Black Birthday Booklet!

November was ever creeping closer, which meant that the birthday of my friend Chantal was nearly here. She is the one person I will ALWAYS make a card for and I always go all out. Even if I haven’t crafted all year, she will get something handmade. So this year I went a little crazy (again) by creating a bunch of small cards and binding them together like a little booklet.

First, the cover! A frame diecut, cut in half and glued together for sturdyness. With a cute “happy birthday” that I stamped and embossed.

The first pages! I love the stamp and I actually use more of those quotes for her on other cards. It’s a birthday, so of course it needed a cupcake, but in very VERY bright colours.

She has two cats, so of course they couldn’t be left out. I stamped them and coloured them in the colours of her cats. And, like me, she is a writer and a fountain pen fanatic, so these dies are perfect! The frame is the same as the cover, now used whole.

Pretty galaxy paper, which I know she loves. The moonphases are stamped and embossed with glow in the dark embossing powder! It was the first time using it, so I did not know it would dry transparent… oops. Luckily I could lightly colour over it with white pencil. And lastly, a lunar moth with a moon!

On the back I put a piece of purple coloured paper and wrote the birthday message on there. I loved making this, it was a lot of fun to think of “pairs” of cards that would both work together and be meaningful. Now of course the question already starts to brew: what to do for next year?

Cernuna?

I got a question on Twitter by a follower who wondered if I have any information about the Goddess Cernuna. I must admit, I’d read the name once in passing, while reading about Cernunnos, but I never really dove further into it, thinking that it was simply a modern pagan’s wishful thinking. After the question, however, I got curious. Is there a female counterpart to Cernunnos? Do we have evidence of a Gaulish female antlered Goddess?

Short answer: sort of.

Above is a bronze statue of an antlered woman, sitting crosslegged, holding a cornucopia and a patera: a gallo-roman offering dish. The statue is currently in the British Museum, but was found at Broye in the Haute-Saône (Franche-Comté). Interesting is of course that she had antlers, and the fact that she is sitting crosslegged, something that most Cernunnos depictions have as well.

Another antlered goddess, sitting crosslegged, holding a cornucopia was discovered in Puy-de-Dôme. Her other hand is empty but was likely holding another patera. She can be seen in the Musée de Clermont-Ferrand.

The cornucopia is a symbol of abundance and prosperity. The patera is one of worship, of leaving offerings for a deity. However, often the figures holding the patera would not be the deity themself, but those who would bring offerings to them. So are we looking at statues of Goddesses, or of priestesses? Horns (or antlers) indicate a link to nature and the hunt. Which would make these potential Goddesses a Goddess of nature, the hunt, and abundance (and perhaps the harvest).

There is also mention of a relief of a horned (not antlered) Goddess found on a piece of pottery in Richborough, Kent, but I wasn’t able to find an image of this.

Of course we know next to nothing about these figures. Their name, or what their attributes entailed. Cernuna or Cernunna would be a suitable name, meaning “horned” but whether or not She would have a link to Cernunnos is impossible to know. And if She did have a link to Cernunnos, what would it be? Is She His consort, His wife, His sister, His female form? An interesting concept to think about.

Sources:
We Are Star Stuff – Cernunnos
We Are Star Stuff – Horned Goddesses
DeoMercurio – Cernunnos
Noémie Beck – Goddesses in Celtic Religion
Ceisiwr Serith – Cernunnos: Looking a Different Way
Sharon Paice MacLeod – Celtic Cosmology and the Otherworld: Mythic Origins, Sovereignty and Liminality pg. 152-154
Miranda Green – Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art pg. 26-27
Miranda Green – Animals in Celtic Life and Myth pg. 237
Georgia Irby-Massie – Military Religion in Roman Britain pg. 100


Poetry: Find me, sister

A poem inspired by the Goddess Baduhenna.

Find me, sister
In marsh-filled forest
In sacred grove
The places which are wild and raw and free
Filled with magic and power

Find me, sister
Through ties of blood
Through bonds of spirit
See me in the faces of your kindred,
Connected and rooted to all life

Find me, sister
In spring’s green delight
In summer’s bright splendour
For, like you, nature grows and blooms
It perseveres through all adversity

Find me, sister
In the call of the crow
In the howl of the wolf
Join the frenzied roar of thousands,
And fight for those who are oppressed

Find me, sister
With fangs bared
With claws curled
Head held high and strength in your spine
Never giving in nor giving ground

Find me, sister
Crowned in iron
Crowned in madness
With shadows twisting behind my rooted throne
Whispering of all your deepest fears

Find me, sister
In darkened forest
In the depth of night
When you are wounded and bleeding
Open and vulnerable for all to see

Find me, sister
Through your tears
Through your rage
Bruised but never weak nor defeated
Bending but never, ever broken

Find me, sister
Within your heart
Within yourself
You, who are mettle-tested and battle-worn
Wear your scars with dignity

Find me, sister
Within your eyes
Within your bearing
Stand in your power without reservation
With pride in all that you are

New Moons are for Self Care

One thing that keeps popping up when I write about why paganism and witchcraft draws me, it’s “community”. To be a part of a group of like-minded individuals. To connect. Somewhere in the beginning of this hell-scape that is 2020 I’d decided to finally look into Red Tent ceremonies. To figure out what they were, how they worked, and what happened during one of these nights.

As I’ve spoken about in my Gender in Witchcraft series, I do think a place where women can meet and be accepted is a very important thing, so I was intrigued. Unfortunately, we’re in the middle of a terrifying global pandemic, one which has already had a (maybe permanent) effect on my health. I am not in a position to meet new people right now, especially not in groups. Travel is difficult. But I did want to do something with exploring these ceremonies and what they would mean to me. So, what to do?

I looked deeper into women’s circles and rituals related to that, and found that sometimes, instead of linking it to menstrual cycles, the rituals and gatherings are tied to the new moon. This spoke to me. Like I said before I’ve been doing some (ritual) self love work on and off for over a year now, but perhaps by choosing a time to set apart would be a very powerful thing. I could have one evening a month dedicated to self love and self care, no matter what else was happening in the world.

My first new moon was in June, where I explored what “being female” means to me. I’ve never felt drawn to the “sacred womb” and “sacred yoni” paradigms. Next to that, due my personal experiences I feel very little connection to them at all. (PMS so severe that I am on medication to no longer menstruate, not being able to become a mother, trauma, vaginism and my sexual- and gender orientation, just to name a few.) They are a part of my body, I acknowledge that and feel love to those organs for that, but they are not more sacred than say, my heart, or my eyes. So that first new moon I made sacred space, called out to my deities, sat down and meditated on that. Afterwards I drummed and drew oracle cards, and ended with a journaling session about what I had learned during the ritual and my thoughts. It was amazing. Richly empowering and eye-opening.

I’ve been setting time apart every new moon since then. I have it marked in my calender and try to keep those nights empty. So far, it worked. Some hurdles of course: my husband having the evening shift while working at home, so no space available upstairs. That night I just sat downstairs behind my laptop and wrote. Last new moon where I was having a terrible day and didn’t feel good enough to do ritual, I did it the day after. I’m approaching this very intuitively, for what I need in that moment. Somethimes that will be centred around a chosen theme (gender, community) and other times those themes will pop up naturally because of what is going on in my life (body positivity, boundaries).

So my message to you, dear readers, is this: Set time apart for yourself. To explore yourself. To find those answers within you that you’ve been looking for for a while. Pick a time (the new moon, the full moon, Sunday, the festivals, the first of the month, whatever works for you!) and keep your calender clear. Create your sacred space. Sit with yourself and listen. Ask yourself the difficult questions and listen to what you have to say. Without judgement and with acceptance. Work towards loving and empowering yourself, a small step at a time. You might be just as surprised as me with how this will change not only yourself, but the world around you.

Happy Halloween!

A happy halloween and/or Samha’in to everyone who celebrates it! I quickly wanted to share with you all the card I made for my friend. It was a great excuse to finally use those halloween papers and witchy hat stamps.

And a sneaky peak into the inside of the card!

A ghost heart! It was a lot of fun to make and I loved how the colours came out.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day, and remember: stay spooky!

Birthday Witchcraft

Today, the 28th of October is my birthday! So I thought this was the perfect time to share with you all some magical things to do for your birtday. Here are some ideas to add a little bit of witchcraft to your already magical day.

Candle Magic: Light a (birthday) candle, make a wish, blow it out. Simple, yet effective. Traditional birtday magic!

Glamour Magic: Choose your clothes and make up in such a way that they make you feel empowered, happy and confident. Choose happy colours and patterns, draw sigils with your foundation, or wear jewellery enchanted to make this a happy day.

Food Blessing: Get a cookie/cupcake/cake/donut and bless it with happiness and love for the coming year. Think about your flavours: which do I associate with happiness, or love? Will it be a confetti cake, or is a white chocolate and rosewater cupcake better? You could also draw sigils, runes or bindrunes in the icing or frosting for added oomph.

Hot Drink Blessing: get your favourite flavor of coffee/tea/hot chocolate and charge it with warmth and self love. Stir the drink clockwise while concentrating on what you wish to imbue your potion with. Add edible glitter or shimmer (like luster dust) to make it even more magical!

Dance it Out: Have a little party (even just by yourself) and get rid of those things that no longer serve you. Put on some fitting music and think of the things you wish to let go of. Match your music to your intent: releasing anger? Headbang it out to some heavy metal. Releasing lethargy? Jump and bounce to some high-energy pop music. Releasing loneliness? Put on some Bohemean Rhapsody and sing along at the top of your lungs. Do it with friends or do it alone, but know that someone, somewhere, is belting right along with you.

Make a Toast: Make a toast to the year that has gone by. List the highlights for yourself. What are you proud of? What happened that made you laugh the loudest, that made you dance with joy or cry with happiness. Make a toast to the wonderful things that happened the last year.

Kitchen Magic: Cook your favourite food. Think about why it is your favourite? What memories or feelings does it draw up within you? Then think of ways you can enhance that with magic, for example by drawing symbols into piecrust or adding spices with intent.

Practice Divination: Do a tarot or oracle spread to reflect on the past year and see how it rings true. Do a spread for the coming year as well, then next year you can reflect on how accurate it was!

Give Yourself a Gift: Buy or make yourself something pretty. It is your birthday after all and gifts are part of that. Is there something that you’ve wanted but kept finding excuses not to buy it? Now is the time!
Make yourself a gift for next year! Make a little box filled with happy thoughts, herbs, poetry, crystals and all else you want to surprise yourself with next year. Tell future you how proud you are of them. Then next year, either burn or bury them and begin anew!

A Gift for Someone Else: Perhaps you’re not really one for gifts. That’s okay! Perhaps you’d like to give to someone else on your day. Make a donation to a charity that is important to you. Volunteer. Pick up trash in the local park. Share your sparkly tea and confetti cake with your neighbour. Share the love.

Make Plans: Make some plans for the coming year. Is there something you want to study? Break it into steps and write it down. Some practice you want to dive deeper into? Do the same.

Express Gratitude: Thank your ancestors for being here. Their loves and lives made it possible for you to be born. What better day to thank them than on your birthday? Remember that they are proud of you.
Thank your deities for the same thing and for the love and guidance they have shown on the way. (If you honour deities of course)

Practice Self Care: This is your day after all. Take good care of yourself. Protect your boundaries. Surround yourself with people and things that will make you happy. Don’t feel like having certain people over? Don’t! Or at least reschedule to a different day. Birthday celebrations can be stressful and hectic, make sure you use this day to take care of you.

Pamper yourself!: Take a luxuriously long, hot shower. Dress in soft and comfortable clothes. Make only your favourite foods and drinks all day (or order in!). Have a mini spa day. Meditate. Snuggle with your cat and watch something wholesome. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You deserve it.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to make your birthday a bit more magical! What do you do to incorporate some witchcraft into your celebrations?

Samha’in Pentacle Spread

Samha’in is, for me, a time to reflect. For some of us it is the witches’ new year, and while I don’t really believe this, I will do an oracle reading every year. I reflect on the reading of the year past and draw new cards for the year to come. In 2017 I made a reading based on the pentagram, and I’d like to share this with you all today!

  1. Me – my year: a general card for how the new year will be for you, especially for your inner world.
  2. Spirit – my spiritual path for the new year: what will happen spiritually? What will I need to focus on and what will I need to change?
  3. Fire – love in the new year: not necessarily romantic love, but relationships in general. What will happen when it comes to love and relationships?
  4. Air – learning and study in the new year: what are areas of knowledge I will need to focus on in the coming year? What will I need to learn?
  5. Water – what needs to be cleansed?: what is it that I need to let go of? What is toxic and/or no longer serving me? What do I need to stop doing or need to cut out of my life?
  6. Earth – career and work in the new year: what will happen career-wise? What do I need to focus on and what needs work when it comes to my working life?

So there it is! I hope it might serve you well at this particular and special Samha’in that we have this year. If you do use it, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Sigil for honouring the ancestors

Samha’in is creeping ever closer (like autumn fog!) so I thought it would be a nice time to share with you a sigil I made a few years ago. This was made for a ritual me and my coven sisters did in honour of Samha’in, where we honoured our loved ones who had passed through the Veil. The sentence to make the sigil was therefore “Beloved Dead, we honour you.

We drew them on glass candleholders and made spellcandles by adding herbs and crystals to it. What I used was:

🍁 Rosemary – remembrance
🍁 Marjoram – brings spiritual bliss to the souls of the departed, personal connection (my name means marjoram)
🍁 Apple – offering, nourishes the souls of the dead
🍁 Thyme – re-establishes communion with those who have past
🍁 Heather oil – invites the spirits to visit
🍁 Willow oil – sacred to the Gods of the Otherworld
🍁 Marjoram oil – see above
🍁 Calcite – closest in consistency to bone, connects with ancestors
🍁 Hematite – blood, the ancestral bloodline
🍁 Obsidian – connections to spirits, seeing into other realms
🍁 Red, White and Black candle wax for the connection through blood (red), bone (white) and spirit (black)

It was a very powerful candle and ritual that year, so I’m bringing it back and making a new candle this year. There are many who I wish to honour.

(the sigil and candle were first shared on my Tumblr)