Don’t Reinvent The Wheel, But Make It Your Own

I’ve been learning a lot about the Wheel of the Year and, more importantly, new ways of thinking about it from the Weave the Liminal book. Reading this book is actually making me quite interested in “modern traditional witchcraft” but I’ll have to keep reading to know if that path is really the one for me. I’m still very into the green witch path – but modern traditional feels more layered & complex in a way that really intrigues me.

For anyone who doesn’t know, or is still trying to remember (me) the typical witch’s sabbats, they are:

Buy a printable version of this drawing by hereditaryapothecary on Etsy here

Something the author notes in Weave the Liminal that resonated with me is that people tend to focus to much on the specific dates (or spokes) and not enough on the seasons the represent & the cycle of them (the wheel).

“Realistically, the Wheel of the Year is not a terrible idea, but I think it works best as an inspirational guideline.”

Laura Tempest Zakroff

She writes that birthdays, death days & anniversaries can be their own types of sabbats & that not every sabbat or season needs to be given the same weight or importance – this would all vary witch to witch.

She says that you should pay attention to the spirit of where you are living – noting that some witches fall into a trap where they know where their ancestors are from so they follow those practices but fail to recognize that those practices don’t match up with the energy & life force of where they actually live their day to day lives.

So for me, this is my plan for the sabbats & seasons for the next year (I’ll adjust & be flexible, changing what doesn’t work, as needed):

  • Mabon to Samhain: I will try to soak up as much sun as I can before it gets cold & the days become way too short for my taste. There is a feeling of a second awakening of sorts for me during this time – I get into “hustle” mode with my photography business. For “Mabon” I won’t celebrate on the dictated date but will celebrate on the first day that feels like autumn to me because I live in Alabama where it is still in the 90s during the day and we are a few days away from October…
    • October 13th: My late father’s birthday (not sure how I will celebrate this)
    • October 22nd: My birthday
  • Samhain: The veil is thinnest, try to communicate with my spirit guides extra on this day
    • December 19th: Edward & my anniversary
    • December 29th: Edward’s birthday (make it glorious for him)
  • Yule: Ponder the darkness & welcome the coming light. I tend to be in a terrible mood around this season because I hate all the familial pageantry that comes with the holiday season.
  • Yule to Imbolc: Focus on clearing out physical & emotional clutter. Ask myself: what do I want to take root in my life this coming year?
  • Ostara to Litha: Celebrate on the first day that feels like spring here in Birmingham, start laying outside to get more sun again, bring nature indoors, focus on self care
    • June 18th: Honor my father on his death day

And there you have it, my little take on The Wheel of the Year after reading the chapter about it in Weave the Liminal.

Blessed be.

Little Altar Tour

Here is a view of the entire set up. The broom on the left is a corn broom that’s not for actual cleaning but for stirring up stale energy (something I read about in the Green Witch book). The main surface, with the two dark purple drawers, is just from Target. It’s one of those cube organizers they sell. We actually have three in our home so far – this one (the altar), one used as a bookshelf in our home’s main living area & one in the dressing room for drawers/keeping purses.

I made the pentagram hanging to the right of it. The little dream catcher to the left was purchased on a very treasured vacation we took to the Southwestern USA a few summers back with our pups. I feel so at home in a desert landscape. I’ve never lived in one, it’s just the landscape I feel like my best self in. The agate slab wind chime is from a local shop here in Alabama.

We aren’t going to go into the basement of it (the drawers) in this post.

Some things I’ve acquired recently for my altar/practice:

I got this oracle deck because my spiritual mentor, Claire, told me she prefers oracle decks to tarot decks because the oracle cards provide you with more guidance than the tarot cards do. The Wild Unknown hasn’t released their oracle deck yet, so I went with this one made up of literary women because I am a voracious reader & a (woman) writer myself. I got this little tree made from gold wire & green aventurine – I didn’t pick the stone for any particular magical properties, I just liked how it looked & have always felt a connection to mama earth’s tree children. The third & final thing I’ve recently acquired is this (rather massive) selenite tower with a light inside. I love the way they look, both lit up or unlit, so I eventually just purchased one for myself.

1st Floor

Here is the main surface of my altar. For a cloth, I’ve been using this colorful one I purchased from Lush a long time ago. The sky blue candle is for my dad – we’ll get to him in a moment – because when I spoke to him through Claire & asked him what color candle he wanted me to light for him he said, “Light blue because I have found peace & I want you to, as well.” As you can see, I have The Wild Unknown tarot deck (it’s gorgeous), a singing bowl for meditation, some dried flowers in a vase, a jar with stones in it, many smaller jars which I normally store dried flowers/herbs in & a feather (both because it is beautiful & to help with blowing smoke into nooks & crannies when burning sage).

2nd Floor

On this shelf I have a crystal (quartz), tea lights, a bowl of protective salts, a card with a photograph of my dad on it from his memorial service (he died back on June 18th – a little over 3 months ago now) because I miss him fuck tons, like to see his face & because I feel like he is one of my spiritual guides now that he’s passed. I have a bottle of lavender essential oil, a bunch of lavender buds spread around the area & two little tinctures a fellow witchy friend mailed to me.

3rd Floor

On this shelf I have my crystal ball (I have yet to try gazing but it looks pretty cool up there), a white tea light, a crystal, some leftover lichen bark from the making of the pentagram & my moon goddess statue with dried lavender buds in her basket as a sort of everyday offering to the universe/mama earth/the goddess(es)/whoever it is who answers my silent prayers when I really need help.

4th floor

Crystals & carved stone figurines of wolves I got on the previously mentioned Southwest trip. And a tea light because altars can never have too many candles.

5th floor

A potted plant I am trying to bring back to life – it’s a philodendron whose leaves feel like velvet. Also a little dish that used to hold a succulent that I’ll find a purpose for, a stick of palo santo & a candle.

Next to it all I am keeping a lavender plant because my father, through Claire, told me “thank you for the lavender,” after I had planted some lavender seeds in a container on the altar (Claire had no way of knowing this) & the seeds failed to grow but I got this lavender plant for him / also because the smell is very soothing when you pluck a leaf off, rub it between your fingers & breathe it in.

That’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted on how the oracle card readings come. Claire is now officially my spiritual mentor – before I just liked to call her that lol – she’s giving me assignments/exercises to do daily & we are going to have a phone session once a month to see how things are coming along. My goal is to be able to communicate with my father’s spirit on my own. I possess some psychic ability, or so I’ve been told. They’ve just not been developed yet. It would be a great comfort to me to be able to talk to him again. I miss my phone calls with him so much (he lived in my home city in Pennsylvania, where I haven’t lived in a long time so we mostly communicated via phone calls – I didn’t/don’t visit PA too often). It has been so comforting & delightful when I’ve communicated with him through Claire on a handful of occasions since his death.

Simple Home Protection / My Father’s Ghost

Today has been a sleepy day. I slept until around 11am, have been having coffee & water & listening to an audiobook for a feminist book club meeting I am going to (new group of friends?) soon. I finally managed to change out of my pajamas just a bit ago – around 2pm lmao.

Yesterday I placed black tourmaline stones on all the window sills & exterior-leading doorframes of our home. Tourmaline is believed to be protective when used in this (and other) ways.

Something else happened yesterday – my father, who passed in June, visited. My spiritual mentor, Claire, told me he would communicate with me through lights. So when I was on the couch in the sitting room & noticed a light blinking on & off in the kitchen, I said, “Hi, dad.” I could feel his presence here – calming, nurturing, fatherly. I’ve missed him so much since he has passed. He was too young to go. He’s visited me rather routinely though.

Anyway, if you want a simple & magical way to add some protection to your home: try the black tourmaline.

The witch is the navigator of their own path & a guide for others. And none of these things can be learned from a series any one book or a series of the very best books or even grimoires – no, not even this book. This wisdom comes from doing, from being, from trying, failing, observing & learning – in real time & space, over an extended period of time, at your own pace. A preset determination of guided years of study doesn’t guarantee that actual experience, nor can it dictate the pace at which you will move, & you may participate in the activities of others & get on other boats [paths] to see how things are done – but you always come back to your own boat, guiding your way through your own ocean.

from “Weave the Liminal”

Home Energy Cleaning / Going More Eco-Conscious

I cleaned up the energy in our home yesterday using the method I shared in this previous post. I played the Ceremonials album by Florence + the Machine, because I love it & it felt fitting, instead of saying a mantra or spell while doing it but I think it worked. Our house feels lighter – the air clearer & less heavy somehow. I feel less heavy somehow. I feel more at peace & at home here than I did before the smudging & the lemon water.

I’m also making small efforts to be more eco-friendly, eco-conscious & kind to Mama Earth in my daily life than I have previously.

Once, I lived for a short while in a city in WA state that was so liberal you could be fined if they found recyclable items in your garbage. But here in Alabama it’s very different. Recycling isn’t a high priority, as far as I can tell, at least in the part of Alabama where we currently live. I called the city’s public services number & asked about recycling & they told me they were out of recycling bins & had no time frame for when they’d get more. But then, after much googling, I found a website that said you can go to a home improvement store (Lowe’s, Home Depot) & buy your own blue bin with the recycling sign on it & the city will take that – so here’s hoping.

The recycling bin is taking up a solid amount of space in our kitchen (and unfortunately they don’t recycle glass here – so now I get to feel guilty when I drink a bottle of Kombucha, sometime I’ve really taken to lately) but it makes me very happy to see how many items we have in the recycling already & how much more slowly our garbage can is filling up due to this. I may see if there isn’t an independent location where I could take glass items to be recycled.

I’ve also started using reusable bags when I shop instead of taking the (usually plastic) bags the stores provide. Pro tip I learned the hard way: keep some of the reusable bags in your car so that when you go out & about you won’t get to the store & realize you’ve forgotten them & be highly annoyed with yourself. I got these cute animal patterned ones on Amazon for not too steep a price.

Not pictured: I also got some reusable produce bags for when I am produce shopping.

Final thing I am doing so far: trying to consume less animal products because animals are treated so horrendously on industrial animal farms & these farms are so bad for the environment. I’ve been a lifelong vegetarian, so meat isn’t something I ever eat, but I’ve switched to using almond milk creamer in my coffee instead of dairy & vegan cheese in my dinner. I have only tried this one so far but it’s delicious in regular pasta or a more plant-based “pasta” of zucchini or butternut squash spirals with some tomato sauce.

I found this helpful article about how to live with less of an environmental impact with a little googling.

If you have any tips, tricks or advice about how you live more sustainably as a part of your practice, share them with me in the comments below! I am always looking for new ideas.

Making / Mama Nature Is Showing Off / Home Energy Cleansing

I collected these fallen lichen coated branches from my backyard in the dark last night, using my phone as a flashlight, & tied them together in the shape of a pentagram. I hammered a nail into the wall above my in-progress altar space & there it hangs. I know a lot of witches feel no need for an altar space, or they are still in the broom closet so they need to be creative about hiding it, but I am among those who appreciate a dedicated space to keep my magical supplies. In my craft, I view the entire world as magical – and yet, I still like having one corner of my home that I can view as personally & specifically sacred & spiritual. I’ve long had a love for lichen. I used to have lichen covered branches (big ones) decorating my home when we lived in another city. Unfortunately only a few survived the move to our current home a month & a half ago.

Mama nature has been showing off for me last night & today. Last night I drove down winding roads through gorgeous forests & lakes with giant stones on their shores. I saw a deer cross the road & her beauty was stunning. She was perfect. On my way home, a lightning show in the sky. This afternoon, while I was going about my housework, some magical rumbles of thunder & a little light rain – a baptism of sorts for the outside world while I was working on cleansing my home.

My sage smudge stick was lost in the move I mentioned earlier in this post. Another one is supposed to arrive in the mail tonight. When I told my spiritual mentor, Claire, that the energy in our house felt heavy after an argument with my husband even though we’d since made up, she gave me these instructions, which I intend to follow through on tomorrow:

  1. Light the sage & use a feather to push the smoke into all the nooks & corners of each room moving from bottom to top, this is where residual energy tends to linger & hide.
  2. Mix a little lemon juice with water & wipe the window sills & door frames of the house with it to invite in new more positive energy so your home is not an energy void. Claire mentioned it would also make the place smell clean & that the scent of lemons is used in aromatherapy to boost people’s moods.