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?


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

Monday, January 16, 2017

Pinterest Gone Pagan: Potato Skin Protection Spell


It's football season!

...which means not a damn thing in my house. I'm not a sports person. Sorry. I know this may ruin our friendship, but I'm hoping to lure you back with the promise of magick and bacon.

Oh, that's right. BACON!

Granted, potato skins aren't exactly the first thing to come to mind when people think of kitchen witchery, but therein lies my point. Literally anything can be turned into a spell. Isn't that pretty freaking awesome?! There's also no reason not to have a little silly fun when casting. All that happy, vibrant energy only solidifies your intent!

So how does creamy cheese and fresh, zingy chives turn into a protection spell? Actually, this one is pretty straight forward.

...I'll hang on while you grab a notebook.

Potatoes, chives, and cheese are all used for protection in magick.

Wasn't worth getting up, was it? Ahhh...Michaela, you tricky little witch!

I recommend this recipe from The Wicked Noodle (here's the pin). This is mostly because I love the blog name, which is wicked awesome. 

...It's a New England thing. We love our "wicked." Just watch Mr. Deeds and let Adam Sandler confirm it. Although, he does a pretty bad impression of a New Englander, which is really quite strange because he is one. Maybe he's being hyperbolic, which is so unlike him. =P

As a side note, Just Go With It was an entertaining movie. 

Maybe you should watch it while eating these protective potato skins. Yes... *drums fingers together ala Mr Burns. * That's how I'm going to tie this whole thing together.

As you sprinkle on the cheese, picture yourself surrounded in a protective bubble. While they bake in the oven, imagine yourself safe and secure. And as you take your first flavorful bite, solidify your spell by envisioning yourself shrouded in a protective light that follows you wherever you go.

See, it's easy to turn any meal into a spell. All you need is the right intent, a little visualization, and a sprinkle or two of "wicked." ;)

What's the weirdest ingredient you've used in a spell? 

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

Monday, January 2, 2017

5 Acts of Self-Care You Can (And Should!) Do Today!


I can't believe it's already 2017. Cliche as it may be, geez does time fly!

....Which is a good thing if you're counting down the days until you can leave the desert. Not that I'm counting or anything. That would be crazy, right? 

*whispers* It's 585 days...

The funny thing about January is the ubiquitous push for New Year resolutions. And while I'm all for self-improvement, we have a way of getting ahead of ourselves when setting resolutions. Last year I wrote a post about simplifying my resolution list to three personal goals and three career goals. The career goals were met. The personal...well, I honestly don't remember what they were.

What the hell is that?! Why is it okay in our society to work ourselves to exhaustion, but taking a few moments of personal reprieve is deemed "lazy"? That's a load of BS if you ask me! It's also a fantastic recipe for emotional burnout, illness, and physical exhaustion.

So rather than declare a resolution I have no intentions of upholding (like finally breaking my sick habit of watching Real Housewives—NJ, baby!), I'm here to lecture insist strongly suggest you take care of yourself this New Year. As we all know, you can't pour from an empty vessel and all that jazz. So, I propose you take a look inward and resolve to nurture and nourish yourself. And, per my M.O., it won't pummel your wallet or take up loads of time (unless you want it to, which is never a bad thing!).

Here are my five recommendations for self-care that you can (and should!) do TODAY! =D


Alternate nostril breathing (yoga)
Admittedly, this is super weird looking if you've never tried it. But please trust me on this—it's SO calming! AND it can be done anywhere because you don't need to move. So no excuses! Take three gd minutes to yourself!

Not only does it help to balance the left and right brain (which can get off kilter with overthinking and fretting), but it helps you to center yourself and clear your mind. You may not even realize you're stressed, but let's face it—daily life is stressful. So take a minute or two (Or five. Or ten.) and try alternate nostril breathing

Stretch
Ever notice your dog or cat stretch every single time they get up after laying down? That’s not by accident. Take a moment to REALLY stretch. To feel the air as it moves through your lungs. To listen to your body and take note of any tension. 

Stand up right now and stretch. Breathe oxygen into your muscles. Give your neck and shoulders some much needed movement. Check in with your body and see what it needs, where it hurts, what feels good to move. Not only will your muscles thank you, but the circulation of blood will help you think clearer and release a nice dose of endorphins!

Turn off the news
Or Facebook. Or twitter. Trust me, it’s stressing you out more than you think. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and a little burned out, disconnect from anything that's feeding you negativity, which includes the news and updates from Jessica who you haven't seen since high school but seems subconsciously hellbent on convincing the world that her life is without flaw one Instagram photo at a time. Come on now. We both know she’s not that happy…

Treat yourself to a treat
When was the last time you bought yourself a scoop of ice cream? Or that chocolate croissant you drool over every time you walk past that quaint little bakery downtown? 

As silly as it sounds, take yourself out for a treat. You. Alone. Buy that cup of gourmet coffee. Indulge in gelato. Not for the kids. Not while you and your husband discuss the budget. Just you, sumptuous silence, and a decadent treat. It might seem silly, but it's spiritually nourishing to pamper oneself with something you wouldn't ordinarily do. 

Laugh at your to-do list
If you’re anything like me, your to-do list is really three days’ worth of work. I do it all the time. But when I feel stressed out, I step back and take a moment to analyze my to-do list realistically. It’s just not possible for me to write three posts, get in an hour of exercise, clean the entire house, make a grocery list, take a shower, wash and fold the laundry, and you know, maybe eat a meal. It’s not going to happen. 

On days when my planner looks like a package of Sharpies blew up on my schedule, I select one or two things that are important and recognize the rest can wait. 

…And then I generally decompress for a few minutes with a book.  Because when you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing you can do for yourself is break the cycle and restart after you’ve had some time to reset. You’ll usually find most of what you thought was imperative is not really the end of human civilization as we know it. And, counter-intuitively, I'm usually more productive after I've allowed myself to rest without guilt. 


And remember, if all else fails, watch some adorable puppy videos. Hell, that's why Youtube was invented! ;)

What's your favorite way to pamper yourself?

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.