Well…. It’s been a minute since I’ve updated here. It was never my intent to leave this blog dormant for so long. A lot has happened in my life since my last update (which was August 14, 2017; but even that one had a long gap between it and the previous post, which was in May 2017).
Shortly after the Rune Chain post, I went out of town for a week for work, and we drove back into Hurricane Harvey. The first few days were pretty mild – lots of rain, but nothing unexpected during a hurricane. That all changed a few days later when we woke up to water in our house. We ended up being evacuated by boat, and spent more than 2 months displaced before finally having just enough of the repairs done to the point where we could move back into our house. We’ve made it past the one year anniversary of the hurricane; now we’re almost at the one year ‘back in our house’ mark. We’re still not finished with repairs, but we’re getting close(ish). In any case, my plan is to get back to writing somewhat regularly again.
One good thing about having to re-do absolutely every part of the interior of our house is that I’ve been able to do protection wards in each room. Doorways and windows and walls – everything has been painted and spelled and sealed – it’s a good feeling to have spent energy and directed will into each building block as things get rebuilt. Little things, like using Moon-Blessed water to mix texture medium for the walls, inscribing doorways and windows with sigils and spellwork, putting spell jars into the walls and using salt and herbal mixtures to cleanse the space from the sub-floors to the studs. Even with the half-finished construction that’s on-going, it still feels nice to be in our home.
Despite the chaos, I have managed to keep my practice moving forward. A lot of the time, when faced with adversity, the tendency is to let spirituality slide. It’s often the first thing to go on the back burner and is often seen as dispensable, or the most ‘frivolous’ when it comes to priorities. I admit that it crossed my mind to just shelve it for now, but there was something inside that said, ‘no; now’s the time to make this a focus’. So I did. I came across a month-themed challenge for tarot on Instagram, and started that in October of 2017. I spend the next few months doing most of the prompts, but not fully committing to it as a daily practice until May, when I really started journaling and making it a priority. I have to say that it’s always been a goal of mine to learn tarot better, and committing to a daily practice has helped my intuitive reading tremendously. I am much more comfortable and confident in my assessments, and applications, and I just truly enjoy reading them because I am not constantly referring to the books!
This past spring, a couple of friends and I went to New Orleans. I hadn’t been since I was a child, and going as an adult was SO much different! We did a ghost tour, and walked Bourbon Street, and spent time hitting up all the little witchy/voodoo shops. I was a little disappointed; it was all very commercial and touristy. I was expecting something more, but I don’t know if I could define what it was I wanted. I wasn’t looking for any supplies in particular, so it doesn’t matter that much, I guess. I did pick up some herbs and a spell candle from Hex, which I am saving for when our house is finally done.
I also managed (finally) to attend Celebration of Womanhood, which is a Pagan women’s retreat in North East Texas. There was a cold snap that same weekend and it was so great! I got to see some friends I hadn’t been able to connect with in a while, and met several new friends as well. The fall retreat, Women of Magic and Nature, is planned for this November, so I’m looking forward to that as well.
Shortly after CoW, I decided that I was ready to start meeting with a group again. Since Circle of the Black Moon has been on hiatus, I really was missing being part of a regularly-practicing Pagan local community. But, I wanted to change the focus of my practice in a group setting; less ‘Pagan 101/Family-focused’ and more ‘advanced personal practice/woman-centric/esbat focused’. So I started a new, very small Circle group, called Luna Dea Covina. We’ve been meeting since April and I am really proud of what we’ve created together. There are several women who are fairly new, so there’s still plenty of opportunity for teaching, but mostly it’s just a group for encouraging self-discovery and exploring what our own, individual spirituality means to us, and how we can express that. It’s got a totally different vibe from previous groups I’ve been in. One aspect I loved about Circle of the Black Moon is that most of the members were eclectic practitioners. I kept that model for the LDC; each of us has our own path and philosophy, but the discussions we have encourage so much self-study and exploration that it’s been really inspiring.
There’s also another local group that is an open Circle group with a book-club style format that I’ve been meeting with for a couple of months. It’s interesting, but not always my cup of tea. I have enjoyed making further connections with the local Pagan Community though. I wasn’t able to attend Houston’s Pagan Pride Day this year, unfortunately… hopefully things will settle towards the end of this year.
The hardest part of having our house in such disarray, though I suppose there’s a lesson to be learned as well, is that I don’t have any ‘space’. My altar and all of my ‘things’ are in storage (what was salvageable). I have replaced a few things that I lost, but it’s been a lesson in creativity, and a heavy reminder that ‘the power is in the witch, not the stuff‘ as I’ve tried to figure out how to set up spaces that are conducive to nurturing my spirituality and practice.
In any case, I will hopefully be updating again soon(er than last time).
I was browsing Pinterest and found a post featuring a Rune Chain crafted for home protection & goals. I thought it was a really innovative way to use runes as decor, especially the combining of runes into multi-meaning symbols (kind of like sigils). I am very interested in how people create tools and objects that ‘hold’ their intent, and this seemed like such a wonderful idea that I had to see if I could make it work for me. I am so pleased with how well it turned out!
In the original post, the author was very thorough in laying out all of her steps, so I won’t cover that again. The part that interested me most was the actual crafting of the runes and how they were combined, so that’s what I am going to focus on in my post.
Here’s a disclaimer that I feel like I should probably make: I am in no way a rune-work expert. Other than a couple of classes I’ve attended on runes, and a couple of craft days where I made sets of runes, that’s about the extent of my knowledge. They’re not a thing that I use terribly often, though I have gone through phases in the past where I’ve been more interested in using and working with them.
That said, I really like them: the having of them and holding and handling of them. I like the way they’re shaped and formed, and find them incredibly visually appealing. I like them for their simplicity and their complexity. On the surface, runes are a fairly straightforward type of tool. They can be used to create words and text, or cast for their divinatory meaning, or used on a daily basis as a meditation focus or ‘wisdom/warning of the day’ type of practice. On a deeper level, runes carry ancient memory and meaning. Using them ties the practitioner to an ancient history, and sometimes that connection is felt more than others. I like divinatory tools with more than one meaning, and runes fit that profile. To some degree, the interpretation of the runes – be it a single drawn rune for the day or a casting – is left up to the practitioner to interpret. Those interpretations vary according to so many factors, and it is that kind of personalization of practice that appeals to me so very much. That’s why this project spoke to me with such a loud voice!
I spent some time looking up the meanings of various runes, and deciding on words, meanings and aspects of their meaning that I liked. As I wrote and doodled, I found runes that worked well together or complimented each other and worked out how I wanted to combine them. Once I had a few that represented the main ideas I wanted to bring to life in the chain, I drew them in the order I planned to arrange them in on a piece of paper. Then I created a word cluster for each of my created symbols, which helped me decide what aspects I wanted to draw on, and how the runes worked together to create a specific or more focused meaning.
To start with, I created a rune symbol that combines ‘Algiz’, ‘Eihwaz’, and ‘Jera’. I really like her concept of ‘binding runes’, but I tweaked her meaning a bit; rather than a rune that reinforced the symbol above it, I chose to create a binding rune that reinforces the entire chain, and is repeated throughout it as a central feature. My binding rune pulls on the parts of the runes used throughout the chain to ensure that the goals expressed in the chain are reasonable, and that the efforts we put into realizing them are matched with the strength to see them through. There’s a protective/defensive element as well; to protect our home and family, both physically and spiritually.
I made my chain with 6 binding runes. I began the chain with it, and ended it with a binding rune, to reinforce the intent and purpose of the chain. The binding rune is also between each rune and the next, to reinforce the strength of will and restate the intent.
The second rune (and the next to the last rune) is the most complex. I am calling this the ‘marriage rune’. It’s another type of binding rune, and holds space both in the beginning and end of the chain. My husband and I celebrated 18 years of marriage (and over 20 of coupledom) the first week of August, and our marriage is the platform from which every other aspect of our home and family are built upon. It is the stable base that serves as the foundation for every aspect our lives. It is the thing without which our family would not exist, and is therefore absolutely central to anything else that will happen in our home. From that perspective, this is perhaps the most important rune form in my chain.
The runes I chose to create this symbol are ‘Ehwaz’, ‘Mannuz’, ‘Dagaz’, ‘Gebo’, ‘Wunjo’, ‘Ingwaz’, and ‘Othala’. Combined in this way, the symbol draws on the individual aspects of each of the runes used to create it to reflect the importance of, strengthen and protect our bond and union as the touchstone of our family, as well as calling on the elements of the individual runes that speak to home life, communication, harmony and joy.
After the binding runes and marriage rune, there are three focused runes, intended to reinforce the values we favor in our home, and what we want for our children, separated (and reinforced) by the binding rune between each of the three focused runes.
The first, I call the ‘prosperity’ rune. It is made up of ‘Fehu’ and ‘Uruz’. There’s an element of good fortune and luck tied to this one, but also the wisdom and vision to make sound investments and financial decisions. There’s a fair amount of self-direction as well, and since independence and leadership are two things I value for my children, I think that makes for a good combination to represent prosperity in both a financial sense and generally-in-life sense.
The second rune, I’m jokingly calling the ‘upward mobility’ symbol, and is made up of ‘Raido’ and ‘Kenaz’. In reality, it would probably better be described as the ‘self-actualization’ rune. Raido is traditionally the ‘travel’ and ‘protection in travel’ rune, which works for my kids’ futures as they’re getting to the age where plans for college and embarking on their own journeys outside of our little nuclear family are imminent. More than that, though, I am calling on the ability to see the right move and make it, and the power that is inborn within them (and in all of us) to shape our own futures into happy and successful ones. I very much want both of my children to find their calling – to find the thing or things that make their souls happy. I want them to find their unique rhythm, and their place within the rhythm of the world, and thrive there.
The third symbol is my ‘strength and endurance’ rune. It’s made up of ‘Pertho’ and ‘Nauthiz’. Pertho calls again on being able to determine your future path, and Nauthiz for self-reliance, strength and endurance. Though I am not ashamed to call on good fortune and blessings, I know that a happy life isn’t just handed to you; it takes work – and often a lot of it. Along your path, there are adversities that help shape you into the person you will become, and help you see yourself more clearly; to become who you are ultimately meant to be. Mental illness runs in my family, and it is with a realistic eye that I recognize that my children may also struggle with mental health issues, however much I hope that they escape them. Strength sometimes means accepting weakness and asking for help; endurance means recognizing when you need to stop or slow down so that you can rest and regroup before continuing on. It is those qualities that I call on in this symbol, for my children and for myself.
Finishing the chain are the marriage rune again, and the last binding rune, to seal the chain and reiterate the intent and purpose of it.
Last week (last night when I started this post) was the Full Moon in Aquarius. I took my oracle cards out, my moon journal, and my rune chain to cleanse and charge it under the light of the full moon, with palo santo and sage to smudge. It was such a pretty night; fresh from rain all day, but a clear sky towards the evening. Afterwards, I hung the chain on the back of our front door, so it’s visible every day as we come and go.
The last few months have been pretty chaotic and upsetting, but things feel like they’re finally settling down into some semblance of normal again. Tonight was the first full moon esbast I’ve really been able to sit down and devote some time to since Yule. My mother got sick towards the end of last year, and died in January. Through the last couple of weeks of her life, we knew she was going to die, but we didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. In any case, that has been the source of a lot of rumination, contemplation, questioning and general introspective inquiry for me over the last few months.
It’s also been an interesting time for talking to my children. They’re not little anymore, so discussions about in-dept spiritual concepts have a much different flavor to them now than they used to. It’s interesting to see how their ideas about death, dying, the after;life and spirituality are unfolding and what they think about those concepts. It’s also interesting to me how very different they are from each other with regard to their thought processes and general spiritual ideas.
I have been working on creating a little outdoor space in my yard lately; I repainted some old patio furniture and bought a lovely bright umbrella for the table. It’s been nice to have diner outside, and gives me a pretty, dedicated space to meditate and/or commune with nature, especially when I feel like going outside at night. This evening was one such occasion; I brought my esbat journal and affirmation cards, incense and tea to my little spot and just bathed in the moonlight. Then I took a walk around my yard and mentally mapped out some future plans I’d like to implement for outdoor living spaces. The moon was so pretty and bright – I love walking around outside under the full moon!
I have been meaning to re-plant an herb garden, but haven’t followed through with it for various reasons. After my mom crossed over, it seemed like a good time to make those plans blossom. As part of my grief self-care and healing process, I have been buying plants and herbs. I love green growing things; I’m not super great at keeping them alive past a certain point, but I really love them. It’s been healing, because my mom had quite the green thumb and also loved her plants, so it’s almost like sharing this with her. In addition to garden basics like basil, thyme, oregano, lavender and catnip, I added several variations of common varieties, like lime basil and purple basil; hot & spicy oregano; several varieties of mint (spearmint, sweet mint, peppermint and chocolate mint); and other staples like lemon balm and be balm, succulents, bell and jalapeno peppers, and quite a few greenery plants and flowers as well.
When my mom died, my aunt brought me a cabinet that belonged to my grandmother. She had been keeping it for my mom (who inherited it when my grandmother died). My grandmother collected all kinds of dolls, and the cabinet is where they lived. I re-purposed it into my herbal and apothecary cabinet, with the top housing my living room altar. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a full altar in a public space in my house; my main altar is in my bedroom. Right now, it’s just a generic altar, but I’m planing for it to become more of a family space. I’m sure that with time, it will take on a life of its own as we add to it.
I spent some time the other day making honey incense. It’s been a long time since I’ve made incense; I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the process. It’s really easy, and can basically be customized with either what you have on hand, or for specific purposes. I made a prosperity and protection blend for Beltane. This has a lovely sweet scent, and doesn’t smoke a lot; it just kinda smolders, which is nice if you have allergies.
Homemade Springtime Prosperity & Protection honey incense
1 tsp comfrey leaf
1.5 tsp lavender flowers
1 tsp orange peel
.5 tsp fenugreek seed
2 white sage leaves
.75 tsp. frankincense powder
1 tsp copal tears
honey (aprox 1.5 tsp)
Grind all dry ingredients. I put everything in a mortar and grind with a pestle until the larger bits are about evenly sized, then move to an electric finder and give everything a spin – just enough to get a rough sand-like texture. Then pour into a small bowl and add honey, sparingly. You inky need enough honey to bind the ingredients together so they’ll hold the ball shape. Roll and place on parchment paper to dry in a cool, dark place. You can use them immediately, but the are better when dried and aged. Burn by placing a ball onto a lot charcoal disc.
I’ve also been spending time with my cards. I read with the Medieval Scapini Tarot, and have been experimenting with different ways to read. This was a year forecast reading, which I’ve never attempted before. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in the coming months.
I really enjoy herbal-crafting. Making teas, tinctures, salves and other herbal concoctions is relaxing, and it makes me feel good to know that I can create things that help my family feel better. There’s something comforting and empowering about knowing exactly what it is that’s going into the medicines and cures I am using to treat myself and my family. Additionally, there’s a connectivity between Man and The Earth that I appreciate in a very visceral way when learning about herbs and choosing herbal allies to help protect my health.
If you’re new to herbal medicine, there’s a lot to be learned, and it can be overwhelming when you realize how much there is to know. But even a beginner can feel confident using herbal medicines, and just a few things can create a good foundation upon which to build. Let’s talk about a few herbal allies that almost anyone can use with ease and confidence. [STANDARD WARNING: As with all medicines, treat herbal remedies with respect. Use caution and care when using herbs as medicine. Start small, with single-herb remedies and gradually work your way towards more complex recipes as you gain knowledge, experience and confidence. Always document well so that you can pinpoint any potential issues to a particular herb in the event of an allergic reaction or emergency!] Because there are so many articles out there that focus on the more common ‘beginner’ herbs (lavender, chamomile, raspberry leaf, peppermint leaf, etc.), I’m going to focus on some of the herbal allies that are less common but still extremely easy to use.
YARROW – Yarrow is really an unsung hero. It’s something that I’ve kept in my medicine cabinet for years now, and if you’re a mom, it’s great for kids. One of my favorite preparations is a yarrow tincture, combined with olive leaf, ginger, slippery elm and catnip. Yarrow is also helpful for relieving fevers, promoting relaxation, and can be used during your menstrual cycle to help alleviate cramps. We also have used it in salves, along with calendula, arnica, chamomile and other herbs in a beeswax base to apply to minor cuts, scrapes and mosquito bites. It can also be used with elderberry to shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms. If you’re into the spiritual aspects of herbs, there’s a connection to Greek Mythology, in that it’s said that yarrow is one of the herbs used to treat wounds on the battleground of Troy, and in ancient Britain, a yarrow leaf pressed to the eye is said to bring on second sight. Traditionally, yarrow has been called a variety of names, including bloodwort, woundwort, devil’s nettle, and knight’s milefoil, to name a few.
ELDERBERRY – Elderberry is another staple for us. I make a new tincture every year, and combine it with honey to make elderberry syrup. It’s a great preventative medicine for flu season – just a spoonful in our normal cup of tea is how we normally take it. I’ve been planning to make either elderberry and marshmallow root lozenges or gummies for a while now, and just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe later this summer, I’ll finally make time to do that! Elderberry is incredibly easy to use though, especially for tinctures – just fill your vessel with dried elderberries to about an inch of the top, then fill with the highest proof vodka you can find (cheap vodka is fine). I’ve also made tinctures with Everclear, moonshine and apple cider vinegar, and all worked just fine; the vodka is my personal favorite method though. Put the vessel in cool, dark place for a minimum of 4 weeks, but you can leave them for up to 3 months, then strain through cheesecloth and coffee filters into a clean vessel and voila! Ready to use tincture! Elderberry has some connections to the Teutonic goddess Hulda, with parallels drawn to Persephone, Frigga and Aradia.
CATNIP – Catnip is another great herb for families. In addition to helping with digestion, it also promotes relaxation and calms restlessness. It’s great for ‘growing pains’ and RLS (restless leg syndrome) when brewed in tea, and can be a really good addition to a sleepy-time tea blend or tincture. My youngest has trouble sleeping every now and again, and so we use a catnip tincture combined with honey and a smidge of valerian. Catnip is super easy to grow and if growing it isn’t your thing, it’s usually sold in the garden department of home stores if you want to keep it fresh. Obviously, as catnip is beloved of cats everywhere, there’s an obvious connection to Bast, and to Frejya and even Hecate.
HONEY – Even though honey isn’t an ‘herb’, I’m including it here because it’s SO GREAT to keep on hand as an extension of your medicine cabinet (and beauty cabinet as well). I use honey to make incense, to make herbal remedies go down a little easier, as the base for some of my herbal remedies, as an ingredient in salves, lip balms, beauty treatments (masks), and just in and of itself to go on cuts and scrapes and nicks to the skin (though of course you would not use honey on a child less than one year of age).
In addition to teas, tinctures, syrups, and salves, I also encapsulate herbs and herbal blends for specific purposes. I take a fertility/menstrual health blend that is biphasic (meaning one recipe is used during the first half of my fertility cycle, and another blend is used during the last half). I also take several amino acid supplements, and with all the media attention that commercial supplement companies are experiencing for using fillers in their capsules, it’s very comforting to know that what is going into my capsules is actually the herbs I have chosen and not fillers. It also gives me control over how much of each herb to put into my blend, making my dosages consistent and easier to keep track of their effects.
I hope you’ve found some information here useful, and inspiring! Please comment and let me know what your ‘unsung’ herbal allies are!
Litha, or Midsummer, is the mid-point of the year – the Summer Solstice – a time of balance and transition from the light half of the year to the dark. One of my favorite myths is that of the Oak King and the Holly King, and Midsummer is the counterpart to Yule (or Midwinter). At Litha, the Oak King is slain and the Holly King rises up to lay claim to the latter half of the year. That’s not really relevant to this post, because although I love the retelling of that story at the vital points during the year, this Litha is all about housekeeping.
I have been remiss in my home-blessing duties; however much I try to re-frame ‘chores’ into ‘home blessings’ or ‘creating sacred space’, the fact is that I am just not a great housekeeper. There are always more interesting things to do than scrub the cabinet fronts or clean the ceiling fans… and so every once in a while it gets so bad that to not take the time to do some deep cleaning is just… well it’s just time to clean. And so this is where I have found myself now,coming up on Litha.
I really felt the need to ‘brighten’ things up – it felt dark and gloomy, and I know it’s my lack of attention to the space that’s allowing those energies to pile up, so I started in our living room. I went through an intense decluttering phase a few months ago, and though I did very well with cleaning the stuff out of the places it was cluttering up, I never got so far as to actually take the things out of my house. So they’ve been sitting in a corner, sucking up space and energy. Much of that’s actually, truly gone now, either out into the proper closet/storage spaces or tossed out into the rubbish bins. A few things made their way into the car to be taken to new homes, but the end result is amazing – so much brighter and cleaner and ‘light’ feeling! Sadly, even knowing how amazing ‘clean’ feels doesn’t help motivate me to be a better housekeeper much of the time… but I digress.
I also spent some time in the kitchen, enlisting the kids’ help in deep cleaning everything from the ceiling (and fan) down; cabinets, appliances, counters, organizing drawers, floors… all of it. Our table sits in a corner, and the actual corner tends to be a catch-all spot (for my things, especially) but even that’s now clean and tidy. There’s a little left to do; we’re supposed to clear out the living room and get a new sofa and coffee table soon, and I have a feeling paint will soon follow, depending on the colors of the new furniture, but even just those few changes have really shifted the feel of the space.
Litha and the Full Strawberry Moon both fell on Monday, so I did a simple ritual with the kids. I bought new Goddess and God candles and a new working candle for my altar, and changed the decor to reflect the warmer colors of summer. We also did something new; we set up a family altar in the living room. We have had a shelf with a smaller, less conspicuous altar space in there, and directional candles have always been at the cardinal points of the room, but now there’s an actual, dedicated altar there too, and set for Litha with deity candles and a family offering bowl. After our morning routine, we tidied things up, then smudged the house inside and out and laid new salt barriers on the windows and doors, walked the boundaries and left offerings for the border spirits. Afterwards, we spent a little time on Intentions and spellwork for the waning half of the year, celebrated the Moon, and had strawberry shortcake with sweet red wine.
How are you celebrating Midsummer this year?
So you may have noticed that I made plans and included a time frame that I didn’t stick to. Unfortunately, Life doesn’t always check with my notebook to make sure it’s a good time for a curve ball. Knowing this, I will ever make goals, and just try to remember that it’s okay to be flexible about meeting them. I think the most important part is that my goals aren’t abandoned – just occasionally postponed (at least, that’s how I am choosing to think abut it).
To re-cap, I was on my ‘step 2’ of my ‘Sacred Space‘ plan that I outlined earlier this year. While I didn’t make the deadline for completion, I am happy to say that I have completed not only that step, but also skipped ahead an completed the living room as well (step 4) and bits of the office (step 5)! We some major repair work to do in one of the bedrooms, which was the main thing that threw me off, schedule-wise. Several weeks worth of home improvement really transformed a space that was feeling very negative into one that is just lovely and so peaceful to be in. I’m so glad we were able to finally do the repairs needed, and that it turned out so well. Finishing that space also helped me clear out some of the clutter I was holding on to, including the boxes in my living room. I was also able to clear the hallway. There is a feeling of peace and space now; I was right about thinking that the clutter there was stopping up the energy flows in our home. It felt so good to finally be free of that clutter. I didn’t realize how much it was weighing me (and my kids) down. It’s made me eager to move on to my next steps. I’ve been skipping around a bit, so I really need to refine what needs to be done still.
I definitely still have some work to do on my wardrobe. I have been really drawn to the practicality of the ‘capsule wardrobe‘ idea, and found a style planner and closet organizer app called ‘My Dressing’ that I am going to try to see how the concept works for me. I am working more now, and so my ‘at home’ style isn’t really cutting it anymore. I’m also a larger size than most style bloggers, but have found a few who have created plus-sized capsule wardrobes, like CraftyMinx and FullFigured&Fashionable which helps. I’ve recently bought some pieces that feel more ‘grown up’ (which is funny to see – I didn’t realize that’s how I thought of them until I’d typed it out). I have discovered that I really like dresses, so my plan is to add a few more pieces from Lane Bryant and Torrid to my regular wear over the next few months.
The next major part of my plan is my kitchen. As a Pagan, the kitchen is the Hearth – the center of family togetherness, and I am really looking forward to getting that space in order. What’s funny is that it’s not necessarily ‘out’ of order if you’re judging my looks. Our kitchen is rather small and plain – nothing fancy; perfectly serviceable in every way… and yet something’s missing; rather, it feels ‘overstuffed’ to me. While I’d love to do a complete overhaul, that’s not in our budget. My original thoughts, with planned changes include:
Step 3: Kitchen – What’s my goal here? The kitchen is the main entertaining space in our house. We have a rather small house and the living room is oddly shaped, so the kitchen has become the ‘hearth’ of our home. I like the overall feel of our kitchen; Hestia’s presence there is strong. But like many spaces in small houses, the kitchen does double-duty. We have tools in there that are better suited to the hall closet, so I’d like to re-organize so that everything in the kitchen is dedicated to family, togetherness, well-being and health, and entertaining. Practically speaking, I need to make better use of the spaces I have (limited though they are).
- clear pantry & organize (with labels)
- clear cabinet under pantry of tools & declutter/reorganize
- junk drawer
- under oven cabinets
- under stove cabinets
- under sink
- add art
I’ve removed the ‘time frame’, as it’s somewhat irrelevant. We recently did some deep cleaning, so everything ‘feels’ fresh right now, which is nice. Now, it’s time to tackle the unseen spaces!
Something else that’s come about as a result of some of the purging I’ve done around the house is the creation of small devotional spaces. I have always had my main altar in my bedroom, with smaller (mostly unnoticeable unless you knew what you were looking at) altars in the kitchen window and on my desk. I’ve added to the kitchen altar and created altar space in the living room as well.Not only is it a reflection of my personal beliefs, but an assertion of them in my home. I’ve been hesitant to have outward symbols of my convictions visible in the past, but as I get older it’s become more important to be visibly more ‘me’ rather than try to conform or preserve someone else’s sensibilities (when in my own home). That probably seems like old news to many, but it’s been a discovery process for me.
In other news, tonight New Moon, so I am working on setting intentions for the coming cycle. Last cycle, my intention was with my mental health in mind. I’ve re-established my meditative practice as a priority (rather than ‘fitting it in’), and started working on creating a deck of affirmation cards for myself. Art is part of my path, so that’s been very fulfilling for me. This cycle, I am working on my physical health. I recently discovered the mandala dance and found it to be a beautiful (peaceful, welcome, grounding, centering) addition to my morning routine.
Wishing you a Blessed Esbat Celebration tonight,
In the process of working through my home-making goals for the month of March, I’ve been considering the flows of energy in my home. I’m basically done with my bedroom now (there’s still some laundry and shoes to be sorted, but the books, the handbags, and other spaces are sorted). I still need to do some refining in a couple of spaces (mostly getting my witchy cabinet organized properly), but I am really happy with the progress I’ve made in that space. When we first set up our bedroom, it had a ‘hotel’ feel to it – clean, clear, open – not very personal or ‘lived in’ yet. It was an odd feeling, but nice in a way. We re-painted before moving our furniture in that room, and I painted runes and wards before the final coats of paint, and cleansed the space with sage and a few other cleaning tricks (plates of citrus left to dry; incense, etc.), and it left the room feeling very ‘light’. It was almost void of any sort of energy, and it felt so nice to settle into that space. My husband and I have a really good marriage, so the space was filled with love and good intention and communication – laughter, openness, happiness, contentment – and those are still the predominant feelings in that room. It was starting to get a bit cluttered though, and now it feels more like it used to again.
That renewed feeling impressed even more the need to look at the next project area, the hallway, and examine the ‘feel’ and flow of energy in that space. This week, I am taking up (a couple days late, but better late than never) the second leg of this project:
Step 2: Hallway – What’s my goal here? This space is really cluttered right now. It’s a transitional space between my children’s bedrooms, and I feel like the ‘stuff’ that’s in there is blocking the flow of energy from them into the rest of the house. I think there’s a communication gap between them that’s affected by a lack of free movement, so I want to clear that out. Practically speaking, there’s a closet in the hallway that’s become so full of stuff we don’t use that it’s wasted space. I’d like all of that out so we can store things we actually do use, like holiday storage and sports equipment.
- clear closet
- remove clothing that isn’t needed
- remove, down-size and reorganize supplies (tools, video game equipment and sports equipment)
- add hooks and shelving
- store camping supplies & holiday boxes
- bookcases: get rid of books that I have digitally
- TIME FRAME: 3 days (March 9, 11, 13)
Because of the limited space in my bedroom (and reclaiming of the closet), there are several boxes in my living room right now with craft supplies in them. I till intend of cleaning those boxes out, but will still have at least one, which will find a new home in the hall closet. My goal is to have the last of the books cleared out by tomorrow/Saturday so that I can finish in the hall by my deadline.
Back to energy flows though, I don’t follow feng shui, but I do very much believe in the way a room is arranged affecting how we feel. Even colors and lighting in a room can dramatically affect the feel of a room and the way the occupants of the room interact with each other. We’ve often intentionally changed the tone of a room through breath, connection, sound and movement (there’s a reason Pagan like bells and noise-makers!). Teaching my kids to take a moment, reconnect with self and intention, and put the energy out into the room they’re in has been a boon to our family because they can take positive action to affect change in a real, tangible way. They know how to do this for themselves, which affects the people around them. As the parent, I feel like it’s my job to continue helping them recognize that potential in themselves, but also to set up their environment in a way that facilitates communication and harmony.
In doing some reading to prepare for this post, I was looking at some of the diagrams for feng shui, and found that, in some respects, our home is set up in a way that mimics traditional feng shui flows. Our bedroom is in the ‘love’ center, our kitchen (the hearth) is in the ‘reputation & respect’ center, our living room is in the ‘health/career’ center, and my desk/homeschool area is in the ‘children & creativity’ center while my husband’s desk is in the ‘helpful people’ center. While our finances are in a good place, our financial center is a bit of a mess, so I wonder how bringing order to that space will affect them. Similarly, the ‘family’ and ‘knowledge’ centers are on the same side of the house as the cluttered hallway, so I really feel like reclaiming those areas will be a positive change for our family.
I am looking forward to updating again with progress!