Wednesday, November 30, 2016

magick with a k

I loved every minute of November.

Under the November full moon, I set out a jar of water and an amethyst cluster to be charged and blessed by the moon.

Moon water is to be used in meditation, ritual or as a wash for sacred objects.

One perfect night in November, five projects were laid out on the sewing table. 

I don't know why I do this kind of stuff. I even blocked the leaf.

In November, Lucia and Aggie's quilt (my grandmother and her sister) grew 16 blue moons. The moons are various fabrics from silk to cotton chenille and everything in between.

A piece of a paper wasp nest alongside honeycomb -- so beautiful -- from our colony of honeybees and some wasps that adopted us again this past year. They love it here.

Altar-making for spell-work: a journal covered with paper from Flow magazine (I think), a new moon candle on my mom's old mirror (see camera in hand) and an intention collage.

Intentions are thoughts and words coalesced and are especially well-done at the time of the new moon -- as the moon grows into fullness, so too will our intentions. On yesterday's new moon I documented my focus a little differently. I began by writing intentions down on an old card and immediately covered everything over with a coat of gesso. Then associated images and more words were collaged around my photo glued in the center. The overflow went on the back. Since it was a recycled card, it stands on its own. Making this was magick with a k.

I wasn't intending to overwinter the patchouli plant this year again but something made me change my mind at the last minute. Being the plant had already lost most of its leaves from the cold, I wasn't expecting much. But look -- she's blooming...and new leaves are sprouting every few inches. So happy.

A skeleton key attached to ribbon, threads, yarn, lace and one big tassel a bookmark makes.

On Thanksgiving we always Yule-craft and visit while we make, we listen to Friendsgiving on Pandora, we cook and some watch football, and there might even be time for games between dinner and dessert. This year we backed metal cookie cutters with card stock and went to town, some creations will be ornaments and others magnets. The youngest maker was four-almost-five years old.

The dogs and I still go outside every night before bedtime. I have to wear shoes now. We make sure the trees haven't changed positions, the yard is free of all rabbits and the moon and the stars still shine. It is dark, cold and magickal with a k.

Be well, be happy. xo

Monday, November 14, 2016

the hermit month

I've discovered a few good things to do in November...beginning with not overdoing it in October. That is key.

Clear and sort -- you might come across at least one project that was left behind last November. With minimal effort, you too could have, say, a new bunting. Pattern here.

Light candles, create sacred space.

Finish the harvest. Long ago at this time of year, the practice was to leave whatever was still growing in the fields, for Nature to do with as she would. It is okay to not collect every single thing.

Fold, fill and label seed packets

Meet a tree spirit by looking closer at tree trunks and watch and listen for movement in the branches. It will happen. Touch trees and plants and tell them how much you love them and wish them well, the same as you would a loved one. Tender loving care is the core of energy healing.

Try to let go and fall like leaves do. I love November so much -- maybe because it's all about relinquishing control. And it's the hermit month of the year so we can do hermit things the whole month long.  

I'm interested in psychometry, the energy in objects. The first time I held the septarian heart at a gem and mineral show, I about fell to the floor. Of course I bought it. It's been on a windowsill for a few months and I am just now starting to work with it. Septarian is also called dragon stone, but I haven't found that much information on its energetic qualities and what I've seen online is contradictory so I guess I will have to form my own understanding. One side of the heart is patterned and polished smooth and the other side looks like plant material inside a pod or under a mushroom cap. Like it's alive. 

Look for true colors...see what the nettles have done in their cronehood. Aren't they gorgeous with their white leaves?

We're in the season of the dark, moving slower, pulling inward. The thought that invisible beginnings are forming now is comforting. x

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Now that the three holy days of the thirteen month in the ancient Coligny calendar system  -- Samhain (Hallow's Eve), Dia de los Muertos and All Soul's Day -- have passed, I am beginning to resume normal life, albeit slower and more intentional. It has been a deep and sacred pause.

And Samhain has really only just begun when you remember that Samhain is the Gaelic word for November -- that means an entire month to continue in the deep. The boundaries between the visible and the invisible worlds are still thin, the loved ones we remembered still near, our connections not yet lost. It is now when we can more easily form questions and seek answers by accessing our psychic abilities and delving into our dreams...a simple everyday coincidence can feel either miraculous or magical. I love the visible work of this time and live for the invisible work of this time.

The little pink 16-square quilt was most likely hand sewn by my grandmother and/or her sister, they made everything together. It feels unfinished. I am sewing moons onto the outlined squares with my grandmother's scissors and pin cushion nearby. I wonder what their intentions were for this cloth and if they would like the moons.

The ancestral tarot layout on our dining room table is from the Gaian tarot guidebook. I am really enjoying the loving energy of the beautiful Gaian images -- also the structure is a little different from a traditional deck and I like that as well. This spread may be on the table for a while because it gives me such a good feeling every time it comes into view.

I am very excited about all the pods on the honey locust tree in our front yard and hope they don't come down anytime soon. The sound of those pods rattling in the wind is spectacular.

Also, one art journal page was made, more flowers were collected for our family altar, pomegranate seeds out for snacking, the eucalyptus dye bundle unrolled, and an invisible blue stone was rediscovered.

Blessings of seeds and stones to you. xx

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

letting go

I like to collect leaves and feathers and other windfall when I walk the dogs. Sometimes I arrange the items on an old chalkboard. I think everything looks good on that chalkboard, it's like candlelight for people. 

The large catalpa leaf was soft and supple as cloth so I had to see how it would hold up to stitching. I had been thinking about the ritual of leaves letting go and falling from their branches this time of year, slowly building a thick layer on the ground to blanket the earth, tucking in everything that needs to be kept warm through the winter. I loved slowly drawing the needle and thread through the leaf cloth imagining, wishing really, that I could make us a blanket out of leaves. And then after that small success, I sewed a running stitch on the already-dried smaller leaf...and that worked too. 

October's calendar moon cloth is from a past full moon sewing ritual here and the leafy knitted bookmark pattern is here.

Our family was together on the full moon to celebrate our version of the Mexican Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, a time of honor and remembrance. Our altar is set up with candles, strings of lights, and mementos and photos of ancestors and beloveds who have passed. We craft/play/visit/watch football in the afternoon and have a candlelight dinner when dark falls. There is always the same chocolate cake for dessert, a favorite of our little boy, Corty, who passed when he was seven. And we always share memories of loved ones and pass photos around. Lastly, we write something to let go of, something no longer needed in our lives, onto flash paper and then light it, one by one, throwing it up and watching it go poof and disappear as it falls.

Honoring, remembering and letting go, but mostly it's just about being together.

Friday, October 7, 2016

look, honey

I haven't held needle and thread in my hands once since I wrote here last...although I have held and sunk cloth into a mordant bath and then wondered why on earth it turned brown -- from a mordant? And I have picked and brewed one zinnia dye-bath. And I held the camera at just the right time to photograph a chickadee in action and then some plants that seem to think there is still time to grow and blossom even though it nearly froze last night. Maybe they know something we don't.

I have been lucky to hold the hands of some dear friends. And there is the sprite whose whole four-year-old body I held and squeezed and kissed the top of her head. And I acquired some new crystals and gems to get acquainted with by sensing their energy in my hands. Dogs to pet, writing, cleaning. That is mostly what I've been doing with my hands.

In October the veil between the worlds thins. Sometimes, on an inner level, we can hear and feel our loved ones beyond the veil. And maybe they can hear and feel us too. Experiencing something that was meaningful to a loved one when they were still here is thought to be an opening through which to reach out to them. For instance, if they loved butterflies and we see a beautiful image of a butterfly, that would be an opening to share and connect with them.

Today I looked across the back yard to the wooden play structure we had built for our kids when they were little. The two swings have been replaced with a porch swing while the rest of the structure is covered with vines but it still holds strong. And I silently asked our little boy, Corty, who passed at age seven, to look at the swing set now, it is still here. Where he once climbed up the ladder to get to the platform to pretend to be He-Man, wisteria and grapevines climb now. But it is still here -- look, Honey!

My personal October ritual is to find openings for loved ones in the Great Beyond...I believe we all can. xx

Monday, September 26, 2016

winds of change

We went looking for some Colorado gold last weekend, this was the view from Kenosha Pass.

We walked up the Colorado Trail for a while, took a break and then came back down again. We heard you could walk all the way to Mexico on this trail if you wanted. It is a well-worn path.

There are several stands of belladonna (deadly nightshade), Atropa belladonna, naturalized at the park near our house where I walk the dogs. Just across the road along Cherry Creek in the middle of Denver you can probably find poison hemlock growing. And of course at my house there is fragrant, poisonous datura. I've learned that generally speaking, all plants contain poisonous resins, essential oils, and alkaloids -- their poisons are often also their medicine for us as well, in tiny doses or otherwise prepared correctly. Belladonna and datura are both members of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family and a few of their nightshade cousins are potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, tobacco, wolfberry, petunias and peppers. In large enough quantity, even raw potatoes are dangerous and can be deadly for livestock and people. 

Interesting that just a few feet away, these belladonna berries are already slightly past their prime. We used to have belladonna growing wild in our back yard but I removed it to ease a neighbor's concerns about her cats possibly eating the berries. And recently, I sadly took out the datura growing along the front sidewalk after children picked a seedpod last week. In retrospect I know I over-reacted -- but it is still in several other garden beds further from the sidewalk, too beloved to ever be eradicated.

Last hurrahs in the garden, colors so glorious and vibrant, everything giving their all.

I'm wondering where we're going to store all the dried sunflowers for the birds without attracting mice.

Eleven cups in this second harvest of elderberries -- I'm freezing most of it but one pan of elderberries is drying in my oven right now.

All of the St. Theresa grapes will be frozen to make jelly or juice later in the season when there is more time. A raccoon family ate all of the Concord grapes one night, so these are what is left. I heard a commotion along the fence and I thought it was one of our dogs after something. Feeling my way in the dark toward the fence I called "Talula, Talula, come. Right now. Talula. Come. Talula!" over and over. All of a sudden Talula charged out of the house through the back door and I knew I hadn't been talking to Talula.

I stitched on this cloth over the weekend. It is woven from torn up men's shirts and green linen strips, an early project with Jude, I call it aspen grove.

Autumn's winds are the winds of change, you can tell they mean business. There is nothing soft or light about autumn wind. It's time to transition, summer is over, we all feel it.

Oh, now is the time of the harvest,
As we draw near to the year's end.
Now is the time of Mabon.
Autumn is the time to descend.
(author unknown)