Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year.

Many witches and pagans will celebrate their New Year at Samhain.  Many will celebrate at Samhain and at the beginning of the Calendar New Year.  I fall into the latter category, having spent my life surrounded by non witchy people it always just feels as easy to begin my year on January 1st.  I do however, begin witchy projects at Smahain, given that this is traditionally the witches New Year.

For my "normal" life January 1st makes much more sense for a New Year as that is when the western world is celebrating and beginning afresh.  There are things to sort out in my "normal" life that cannot be started in early November.  There are home education projects, lesson plans and so on that make more sense to begin in January.  Pretty much everything in my life that is not connected to witchcraft falls in with the usual New Year because my witchy beliefs are still very much in the closet - my real life is not ready to have my MIL, among others, knowing about my beliefs.

I have been asked in the past if I feel cheated because I am not openly sharing my beliefs, but the answer is no.  I can honestly say that being very private about my witchyness does not bother me in the slightest.  And because I was brought up celebrating Xmas, New Year and Easter, I continue to do so with my family - even though they know I don't celebrate with the Christian meanings.  They also know that I have my own little rituals I do on certain sabbats and they respect that.
For many years my parents hosted a New Year's party, so it would of been kind of hard not to get caught up in the celebrations without having to reveal why I wasn't getting involved.  I guess it is a matter of what you are used to, what you are prepared to tolerate and what you absolutely must do yourself.

I always say that whatever feels right for you, deep down inside of you, in your heart, is the right thing to do for you.  Even if this seems at odds with other witches and pagans, so long as you aren't deliberately hurting another then you are doing just fine.
I think living in a city that has almost no pagan presence has shaped the way I am.  Of course I know there are other witches and pagans around, but they obviously want to remain anonymous for the time being and I can understand that.
So this New Year's Eve I am going to be planning for my "normal" life, seeing what and who is no longer relevant and performing whatever rituals and meditations I need to help me on my way.

Whatever your beliefs, however and whenever you celebrate, I wish you a joyous New Year and hope that 2012 is kind to you.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Taking time out.

Not all of us witches only celebrate Yule.  There are good many of us who, for whatever reason, celebrate Xmas with our families.  If like me you have other gatherings to attend over the festive period you can find yourself becoming very frazzled very quickly.

Don't forget to take time out for yourself whenever you can.  I find it invaluable as I do find holiday family time quite trying.  The easiest way to do this is to have a long soak in your bath.  If this is out of the question, or even if you have done this, you can also meditate - it doesn't have to be a long meditation, a few minutes visualising yourself in a peaceful setting can do wonders for our frazzled nerves.

Go on, have a few minutes to yourself, you've earned it.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Comments Enabled.

I have been asked by some of you why I do not allow comments on the blog.  Some of you are already aware of that answer, some obviously not.

A few years ago I had a blog and allowed comments on it.  Everything was fine for a while but then someone I thought was a good friend took exception to something someone said about me - it was a lovely comment for the record - and the derogatory comments started.  I removed them, but it got so bad that in the end I only allowed comments for people who were publicly following my blog.  This did not stop the abuse however and in the end I closed my blog.

When I started a new blog I did not allow comments because obviously I had really had enough the last time, the abuse really was hurtful, and although I am a strong person, it was still very hurtful.  I know the person who was responsible, I emailed her, messaged her, I even rang her up to ask her to stop being such a pain.  For my sins I got another three years of abuse, her claiming I was bullying her.  She told so many lies about me I lost friends - not friends locally, but online friends.  When my brother was dying she told her cronies I was lying about it and I was fishing for sympathy.  Of course she was proven to be a liar then because many people saw what was being posted on my FB wall from local friends and family.

I haven't spoken to her for quite a while now, and I have even cut all ties with our mutual friends.  I figured that if I wasn't good enough then, I most certainly will never be good enough.  Besides, they couldn't have been any kind of friends because they would never have acted like they did.
I have moved on from that time and that crowd, but when I started this blog I felt the same sick feeling welling up inside of me with regards to allowing comments.  Unless you have been subjected to the appalling abuse that some people feel the need to direct others I don't think you can appreciate just how overly cautious this can make a person.

Because there have been many queries regarding comments I have decided that maybe it is time to trust again.  Given that I have nothing to do with this person and her chums anymore might be enough to finally be able to have a blog without having to constantly remove spite and hatred everyday.  I have set the blog to allow comments, but not the anyone option.  Maybe this will need to be changed again to that particular setting, I don't know, we will have to see.
But if the abuse does start up again I will close the comments back down as I am not prepared to put up with that again.  I am not talking about constructive criticism, or someone disagreeing with viewpoint here, I am talking full on abuse, there is a huge difference.

So, if you feel the need to comment on what I have to say, go ahead.

Promoting my witchy self.

For a while now I have been wondering how best to promote my blog, after trying and failing with twitter and a couple of other social media sites.  On Boxing Day it occurred to me that I might as well try a Facebook Page for this blog.  I ummed and ahhed for a while, not sure if I should take the plunge, but then I finally thought it was the best option for me.

I fail at promoting on twitter because I have non witchy family and friends on there and it is kind of awkward when they have no idea about my witchy beliefs.  The same reason applies on my facebook account, although I did try having a witchy one, but that didn't work out.  I attempted google+ but always forget to update there, so the FB page seemed like the best option.

You can find it here. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eclectic-City-Witch/140275069418215

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Being grateful.

At our shindig yesterday the topic of awful Xmas presents came up.  It would seem almost everybody receives a gift that they truly loathe.  I don't though.  I often find myself wondering what the person was thinking when they bought such an item, but over the years I have learnt to appreciate every gift I receive.

Any unwanted gifts, or maybe that should read any gifts I have no use for personally, I either give to a friend or family member becuase they need it much more, or I keep it for a gift for another person for their birthday, Xmas etc.  Sometimes I have even donated these items to a charity - they can definitely use them.

It can seem quite insulting when you receive a really awful gift, but before you hit the roof and blow a gasket with the gift giver think about how else you can use the gift.  And if you really feel you want to receive something from the gift giver, you can always treat yourself to something inexpensive instead; a cup of coffee at a coffee shop, or have a meal or takeaway. Of course you may be happy knowing that your donation of the gift has brought joy to someone else.

Practising gratitude in such a way does wonders for your self esteem, you really do feel a sense of having done something wonderful.

The Holiday Season.

I don't know about anyone else but the holiday season leaves me feeling so exhausted.  Up until last Xmas we always had family round for afternoon tea, this was after getting up at silly o clock with the kids and then making the huge lunch.  After being told I had Fibro last year I decided I was not going to make my life hard anymore and so we told family we would be having nobody round on the big day, but would have a day where they could come for a party.

Today was that day.  It was a very stressful day - getting food prepared, picking certain guests up and then being cramped in my small house with an extra 9 people.  Don't get me  wrong, we had a good time, but there are always certain energies left over after my MIL has been to my house.  For a long time I used to struggle with restless nights, disturbed dreams and a general uneasy feeling after MIL had been round.  Then I discovered burning incense really did remove the left over energies from her.
She really is one of those nasty people that never has a good word to say about anybody, and if you have an illness then she has it fifty times worse than you.  She also MUST be the centre of attention and this can make for unpleasantness during family functions.

After she has left though I arm myself with incense - and usually it is any fragrance that I feel I really want to use - and waft it about the areas shehas been and then leave it burning.

Parties should be good fun and give off positive vibes, but MIL really does give off such a vibe that if left can cause problems.  Now I feel able to face gatherings such as this one as I know how best to deal with the problem.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day Blues.

I used to always suffer with the Boxing Day blues.  As my husband is non witchy and it is only recently that the DD's have become involved - DS shows a slight interest - I have always done Yule as a solitary and celebrated Xmas with them.
We celebrate the togetherness of our family.

Boxing Day used to feel like such an anti climax and I could very often feel down.  But now I use the time to sort my diaries and calanders out for the coming new year.  I jot down any notable dates that have not been included, mark moon phases in if they haven,t been included and do my best to start the new year organised.

This may seem very boring  to some, but I find it quite relaxing after the stresses and starins and  inevitable over induklgence of the festive period.  I enjoy doing it and always feel quite refreshed afterwards.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is magickal, no matter what faith you have.  It may be manic in the town centres and shopping centres across the world right now, but if we put the shopping aside for one minute and think about what we are celebrating at this time of year - whether it be over the Yule period or now at Christmas time.  It's all about family and loved ones coming together and celebrating our togetherness and that is what matters.

This song is my favourite Xmas song.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Holiday Season

I had hoped to do a fair amount of blogging over the next few days, in keeping with my 366 days of witchery.  Alas, my plans have been scuppered, so instead I am improvising, just like a good witch, and will use a cheat.  I will share one or two of my favourite holiday songs - from my other blog - as Christmas would not be the same without the wonderful songs we love to hate - actually I love most of them.

To get us in the festive mood I have chosen this one by Paul McCartney for today's post.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Yule Magic Blog Party

It isn't very often, here in the far north of England, that we get a bright day on the midwinter solstice.  Usually it is pretty much wet and dark - as my photo shows.  It can feel pretty depressing too, the days have been getting shorter, the nights longer and it is pretty cold.  

Today we celebrate the return of the sun, the nights will start to decrease as the daylight increases from now on.  It is most definitely a day to celebrate, so join me by raising your glasses/cups to the returning light and let us all be filled with peace, happiness and prosperity.

mulled wine


I also give you the gift of hope, at these dark times we can often feel quite despondent and it is easy to get swamped by the holiday season, which can leave us feeling overwhelmed.  The dark days and long nights can really play havoc with our emotions and we could all use a little hope  right now.

hope

Yuletide Blessings.

Yule Brings...

Z is for.........

.........zoomorphic.

This word means to have the form or shape of an animal, for instance when a witch shape shifts.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Y is for.......

.............Yantra.

Yantra is a word, phrase or verse used as a sacred formula in meditation and witchcraft.



Monday, 19 December 2011

X is for.......

........Xochiquetzal.


Tough letter to find anything on, but I did discover this Goddess.  She is the ever young and pretty Goddess of flowers, love, pleasure and beauty.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

W is for........

...........witchcraft.  The craft of a witch, by harnessing energies to bring about change to one's circumstances.  Also the creation of spells and potions and the like to bring about a change.


witchcraft

Saturday, 17 December 2011

V is for......

.......is for Venus, the Goddess of love in the Roman pantheon and my ruler, I am a Taurean.

Friday, 16 December 2011

U is for......

.......uncasting.

To uncast anything is merely to reverse the process, such as when a witch casts a circle she will reverse the process she used initially to uncast it.

U is also for unity, something I would love to see a lot more of.  A lot of witches get on just fine, recognise that we all have different views on stuff and are all entitled to our own opinions on something.  But there is, as with all of humankind, a small group who will verbally attack anyone who disagrees with their own way of thinking.  Remember my post on the fluffy bashers?  To unite as one group, i.e. witches/pagans etc with similar views about such matters would be far better than attacking everyone who holds a different opinion to us.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

T is for......

.......talisman.

A talisman is an object that a witch imbues with power and energy.  These items can be as basic as a stone or pebble being imbued for protection, to elaborate items being imbued with energies for healing, or bringing about a specific change.
Many cultures and religions believe in the power of talismans and many objects can be used.  a talisman can be used for just about any purpose, and really needn't be that difficult to charge up.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

S is for.......

...........Sabbat.

The Sabbats are the witches holidays, if you like.  They represent the circle of life, birth, life, death and rebirth.  There are 8 sabbats in total:


Samhain - celebrated on October 31st.  This is the Witch's New Year, the traditional end of the growing season.  This is the time of the Lord's death and where the veil between our world and the world of the dead is at it's thinnest.  We celebrate by remembering the dead, maybe laying a place for them at our feast.  We also mark the end of the year by doing divination, seeing what the coming year will bring by using our favourite divination method(s).

Yule - celebrated on or around December 21st.  Also known as the Winter Solstice.  This is the time where the Goddess gives birth to the God.  This is the return of the sun/son.  It is also the time of the shortest day of the year.  At this time we celebrate our family and friends, we celebrate peace, love and light.

Imbolc  - celebrated on or around February 1st.  Also known as Candlemas.  We are celebrating birth now, early signs of spring and rebirth are starting to emerge - the first shoots are appearing, lambs are being born.  The God is growing fast now, he is no longer a baby but a fine young boy.

Ostara - celebrated around March 21st.  Also known as the Spring Equinox.  It is when the Goddess and the God begin their courtship, now he is a fine young man.  Day and night are now equal, balance is being restored.  Traditionally a time of rebirth.  Spring has finally sprung and there are plenty of signs of new life all around us.  It is a time for new beginnings.

Beltane - celebrated on May 1st.  The time when the Lord and Lady consummate their relationship.  This sabbat is all about fertility, so you should finish your seed planting now and maybe finalise plans you have been making for your life.

Litha - celebrated on or around June 21st.  Also known as the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.  It is midsummer.  The Goddess is pregnant with the God now.  It is a great time for handfastings and marriages of any sort - my own wedding was June 23rd, many moons ago.  Everything is ripe and abundant now, but we are mindful that nothing lasts forever.  Within a few days the seemingly everlasting light will begin to wain again.  The God is at his peak now.

Lughnasadh - celebrated on August 1st, or thereabouts.  It is the first of the harvest festivals.  A time for giving thanks for what we have.

Mabon - celebrated on or around September 21st.  Another of the harvest festivals and also another time of balance.  The dark will now overtake the light, as we move towards Samhain and Yule again.  Traditionally a time for giving thanks and enjoying the benefits of what we have grown this past year.  The God rests inside the womb of the Goddess now, waiting to be reborn at Yule.



The Wheel Of The Year

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

R is for ......

..........rune.

Runes are letters from ancient alphabets, such as Scandanavian and Germanic speaking nations.  They were used to communicate but are more commonly used as a divination tool nowadays.  Some witches use the runic alphabet to write in their Book of Shadows, or for spellwork, feeling it gives a more authentic look.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Q is for.....

......... Querent.

This word is used a lot in divination and you may be surprised to know that a fair few people have no idea what it actually means.  A querent is basically an inquirer; someone who is enquiring after their future, someone who wants you to use a divination method to answer questions they have.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

P is for.......

.........personal responsibility.

Not so much what you would expect to find in an A-Z of witchcraft, but I think this is a very important aspect of one's craft.  Whatever you send out you should accept responsibility for that energy.  The same goes for absolutely anything that you do in the name of witchcraft.  It's no use saying you cast a spell on someone because you read it in a book, the fact of the matter is you made the choice to act out what you read, therefore you are responsible for whatever happens next.

In this day and age we hear so much about people passing the buck when it comes to taking responsibility for their actions.  I absolutely hate that.  As witches we need to be aware of what we send out, in whatever shape or form, and we need to be woman/man enough to accept responsibility, even if something unpleasant happens as a result.

Personal responsibility is something we need to face in all walks of life, but especially so in witchcraft.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

O is for.....

.........Occult.

The definition of the word Occult is hidden or secret knowledge.  When people hear the word occult, they tend to think in terms of evil doers casting evil, harmful spells upon the unsuspecting.  I daresay there are such people about, but the vast majority of occultists that I know are lovely people; witches, pagans and anyone else who falls into the category of magcikal people.

In the early 2000's I was involved with a group of people and we termed ourselves as occultists.  OK, so it ended badly, but that was not because we were harming folks, it was more to do with jealousy rising its ugly head within the group - those of you who read my now defunct blog will know what I am referring to.

The occult is not such a scary place after all, it is given a bad press like most pagan and witchy things by people who are misguided.

Friday, 9 December 2011

N is for........

.......Necromancy.

Necromancy is the communication with the dead via a Ouija board, or some other way.  It is used for divination purposes, though some may use this form of magick to cast spells by summoning the spirits of the dead and getting them to carry out their bidding.
There are many articles to be read on this subject and I am not going to even attempt to give a further explanation as this is an area I have never really looked into.  I will say though, like with all forms of magick one should always think long and hard about what they are wanting to achieve, how they are going to go about it and what exactly they are going to do once ready to perform said magick.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

M is for......

.........Muse.

The Muses are the Goddesses who inspire us in our creativity.  They are the daughters - there are 9 of them - of Zeus and Mnemosyne.  The 9 Muses are:

Calliope - muse of epic poetry.
Clio       - muse of history.
Erato    - muse of love poetry.
Euterpe - muse of song and Elegiac poetry.
Melpomene - muse of tragedy.
Polyhymnia  - muse of hymns.
Terpsichore - muse of dance.
Thalia        - muse of comedy.
Urania    - muse of astronomy.

When we are wanting to create a fantastic piece of writing, or other creative piece, we should call upon the relevant muse to help us in our endeavour.

L is for.....

......the Lord and Lady.

Many witches will refer to their chosen deity as Lord and Lady.  For some this will be out of respect, for others still this may be because they honour more than one Goddess and God, and for others it may be that they have yet to find an affinity with any particular deity but they still believe in the Lord and Lady and so referring to them as such gives them the respect they deserve.

Reading Challenge.

2012 Pagan Reading ChallengeThis seems like the best idea ever to me.  I really am a bookworm and just love my pagan/witchy themed books, so what better way to share my love for such things than with other like minded folks and a book reading challenge.
You can get involved too at the blog of Mrs B, by clicking here.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

K is for.........

........kinship.

There is nothing quite like spending time with people who share the same beliefs and values as you do.  Granted, there are some righht twerps out there who love seeing others suffer, believe me when I say I have encountered many - both in real life and online.  But I have also met some really lovely fellow witches/pagans, both in real life and via the many forums, online groups, Facebook and twitter.

There is something really special about spending time - in whatever capacity - with like minded others, our kin.  They really can and do bring us great joy.

Monday, 5 December 2011

J is for..................

..................jewelry.

Many witches have at least one piece of jewelry that represents their beliefs.  Whether it be a pentacle necklace, a crystal adorning a necklace, bracelet or ring, or some other item that has some significant meaning.  Personally I prefer a simple piece of jewelry that  is very understated,  this is because I am very much still in the closet and everything else I have ever seen just screams

"LOOK AT ME"

The piece I have is  a silver celtic band ring.  It is simple, yet elegant and doesn't scream WITCH.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

I is for........

........intuition.

We have all had that gut feeling about someone, something, and so on.  Intuition is that inner knowing, that feeling you get at the centre of your being - your gut - when you know something to be right - or wrong.  We should listen to that inner voice that is always right about such things.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

H is for........

................hexing.

Many non witches believe that a hex is an evil curse, but the word actually just means to cast a spell.  It's hardly surprising though that non witchy folks believe spell casting and hexing to be evil, given the bad press witches have had over the centuries.

If you look the word up in the dictionary, most tell you that a hex is an evil spell or curse, but as we witches know a spell in itself is not evil, it is the intent behind it.  Many witches practice what they call hexcraft, but this doesn't mean that everything they are putting out is evil; far from it, they are using an old word for working magick that is all.


witch

Friday, 2 December 2011

G is for............Pagan Blog Project G week 1

.............grounding.

When we witches ground ourselves, it doesn't mean we have put ourselves in time-out and banned ourselves from going out, using phones, internet etc.  It describes what we do to reconnect ourselves to Mother Earth.  There are many techniques you can use to do this, but I have always felt most comfortable with this one:

Take a few minutes to relax yourself.  Slow your breathing down to a normal rate and just feel the tension flowing out of you.  As you allow the tension to flow out of you feel your body becoming relaxed and loose.  If you haven't already closed your eyes now is the time to do so.  Spend a little while longer, with your eyes shut, just feeling relaxed and at peace.
Now, visualise yourself standing outside on the ground.  Feel your feet physically connected to the ground and then imagine that roots are emerging from the souls of your feet, reaching down into the ground below you.  See those roots reaching into the centre of the earth and taking hold.  As these roots take hold, feel the power of Mother Earth flowing back into you through your roots.  Spend as much time as you need doing this exercise and when you feel ready, slowly come back into yourself by slowly becoming more aware of your surroundings.

You can also ground yourself by working in a garden, feel the soil in your hands.  Rubbing your hands in the soil connects you to the earth, as does working in your garden, weeding, clearing leaves, planting flowers etc. Also going for a walk in nature is a good way to feel grounded.

There are many techniques, including the use of certain crystals, opening chakras, or even eating certain foods, but the methods I have described are pretty simple ways.




Thursday, 1 December 2011

F is for.......

.........familiar.

A familiar is a creature/animal that is a magickal helper.  Mine is my cat Rocky.  It doesn't matter where he is if I am doing anything magicky he will come to me.  He has also started doing this with my daughters who are now practicing witches too.

My familiar is a stereotypical witch's cat - a big black cat.