Tag Archives: Spirit

Saging Your Home

I’ll be completely honest, I don’t smudge my surroundings or myself nearly as often as I’d like to. But next month we are bringing home our second child and while I’m knee deep in nesting, I figure saging the house needs to be part of preparing our home for the new baby. 

Smudging the home with herbs or cedar has been a staple in Native American tradition for centuries. The herbs used in smudging are dependent heavily on the particular region and tribe as to what is traditionally used. Today, white sage is the most common herb used in household smudging, but far from the only option. 

I have a bundle of white sage and a beautiful abalone shell that I picked up from an amazing spiritual shop in Austin (https://www.ancient-mysteries.net/). I decided to get an abalone shell to hold my sage because the shell itself is not only gorgeous but has amazing protective and balancing energies itself. I like having as many natural elements in my sacred space as possible, so the abalone shell was the perfect choice. I personally like to use white sage because sage grew wild where I was raised in the mountains of NorCal, so it reminds me of home. Saging is about clearing your energies and grounding yourself, so I figure what better way to help ground myself than to have a small reminder of my roots. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

To start, I lit my bundle of sage and let the flame dance around for a moment or two before I blew it out. Long enough to catch the herb and create a nice smoke. Hold the sage over the abalone shell (or whatever dish you choose to use) as you walk through the house so any piece of burning herb that falls from the smudging stick doesn’t land on your floors. I started in the entryway and worked my way through the natural progression of my home, following the hallway and into the kitchen. Working my way through my entire house in a clockwise circle, finishing the tour in my bedroom. As you make your way through the house, think very clearly about cleansing every corner in every room of negativity. Invite balance and growth into your space. 

When you have reached the last corner in the last room, take a moment to finalize your intentions and gently stamp the sage bundle out in the abalone shell. You can also spray it with water, but at this point in your smudging journey, the sage smoke will start going out on its own. So it’s super easy to finish it off this way and save it for your next cleansing ritual. 

I have been saging my home at least annually since I moved into my first apartment in 2010 (so long ago). Personally I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to smudge, as long as your intentions are clear and you do what feels right in your heart. I’ve been told very particular practices, such you can’t reuse a bundle of sage once you’ve smudged with it or you have to recite a specific chant, but that’s just personal preference, not law. 

Celebrating Mabon

History of Mabon

Mabon is the pagan celebration of the autumn equinox and one of the harvest festivals celebrated throughout the year. Summer has officially ended in the northern hemisphere and the days are once again the same length of time as night. Days and nights having the same hours symbolizes balance and unity during this time. During this time of the second harvest of the year, hearty foods such as pumpkins and other gords and apples are ready to be collected and shared in a great feast of abundance. 

The sabbat Mabon is named in the 1970’s after a Welsh God, the son is the Goddess who we celebrated to be heavy with child during the summer solstice. I don’t know about you but I found it interesting that the sabbat, along with the two holidays honoring the equinoxes, were named so recently. You can read more about that on this blog post written by Katrina Rasbold (https://www.patheos.com/blogs/energymagic/2015/09/mabon/). 

Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist from Pexels

How I Celebrated

Bake an apple pie

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

Of all the foods associated with the fall equinox and the harvest, apples are one of the most iconic. I chose an apple dessert not only because of its symbolism but also its versatility! Apple pie, apple tarts, apple bread. There are so many different ways to celebrate this amazing fruit. 

Decorate my altar 

Apples, fall leaves, acorns, and tiny pumpkins are perfect additions to your altars during this time of year. Since our energies are so intertwined with nature, bringing foods and foliage from the outdoors into your sacred place can help make your meditation place even more special. At least it does for me. Celebrating holidays and sabbats are very personal, so make sure to do what you feel in your heart. 

Make a gratuity list

Photo from Pixabay stock

Take a moment to look at everything you have to be grateful for. Even the smallest accomplishments and joys should be celebrated. Family, health, food, books, coffee. Whatever helps you not only get through the day, but thrive is deserving of a place on your gratuity list. 

Declutter your home. 

Photo from Pixabay Stock

Pick a room and downsize things you don’t need. Not only is this a good thing to do for your physical home, but also for your soul. It’s not healthy to carry around all this weight and decluttering your home is a great exercise to literally and metaphorically cleanse your space. Closets and the garage are perfect places to start since these areas are mainly used as storage. We did the garage and the hall closet and it felt phenomenal to have gotten rid of things we should have donated years ago. 

Fall Bucket List

Fall is my absolutely favorite time of the year. It’s the season that I spend all of spring and summer dreaming about. There’s something magical about the way the trees shed their leaves, getting rid of old baggage as they begin their journey towards rebirth in the spring. I’ve always admired the transformation and I see humans replicated the process all the time. Letting go of people who don’t help us progress into our better selves, healing from old traumas. Our souls are a lot like those trees outside your window, sometimes barren, sometimes green and full of life. We are more tied in with nature than a lot of people realize, that’s why I make a list every season of everything I want to do to not only honor the corresponding holidays but also to honor my connection with the earth.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

Fall Bucket List

1. Visit the pumpkin patch

2. Make apple cider

3. Carve pumpkins

4. Bake homemade pies

5. Have a family movie night

6. Decorate for Halloween/Samhain

7. Take family photos

8. Make DIY candles

9. Watch the sunset

10. Give back (Clean out closets and donate unwanted clothes)

11. Fall cleanse the house (Clean, organize, and smudge)

12. Make baked apples

13. Host a bonfire with friends

14. Prepare a fall picnic

15. Go thrift shopping for a new sweater

16. Make a pumpkin and cream cheese loaf

17. Go on a nature walk

18. Go trick or treating around the neighborhood

19. Cook a meal with squash

20. Craft with fall leaves

Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels

Fall is the season for two spiritual holidays. Mabon, the fall equinox and the celebration of the harvest season, and Samhain, which falls on Halloween night and symbolizes the end of the Celtic year. When making these lists, I make an effort to blend the two faiths practiced within my family, and it’s much easier than I expected it, as many of the reserved holidays have deep pagan roots!

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. 

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. 

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. 

Aligned af

Aligned AF. I don’t know about you, but I tend to go the extra mile making sure my soul is aligned and I am centered in my own energy. Alas, I’m a human and sometimes I fall short. In those cases, AF stands for anxiety and forgiveness. Two of the things I struggle with the most. 

Mental health has a huge stigma behind it, and even in this current social climate where we are being as open and honest as ever, we still get judged for the chemicals our brain is releasing. Like we have any control over it. I’ve had anxiety my entire existence. Stories of how I would stress myself out so badly I’d get sick has sprinkled my childhood. Most of those stories are told with humor rather than thinking I could ever be anything other than what was perceived as “normal.” I’ve been called emotional, mean, and controlling all because of my anxiety. The times where my anxiety has literally caused me to shut down and internally panic, I’ve been called spoiled and lazy. Pretty much every negative adjective you can think of, all because I’ve been constantly stressed. It’s a struggle to balance out what my brain perceives as reality and what is just me overthinking everything. What people’s actual intentions are over what I assume they are doing. As a Libra, balance is EVERYTHING. It’s enough to make a person go insane, and because of all of this confusion and stress, some sticky situations have arisen. That brings up the next big issue in staying aligned AF. Forgiveness. 

Photo by Tina Nord on Pexels

Forgiveness is tricky. Sometimes we have to accept that in life there will be times that we will have to forgive and move on, even when an apology isn’t offered. Not because those who wronged us deserve forgiveness, some of them genuinely don’t. But that doesn’t mean that we deserve to carry about hate in our hearts. All it does is keep us awake at night while the people who hurt us probably sleep soundly. Wrapped up in a blanket with the fan on, nice and comfortable while they dream of who cares. So why don’t we deserve to sleep soundly, cozy and safe on our mattresses? Why do we get hurt, but carry the weight of that on our shoulders when we didn’t ask for it? We may not be the ones who put the burden there, but we are the ones holding onto it. And sometimes we need to, we cling to it like a shackle, waiting for the cut to scab over. But long after the scar tissue has set in, we still hold onto those boulders. We act like songbirds trapped in a cage, but the door is wide open. All we have to do is step out. All we have to do is drop the boulder and stretch out our poor, overworked muscles. It’s amazing to see how much better we can breathe when we aren’t hunched over. But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, especially when it comes to freedom. 

The reality of anxiety and forgiveness that I have come to is, I’m not responsible for other people. Not how they act. Not how they interpret my good intentions. Not how they perceive my life choices. None of it. And I’m not here to impress them anyway. At the end of it all, what truly matters is that I am happy with myself and my family. What matters is that my relationship is strong and healthy, and that my children are happy and healthy. Everything else is just background noise. And yes sometimes the background noise gets way too loud, but the good thing about that is, we hold the remote. We can turn down the volume. Distance ourselves from the bullshit, get some noise cancelling headphones, whatever you need to do to align yourself. 

Photo by Benjamin Suton on Pexels

It’s taken me a long time to get here and some people never do, because it takes an immense amount of energy and work to get to this milestone. Hard work isn’t for everyone, but good news is, you are a gem. You are a unique snowflake with a design that never has and never will be repeated again. You are not like everyone else, and thank the universe for that. Being your own shade of rich color is one of life’s greatest blessings. Once you see your own worth, a whole new color pallet opens up. Imagine what beautiful portraits you can create with an array of hues designed just for you. 

Intro

Hello and welcome to the Mystic Quill! In this very first post I wanted to explain my intentions and where I am at the beginning of this journey. My why and my how. Why did I decide to start a blog focused around my spiritual voyage as a pagan and how I walk my own unique path. 

The main thing that attracted me to witchcraft was the freedom. The ideology that there is no set of rules, no idea that you have to practice a certain way to be a witch. It’s all in your intention. Good or bad intentions is what makes the person rather than how you fit into a cookie cutter mold. The very idea that the magic comes from you. Not the herbs you use or the crystals you have, whether you have certain items placed on your altar just right. And while all those things definitely have their own vibrations and their own meanings, the true power comes from the user. Magic is in our hearts and our souls, our energies. Witchcraft, to me, is about being able to tap into and being sensitive to the energies that flow through all living things. The same energy that flows through you and I is the wavelengths that connect the animals, trees, and the stars in the night sky. The moon that gives us the tides illuminates our path amidst the darkness.  

It’s really a beautiful thing when you think about it. That we are all connected to each other and the world we live in. That mindset really makes you appreciate the earth we live on and all the beings we share it with. It makes you protective over it, wanting to do everything you can to help preserve our home. Once you feel that shared vibration, you can never look at a blade of grass or a small squirrel the same again. That is the calling that I felt to the craft and that is why I have stayed so long. The forest is my church, the animals are my congregation, and the moon is my communion. 

I was raised Catholic, just like many generations in my family before me, and I had a great childhood. But once I became a teenager, a lot of the things I was being taught felt off to me. I didn’t feel it in my heart. Now, don’t get me wrong, many people live their lives perfectly content in Christianity and I’m truly happy for them. My path is different than theirs, one isn’t better than the other, they just aren’t the same. Life is all about doing what is best for you, what you feel is right for you in your own heart. That is what led me here and that is what brought me to starting this blog.

Earlier this month I posted a meme on Insta, this one here:

I was expecting anything but the responses I got from women on my personal page. Everything from hearts to clapping hands emojis. Various messages of support and how they felt the same way. It was really uplifting and made me realize this topic is something that interests more people than I first believed. I brought up starting a blog to document my own journey with witchcraft and everything that I still have left to learn and the ones I did speak to were supportive and enthused. So I figured, “Damn, if they are here for it then so am I.”

As a writer, I wanted to create a space where I could express myself in my beliefs and document my trek but also somewhere that I could publish my thoughts. And although I typically write novels and I do have some projects that I am in the process of self publishing, I wanted to combine my passions. Writing, witchcraft, and self care. Or as I will be referring to them in each post: mind, spirit, and body.

So here we are. While there is quite a bit that I have already learned (which I will cover in future posts in an organized fashion, I hope) there is still so much that I want to explore and open myself up to. Life is a voyage, all about navigating rough seas and taking the time we have in calm waters to be thankful for what we have. I’m excited to be able to share this portion of my story and hopefully hear about yours too.

Milky Way Galaxy photo by Miriam Espacio on Pexel.