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Here at the Magickal Cottage spring is well under way! Not only is the green covering the hillsides and flowers are abloom, but there is movement everywhere. The birds are singing and flitting about and the lizards have reappeared, no doubt to capture the newly hatched insects. Mid spring is here!

On the Celtic calendar we follow, spring began at Imbolc. The vernal equinox would be what one might call “Mid Spring”. This confuses some people who think Yule is the beginning of winter when it is actually midwinter. Litha is Midsomer and Mabon is at mid autumn if you are talking celtic calendar year. The reason for this shift in the common view of seasons is that Samhain (around Oct.31) is the Witches New Year. Samhain is where our year begins.

The lunation between March 21 and April 17 is the sixth lunation since Samhain and is called The Hawthorn Moon according to the Celtic tree months.

Now you might look this up online and see that many people want to put the Hawthorn Moon in June, but that’s because they are using the modern calendar that starts January 1st. I’m not saying my way is better, just more traditional. I go by the Celtic calendar.

Hawthorn -Huathe

The Hawthorn Moon is called Huathe in Gaelic. The Hawthorn tree is associate with the sidhe or fairy folk. It is also about cleansing and purification in preparation for Bealtaine. I am immediately reminded of spring cleaning!

I know, when you hear the term “spring cleaning” you think “boring”. But consider this: what you put out comes back at you (some believe threefold). If your vibration is high then you will bring in more that is of a higher energy. Your environment influences your own energy, so now is a great time to break up the stagnant energy and usher it out the door!

Of course, I can’t do anything, even cleaning, without making it magickal in some way! So here is my recipe for Magickal High Vibe Floor Powder. It is composed of very high vibe ingredients! You can sprinkle this lovely witchy stuff all over your floor or carpet, leave it for at least 15 minutes, (enough time for a cup of tea) and then sweep or vacuum the powder up along with the low vibes it has soaked up. Toss the used powder in the outdoor trash can. It may even make your trash can smell nicer!

Magickal High Vibe Floor Powder

You will need:

A box of baking soda

Dried lavender, rosemary and/or rose petals – if you only have one herb that’s ok.

Lavender oil

Palo Santo oil (optional)

Pour the baking soda into a bowl and add the dried herbs (about a TB each of the lavender and rosemary and a few rose petals). Make sure to break the herbs into small pieces.

Add about 10 drops of lavender oil. WARNING: if you are adding palo santo oil only add no more than 2 drops and if you get it on your hands wash it off immediately. A little goes a long way, suffice it to say. I’m speaking from personal experience!

As you mix up the powder with your spoon, focus your intention on enchanting the mixture to clean up and neutralize all the energetic nasties.

Enjoy!

May the cleansing energies of the Hawthorn Moon clear the way for a lovely year ahead!

Blessings,

SARINA

Want to read more about Celtic tree rituals?

Check out this book!

Celtic Tree Rituals: Ceremonies for the Thirteen Moon Months and a Day https://www.amazon.com/dp/0738760226/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_NWYXBE9BKZ5V027P9FNM

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Imbolc approaches and although it may not be evident where you live, things are beginning to stir beneath the soil. Imbolc literally translates as “in the belly”. This is traditionally the time when the ewes birth their lambs and snowdrop flowers appear. In the warmer climate where The Magickal Cottage is located we are enjoying daffodils. Time to plant some seeds of both the garden type as well as the spiritual kind! In the belly they can be nourished to sprout and grow in the coming months.

I have been hearing a healing call these days. I follow a shamanic reiki healing path, and it’s plain that during these times of Covid and political turmoil the planet needs healing more than ever. I have had more requests than usual from people asking for healing. My healing altar has been seeing a lot of action! So Imbolc, with Brighde’s healing flame, couldn’t have come along at a better time.

In our coven we call this shining goddess by the name, Brighde (pronounced Bree-duh), but she is known by many names. Many people call her Brigid or Brigit. Then, there’s Bride and Brigantia and probably several others. She’s a goddess of many names, and also a goddess of many talents.

Oh, yes! And she’s also been made a saint by the Catholic Church. Brighde has been syncretized as St. Brighid of Kildare. So many of the pagan customs you hear of that happen around Imbolc (which was renamed Candlemas by the church) have been claimed by the church to honor St. Brighid on her saint day….which happens to be the same date as Imbolc. I know, it can be confusing….

One of Brighde’s many talents is healing. Not only are there several healing wells dedicated to her in the old country, but she also possesses a healing flame, both a metaphysical one and a flame that is tended by the nuns in Kildare, Ireland.

Brighde of the Sacred Flame

One of the many lovely Imbolc customs that I like to honor is to set out a cloth called a “Brat Brighde” on Imbolc Eve. It is said that if you ask nicely, Brighde will pass by and bless your cloth or mantle with healing energy. I’m all for that!

I set out my cloth (actually a scarf that reminds me of her green mantle and flame.) at my garden altar and call on the lady for her blessing by saying:

Lady Brighde, please pass this way.

Lend your healing energy to my mantle on Imbolc Day!

I’ll use it for the highest good with those who so desire,

To receive the healing magick from your blessed Brighde’s Fire!

So Mote It Be!

My Brat Brighde above my garden altar.

You can use the cloth or healing mantle in your healing work. Just cover the parts that need the healing energy with the cloth. I think you could cover a petition or photo and send the healing to a person or animal as well. This energy is perfect to send someone during childbirth.

As you cover the body or petition or photo you might say the following words three times:

By the power of the healing flame,

Bring health and balance in Brighde’s name!

Blessed Be!

I like to weave at least one Brighde’s Cross to set on my Imbolc altar. This is an ancient symbol of the four directions and four elements, and may also be a solar symbol meaning Brighde may have been a solar goddess at one time.

I’ll also be making some Rosemary Bannocks to celebrate the day on February 2nd. So follow the link if you need the recipe for this delicious Imbolc dish. It’s perfect for cakes and ale!

As we start a new season of growth, may the seeds you sow and the projects you grow bless you now and in the months to come.

Imbolc Blessings,

SARINA

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The season of Yule is filled with fragrances and flavors! The smell of pine or the taste of a spicy confection inspires in me memories of this magickal time of year.

And despite the name of the holiday of Christmas that falls at this time near the winter solstice, the customs of this season that many consider to be symbolic of Christianity are actually some of the most “pagan rooted” of any season. I’m not going to go into the history of pagan symbols of Yule since that could fill a book. What I would like to reflect on is one of our family Yuletide favorites, the gingerbread folk.

I love these tasty little guys so much that my magickal kitchen gets taken over once a year by gingerbread decor!

Ok, I have more gingerbread pictures of my kitchen, but you get the idea! I’m obsessed.

So how might these spicy cookie kids be considered pagan? Well, first of all, consider the ingredients. Ginger is good for passion, cinnamon love and prosperity, and nutmeg for protection. Every one of the spices in these cookies is related to fiery energy and warmth. What is it we are welcoming back at Yule? Why, it’s the light of the sun, of course! Can’t get much warmer or fiery than old Sol!

So why make these cookies in the shape of people? There may be various reasons for this. Effigies have long been a pagan custom. Think of the corn dollies made during the harvest which are sacrificed to the bonfires the next year. In the case of the gingerbread folk, by eating one a person might be taking into their body a quality such as that fire energy of passion, energy or protection so valued at the darkest, coldest time of year. One old spell suggests that if a woman can get a man to eat one of her gingerbread cookies, the man will fall in love with her. I imagine this could work for both sexes. Worth a try, no!?

There are certainly other spicy cookies and cakes baked at this time of year. The baking of spicy German lebkuchen is an ancient custom, and though the etymology of the name is uncertain it could translate as “life cake”. There’s your tie in with the life giving sun. I also love the custom of wassailing with spiced cider. I hope people still go out into the apple orchards and sing to the trees, wishing them health and a bountiful harvest in the coming year. Now if singing and toasting to a tree isn’t pagan, then I don’t know what is! I plan to sing to and toast my apple trees. I’m beyond caring what the neighbors think.

Consider the story of the Gingerbread Boy: A couple wants a child, mixes some spicy sweet ingredients into a dough and forms it into the shape of a boy, bakes him in the oven, and out pops a live boy who immediately (and magickally, I might add) runs out the door. Go ahead and make all the comparisons you like about the magick of procreation, time in the womb (a bun in the oven) and the trials of parenthood! My favorite version of the story is retold in this version by Jan Brett:

Gingerbread Baby

Some years I bake plain gingerbread folks. Maybe just add some cinnamon candies or raisins or nuts.

Other years I get fancier with the decorations.

Lol – Be creative! Make your gingerbread boy or girl reflect your personality. Offer one of these spicy cookies to someone you are sweet on and see what happens when you focus your intention.

Need a recipe to bake some of your own gingerbread folk? There’s a great one in this new vegan holiday cookbook: Vegan Christmas Cookies and Cocoa

As we welcome back the return of the light and the rebirth of the sun and its yearly cycle, may your year ahead be filled with all good things! And so it is!

Yuletide Blessings,

SARINA

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I’ve always been fascinated with animal spirits, guides and totems. It occurred to me that certain seasons seem to be associated with certain animals that reflect attributes of the season.

In North America we see lots of representations of one of our indigenous creatures, the turkey, during the autumn, especially the month of November.

I decided to research the meaning of the turkey as a spirit animal. It’s hard to know if what is written about the turkey spirit animal is just a reflection of the qualities of the Thanksgiving holiday that were just later assigned to the turkey.

Studying an animal’s habits in the earth plane can give insight as to the meaning associated to the animal as a spirit guide.

It turns out that turkeys are very communal animals and are said to represent community. The female turkeys are even known to lay their eggs in a communal nest! Think: Thanksgiving family gatherings.

Turkeys also represent abundance. They feast on nuts and seeds which they sometimes steal from squirrels. Maybe turkeys can represent being sneaky? Or maybe they’re just enterprising? Take your pick! Abundance makes me think of the feasts we share this time of year in some households.

Turkey, however, is about balance and being deeply connected to Earth. He reminds us to honor what you have and be thankful. Acquiring things on the physical plane just for the sake of “having more” is a pointless endeavor. So being thankful at Thanksgiving is an apt association for this seasonal spirit animal.

Are you a community oriented individual with a strong connection to the earth? Then maybe turkey is your personal spirit animal guide or totem! Let me know in the comments if you can make any other connections to the turkey spirit.

Autumn Blessings! 🌽🦃

Sarina

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You’ve probably heard a lot about routinely cleansing yourself and your home to remove low vibrations and negativity. But warding and protecting your home can be just as important to keep away the astral nasties and low-vibe negativity! Why not make your cleansings easier by not accumulating so much bad energy to begin with?

There are many ways to ward your home using everyday household items or things from the natural environment. Today I’m posting a video on my YouTube channel to show you one enjoyable way to create a charming enchanted apple wreath. I hope you enjoy watching it. Let me know how your wreath turned out! Click the following link to visit The Magickal Cottage on YouTube: Kitchen Witch Magickal Apple Wreath and while you’re there why not subscribe to my channel? 🌝

Just for your witchy information here’s what Witchipedia has to say about the Magickal Apple:

Apples are sacred to many Goddesses including Aphrodite, Iduna, Freya, Pomona, Eris and through various folklore, Apples are associated with love, fidelity, fertility, marriage, beauty, vanity, wisdom, the soul, the afterlife and immortality. Apples are arguably the most magical and symbolism-laden of fruits.

Love those little pentagrams in the center of the apple. Talk about protection!

Kitchen Witch Blessings,

SARINA 🍎💫

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I couldn’t let this rare full moon go by without mentioning a great way to capture some of that amazing moon energy.

Witch’s knots have been used for ages to capture the energy of the environment to be used at a later date in spell work.

Here is a short how-to to get you started on your blue moon witch’s knot:

Under the light of the full moon start with a length of ribbon, yarn or cord about the length of your forearm or longer. Tie a knot in one end. I used blue to correspond to the blue moon.
Cross the ribbon like you are tying a knot.
Start to pull the ribbon through the hole but don’t pull in all the way through.
Pull the loop of ribbon so it’s taut. You have created a slip knot.
Tie two more to total 3 slip knots. You might want to practice tying some knots before you do the actual spell under the full moon.

Here are the words to chant as you tie each of the knots:

knot of one, light reflects the Sun,

knot of two, with shinning Moon that’s Blue!

knot of three, encaptured Samhain’s magic be!!!


Blessed knots now tied and true

Charged, now, through and through!

So mote it be!

-Chant composed by Iriss Firebird

When you want to release the energy stored in your knots in spell work or for those times when you might need some of that Samhain blue moon energy, just pull on the end without the regular knot and do so with intent! And so it is! The energy is released!

Back where you started!

I hope you use this opportunity to harness the moon’s energy to enhance your magick. I also plan to charge up some more full moon water. This spell should actually be good for the next couple of nights after Samhain as long as the moon is full.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you are able to take some time to enjoy a blessed Samhain blue moon!

Blessings,

Sarina 🌝

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The Samhain of 2020 will occur around the time of a full moon, and not only will it be a full moon, but a blue moon! Well, ya know we are living in crazy times, but what could be more appropriate?

A blue moon, in case you didn’t know, is the second full moon in a calendar month. It’s kind of rare for there to be a full moon at Samhain. It happens about every 19 1/2 years. But when it occurs it is always a blue moon. Blue moons carry some extra powerful full moon magick!

I wanted to sweeten things up for this special Witches’ New Year, so I brewed up some Pumpkin Full Moon Cakes to serve for the ritual cakes and ale. This is a one bowl recipe that is easy to mix up. I made them vegan because I’m that kind of kitchen witch. You can make them gluten free by substituting your favorite gluten free baking mix (it should say on the package if you can substitute it one for one with all purpose flour).

You can be creative with these little cakes and add seeds, nuts, raisins, eye of newt, etc. if you like. I hope you enjoy them as you toast to the god and goddess at this special time!

To bake these little moon cakes you will need:

1/2 cup vegan butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 TB ground flax seed that you have soaked a few minutes in 3 Tb warm water

1/2 cup pumpkin purée

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

In a bowl cream the vegan butter and both sugars until they are well combined.

Add that flax seed and water mixture and combine well.

Then add the pumpkin purée and mix well.

Next, add the spices, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well to combine.

Now add the flour and combine all the ingredients until you have a lovely fluffy dough. If you want to add anything like nuts or raisins now is the time to fold those in. Start with 1/2 cup of those bits and add more to your taste if needed.

You will be using a regular ice cream scoop to measure each cake. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup if you don’t have a scoop.

Place each cake on the cookie sheet and leave plenty of room for them to expand as they bake.

Bake them and check to see if they are set after 15 mins. Baking time is 15-18 mins. If you choose to make these cookie sized then check them at 12 minutes.

I mixed a little granulated sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkled it on the cakes after they came out of the oven. This makes about 10 moon cakes.

May you enjoy the blessings of Samhain with your near and dear. And let me know how these Pumpkin Full Moon Cakes turned out for you!

Samhain Blessings,

Sarina 🎃

#Samhain #vegankitchenwitch #pumpkinfullmooncakes

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Ah, the witches’ mirror! Such a wonderful mysterious tool! Mirrors have been used in magick across all cultures for millennia. Especially valued for scrying and divination, mirrors can also be charged for warding, increasing prosperity, glamours, healing and…pretty much you name it!

I could write a book about magick mirrors but, hey, that’s already been done! I highly recommend Mickie Mueller’s book, The Witch’s Mirror: The Craft, Lore & Magick of the Looking Glass Available on Amazon

I have been wanting to create a black mirror for scrying ever since I experienced the magickal depths of the black mirror created by my friend, Firebird. I finally gathered the supplies I needed the other day and crafted my mirror! I can’t wait to use it for divination at the upcoming dark moon.

I filmed a YouTube video showing how I created my mirror which you can view here: DIY Black Mirror

Now I need to charge my mirror and I plan to use a fluid condenser to help in the enchantment. I will gather the following supplies:

1/4 c vodka or everclear; 1/2 c dried mugwort (I’m using a combo of native mugwort and artemesia vulgaris ; 1 cup water (remember that moon water from my last post?) 😉
You will also need 9 drops of colloidal silver

Also have on hand a small enamel or glass pot with a lid for cooking (no metal) and a dark colored bottle for storing your fluid condenser.

Place your mugwort and water on the stove in your pot and bring to a boil. Let it simmer away at a low boil for 20 mins. As you watch the brew, visualize the power of the energies of the contents in your cooking pot magnifying.

Place the lid on your pot and remove it from the heat. DONT lift the lid! No peeking!

Once the brew is cool, strain the contents of the pot into a jar or cup using a coffee filter or cheesecloth. You are saving the liquid.

Place the liquid back in the pot and boil it again until it measures about 1/4 cup. Don’t let it boil dry. Let this liquid cool, pour it into your bottle and add your alcohol and colloidal silver. Cap the bottle, label it and you are good to go!

Your fluid condenser should keep a long time. I’m talking probably years. Happy enchanting! You can use this stuff on all your magickal tools and in spells.

I will personally be using this magickal solution to cleanse the surface of my mirror as I intend for the mirror to be charged to bring me helpful visions and messages for my highest good. As I cleanse the mirrored surface with my solution and soft cloth, I might say, “May this black mirror be charged, May the insights flow, For the highest good may my wisdom grow. SO MOTE IT BE! Or you can come up with your own charm. Personalizing is always best, IMO.

At the dark moon I plan to cast a circle. Check out my video to see how to do this: Casting a Circle. Then, I will try the technique mentioned in Mickie’s book of placing my non dominant hand in front of the mirror and my other hand in back of it with palms facing the mirror. I will move my hands in a clockwise motion nine times to open the portal of the mirror. Then say, “This portal is open! SO MOTE IT BE!”

Candles and incense and a quiet place where you can scry without distraction would be a good addition to the scene, I might add. Soften your gaze as you look into the depths of your black mirror. You may have psychic visions, but be open to receiving messages through your other psychic senses as well. Maybe you will get a feeling about a question you have, a sense of knowing, or a phrase or name might pop into your head. Divination takes practice so relax and let it happen at its own pace. You might want to have a divination journal nearby to record any insights you are given.

When you are finished with your scrying close the portal on your mirror by placing your hands around the mirror as before and circle them counter clockwise. Say, “The portal is closed! SO MOTE IT BE!”Then release your circle as shown in the video.

Every so often you might have an urge to recharge your mirror. Use your fluid condenser and charge it as you did before. Trust yourself to know when it feels like the mirror needs recharging.

Many people choose to keep a black mirror covered while it is not being used. A black cloth or even a storage box or bag would work well. A rule of thumb is to not expose your black mirror to sunlight.

I hope you enjoy exploring the world of the witch’s mirror. May this enchanting tool guide you further along your spiritual path and open a world of new magickal possibilities!

Divine Blessings,

Sarina 🌛🌝🌜

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There’s a full moon coming up and this will be a great time to charge up a fresh supply of full moon water!

Full moon water can be used in many wonderful magickal ways! But, instead of writing about this subject, I’ve decided to share a couple of videos with you. The first video is from Mickie Mueller’s YouTube channel. I’m sure you will find Mickie to be informative as week as very entertaining as she discusses the subject of charging full moon water.

https://youtu.be/IuAM7npPolY

The second video, at The Magickal Cottage YouTube channel, shows how you can decorate an enchanting moon water bottle like the one pictured above.

https://youtu.be/YZti9skqG4I

Enjoy! And have a blessed full moon!

SARINA 💚

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2020 will be a year that will go down in history as a time when humanity was challenged with a pandemic that tested our skills to bring out the best in ourselves and each other.

This year our Lughnassadh ritual brought out a mix of emotions as we struggled to honor the blessings of the past year. We have been connecting with each other in our coven via the internet for rituals since last spring when social distancing became the norm, and even though we are grateful for Zoom and Skype, it has been obvious that circling online just isn’t the same as it is in person.

Normally we hold hands and hug a lot in our coven. We also gather for ritual out in nature where we can hear the sounds of the leaves rustling and animal cries. Staring at each other on a computer screen reminds us of our separation. Chanting, singing and raising energy have been a real challenge through this format. If we try to join our voices all at once, all we hear is a cacophony of disjointed sounds. So we have learned to adapt. That is what we are being called to do.

For our Lughnassadh ritual we were asked to have present something to illustrate that which we considered to represent our harvest this year. And since we were also celebrating the full moon, our “Claim Time Moon”, we were to bring something to represent that which we wish to claim or manifest for the coming year.

For Lughnassadh we generally craft some corn dollies. To my delight I came across an unopened package of corn husks in my pantry! I still have my flying witch dolly from last year. Looking at her reminded me of the fun we had sitting around the table in the magickal kitchen crafting our dollies amid the laughter and conversation. Thinking about that time seems bitter sweet.

With my corn husks soaking in water, I decided to create dollies to represent both what I was harvesting and what I was claiming. My harvest I represented with a Mother Goddess figure.

I made her to look as if she is cradling her unborn child. At times this year I felt like that child. I got very sick and I recovered thanks to my wonderful family who “mothered” me.

I also took on the role as I “mothered” a large garden. I planted herbs, vegetables, flowers and fruit trees. The garden promises to produce much abundance in the coming years if I continue to play my part and care for it.

The Magickal Orchard
Eggplants are such beautiful veggies!
The bounty of cherry tomatoes!
Of course, lots of lavender

Above all, I have felt the presence of the mother goddess especially during these trying times we’ve been experiencing. When things looked bleak a new baby was born into the family and reminded us of the miracle of new life. When people were acting in fear, others were performing selfless acts of kindness. The mother has been with us.

What I decided to “claim” for the coming year during the Claim Time Moon was the simple ability to be able to join hands and circle in the Oak and Willow Grove as we have done in the past.

Corn and grain, corn and grain, all that falls shall rise again….
Hoof and horn, hoof and horn, all that dies shall be reborn….

I have to admit, crafting these corn dollies this year felt like a magickal act in itself. The focus on my intent put me into a meditative state unlike those times in the past when I created dollies with a group. So there was yet another blessing: remembering the magick in crafting an object for magickal purposes!

What have you harvested this year? And what do you wish to claim for yourself in the coming year?

May the blessings of Lughnassadh shine on you at this harvest time and in the months to come!

💚 Sarina

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