Dedicated to Witchy-ness!

Things around here get busier and busier! Just when I think I can sit back and relax a bit… all the flying monkey’s get loose! Okay, maybe not the monkey’s but, things do come flying at me. First it was a wedding. Then it is ritual after ritual. Ostara was a blast! Jen did a great job with the whole thing. Then it was helping someone get a job. Now it is a dedication.

I love all the rituals. I always feel so incredibly peaceful after them. Dedications are really fun because you’re introducing someone to the craft. Then you get to party! I’m all for both!

So… I thought I’d share the dedication we used tonight. Take it, make it your own, and yes, parts of it may sound a little familiar if you’re a Charmed fan. If the words fit, and feel right, I say use them! On to the dedication….:

Dedication Ritual for New Follower

Items Needed:

• Sandalwood or Blessing Oil
• Gift
• Cake/desert
• Wine and/or Drink of persons choice – it is a party after all!

Start by casting your circle. Here is a quick, simple circle I picked up long ago:

World Above, World Below
Energy Come, Energy Flow
Bright Divine Light Circles Around Me
Mountain and Sky, Flame and Sea

Call your quarters. Start with North. Light your elemental candles. Here is what I generally use:

To the North, I call upon the guardians of the element of Earth.
Guard and Guide Me. Hail and Welcome

To the East, I call upon the guardians of the element of Air.
Guard and Guide Me. Hail and Welcome

To the South, I call upon the guardians of the element of Fire.
Guard and Guide Me. Hail and Welcome.

To the West, I call upon the guardians of the element of Water.
Guard and Guide Me. Hail and Welcome.

When I do a dedication I like to do an invocation, to call the ancestors. Then the actual dedication where you confirm the person really wants to dedicate themselves to the craft. Then a blessing, because, well, everyone needs a blessing now and then. Last, but not least, a charge to remind them what the craft is all about. I think the charge on this one is a little bland. It needs more of a kick, but I’ll rewrite it in time.

Invocation:

We call forth from time and space
The Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Wilder/Morrell line
Fathers, Mothers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons and friends.
Our family spirits without end
Gather now in this sacred place
To surround David with your grace

Dedication:

Is it your intent, David, to be dedicated into the world of the Witches?
To follow the path of your ancestors.
To know the secrets they hid in the night
To invoke the oldest of gods and goddesses
To learn and study the old ways.
And to step forth for the good of all, harming none.

Blessing:

Blessed be your mind, that you may use your thoughts and intellect for the greater good of all, harming none.
Blessed be your eyes, so that you may always see the path you have chosen to walk.
Blessed by your mouth, that you may speak often to the god and goddess
Blessed be your heart, that you may always let love guide your works, both magickal and mundane.

Charge:

In the name of the Lord and Lady
We place this threefold charge upon you
To know the God and Goddess
To love them through the knowledge of nature
And to follow the ways of the Ancient ones

I still need to add a release for the ancestors. For this one I just did a quick thank you and told them they could stay if they liked, or go if they must. I’m sure, given a little more time, I’ll come up with something. I did this all in a couple of hours so… a little rushed leaves a few holes. Just saying…

Anyway, on to releasing the quarters. Starting in the North and working backwards:

To the North, I thank and release the guardians of the element Earth
Hail, and Farewell

To the West, I thank and release the guardians of the element of Water.
Hail, and Farewell

To the South, I thank and release the guardians of the element of Fire.
Hail, and Farewell

To the East, I thank and release the guardians of the element of Air.
Hail, and Farewell.

Then, release your circle. I am a creature of habit and always use:

Open now this sacred space
Send all energies back to place
Fare the well, and safe return
Let not my magick ere be turned

You’ll probably find this, word for word, familiar from yesterday’s post. A little copy and paste saved me from having to retype. You can fault me for that if you want but… hey, when you’re busy sometimes you take a few shortcuts when you’re writing.

I’ll tell you though… I do love ritual. I do love being Witchy. And I am truly the happiest when I am doing something Witchy. Whether that is mixing up brews, writing up a ritual, or simply filling the herb jars. I always catch myself humming a little tune. You know what makes you the happiest when you start humming. Now….if I could just get paid for being Witchy!

Blessed Be my friends! Be happy and hum a little! :)

Job Hunting the Witchy Way

jobsearch

Job Binding Ritual

This ritual is for binding yourself to a job, or position, you are wanting to achieve. Please use with caution as the old adage applies…. Be Careful what you Wish for! And always, always do a divination before you perform this one. Forcing your will can back fire…badly.

Items Needed:

• 4 people – the person who requested the ritual, the person who performs the ritual, and two additional participants to help seal the binding.
• Herbs, or dirt to represent Earth
• Feather(s) to represent Air
• Holy Water/ Spring Water to represent water
• Fire….to represent fire duh!
• Picture of person, or paper with their name on it
• Job ad/description person is wishing to obtain
• Ribbon or cord in white or cream. Green works to if it is all about the money! You can also give each person their own color.
• Optional: Flash paper with person’s name on it, and job name

Start by casting your circle. Here is a quick, simple circle I picked up long ago:

World Above, World Below
Energy Come, Energy Flow
Bright Divine Light Circles Around Me
Mountain and Sky, Flame and Sea

Call your quarters. Start with North. Light your elemental candles. Here is what I generally use:

To the North, I call upon the guardians of the element of Earth.
Guard and Guide Me. Hail and Welcome

To the East, I call upon the guardians of the element of Air.
Guard and Guide Me. Hail and Welcome

To the South, I call upon the guardians of the element of Fire.
Guard and Guide Me. Hail and Welcome.

To the West, I call upon the guardians of the element of Water.
Guard and Guide Me. Hail and Welcome.

I normally invoke the god or goddess I work with the most, or the one best suited to the work I’m doing. You can do a general invocation, or skip this all together. The choice is yours. Here’s a general invocation I’ve always fallen back to when my mind goes blank – it is by no means one of my favorites:

I call the light of golden rays
I seek protection thus I pray
For heaven forces at my side
Angels, sages, Spirit Guides
Or Wolves who walk
With cunning skill.
Come to my aid!
Come at my will!
Black Bird soaring light my path
So we are victims to no one’s wrath
And when my journey knows success
All who aid us, Goddess Bless!

For this Ritual I’m throwing in a general intention to open and close it. It just helps keep my mind on an over purpose which is running through my life. Sort of an, “Yes, I recognize this is happening! Let’s celebrate it!” sort of thing. While I’m rattle off my general intention I light any charcoals I will use for the ritual, or additional candles, or sprinkle herbs, or simply take additional time to focus. Here is my general intention for this ritual:

Winds of Change
Blow through our door
Now Re-arrange
Our life for more

Out with the Old
In with the New
Winds of Change
We Welcome You!

Then on to the reason for this ritual. Binding yourself to the job you want, or wish for…. I’m going to do this in two parts. First part, the words for the ritual:

By Air and Earth
By Water and Fire
Now be bound
With your desire

By three times three
And nine times nine
To this job
We now you bind

As the cord goes round
We seal your will
Harming none
Your fate, now sealed

Second part, actions to go with the words. Before you start make sure your charcoal or fire is burning. You’ll need it to burn the herbs/earth, feather, and water – just remember, a little burns faster than a lot, and is less likely to put out your fire! Now, if you add the steps to the words:

By Air (throw the feather on the fire) and Earth (throw the earth/herbs on the fire)
By Water (sprinkle a little water on the fire) and Fire (light the flash paper with person’s name/job on it – if you don’t have flash paper, a little salt works to spark the fire)
So be bound
With your desire (pick up the paper with the persons picture/name on it, and the paper with the job ad/description on it. Put them together facing each other)

By three times three (roll up the papers, and wrap the cord/ribbon around it three times.)
And nine times nine (hand the rolled up paper and ribbon to the next person, and have them wrap their cord/ribbon around it three times, then on to the next person until everyone has bound the papers together – this should take until the last line)
To this job
We now you bind

As the cord goes round
We seal your will
Harming None
Your fate is sealed (tie the last ribbon in a bow and hand it over to the person being bound)

After you’re done with this piece, and the person has the bound papers. Direct them either put the papers in the freezer, bury them under a tree, or just put them someplace safe. I usually suggest the freezer because if they decide they no longer want to be bound to this job….they can simply untie all the ribbons and be released.

Last, but not least, thank the god or goddess for assisting with a:

[God or Goddess Name} we thank and release you
Stay if you will. Go if you must
Blessed Be!

Release your quarters. Starting in the North and working backwards:

To the North, I thank and release the guardians of the element Earth
Hail, and Farewell

To the West, I thank and release the guardians of the element of Water.
Hail, and Farewell

To the South, I thank and release the guardians of the element of Fire.
Hail, and Farewell

To the East, I thank and release the guardians of the element of Air.
Hail, and Farewell.

Then, release your circle. I am a creature of habit and always use:

Open now this sacred space
Send all energies back to place
Fare the well, and safe return
Let not my magick ere be turned

Feel free to modify this ritual as you need to. If you do modify it, and you’d like to share, I would love to see what you come up with! If you have feedback, I’d love to hear that too! I don’t bite….or at least I didn’t the last time I checked :)

Blessed Be my friends!

Impossibly Persistent Poltergeist!

I have been reading Christopher Penczak’s: The Mighty Dead.

I admit I’m a Christopher Penczak fan. Not because I base my Craft solely on what I read in a book. I do a lot less reading these days then I probably should. I enjoy Mr. Penczak’s books because of his approach to the Craft. It is not a rambling of rituals and ‘you have too’s.” He does provide rituals in his books but, he expands on the ritual – reason, intent, and science. For a logical over-thinker like me…that’s a gold mine!

The reason I began reading The Mighty Dead is because my grandpa has been hanging around. His presence is always preceded by the smell of cigars. If he really has something to say the smell can be overwhelming. So far, his appearances have been subtle.

The thing about his appearance though is…there is always a reason! He’s not one to just pop in and say hello. He is always on a mission. I admit I cannot always communicate with the deceased the way I would like to. Grandpa is no different. So… I picked up the Mighty Dead in hopes of clearing up the communication problem.

I found the book to be a wealth of information. Far beyond what I expected!

Now, I’m not here to write a review of the book. Although, if you can’t tell already, I would recommend adding it to your reading list. What I am here to do is to make you think.

We spend so much of our time working with the elements, gods and goddesses, spirit animals, totems, angels, etc. but we spend very little time with our ancestors. Samhain is the only time I really work to connect with them. Yet, the rest of the year they have things to tell us….show us…help us with…and we pay them no never mind.

And that is why grandpa is hanging around. He is stubbornly, and persistently, reminding me of my purpose. I am admittedly fighting against this purpose. I am a very ‘set in my ways’ solitary practitioner. I like my herbs. I like my alone time. I like my rituals practiced in my own place, at my own pace, for my own reasons, without complications or crowds. Yet…

I am, not so subtly, being pushed to a more leadership role. It scares me. I hate to fail, and this idea is full of hundreds of ways to fail. But…that same fear of failure also points out that if I don’t try…I’ve already failed. A double edge athame if I’ve ever seen one!

So what am I being pushed to do? Well, you may have noticed I added another page to the site. The Pagan Council page. Therein lies your answer.

The community I live in, while filled with more churches than gas stations, is seeing a growth in the Pagan Community. When you talk to any of this community they will all tell you the same thing: “There is not enough events for Pagans, and there is very, very limited ways to grow.” And they are right.

You will see prayer groups for rain during the summer months. You’ll see local churches holding soup suppers, and vigils, and other events. Even the local farmers have events. The local library holds hundreds of books, but only about 20 on Pagan belief systems.

We are a dustbowl when it comes to anything Pagan related. We have one, count them ONE, local store which sells Pagan items. Her stock is limited to only a few items. We only have ourselves to blame for this though. We’ve spent so long being afraid. Practicing in private, or in the backwoods, or in secret.

We’ve let the stereotypes run the show. We need to step out of the shadows and back into the world. We have just as much right to practice in the park, or hold Pagan Pride Days. We have the right to get a little wild and let our true nature show.

We also have an obligation to provide access to books, and teachers, and other leaders in the Pagan community to the youth. There are so many of them searching. By staying in the shadows we fail at upholding the one basic tenant we have… Harm None.

So…. There is my round about story on how my persistent grandpa has been prodding me to do more. And how, on many levels, I know he is right. Take a few minutes to read through the Pagan Council page. See what it is all about. It is still a work in progress….so please ignore any unfinished sentences or headers without information.

The council is growing fast, and accomplishing a lot. If you have any questions about it, please feel free to contact me. You can catch me at wilderthings@yahoo.com, wwilder@pagancouncil.org, and on Facebook at Wilder Things.

It is time we step out of the solitude and help those who are just as scared as we are to step out of the solitude.

Pagan Council GoFundMe Site

//funds.gofundme.com/Widgetflex.swf

For Flu’s Sake!

teafortwo
The Flu has struck!

So has bronchitis, pneumonia, strep, and the full range of other ‘fun’ illnesses this time of year brings about.  I often wonder how much of it is brought on by our rush to make the holidays perfect. We get so wrapped up in the wrappings and trappings. The first thing we forget is to take care of ourselves.  I’d like to think I’m smarter than that but….nah, I’m just as guilty!

Instead of grabbing my cup of chamomile/green tea, with a small slice of ginger, I reach for the eggnog…with an extra dash of brandy of course! I did discover Jim Beam Honey is a great accompanying alcohol to store bought eggnog. Then again, I’m rather fond of it straight.

Anyway, off topic there. Back on topic…

Ginger is a great aid in preventing, and reducing, the flu. If you feel the flu coming on, or have a mild case of the flu, fresh ginger juice helps kick it in the pants. Dried ginger, in this case, won’t work. You will have to get fresh ginger root and juice it. It takes 1-2 pounds of ginger to make 3-4 ounces of ginger juice.

You can use the ginger juice in your tea. You’ll find it very hard to drink straight. Ginger can be a bit strong. I add it to a combination of chamomile, lavender, and green tea. Easy on the lavender or it will over power the rest of the flavors. Add some lemon, honey and a dash of cayenne in hot water and nothing will slow you down.

You can also take the ginger juice (3-4 ounces), combine it with lime (one quarter), honey (1 Tbsp) and cayenne (1/8 tsp). Add it to 6 ounces of hot water and drink up to 6 cups daily. I only use this when I reach the miserable point. You know the point. Where you know you’re sick but, you’re debating with yourself on whether you should drag your butt to the doctor or not.  The ginger juice combo saves me from making the trip.

If you like tinctures, you can do a combination of:

2 oz lomatium
2 oz red root
2 oz licorice
1 oz isatis

Take 30-60 drops each hour.

Unfortunately, I find this combination hard to swallow. It is just not as taste bud friendly as the ginger juice.

You can make your own antiviral tinctures by adding any of the following dried herbs to vodka:

Chinese skullcap
Isatis (Dyer’s Woad)
Licorice
Houttuynia
Lomatium
Cordyceps
Astragalus Membranaceaus
Rhodiola (Arctic Root)
Boneset
Elder
Strobilanthes Cusia
Forsythia Suspensa
Sophora Flavescens

We do like combinations of the herbs – mainly in tea form! Try skullcap and isatis with a little hot water and honey. We add a little strawberry, but we tend to be a little fruity!

Please remember, while the herbs listed above have properties which will help with the flu. Some of them do have side effects. Research them before you use them, and always purchase from a trusted source! Many of them can be purchased in tea form, pill form, and in premade tinctures.

And above all…see your doctor! Herbal remedies are great, but they are no substitute for a doctor’s care. Your health matters more!

We hope this flu season finds you healthy and happy, and very flu free!

Blessed Be My Friends!

Merry, Merry Christmas Contrary to Controversy

Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Yes, I said Merry Christmas. That seems to be the hot spot for some over the past two years. To say Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays. To recognize one belief system over another. To risk offending one person by saying it, or offending them by not saying it. The debate rages on!

I say….I was brought up with this time of year being Christmas. I was brought up with Christmas being a magical day where a magical, jolly, round man flew through the sky. A set of magical reindeer pulling a magical sleigh. A sleigh filled with a magical bag which held toys for all the children of the world.

Then…I was introduced to the Christian belief system. Where I learned about a magical day where a virgin gave birth to a healthy, bouncing magical god boy. A day, foretold by magical angels, with trumpeting and singing.  One of the first times, in history, where the parents knew the sex of the child before it was born!

No matter what belief system you follow, you are celebrating magic on Christmas. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you looked up the word magic?

The definition of magic is:

mag-ic /’majik’/

noun

the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

adjective

1. used in magic or working by magic; having or apparently having supernatural powers

2. wonderful; exciting 

verb

move, change, or create by or as if by magic

The bible is filled with magic, and god is portrayed as a supernatural being. Before Christianity swept the world, the Pagan belief systems revolved around the supernatural. To this day, it still does! We still see things we can’t explains and consider them supernatural, magical. I can’t help but believe magic has a bad rap because someone stopped believing in it.

So, this Christmas season think about this….

Christmas is celebrated world wide. It has been Christmas to millions of people who do not associate the Christian meaning to it. Christmas is just another word which brings joy and magic to the hearts of many. This time of year is about celebrating each other, life, wonder, and magic…not just the birth of one.

So say Merry Christmas, or Happy Holiday’s, or Seasons Greetings, or…. just say something! Risk offending someone, because if they’re offended they haven’t found the true spirit of the season. It would take more than pixy dust and a cattle prod for them to ever find it!

And let me leave you with this…

Love and Friendship, Kin and Kind
You’re forever in my heart and mind
The Magic is made, our lives entwined
So we must honor, ties that bind

Blessed Be My Friends!

Everything is Popping Up Poppet’s!

PoppetPattern

Poppet! Poppet! Who has the Poppet!

We’ve recently started making Poppet’s in the store. Poppet’s, up to this point, were not real big sellers. In fact, like Witchcraft, they’ve had a rather nefarious reputation. The Poppet has become interchangeable with the voodoo doll. Both of which have been forced into the stereotype of evil, hateful, used for revenge, etc.

I saw the stereotype in action not too long ago. I was visiting New Orleans, the French Quarter. There is no place like it! I was in one of the many little shops along Bourbon Street getting my fortune told. These two ladies walked into the store, saw a shelf of voodoo dolls, and immediately turned around and walked out. As they walked out, you could hear them say, “I’m not going in there with those evil things! I can’t believe they’d sell such things!”

I have to admit I wasn’t impressed with the fortune teller. I’ve had better readings from a novice. When you tell me someone is going to die in six months…simply because I had the death card. I really have to question your ability to read tarot. Then again, I was in New Orleans, and while I know the history, I also know much of it is now strictly for tourist.

I was, however, very impressed with the shop keeper. The ladies who walked out, offended by the voodoo dolls, sparked a conversation with the other customers. He quietly explained the history of the voodoo doll, and its purpose. He didn’t mince words, and gave the other customers a chance to ask questions. It is that one act which will make me a return customer. Faulty fortune teller or no, I will be back!

The Poppet’s user is age old. They were, and are, a closely guarded secret. I know I’m hesitant to hand someone a Poppet without knowing their intent. In the wrong hands, or used incorrectly, a Poppet can be a dangerous tool. Used correctly though, they can be a saving grace.

Poppet’s are generally made from cloth. Any material will do. I’ve seen Poppet’s made from twigs and corn husks. You’d be amazed what you can create in a pinch! I tend to make mine with yarn. A cloth doll is nice, but if someone else makes it for you, it is really hard to fill it with herbs, etc. If you make it yourself, with the wrong material, it can be hard to write on it.

The yarn Poppet’s we make solve both of those problems! Even after they’re made, you can still fill them with herbs. If you write what you need on paper, you can put it inside the Poppet. If you’re like me and tend to write a book whenever you write…a larger piece of paper is a saving grace! Plus, you can still add hair, clothing, facial features, etc.

There are many reasons you’d make a Poppet – Protection, prosperity, luck, love, health, happiness… We tend to use them most for bindings – admittedly, this is NOT something we like to do, or recommend. Poppet’s can also be used for Banishings, in extreme cases, and again it is not something we recommend.

Our favorite reason to make Poppet’s is for Friendship. Each of our Poppet’s is blessed with health, prosperity, success, healing, and family. Then we bind it with the following:

Love and Friendship, Kin and Kind
Ever in our Hearts and Mind
Magick made and Lives Entwined
Thus we Honor, Ties that Bind

The Poppet’s are not taglocked. So, they’re not tied to any one person, place, or thing. If you ever purchase one, you can taglock it yourself. For those who do not know what taglock is – A taglock is the part of the poppet that links to the person you mean it to represent. In order to taglock a Poppet you would need a piece of the persons clothing, their handwriting, a photograph of the person, some of their hair, nail clippings, or bodily fluids. The more personal the item, and the more personal items you have, the stronger the taglock.

The more time you put into making/taglocking the Poppet the stronger the connection. Don’t forget to name the Poppet if it is going to represent someone. You can do this by repeatedly telling the Poppet who it is it represents.

This is where we’re going to throw in a strong Caution! Remember, this Poppet represents a person once you name it and taglock it. Keep it in a safe place!! What happens to the Poppet, happens to the person. You may not mean to cause the person harm, but if you get the Poppet to close to a flame…or the neighbors cat runs off with it because you filled it with catnip….you will never forgive yourself!

Once the Poppet has done its work Do Not forget to dismantle it! Remove the herbs, taglocks, etc. Dispose of them properly. Make sure any link between the Poppet and the person it represents is completely destroyed. Then cleanse the doll thoroughly!

Poppet’s can be reused if cleansed properly. It is not something we recommend, but then we tend to err on the side of caution. When in doubt, rule it out!

Most Poppet’s come in the shape shown above. Ours come as male or female. Eventually we’d like to include animal Poppet’s. There have been many times we could have used a cat or dog poppet to do a healing. If you know of a good way to make an animal poppet, drop us a line at wickedwitchmidwest@yahoo.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

For now…

Blessed Be My Friends!

Wonderfully White Winter Solstice Blessings

winterwonderland

Winter Solstice is upon us, and I have to admit…I do not like winter!

I love Winter Solstice though! It is a magical time of year. It is a time of renewal, rebirth, and joy; a time to reflect on the past. Remember those who have come before, and those we are blessed with now. It is also the time when the fermentation process would be complete, and alcohol would be ready to drink!

I’m not a big drinker – I do like a glass of wine once in a while but, I never seem to finish the whole bottle. Not without help anyway. A good glass of honey mead is never wasted on me, but again…a glass is my limit. Call me old and boring if you want. The “falling down drunk” never appealed to me. I do enough falling down without the help of alcohol.

The Winter Solstice is “The Holiday’s” for everyone else. That means baking and wrapping packages and shopping and snow and garland and glitter and glitz and…. exhaustion! It also means eating too much, and drinking too much. Do you see a bit of a recurring theme here?

So…what does a Witch do for the The Holidays? This Witch gets crafty!

This time of year I pull out the Blessing/ Banishing tree. I know I’ve posted about this before but we can never count our blessings enough. But, you can’t have the light without the dark. For each blessing we receive we must surrender something. So, why not something we want to get rid of?

The Blessing/ Banishing tree works like this – you’ll need:

1 Tree – Tree size depends on the number of people participating. If you purchase a living tree, you can save it until the season is over, dry it out, and you have your Yule log for next year.
10-20 Red Ribbons/ Bows Per Person (or color of your choice)
10-20 White Ribbons/ Bows Per Person (or color of your choice)
Drink – Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic.

I usually combine the Blessing/Banishing Tree with the Triskelian Rite of Tea. Since I’m doing this one for the Winter Solstice Mint Hot Chocolate is my go to drink – the benefits of mint, especially this time of year, helps with the headaches, indigestion, gas, heartburn, and sleeping. If you prefer tea, a nice chamomile mint tea would be perfect! Chamomile reduces the stress hormone, as well as having aromatic benefits.

Back to the Blessing/ Banishing tree! Once everyone has their tea, or hot chocolate, elect someone to go first. Each person will add one red bow, and one white bow, to the tree during their turn. You’ll have to designate which color bow is for banishing and which is for blessing. Personally I use white for blessing and red for banishing.

When putting the bow on the tree each person will say what blessing they’d like to bring into their lives, and what they’d like to banish from it. For example: I’d place a blessing bow on the tree to bring family closer. I’d put a banishing bow on the tree to rid myself of excess weight (everything I gained from Thanksgiving!).

You might think coming up with 10-20 blessings and banishings is hard. Once you start though, you’ll wish you had more bows! Don’t hesitate to use your blessings and banishings for someone else. Remember, what you send out comes back to you! I have family that struggles this time of year. We’ve had so many family members pass around the holidays. It does tinge the holiday with a bit of angst, and fear. The Blessing/ Banishing tree allows me to remember all the great people I have in my life, and to send them Blessings while Banishing some of their troubles.

The recipe for my Mint Hot Chocolate is:

2 cups milk
2 cups half and half
6 sprigs fresh mint
10 oz milk chocolate chips

I usually double, or triple the batch and throw all of the ingredients in the crock pot. Since it is winter, fresh mint sprigs may not be easy to find. You can substitute a crushed candy cane or two. If you prefer your hot chocolate luxurious and rich, reduce the milk to 1 ½ cups and add a half a cup of sweetened condensed milk.

If you’re like me, and do not have a fire place, you might find it a little hard to do the traditional Yule log rituals. Over the years I’ve replaced the burning of the Yule log with the gathering of the pine branches. Everyone receives their own pine branch, and single green candle.

Pine signifies prosperity and growth. Add a green candle which stands for abundance, growth, money, success, health and healing. Toss in a little craftiness – a sprig of mistletoe, a little ribbon, a couple of crystals, and whatever else you’d like to use to decorate…and the next thing you know, you have the perfect centerpiece, or table marker, or bookshelf décor.

Once you have the above crafted. You can use it for one of two little rituals. The first one, everyone lights their candle, makes a wish, then lets the candle burn out. The second one, everyone lights their candle, sits back and remembers the past year. After a bit of inward reflection, everyone uses their candle to light a larger, central candle. The central candle represents togetherness, the coming year, and new beginnings. Once the central candle is lit, you can either put out your individual candles, or…make a wish and let the candle burn out.

However you choose to celebrate this wondrous season be sure of three things – Dance, sing, and celebrate! Every one of you will be in my thoughts, and part of my Blessings/ Banishing tree. May Isis, Mithras, Rhea, Hera, Lucina, Lucia, Frigga, and Freya show you the beauty of the season and bless you many times over.

Blessed Be My Friends!

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