rabbit on our back patio roughly thirteen and a half minutes after we awoke. Now, I love a pile of guts as much as the next animal-loving gal, but I couldn’t help but feel this was 2016’s one final “Hey! Go F yourself!” of the year.

…I mean, the year STARTED with my head in a toilet. And not because I partied hard on NYE 2015 with more freshly cut veggies. No, I begin 2016 with the stomach flu. Throw in the unexpected death of a very close family member that brought me to my proverbial knees and it’s been a hell of a year.

Then 2016 ended in mercury retrograde, a final “bite me” to the world if you ask me! ;) So the new neighbor that had moved into the duplex (not 24 hours before said deceased lagomorph found its sad demise on my back patio) turned out to be the most incorrigible person I’ve encountered in some time. 

After 72 hours of window-rattling bass, and zero compassion or compromise from the bastard, we realized we had no choice but to move. If this sounds drastic to you, imagine living INSIDE a techno club that’s located within a movie theater that’s filled with Monster-swilling jerks who slam the door in your husband’s face after he politely asks for the floor-vibrating thrash music to be turned down.

…at 1 AM. Because we’re just uptight like that. 

I'd like to reiterate that I’m all for seeing the positive. 2016 was by far a rough year, one that will be remembered as such. Rightly so. But it wasn’t all bad. I launched this blog, which has given me so much peace and grounding and wonderful, MUCH appreciated warm reception from you fantastic readers! Truly, it’s been a huge blessing. And normally I can handle quite a bit. Generally as long as I have my family, a house, and we’re not starving, I’m doing fine.

Well, that stuff and books. Everyone should have endless books.

But one thing I can’t tolerate is a complete lack of consideration and human decency. In my own home. Because he may be on the other side of a wall, but I hear everything. So it’s like an extended roommate. We have to have consideration for one another. Hence why my husband doesn’t play drums at two in the morning. We’ve lived here three years. We never had an issue with the family that lived there prior. Our new situation was abundantly clear: we could live in an extremely uncomfortable environment wherein we'd soon know the cops on a first name basis, or we could move.

Again, this may sound extreme and preemptive. And normally I'm not so easily swayed by others' actions. But I've found in my life that the Universe has a way of gently nudging you towards a better path. And sometimes, when said Taurus is too stubborn to change, the Universe will force your ass into gear whether you like the transition or not. While the dude next door is a tool, I also believe he's a catalyst for a change I wasn't otherwise willing to undertake. As I said, we have seventeen months left at this location. I wouldn't have moved unless I was forced to. Yet as we began the process of looking for a new home, things came together suspiciously quickly. 

The first rental we looked at sat on two quiet acres in the desert—all the better for writing. The home was in our price range. The first night we went hunting for moving boxes we found a house just two streets over who set out an entire load of pristine professional moving boxes complete with all the wrapping we would need. So, despite my hesitance and maaaaaybe a meltdown or two, I couldn't deny the signs that were being presented to me:

This was for the better. Even if it didn't feel like it presently. 

Change is uncomfortable. Even change for the good can feel like a pelvic exam with a cold speculum. Especially when you weren't expecting it. But I also believe everything happens for a reason. In the innate benevolence of the Universe, I trust.

And that, my friends, is the story of how we found ourselves moving. With a mere three weeks to pack an entire house, mentally and physically plan for a major life change, and clean a two-story duplex from top to bottom.

Doesn’t exactly leave me a whole lot of time for writing. Or reading. That bastard. *Waves fist at shared wall*

So while we settle into our new home, please enjoy the top five posts from 2016 (in no particular order). And if you haven’t scored yourself a copy of my FREE e-book, The Spells of 2016, you can do so by signing up for my newsletter at the top right side of the screen.








I hope you all have a wonderful 2017! May the future mercurial retrogrades be ever in your favor. ;)

What's your source of calm when your world is in calamity? 

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, January 30, 2017

5 Ways to Celebrate Imbolc Without Spending a Dime


I am SO excited for Imbolc this year! If 2016 taught me anything, it's that new starts are a beautiful thing. And while time is a human conception, isn't the thought of sloughing off the old and starting with a fresh slate a pretty inspiring thing?

Imbolc, celebrated on February 2nd, is a time of purification, cleansing, and purging after time spent reflecting during the Yuletide. It's a time to shake off that dust, lift your chin up, take a deep breath of fresh air, and take charge of your life. Life is cyclical; all things end but are met with new beginnings. Like many Sabbats, Imbolc embraces that ever-present energy that moves us forward, that reminds us every stage of life is temporary.

Symbolically, Imbolc is the Goddess's respite after giving birth to the God (Sun) on the Winter Solstice. It's a time of renewal and renewed strength, which we see in the sun as it slowly gains momentum and dominance over the nighttime hours. The earth is preparing for germination and fertility in the spring, collecting its energies and regaining power.

Many celebrate Imbolc as the Festival of Fire. Bonfires and candles are therefore appropriate for celebration, as are the colors seen in a fire—white, yellow, and orange. Light green can also be used if you're honoring the lead-up to spring. 

Spicy foods are the perfect way to represent the growing warmth of the earth as nature begins to shed the heavy chill of winter.

Of course, having grown up in New England, I know it can appear as though winter is only beginning its icy fury in February. But fret not, I have you snow-bound Pagans covered! ;)

How to celebrate without spending a dime:

Smudge your home
If Imbolc is a time of renewal and cleansing, then now is the time to smoke out any funky energy left over from the holidays. That fight Uncle Earl started over the last piece of pumpkin pie? Your drunk sister deciding New Year's Eve was the time for a vodka-fueled emotional breakdown? That can all be washed away with a little sage and some fire.

Because who doesn't like to play with fire?

If you're not familiar with smudging, you can learn more about it here


Burn your Yule tree
Every year my husband and I save our Yule tree and burn it on Imbolc. Being in the desert, that bad boy dries out quickly and burns FAST. So PLEASE make sure to exercise caution! Keep a water hose nearby, and burn your tree in small batches. Because trust me, you'll understand why firefighters warn people about dry trees once you see O Tannenbaum turn to ash in 30 seconds flat. 

Having a camp or bonfire is quite traditional for Imbolc, but using your Yule tree feels extra special. It symbolizes the ever-turning Wheel of Life, and also uses what you have. Why push your poor evergreen to the curb if you can use him a few weeks later?

Yes, him. You didn't know evergreens are predominately male? Don't Google that fact. Just trust me....Evergreens are boys. Cats are girls. Dogs are also boys. And all ships are female. It's just what is. Ask any six-year-old.


Make snow spells
For you snow-bound folks, don't feel left out quite yet! If it's too cold or snowy to have a fire outside, use all that powder to your advantage! Write words or symbols in the snow for your desires in the coming year, and know that as they melt away their energies are drifting off into the Universe, helping to manifest your desires. 

Just don't use yellow snow. Though that just may be an excellent option if you're looking to banish something. ;)

Burn your worries
I talk about burning your anxiety here. Being a time of release, use Imbolc to LET THAT SHIT GO. If you can't control it (which generally you can't, hence the anxiety), burn that bitch! Release your worries to the Universe. Ground yourself. Take a deep breath. Wipe the tears from your cheeks. And trust that it will work out. Things usually have a way of doing just that. You made it this far in life, my friend. You're doing well. Don't let anxiety ruin your day. I speak from experience. It does nothing except cost you time. And in the words of one of my favorite Hanson songs, "Time is a price you can't afford." 

Have a Fiesta
Living in the Southwest, I've come to adore Mexican food. So flavorful. So spicy. So cheesy. If you're suffering from the winter blues and are looking for a pick-me-up, plan an Imbolc fiesta night! The spicy food will not only honor the sun, but will release endorphins in your body that will aid in lifting your spirits. Plus who doesn't love having a party? Even if it's just a small party with you and your significant other. Take the time to make it festive. Any excuse is a good excuse to celebrate.

Bonus points if you turn on the Mariachi station on Pandora. Am I the only person who craves chips and salsa when I hear Mexican music?

*whispers* I could live off chips and salsa forever.....


What's your favorite way to celebrate Imbolc?


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.