All posts by mysticquill

Meditative State Of Mind

Meditation is one of those great things that you can really do anywhere. No need to go back, you read that right the first time. Anywhere. In bed. On the floor. In the shower. On a pillow in front of your altar with incense wafting through the air. Meditation is all about a state of mind, not the picture perfect room to do it in. You can meditate in complete silence (if you have children, this one is a little harder to do) or use youtube videos for assistance. It all depends on what keeps you the most zen. 

It’s very personal, much like every other aspect of spirituality. There isn’t one size that fits all. When I first felt a calling on this spiritual path, I thought there was a specific way things had to be done, an exact science to the ritual. I guess that was my own personal experience with religion hanging on for one last moment of influence. Once I did my research and learned that everyone’s path is different and unique, I was sold. 

Photo by Prasanth Inturi from Pexels

Personally, I do the majority of my meditation in the shower. I’m alone, it’s quiet. The water is warm and calming. It’s the only time of my day where I can get lost in my thoughts and center myself. There isn’t a snoring husband lying next to me. There isn’t a child climbing all over my while I’m trying to focus. No cat meowing at me for a meal, even though she’s already been fed. I’m not going to defend myself and remind everyone how much I love my family. Obviously I do. But I very much value my alone time, and this isn’t something that came about in motherhood. I’ve always enjoyed being alone. Even as a teenager, I would often lock myself away to recharge my batteries, because being a human being is exhausting. After I started meditating and practicing breathing techniques, I noticed a huge difference in my mental state but also my physical health. Because, surprise, the two are very closely tied together.

I have a dear friend who is a massage therapist, and she has specific videos she and her family watch on YouTube that walk you through meditation. She swears by them. So if you’re one of those people who would like a little guidance or if your mind wanders while meditating, give these videos a try! https://www.youtube.com/user/NewHorizonHolistic

In our day to day lives, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed or that you don’t have five free minutes a day to sit and collect your thoughts. I promise you, that if you make the effort and pencil in a fraction of your agenda to your mental health, you will feel a weight off your shoulders. You’ll feel better. You’ll sleep better. Your stress and anxiety levels will benefit. I could make a fifty point list on why meditation is so beneficial, but instead I’m going to go over my personal routine for you to tweak however you please. 

Photo by Ekrulila from Pexels

I make sure the water in the shower is nice and warm. I love hot showers so the hotter the better, but whatever temperature you’re comfortable with. Throughout my pregnancies, I’d get tired standing in the shower, so I would sit. Yes, I would sit in the shower. Why not take a bath? Because my tub was small and didn’t hold much water. This way, my entire body is benefiting from the waterfall shower head. Light some candles, dim the lights, put on some soft music. As you let the water run down your body, imagine all your troubles and stress washing away with it. Let the water cleanse your spirit as it’s cleansing your body. It’s like a ritual. As you wash your hair, as you wash your skin, imagine you are scrubbing away your woes. You are doing so much more than cleaning your body in this shower, you are cleaning your aura. It’s like saging yourself, your soul can hold onto more toxins than any other part of you, so make sure you pay extra attention to this purification. 

Stay in until you feel ready. Usually for me, this is when the water runs cold or when I’ve been in the steamy bathroom long enough I’m ready for some air. Either way, listen to your body, you’ll know when you’re ready to come back to reality. I am usually exhausted after a meditation shower, so I always do this before bed. Afterwards, lotion your skin and drink some cool water. Put on chapstick, do your nighttime skin care routine (if you don’t have one, I highly suggest you start one). After a long meditation shower, I love to do facials, either a nice sheet mask with essential oils or a brush-on mask that you can wipe off. I’m personally not a big fan of peel-off masks, but use what you have. It’s amazing how these little steps of self care truly improve your sleep. It helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night, so when you wake up the next morning you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day. 

DIY Sharpie Mug

What you Need:

Coffee mug, matte finish

Oil based sharpies

Stickers (Optional)

Wash the mug thoroughly and make sure it’s nice and dry before you hand it over to the kiddos. We did this craft a few months ago for Father’s Day, so I used the stickers to spell out ‘Best Daddy’ and let her color over the letters. Since my little girl was about a month shy of three when we did this, I let her pick which colors she wanted to use and I held the mug for her while she scribbled. Once she was done, I let the mug dry for a few minutes before I peeled the stickers off. The oil sharpies bled around the edges a bit, but I used cheap stickers I had lying around from years ago so that’s what I was expecting. For the homemade touch of a Father’s Day gift from the kids, it was perfectly fine that the lettering didn’t come out as crisp and clean as if I was making it as a gift for an adult by an adult. 

After the little one is done coloring on the mug, let it sit overnight to allow the paint to properly adhere to the mug. Then you’ll want to put the mug in the oven while it’s still cold and then turn the oven to 300 degrees for about an hour. Other bloggers have done tests on how long the mug needs to stay in the oven and at what temperature, from my research this is the best bet to make sure the paint is baked into the mug and doesn’t bubble up. Which is why it’s important to get a matte finished mug rather than a gloss, since the paint doesn’t adhere to the gloss as well as the matte finish. 

After the hour and a half has passed, turn the oven off and let the mug cool down in the oven. Once the oven and mug are both cold again, you’re all done! I haven’t attempted putting this creation in the dishwasher, so I can’t say how well it holds up. I would stick to hand washing just to make sure the art your kiddo worked so hard on doesn’t get ruined. 

How I Use Pinterest to Write

Much like my previous blog post, using music as a writing inspiration (link). Pinterest is another great resource for writers in need of some visual aid. While most of the time we can set the stage and describe a character based on the image in our mind, it’s nice to look at an example right in front of you. You never know when you can forget little details like the freckles on a secondary character’s nose or the tiny hairs on a butterfly’s body. 

My favorite way to utilize Pinterest for writing is a character’s physical description. I’ll save several photos on boards designated for each project. This girl’s hair with this other girl’s jaw line combined with this third girl’s eye color. It sounds tedious but I thoroughly enjoy spending an afternoon scrolling looking for inspiration. Sometimes I even find a photo of an actor or a model and think, “Oooh that’s how I pictured so-and-so would look!” And it helps bring the people living inside my head to paper. 

Photo by picjumbo.com from Pexels

Another great way to use Pinterest as a tool is for scenery. Maybe you’re writing a scene that takes place in the desert but you’ve never been to Arizona. Maybe you’ve only been to the coast a few times but your characters are having an intimate conversation at the beach? It’s always great to have a visual. When I travel, I always take photos of the landscapes and save them just in case I want to look at the lush forests of Western Oregon while I sit in desolate southern Texas. Even though I grew up in the mountains and I remember the feeling well, it’s never a bad idea to give yourself some extra inspiration. 

Not only does Pinterest have great visuals, there are also loads of construction tools and writing inspiration. Looking for a blog post to help you develop an underwhelming villain? Interested in finding a list of items you may not have thought of while building your own world? I guarantee there’s something on that website that can help you out. There’s also a lot of great information and tips when it comes to publishing as well! Submitting to a publisher or literary agent for the first time can be overwhelming, self publishing even more so. I found Pinterest was one of my best sources for seeing how other writers went about the publishing process and what they would have done differently. 

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

Personally, I use Pins for everything listed above. I go above and beyond and I have a separate account solely for my YA fantasy series so that it doesn’t get mixed in with the other stories. I do this because with five books plotted out, there’s a lot of different boards to keep things organized. But for my stand alone projects, I use one account for them all with just one board for each story line. Since Pinterest added categories to each board a while ago, it’s even easier to stay organized and keep your visuals from getting all mixed together. 

Musical Inspiration for Writing

Music and writing are the two branches of the artistic oak tree that stand the strongest in my life. While I love and admire all forms of creativity, those two are my heart and soul. Even though writing and music are two very different entities, they really do go hand in hand. The poetry of lyrics along with harmonies and tempos are one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to creative writing, and I’m just one of many, many writers who use music to grow and develop our craft. 

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

Spotify is one of the best writing tools I have in my arsenal. It’s extremely user friendly and you can make a playlist for all of your projects, moods, pretty much anything you want. All art is emotional and music is no exception. With the help of an epic orchestra piece, you feel ready to fight (or write about) a glorious battle. Music can also help you connect to emotions you aren’t experiencing in your everyday life, but have to convey on paper. An angsty rock song can help you connect to a character who is feeling angry or a heartfelt love song can give you insight into how a character’s heart is soaring or breaking. 

I have a playlist for the three main projects I’ve worked on, two of which are stand alone novels I’m preparing for self publication and the other is for my YA fantasy series that is still in progress (Yes, the one I’ve been writing forever lol). Within these playlists are songs that not only describe the moods in particular scenes but my characters. I make sure to have at least one song that fits the personality and mindsets of my main characters and my lead secondary characters. Not only does this help me get into their heads, but it also gives me an outlet to put another element of my style into the writing. 

Photo by samer daboul from Pexels

Nothing gives me a stronger motivation to write than when I’m driving in the car or I have a playlist on shuffle at home and a song that is linked to one of my projects comes on. I’m instantly transported to another world and I want nothing more than to sit down and connect with the characters. 

Five Favorite Writing Locations

  1. Bodies of water. There’s something magical about the water. Whether you’re sitting in the sand next to the roaring ocean waves or in the pebbles next to a cobalt blue lake, it’s definitely a religious experience. If I could be anywhere in the world to write, it would either be on Ocean Beach in San Francisco or in the trees overlooking Lake Tahoe. Watching the ripples of the tide brings instant inspiration, like a creative cleanse. Us humans are 60% water after all, so it only makes sense that we are naturally drawn to bodies of water. Gravitational forces lead us around for a purpose, so we might as well create some art on the journey.
Photo by Manu from Pexels

2. My home office. I love my office. I love it so much I wrote an entire blog post about it (https://mysticquill.com/2020/06/10/create-the-perfect-space/). There’s something special about a space that’s designed just for you, decorated by you FOR you. It’s the little things that help drive us to create. Whether it be a unique painting on the wall or a motivational quote you write for yourself, there’s no place like home.

Photo by Visually Us from Pexels

3. Coffee shops. Coffee shops are poetic. The smell of roasted coffee beans grinding up to make the perfect little shot of espresso. The single person table shoved in the corner of the room, right next to an outlet. The dimmed lighting. It’s literally the perfect setting for an intimate conversation with a friend and to read (or write) an amazing book. I can spend hours at a local coffee shop or cafe with my headphones plugged in, typing away as fast as my fingers will carry me. I always have a cup of caffeination next to me while I work anyway, and as much as I love working from home, it’s always nice to have a change of scenery.

Photo by Igor Starkov from Pexels

4. The park. There’s no comparison for fresh air and the park is the perfect place to step out of your comfort zone. When I was in college, I did all my studying in the library and all my writing in the park. Nestled up under the shade of a massive oak tree, a light breeze blowing through the leaves overhead creating a soft lullaby. Friendly squirrels coming up to say hello, watching dogs chase after balls, couples strolling down the walking paths hand in hand. Can you think of anything more romantic?

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5. In bed. This is my go to when my husband has friends over on a weekend night, but I still have work to get done. Since my office is right off the living room (and I get easily distracted), it’s easier to hide away in my bedroom when that pesky daily word count has yet to be made. Our beds are one of the coziest and safest places in the world, and the perfect location to make our dreams come true. After all, that is where we create them, so why not go back to the source to manifest them!

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Summer Wreath Tutorial

A wreath is such a festive and creative addition to your front door, and not just during the winter time! Wreaths have been used by various cultures since ancient times in southern Europe, primarily Greece and Rome. Modern day wreaths are used to symbolize winter holidays such as Yule and Christmas, the harvest season, and pretty much every holiday in between. I personally love wreaths to symbolize the seasons because it’s one of the first things people see when they approach your home. They are a warm and welcoming way to invite your guests in and show off your creative spirit. 

I change my wreaths up four times a year during spring, summer, fall and winter. Recently, I took the purple and yellow tulips and little bird’s nest with robin’s eggs off my grape vine wreath and replaced them with summer decor.

My Spring theme wreath

While the pre-made wreaths you can get at the store are absolutely stunning, they’re also expensive and not much room for customization. So I opted for a bare, brown vine wreath and every season, I add my own special touch. 

Summertime to me is all about citrus and yellow and orange flowers, so that’s the route I took. The bright colors from the embellishments stand out boldly against the white door of my rental home and are easily seen from the street, so even those who are just driving by can admire my handiwork from afar. 

Supplies you need:

Plain grape vine wreath (Available year round at Michael’s). 

A wreath hanger (I got mine for a few dollars at Wal Mart). 

Decorative flowers and embellishments of your choice

Small floral wire cutters

Floral tape (Optional). 

I trim the decorative flowers so that most of the stem is gone but there is still enough stem left to tuck into the grapevines and hold the flowers into place. You want to make sure the flowers are poked into the wreath snug enough that they don’t fall out or blow away when it gets windy but you also don’t want the stems to stick out the other side of the wreath. You can always use floral tape to help hold them into place, but I’ve never had an issue with sticking the flowers in snug. I stay away from hot gluing the flowers and decor into place because then you can’t reuse the wreath for the next holiday/season. It’s much easier to store a small bag of wreath decorations for each holiday than it is to store an entire wreath for each holiday. I also try to decorate the wreath in quarters rather than bunch everything together. You want your wreath to look full but you also want it to look symmetrical.

Half way there!

Get creative! This is your time to use whatever flowers and additional decor you want! There are all kinds of examples on Pinterest to use for inspiration. You don’t even have to use flowers if you’d rather use a garden hose or ribbon, whatever your heart desires and your brain inspires. 

Finished product

Celebrating Litha

History of Litha

Litha is the celebration of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It’s a time to honor our connection to the sun and everything it provides for us living creatures on earth. After the solstice, the days will gradually grow shorter until we reach the fall equinox. Summer is the time to enjoy the warm, extra sunlight and the magic happening all around us. Litha honors the strength of the seeds we plant in the springtime, as we begin to see the fruits of our labor. The Goddess is depicted in the form of the Mother, with child and preparing to give birth during the fall equinox, just as the harvest is ready for gathering. I currently connect to this time on a spiritual level because I can definitely relate to being heavy with a child, waiting for the end of summer to finally give birth. 

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Before I dove in head first, I did my research. I like to be well prepared and well read on a subject before I even attempt to explain it to anyone else. Even though I celebrated the turning of each season and honored pagan traditions on the holidays, I didn’t do it in the name of spirituality, I did it out of habit. Intention is EVERYTHING when it comes to your spiritual path, so this year I decided to make my intentions clear and celebrate Litha for what it represents. 

What I decided to do to honor the solstice 

I decorate my altar with flowers and shells. On the solstice honoring the sun, what better flower to symbolize the occasion than a bright yellow daffodil. Shells are a wholesome reminder of the beach and being in the water is one of the best ways to balance out the heat from the sun during these long days. 

Image by Mira Cosic from Pixabay

Read a tarot spread for myself for the season. Having a card reading can be pretty much done any day of the year, but I figured it would be a special way to honor the solstice. It had been months since I did a reading for myself and it was definitely time. 

Photo by zhang kaiyv from Pexels

Go outside and soak up the sun.  After all, today is all about honoring that massive star up in the sky. I put on some sunscreen and laid out in the heat with a massive cup of peach iced tea. Humans, just like all living things on the earth’s surface, thrive and grow with some warmth from the sun. It’s amazing how rejuvenated you feel after lying out in the sunlight for a bit, kind of like recharging your spiritual batteries. 

Bake a lemon tart. Citrus is one of the many food correspondence with Litha, and lemon is a personal favorite in my house. What better way to honor the solstice than with a delicious and refreshing treat. 

Many of the items on my Summer Bucket List blog (https://mysticquill.com/2020/06/17/summer-bucket-list/) are a celebration of Litha as well, but I wanted to do something special for the day of the solstice while honoring the season all through the summer months. Celebrating holidays is a great way to boost your happiness and make specific times of the year special for your loved ones. Everything we do for the holidays is just as much for our children and family as it is for ourselves. Even though October through December are considered to be “the holidays”, there are many days throughout the year we can make special and honor nature. 

Summer Bucket List

It’s almost summer time! While the hot and humid weather in the south isn’t exactly my favorite flavor of tea, there is something beautiful and unique about each of the four seasons. Summer is no exception there. The days are longer, the sun rises higher into the sky and everything in the northern hemisphere is vibrant and alive. Summer is the time to get outside and enjoy the water and thank the sun for giving us warmth and balance.

To honor the summer solstice and the entire season, I made a list of twenty activities I want to do between June 24 and September 21. While three months is plenty of time to check items off your own seasonal bucket list, it’s important to take the time to enjoy each activity. Think about why you’re doing each one and live in the moment.

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Summer Bucket List

1. Make s’mores over a bonfire

2. Stargaze

3. Make fresh popsicles

4. Watch fireworks on Independence Day

5. Have a BBQ with friends

6. Make ice cream floats

7. Go to the farmer’s market and try a new recipe

8. Have a lake day

9. Watch the sunrise

10. Eat a funnel cake at a fair or make them at home

11. Go fishing early in the morning

12. Have a water fight in the backyard

13. Try a new food truck

14. Unplug for the entire day

15. Put out a hummingbird feeder

16. Brew sun tea

17. Make a DIY bird feeder with orange peels and seeds

18. Make a flower crown

19. Make homemade smoothies

20. Make a sun catcher

Photo by Nuno Campos from Pexels

My summer bucket list is a combination of fun childhood memories mixed in with my spiritual beliefs honoring the summer solstice. The summer solstice, or Litha, is the celebration of the longest day of the year and the earth being as close to the sun as it ever will be. After the solstice, each day will gradually get shorter until we reach the fall equinox. With so many creative ways to celebrate summer, the seasonal bucket list options are endless!

Full Moon Rituals

Last Friday on June 5th was the last full moon, known as the full strawberry moon. It’s referred to as the strawberry moon because June is the month of the strawberry harvest. The moon cycles are always a good time to take a moment of gratitude and set your intentions for the new lunar cycle. As I’ve stated before, I’m not a fourth generational expert. I listen to my heart and follow my own personal calling. While everything has its own meaning and symbolism, there truly isn’t a witchcraft rule book. There isn’t a right and wrong way to practice and honor yourself, and the moon is no exception. 

Photo by Joonas kääriäinen from Pexels

What the full moon means

This is a time to move forward with your intentions that have already been established. The full moon isn’t a time for a new beginning or to take on new projects, but honor the things you have yet to finish. Take this time to celebrate what you’ve done and honor the progress you’ve made and continue to make. There is a misconception that the full moon makes people act out of character or transform into entirely new beings, but to me the full moon has always been a source of joy and completion. 

What I cleanse/charge and why

I cleanse everything. Myself, my deck of tarot cards, my crystal necklace, my little herb garden. I make moon water to use in various places (meditation, ritual, you can even make tea with it).  

Making Full Moon Water

Take a clean, clear glass jar with a secure lid. I use leftover jelly cars, personally but you can use literally whatever you have lying around. Fill the jar with filtered water and secure the lid. Sit in the light of the full moon for as long as you can. Remove the jar before you go to bed so that it’s off the window sill or back inside the house before the sun rises, that way the water absorbs the moon only. I store my full moon water in the pantry where it’s dark and use it when I feel the desire. 

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS from Pexels

You can make moon water during literally any moon cycle, as each phase has its own energy and symbolism. I use full moon water the most because I use my moon water to bring power and charge to my rituals and to myself. 

The full moon has always tugged at my heart strings. I remember in college when I would work late, I’d call my husband in the break room and ask him to set my old deck of tarot cards on the window sill and I’ll never forget the looks I’d get. Omg, she’s one of THOSE. You’re damn right I am and contrary to belief, there’s a lot of us who hear the moon’s siren call. 

Create the Perfect Space

Having your own space in any home is pivotal. Everyone needs their own bedroom, their own sanctuary to escape to. Having an office, or a designated place to focus, is a must for anyone who is serious about getting some work done. Before I had my own office set up, I would grab my laptop and get comfortable on the couch. It wasn’t so bad unless I had Netflix on (which was always) or my phone would call out my name (which was always). It was so easy to get distracted and even though I was comfy under a soft blanket, my writing suffered because of it.

So when we moved into a bigger house, I knew exactly what the unused space would be perfect for. My home office. It was as if this space was made for me. Right off of the kitchen, close to the coffee pot. My desk fits perfectly in front of the window, allowing in natural light and a beautiful view of the green backyard. Baby gates already blocked the doorways leading into the room keeping my little Princess from doing her favorite thing in the world, which is moving things from one place to another. It was meant to be.

Photo by Caio from Pexels

Picture it, waking up refreshed on a. overcast Sunday morning. A fresh cup of warm coffee waiting for you on the kitchen counter in your favorite mug. Rain sprinkles down on the windows, creating the perfect rhythmic pattern to patch your fingers typing against the keys. Your favorite inspirational playlist on Spotify plays quietly in the background as you express yourself, only having to type “synonyms for ….” into google once or twice. I’m a simple human, that’s all I want. 

Decorating this space in my home was a real treat and even though I’m not quite finished, it already feels so warm and inspirational. I covered the walls with tapestry and banners I’ve had since high school, others I found on Amazon. A white board where I can keep track of the things I need to get done that day, or the occasional inspirational quote to keep me motivated. Even though I have a planner at my desk, it helps me reidorate my tasks when I write them on the white board. Maybe it’s from all my years in the education system.

I found my desk at Target and was amazed at how inexpensive their selection was. Not only was it sturdy and solid but simple to put together. The little shelf off to the side of the desk is perfect for a desk lamp, your coffee mug, whatever your heart desires. While I was at Target, I browsed the clearance section because, let’s be honest who can just walk past that gold mine. I found this little triangle shelf and I knew instantly I wanted to use it to display my crystals and stones. I carefully selected the gems I did to help bring protection and balance to my office space and having them up on the wall right next to me where I can feel their energies really ties the office together.

Half way through set up, while my office was still a HOT MESS.

I wasn’t completely sold on the cubby storage unit when I bought it (also at Target. Yes, I know, I have a problem). But they fit within my budget and provided the space I needed to stay organized and also have a few spare cubbies for my husband to use for his college books. Now, I’m so pleased with them. The cubbies were simple to put together and, for the price, are holding together quite well. 

This setup is perfect for those on a budget. One of my favorite places to get interior design inspiration is Pinterest, like any millennial woman, and in my searches I noticed that everything looked the same. Big desk, big beautiful chair. All the stationary and pens are matching with the perfect shades of blush and rose gold. And as stunning as that is, it’s just not in my budget. So this is what I came up with, simple and sweet. 

Finished product!

My office/meditation room/indoor herb garden is the perfect combination of all my needs and interests. Which is the whole point of putting together a creative space, making it perfect for you! Not only will you feel accomplished after finishing your home office, but you’ll be able to get an exceptional amount of work done. Whether you’re writing, painting, or playing music, having a space with purified energy will help make or break your progress. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much you put into your art if you aren’t inspired.