Expanding my daily practice

For most of my pagan life I’ve struggled with building a consistent spiritual practice. The thing that I struggled with most was that “wanting” would quickly turn to “having to”, and all of the guilt and uneasy feelings that came with it. So last year I decided to do one tiny thing: I would end my day at my altar. That’s it. And if I didn’t have the time or the energy or the spoons, that was okay. What I do at my altar has changed over time, but mostly consists of lighting a few candles and connecting with my deities. Simple, short, but meaningful.

Lately I’ve been feeling called to expand on my daily practice. I was unsure how, but through a series of videos and posts I came up with something that, so far, works for me. First I watched a video by Dawn Michelle of Boho Tarot about her daily tarot practice. Her day is just filled with cards! I knew that was too much for me, but I do have all these lovely decks that I would love to use more often. So something simple and not too deep. One card draw, interpret the card intuitively and reflect on how and if it had an influence on my day.

Secondly, Eris Elizabeth’s video talked about her journey towards a daily practice, and what did and did not work for her. She goes to her altars in the morning, grounds, lights a candle, and then drinks her tea outdoors. A similar small yet effective practice like I had in the evenings. Now, I’m a morning person, but I’m not one to get up super early. Yet like this: grounding, altar and go, it wouldn’t take up a whole lot of precious morning time. So that was something else to think about.

Lastly I came upon a post on Tumblr (and I really need to start saving those things somewhere) which talked about the idea to make a book, inspired by Death Note, but then the complete opposite. Where in Death Note whenever the main character writes a name in his magical book, that person dies, this idea was an opposite, where the person whose name was written down got a blessing for their day. I loved this idea! Now, how to implement this?

I have a confession to make. I love looking at bullet journals, but I hate maintaining one. I tried, I really did, but I hated having to set time apart to work weeks or months ahead, and it added to my pile of “to do” things that I then also had to write down. They gave me anxiety, I wish I was kidding. However, the idea of a small journal or planner for my daily practice like this was perfect. I could write down my daily draw, write down those names to get an extra boost for the day, as well as write down what I am grateful for. The last bit was already part of my evening practice, but usually I simply list in my head the things I did, saw or received that I am grateful for. I thought about buying a planner, and simply using the ready made pages (like Alysa Marie of the Great Lakes Witch shows here beautifully). However, I had this gorgeous A6 bullet journal from the dollar store that I did nothing with. It would be a bit more work, but I would be able to make the pages exactly as I wanted them to.

Now how to make the daily “blessing”. I had the idea of making a sigil, that I could draw in a lighter colour and then write the names on top. So what did I want to give these people for their day? Joy, love and (more or rising) energy. Then I needed a symbol that signified the time allotment: a day. After brainstorming this is the end result!

So now my daily practice consists of both a morning and an evening routine. In the morning I go to my altar, ground and spent a moment just breathing. Then I either set up my daily page in the bujo if I haven’t done that the night before, or fill in my left page. I draw a card and interpret it. I’ve been working with a deck that I’ve had for the longest time (I think it was the second deck I’ve ever bought) but hadn’t touched in years. The Fey Tarot! It is such a nice, colourful and wholesome deck to start my day with, and it’s a “hug deck” as Dawn Michelle would say. I then write the names of those who I wish to give an extra boost today over my sigil. Besides people I know and love personally, I will also write down others, like people hurt in the BLM protests, or people on the forum who’ve asked to be sent energy.

In the evening I still light my candles and pray to my deities. I now reflect on the card I have drawn and make a few notes about it. Next is writing down the things I am grateful for. I have an extra section “notes” to make short extra notes in, like: new moon ritual, mabon, or: received new oracle deck!

So far it really works for me. I have the “luxury” of still being stuck at home due to illness, so I have the time to get used to the new routine. We’ll see how it survives when everything goes back to normal, but I’m confident I will work something out!

Drawing myself

I’ve been on a self love journey for over a year now. One of the parts I am focussing on is learning to love my body. When I was younger I’ve been bullied because of my weight. When I became older I was still often judged for it. It came to the point where I wouldn’t wear the clothes that I loved anymore (vintage ’50s dresses) out of fear of being too fat or too old. I got over that, but there was still a lot of work to do about accepting my body. Accepting myself as I am.

I came across a wonderful artist Sara Tisdale (Sergle Art) who has soft and wonderful art of full figured women. Adorable and gently coloured, just very cozy looking. And I fell in love with her style and with the ladies that she shares. So this inspired me to make a self portrait of sorts. Drawing myself as I am, full figured, wearing the clothing that I love, in a soft and loving way.

As I made this drawing I focussed on that feeling of self acceptance and -love. I truly went about it as if it was a ritual for myself. Art magic!

After I finished this self portrait I made another one, this time nude, which was a very confronting and intense magical working. She will become part of a self love altar that I am planning to set up. My work around self love and -acceptance is not done yet, but I am loving the progress I am making.

Art Journal: Elen of the Ways

Sometimes the divine speak to – and through – you in unexpected ways. This was supposed to be a practice of painting fantasy faces. But when the redhead was done it felt like something missing. I painted the branches/antlers and there she was, Elen of the Ways.

I was still missing something so I grabbed my golden paintmarker and simply started writing, the words flowing with such ease. They aren’t my words, they are Hers.

Come join me, oh wild one
running free through the woods
I will guide you on your path
show you the way to go
follow my Way; the sound of pounding drums
the sound of your own heartbeat
hear the song of your soul
and happily find out where it takes you
know that wherever you are
no matter what path you are on
you are not alone, oh wild one
for I am in the ground under your feet
the birds soaring above you in the sky
the stars lighting your way
I am right here besides you
walking next to you

Elen of the Ways

Grimoire cover

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I’ve talked about my spiritual path here before, but to be honest, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus when it comes to witchcraft and paganism. I talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk so to speak. Since being home for a few weeks {pro tip: don’t fall down stairs… it sucks} I’ve had time to reflect. As you do, sitting on a couch with nothing to do all day, right? And what I found is that while my worldview and my beliefs have changed over the years, I do miss it. I miss the witchy feeling and the peace and confidence it brought me. So I’m back! Basically starting from scratch and trying to figure out which bits and pieces within the pagan and witch paths do fit me and which don’t.

Creativity, crafting and art have always been a big part of my life {my site is not called Marjolijn MAKES for nothing} so it makes sense that it also becomes a big part of my spiritual practice and pagan path. Something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now is make a beautiful Book of Shadows or Gimoire that’s filled with art and knowledge about a bunch of different subjects. But I’ve always been afraid to start. There are so many beautiful examples out there, how could I ever compare, right? So this was step one, making a journal fit to become a Grimoire.

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I took a blank sketchbook and went all out. Using different mixed media techniques I finally made a book I absolutely adored. Since I made the book at night {bad idea…} I had to tweak it a little bit in the days following. Because it was bright BRIGHT metallic purple with a few silver streaks, not the dark and mysterious book I wanted it to be. I added some matte black paint, some darker purple and gold. Now I absolutely love it!

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And the back needed to be fancy as well of course! Now if you’re still reading and thinking: what the hell is a grimoire or a book of shadows? Sorry, I should have explained earlier. Both are books used within witchcraft and within the pagan path. They are magic journals. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, sometimes a book of shadows is seen more as a magical diary, where you note the divinations, spells, rituals and prayers you used and what their effects were, where a grimoire is more a compendium of knowledge with pages filled with information and correspondences.

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I’ve already made a couple of pages about moon magic, which I’ll share with you over the coming weeks. It’s been so much fun to work in this way and I’m hoping I can fill my artsy grimoire with lots of colour and lots of different techniques. For those who want to see more, I have a pinterest board filled with beautiful examples of other people’s grimoires, and I have a witchy sideblog on Tumblr called Baduhenna’s Raven, where I also talk about grimoires and am starting a bit of a series on how to make an artsy grimoire like mine. {Though I might also start it here… If people are interested?} So check those out and tell me what you do with your BoS/Grimoire!

Get Happy Art Journal Page

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Last week I was having a not-so-happy day, so instead of writing {what I should have been doing} I decided to play around with paint and happy colours! I’ve tried my hand at Art Journaling before, but after seeing the amazing Miranda van den Bosch in action and after practising on my Cattitude painting, this is the first page that looked and felt like an Art Journal page.

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I first made the background with a couple of happy colours applied with makeup sponges. After that I stencilled the star patterns and the two different bubbles. All new stencils that I got at the Doe@Ding dagen, a fun craft-fair, a few weeks ago. The butterflies are all from the Flutter stamp set by BoBunny.

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The white bubbles didn’t come out white enough, so I traced them with a white Posca pen. I added the quotes by first writing out the words normally, and then adding triangles to where the letters needed to be thicker. The black bubbles and butterflies got a few fun accents with metallic markers.

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I stamped the wings on the page itself, using the Flutter stamp set again. Then I stamped the Gorjuss Collectable no. 15, the Black Star, on a piece of cardstock and coloured it with my Flexmarkers. I cut her out and stuck her to the page using foam tape, giving her a bit more depth. Then it was time for the black lines around the page and the black corner-dots, all made with Posca pen. The final touch was a bit of white drops splattered all over the page, made with white Ecoline ink.

So that’s it! My first “real” Art Journal page! It really helped lift my spirits and made me happier with every layer I added. So this might be a new coping mechanism, expect more pages in the future!