Other Updates

Hedgewitch: How I Describe My Magical Craft

I mentioned in a previous post that I tend to refer to my magical practice as hedgewitchery, and myself as a hedgewitch, but I thought it would be useful to go into that in more depth in this new blog post.

So, what do I mean when I call myself a hedgewitch? What is it I do ?

This: I practice folk magic to balm and bane, I divine for omens, I truck with spirits, I cross the hedge to walk the worlds, and I dabble in herbs.

FOLK MAGIC

A lot of my magical practice draws on folklore and folk magic traditions, and incorporates the materials I have around me in a way that some might call traditional witchcraft. I use pieces I’ve learned from family and friends, or invented myself, with what bits and bobs I had on hand or could easily acquire: paper or yarn, candle or salt, herb or stone. I read about other witches’ practices, I talk to my peers, and we inspire each other to use materials or magical technologies in ways that solve the problems in front of us. Most of it is highly personal and highly intuitive, often with guidance from spirits. I have a couple of pretty tools (a brass bell, a copper mug, a pillar of quartz, an engraved wooden spoon) but most everything also has a very practical purpose. I love the look of a fancy wand as much as the next magpie, but I’ve never really used ceremonial tools with any regularity, and I rarely do magic in a manner that requires an altar set just-so. In fact, many of my most “complicated” workings are done almost entirely in trance.

BALM AND BANE

Healing and hexing are two sides of the same coin, in my view. I can heal with darkness, I can curse with light, and in fact I have an upcoming workshop for the NoVA Pagan Moot on exactly that. I am trained in several modalities of energetic or spiritual healing, and I combine them intuitively for those who seek my services. But just as poison in the right dosage can be medicine, a medicine in the wrong dosage is often a poison. Non-consensual or inexpertly targeted healing can cause harm, and sometimes a binding or a banishing can twist someone’s fate so that they’re heading in a more positive direction. Magic is complicated, consent matters, and every effective spell has consequences, intended or not. I try to do more good than harm, but if I’m between a rock and a hard place I will use every tool in my arsenal. I see a lot of people who have a very all-or-nothing mindset around banework, and I don’t think that’s nearly as helpful as having actual discussions about ethics and harm reduction, and us each figuring out our own personal boundaries.

DIVINATION

I am an eternal student of divination: I keep learning new forms, and I keep going deeper with the forms I am already proficient with. I practice several types of cartomancy, I read ogham staves and rune stones, I take omens taken in the wild from the flight of birds, and I sometimes even turn to modern technological omens like shufflemancy and the rolling of d20s. Not everything works well for me: I’ve never quite gotten the hang of pendulums or spirit boards, for instance. But I am proficient enough in many forms that I have enough confidence in my skill to offer these services for money, and the reviews I get back are extremely positive. I use my tools to divine the future, the past, the present—to illuminate anything that is shrouded, to look around corners, to answer what-ifs as best I can, knowing as I do that things are always in flux. I use these tools to speak with and to get messages from spirits of many kinds, both for myself, and on the behalf of others.

SPIRITWORK

I have deep relationships with two pantheons of Deities: the Tuatha Dé and the Vanir. I am also deeply entwined with the Álfar and with the Daoine Uaisle, through the Fairy Queen I serve. I maintain relationships with my local Good Neighbors, Nature Spirits, and Land Wights where I live, where I visit and practice, and where I travel. I honor my Beloved Dead, and those Ancestors (of blood or of path) who appear to guide and to help me. There are spirits in my household; they are my allies and my companions, my guides and my guardians. I also maintain cordial relationships and open lines of communication with many of the Deities and other tutelary spirits of my human-incarnate friends and associates. Most of my magical work involves these many types of spirits; I do workings with them, for them, because of them, on their behalf, or at their request.

HEDGECROSSING

Hedge-crossing, hedge-riding, journeying, pathworking, world-walking: whatever you may call it, I use these to refer to the act of travelling in spirit to the Otherworlds. This is a type of trancework, and the one I use most often. I slip between this world and an Other to see spirits more clearly, to converse with them, or to take a look at the landscape and flows of energy. I travel to visit spirits I know; I travel to seek those I have not yet encountered. I go seeking answers for myself and for others, and I bring answers back in words or images, scents or feelings. Sometimes I wander the worlds for the sheer joy of it, the ecstasy of spirit-flight. From time to time I go walking in my dreams, but most of my wanderings are waking visions.

HERBALISM

This is the one area that I most wish to have additional education in. I am familiar with some herbal remedies for common things like colds, scrapes, and bruises; I know remedies for menstrual cramps. I have deeper education in a couple of chronic conditions I am personally dealing with, including migraines, but I would like to take an actual certification programme at some point. For magical uses, I work with herbs and resins a bit more intuitively, mixing flavors and intentions into food, blending oils for scent and resonance. I speak with the plants themselves, and learn what they would teach me. When I need to ground deeply and my usual way is not enough, I go walk the land or else I spend time in my own garden. The cycles of plant growth, of harvest, of weather, of the moon, bring me back into the present, back into balance with the cycles of my own life.

Other Updates

Labels, Titles, and Updating My Bio: What Is It That I DO?

I’ve been thinking a bit about labels and titles in regards to my path and practice, recently. It began because I was tidying up some workshop outlines and proposals, and for some of those I had prepared short bios for the event programme. Then I looked at the bio I have on my website, which I haven’t updated in a while, and as thoughts often do, it started simmering away in the back of my mind, now and then bubbling to the surface in the form of a short phrase. And what better month than June to consider labels?*

For a few years, now, I’ve been trying to figure out how to condense myself down to just a few phrases — a line I could fit beneath my name on a business card, if I were to print one. Most business cards have titles on them: Assistant Manager, Software Engineer, Senior Partner. I don’t really have titles that are easy to claim, though, as my craft is more esoteric. And some titles that resonate with me are not mine to claim for myself — they must be bestowed by one’s community.

Freya and Hela have called me völva, starting before I was trained in Hrafnar-style Oracular Seidr, but I believe that’s more the path I’m traveling down, not a destination I have already reached. Now that I’m doing oracular seidr, or spae, work for the community, it is beginning to fit more, but spaekona fits better. It’s descriptive: “one who does spae” (in the feminine — the masculine is spaemadr). But that’s only one part of my practice, and the term is only recognizable to a few.

The Morrigna (and also Lugh and Flidais 0n occasion) have called me banfháidh, a seeress or prophetess, and again, that seems more like a path I am traveling down, a winding road of seership and poetry and ogham study. A stream of living culture and practice that I’m joining, not a place I already am. The Fairy Faith I practice is also in this stream, and bean feasa (literally wise woman, though sometimes in English they are called fairy doctors) is another title that one cannot claim for themselves. It is bestowed by the community once someone is doing the work and getting results. I have been called a “Fairy Lawyer” (though I think “Fairy Intermediary” is possibly more descriptive of my actual work), and I expect that even if I do become known for this sort of work, it won’t carry an Irish title. Mine is a very different situation, immersed in a very different culture, even within the Irish-American diaspora that forms one of the circles of my cultural venn diagram.

Bast and Sekhmet, when they asked me to begin delivering their messages, instructed me to call myself an “Oracular Priestess-Novitiate” and then after a few years, an “Oracular Priestess-Initiate”, and I expect I’ll drop the “Initiate” in a few years when they think I have completed my training period. I do not know what the term would have been in Ancient Egypt for the service I am providing, nor have I found any good resources on the training of oracular priests, generally. But this is a third stream of my practice on the theme of oracular seership, in the context of serving a community. “Oracular Priestess” would seem to fit, then, but that seems almost too static, implying a single relationship with a singular deity when in fact I serve multiple deities and also deliver messages from the Dead. After much thought, I finally settled on “Oracular Cleric”.

One term decided, I returned to the idea of a business card, outlining the ways I might serve others, but decided that first I ought to clarify my general theological position. If I’m a cleric, that implies a religious background. This one was fairly easy, though I moved it around a little to attempt to remove the slightly annoying rhyme, before giving up. I settled on: Polytheistic Pagan Mystic. I believe in the reality of multiple distinct deities. I am working within a neopagan paradigm, though my path is informed by the ways of the past, and parts of it are Reconstructionist or Revivalist in bent. And “mystic” is the best way to sum up my relationships with the gods and other spirits. I commune with them in trance, through otherworldly encounters, and ecstatic experiences. My practices are more sensory and experiential than book-learned, though I believe books and other studies play an important role as inspiration and basic instruction.

But what should go with that, to explain the rest of my work? One of the largest remaining streams is healing, whether through energetic ministrations, assistance from spirits, or magical craft. I am trained in Usui Reiki through the William Lee Rand lineage, and that informs my work and serves as the scaffold for much of work for clients, but my healing work is broader than just Reiki. Though I could put Reiki Master Teacher on a business card (because I completed the Mastery course and have taught my own courses), that seemed limiting. I opted instead for “Spiritual Healer”, because I think that best describes the whole range of my work. I’ve used “Energy Healer” in the past, but that doesn’t really cover my work with spirits. On the other hand, I think people will recognize that Spiritual Healing includes energetic work.

Those three terms – Polytheistic Pagan Mystic, Oracular Cleric, and Spiritual Healer — do a good job of explaining the work I do for others, and would fit well on a business card. While I was coming up with these, I considered coining a term to replace the rather clunky first phrase, and toyed with the idea of “Numinant”, from “numinous”, but I decided straightforward language would probably be best for printing on a business card. Still, I was really drawn to the word “numinous”, and came up with three short phrases that may make it into my new short bio: “aspirant to the numinous, denizen of liminal realms, visionary weaver of magic”. Magical practice is the largest remaining stream of my work, but that work is not usually for paying clients who are strangers to me. The magical work I do for myself, for people close to me, for my communities, for my spirit allies, and for my Deities. For that stream, I have a label I’ve been using for a couple of years: hedgewitch. But what I mean when I use that is a discussion for the next blog in this series!


* If you didn’t already know, I’m queer. I use several labels, and some of them overlap or fluctuate: bi, or pan, for pansexual or panromantic but grey ace or maybe demisexual. Agender or genderqueer or nonbinary. I don’t fit labels well and while I like them, I feel most authentic swimming in a sea of them, a sea I call “queer”. My pronouns are she/her or they/them, or the gender neutral neopronoun of your choice.

Bright Moon, Kemetic, Other Updates

Kemetic Bright Moon 3/28

This month I again sought an omen for my community, from Bast and Sekhmet, Eyes of Ra, on the occasion of the full moon. Their message follows:

You are besieged by worries, fears, bewilderment and anguish – they swirl around you, like incense smoke in the breeze. Ask for our help, and we will send a strong breeze. Ask for our help and we will blow those anxieties away! Our powers are for more than just spiritual problems. As in days of old, we have sway in worldly matters, as well. We can bless your material prospects, we can protect the path you tread. We wish to uplift you, to see you burn fiercely! Our power rises with the sun, and as the earth warms, we grow in might. Draw on our strength, when yours falters. Draw on our courage when yours fails. Let our fire burn through you, and destroy that which binds you.

It’s a good reminder, I think! And a hopeful message as we move into spring (and eventually, summer!)

The next full moon is April 26th. If you have any questions, or if you would like to request a personal message or heka for April, please email the shrine here. And if you are interested in supporting the shrine, I have a tip jar set up here. Thanks!

Other Updates

Kemetic Bright Moon 11/29

This Bright Moon, I had everything in place and enough time to do the full ritual on the day before the night of the fullest moon, and it was a good feeling to be able to do it without rushing, with plenty of time to really lean in to the connection and gain not only an omen to be shared, but also some information for myself. But first, the omen from Bast and Sekhmet:

Our power wanes with the sun, in this far northern place. Our attention will be elsewhere for a time: in the south where the sun is at its peak; in the tropics where the sun is more constant; at the side of those whose blood still boils. If you feel like you must rest, rest. Do not be ashamed to seek enjoyment where you can find it. This dark and cold season demands a slower pace, and time to curl up with warmth and stillness. We will return on the next Bright Moon – feast us then.

The last part became a conversation about holiday timing, as from my calendar the Wandering Eye / She Is Led Back holiday happens in late December and early January, but Sopdet (the star Sirius) rises at a slightly different time here, and though they tell me there is a stellar timing for the Wandering Eye festival as well, it also coincided with the Winter Solstice, and for me here in this “northern place” (I’m near Washington, DC, USA, which isn’t very far north, but we do get snow) and my general full moon timing, they think it would be best for me to celebrate the two parts of the festival as beginning the day after the full moon before the solstice, and the day of the full moon after the solstice. I queried about years when the full moons are closer to the solstice and they laughed, telling me not to worry about other years. Fair enough, considering my oath is only ever for the next year. But for this year, that means that I’ll put my statues away after the sun goes down tonight, for the Wandering, and I’ll greet them back again in the morning (dawn, if I can manage it) on December 30th, and then give them offerings every day through January 5th, to feast their Return. Check out the tumblr in the next few days for pictures of the festival at my shrine!


The next full moon is December 30th. If you have any questions, or if you would like to request a personal message or heka for then, please email the shrine here. And if you are interested in supporting the shrine, I have a tip jar set up here. Thanks!

Other Updates

Saturn Return: Beginnings

I mentioned on the last dark moon that the Morrigna told me to take a step back so that I could more fully immerse myself in my first Saturn Return. My plate was already close to full, and I needed space.

Well. If I use the outline of one of my favorite local astrologers, Alan O’Connor, and I use +/- 3 degrees of my natal Saturn, this Saturn return started on February 10th and will continue until July 26th before finally moving out of those degrees… Only to come back as it retrogrades in November, and from then until it goes direct and passes completely beyond in mid January 2020. So, I suspect it’s going to be an interesting year.

The first Saturn Return is usually thought of as a time for growing up, for figuring out your priorities in life, for getting into alignment with your Great Work or Soul Purpose, if you believe in that type of thing. (I do, mostly. That is, I believe I’m here for a reason this go ’round, but I’m agnostic as to whether or not that’s a universal experience.)

When Scott went through his first Saturn Return a few years back, he sort of tugged us into place as a family, in our own place, and with a child. And our home life is good, balanced, stable, so I’m grateful to have a pretty decent foundation to start from as I explore further. We’re like that a lot in other things, too – he’s the Land to my Sky, and we both meet in the Sea. Which is not to say that he didn’t do any exploring – Scott was actually the first one to say that we should create Serendipities now, instead of leaving it to be a daydream or maybe a retirement project.

So we’ve both been exploring some already, and that exploration and the work I’ve been doing as I get more deeply involved with the local community (both seen and Unseen) meant that I came to this Saturn Return already pointed in the right direction, already changing and being changed as I seek better alignment. But that doesn’t mean the work ahead of me will be easy. Far from it, I expect. I have already been struggling. Instead of big, sweeping changes, I’m finding myself drawn to smaller details.

I’m finding myself needing to plan more, both because I’m having a hard time remembering things lately, and because I’m juggling too many things in my head to do my usual style of intentional manifestation. I’m cluttered, and it’s exacerbating my anxiety disorder. So, I’m trying a new planner system, and I’m trying to take better notes, and so far it seems to be working fairly well. I did some mind-map planning for where I want Serendipities to be in two, five, and ten years (and, spoilers, we have Big Plans). I have a new anxiety workbook I’m working through that’s based on some of the cognitive behavioral therapy techniques I learned as a teen, because I need to brush up on them.

Also, I’ve started a shadow work tarot prompt challenge, which is designed to be done every day for a whole month, but I’m spacing it out to twice a week or so, and I’m doing art journaling as my integration of each tarot prompt and answer. I try to do shadow work as it comes up, as I realize there are parts of myself that could use integration, but the prompts of this challenge are very broad and it feels like a good way to make sure I’m not missing anywhere. Again, I’m looking at fine details. There are a few larger things I have been working on for some time (most related to trauma processing), but I want to be sure I’m not missing smaller things, lest they cause hiccups along the way. When I started the challenge and the art journaling, my first impulse read to share it, but something made me hesitate, and I realized that if I started sharing, I’d feel compelled to continue, and the expectation of an audience would change the whole tone of my work. So I won’t be sharing it at all, with anyone, and that feels a little odd for someone who’s generally fairly open about all aspects of her practice.

Depending on how things go, I may continue blogging about my Saturn Return experiences every Dark Moon. But for now, it felt fitting to fill the space the Morrigna left for me.

Other Updates

Kemetic Bright Moon 7/27

Here is the message from Bast and Sekhmet, on the last full moon of the year (Wep Ronpet, by the local rising of Sirius in Washington, DC, is August 7th):

“Execrate, execrate, execrate! Destroy the dying year, and prepare the way for the coming of the new. Commit to change, commit to fighting your battles, commit to burning brightly and fiercely! Be, yourself, a tiny blazing Sun! You are needed, you are needed, your role may be small but it is necessary. Victory depends on many small parts joining together to accomplish something much larger than any could do alone. Do not despair. Find solace in our hot breath at the side of your neck, urging you forward. We fight beside you! You are never alone. Honor the five Netjeru on their Epagomenal days, and honor all Netjeru on Wep Ronpet. We will see you again in the New Year.”

You can follow along on my tumblr e-shrine as I celebrate the Epagomenal Days and Wep Ronpet, or wait for my recap blog here.

Divination, Other Updates, Tarot Spread

Relationship 5-card Spread

I started a series a while back of the tarot spreads I use in my Etsy Shop, but never finished it (whoops).  So here’s another installment: the 5-card version of my Relationship Tarot Spread.

Relationship 5 top
Yeah the “spread by” is my tumblr and not this blog, but I’m trying to head off reposts over there.

  1. This card is you.  Your wants, your needs, your concerns.  It encompasses your view of the relationship, and your influence on it.
  2. This card is the other person. Their wants, needs, concerns.  It represents their view, and their influence.
  3. This card is what uplifts you: what is going right, what is keeping you together. This represents the strengths of the relationship.
  4. This card is what pulls you down: what is going wrong, and what is pulling you apart. This represents the issues and weaknesses in the relationship.
  5. This is the general overview of the relationship: how are you doing on the whole?  It may also contain advice for the future.  If the querent had a specific concern or issue they wished to focus on, this card will focus on that aspect.

Pretty straightforward, right?  And applicable to any number of relationships, not just romantic ones.  I could just as easily use it to look at a friendship, or a parent-child relationship – anything between two people! I do have spreads that work for more than two people, but that tends to require more cards.  The smallest spread to look at a three-way relationship adds just one more card along the lines of card #2.

Stay tuned for the 9-card relationship spread, which is the next spread in my queue!

Etsy Shop Update, Other Updates, SALE!

Valentine’s Day Sale!

I have two things on sale in the Etsy Shop for Valentine’s Day!

First, these reiki-attuned bracelets, featuring rose quartz, lilac amethyst, and blue lace agate with glass pearls:

pearl vday
Link Here!

 

And second, the 5-card and 9-card Love and Relationship Tarot and Oracle Card Readings!

love
Link Here!

They’ll be back to their regular price after Valentine’s Day, but right now they’re 15-20% off!!!

Other Updates

Updates!

SO, I have finally added two backdated posts for August:

 

We also have a “Buy me a Coffee” button at the bottom of the page, which directs to our brand new ko-fi.com page, where interested persons can send us tips or donations via credit/debit or PayPal!  Of course, if interested persons already have PayPal, they can always send us tips or donations directly through PayPal to our email, 7serendipities at gmail dot com.

We do most of our reiki business through PayPal already, and although I normally direct people who want divination, jewelry, or spellwork to our Etsy shop, I’m more than happy to do direct sales through PayPal (or Ko-Fi) as well, though please email first to discuss pricing!

And hey, with the holidays coming up, if you’re feeling extra generous, we also have an Amazon List.  Buy a deck, and after we get acquainted it’ll show up in the Etsy shop! 😉

 

Hopefully everyone is having a great start to the holiday season, and let us know if there’s anything on your shopping list that we can provide!

Event, Holiday Celebration, Other Updates

Blessed Samhain!

Well,

Baby Land is going well, but Serendipities Land is still taking a backseat – sorry for that.  Every time I think I’ve hit my stride something else happens and I end up not managing to achieve my grand plans.  I still owe you a full length post each for both Wep Ronpet and working our first Grand Healing Ceremony in August, and those I’ll probably backdate (and then link) once I post them, but for now, as the wheel turns to a new year, let’s do a little looking back and looking forward…

Looking Back…

tumblr_opk4nm5uaa1u9dvmro2_500

Beltaine was good but we didn’t do much – because baby was born on May 3rd, right on schedule.  Generally speaking, Beltaine is Aine’s day for us, and we lit her a candle and gave a few small offerings, but mostly I just had a baby!

midsummer applesWe had grand plans for Midsummer, of going away to the beach for the weekend, but as you may have guessed, those didn’t quite pan out!  Baby was just over a month old and honestly I didn’t want to do much more than sleep.  We went to the closest body of water that empties into the ocean (a canal that empties into the Potomac River and then the Chesapeake Bay and then the Atlantic), and tossed in two apples, for Manannan and Fand.

Lughnasadh and Wep Ronpet happened the same week as my brother’s wedding, so that whole time is a bit mixed up and I don’t think we took any Lughnasadh pictures… that was Lugh’s day (and Tailtiu’s) for us, and it was probably very informal.  I’ll make a post later for Wep Ronpet, because that caused a major shift in my work with Bast and Sekhmet.

mabonWe did a lot more for the Autumnal Equinox this year, though, and combined it with our secular celebration of Rosh Hashanah.  I made bread (and DIDN’T KILL THE YEAST – kitchen witch level up!!!) and a honey apple cake that will probably be our new tradition for this holiday celebration.  (Recipe and write up available here on tumblr!)  The Autumnal Equinox is Freyr and Freyja’s day, for us, and by association the rest of the Vanir as well.

That brings us up to the present – Samhain!  Though we haven’t yet finished all of our pagan celebration (we did dress up for secular Halloween, though – as Wendy, Smee, and a tiny Captain Hook!) 23004766_10159607608085525_3095417493482045595_o

Looking Forward…

So, my plan (which may well “gang agley”, mind) is to post a short thing every High Day so you all know what we’ve been up to, and also to post a bit more about my own witchcraft and paganism, as well as shop updates and whatnot.  Hopefully at least one post a month, towards the beginning.

Speaking of the shop… I do have a number of decks I need to photograph still (lighting! I need good lighting at the same time that I have time, agh) and hopefully I can get those up soon.  At some point I really ought to get around to writing those deck reviews, and honestly there are a couple of book reviews I could write up, too, maybe starting with the book I’m reading for the Fellowship Beyond the Star book club in January: T. Thorn Coyle’s Evolutionary Witchcraft.  I also have an ogham set now and I’m just now beginning to study that, but hey, maybe I can offer readings with that some time next year!

I have a couple of devotional bracelets I’m still working on the patterns for, but once I finish those (and photograph them), those should be up… at some point.

I’m also thinking of offering tiny wearable spell jars, and I’ve started crocheting granny squares as a physical manifestation of my spellwork – those could be sellable too.  Thoughts?  Any interest?

Anyways, sorry for my long absence, sorry in advance for any upcoming hiatuses, thank you so much for sticking around, and gold star for reading this far.

 

All My Very Best,

Reáltán