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Imbolc is the time in our coven when we welcome new dedicants to the priesthood. This sabbat is a time when we honor the lady Brighid who is the goddess of poetry, smith-work and midwifery. It is a time of new beginnings as represented by the goddess as midwife, and so it is appropriate to start the journey of a year and a day at this time.

Imbolc wall sconce by Mickie Mueller on Etsy

This year we are welcoming a new dedicant and hopefully at this time next year he will be elevated to first degree priest. It’s always exciting to welcome a new person to the priesthood path!

I like to set up an altar to honor Brighid with symbols that represent her. New born animals, the milk that feeds those babies, hence, the milk maids and cow cream pitcher. My fellow priestess and I decided that since red and white are the colors of Imbolc, and since Brighid is a goddess of the hearth and the hearth is the heart of the home where she lights her magick flame, the hearts we see at this time of the year are perfectly fine in our displays. How’s that for witchy logic??

The idea of taking a year and a day to study for each degree in the priesthood is partly so that the entire wheel of the year can be observed and experienced on the pagan spiritual path. There are facts to be learned, experiences to be had, and activities to participate in throughout the seasons that will transform the dedicant over the course of the year to become a priest or priestess of the God and Goddess.

It has occurred to me that even though we say that the year is like a wheel, it is really not like a circle. Certainly there are cycles that repeat throughout the year, but every year is different. There is growth and change but nothing stays the same. Once the priestess reaches the level of high priestess and clergy does she then just stop learning and growing? I hope not.

To me the year is more like a rotation in a spiral. We strive for an upward spiral to increase in spiritual knowledge and wisdom, but that spiral should never end. Every Imbolc I plan to rededicate to this pagan path as I start yet another year and a day.

Will you take some time during your Imbolc ritual to dedicate yourself to another turn on this spiral path?

As I address the Lady I may say:

Lady Brighid of the Healing Flame,

Bright and shining one, please show the way,

as I continue to walk this spiral path for another year and a day.

May I progress in becoming ever more like You!

So Mote it Be!

Blessed Imbolc,

Sarina ❤️

Deck the halls! Yuletide approaches! I love the greenery that adorns our homes and stores at this time of year. The Yule tree is symbolic of the green new life that returns with the light of the sun at the solstice.

The song, Deck the Halls, is actually an old Welsh song that was originally sung at New Year. The falalalala warms my pagan heart. What lovelier practice could there be than hanging some magickal greenery about at Midwinter?

Pine is perhaps the most commonly seen greenery at Yule. It can be protective, as well as attract abundance. It’s fresh scent feels cleansing. When you think about the cold wintry weather and how vulnerable we are at this time to the elements and disease, plants that bring abundance and protection would seem magickally useful.

Holly, with its prickly leaves, seems obviously protective. In sympathetic magick the physical qualities of a plant relate to the magickal properties. Those blood red berries not only hint at a warning , but also attract the health and vitality needed to make it through until spring.

Mistletoe is perhaps best known for its use in kissing balls. It is useful in love magick, but once again, protection is one of its key functions in magick. Kissing under the mistletoe, in fact, is supposed to protect a love relationship. Incidentally, mistletoe is quite toxic, so be careful how you use it in spells.

Lastly, one of my favorite Yule herbs is bayberry…as in a real bayberry candle. Be sure you pay for the real thing and not bayberry scented candles if you want to stir up some magick! If you can find pure bayberry essential oil that could serve for annointing a candle, but I found it easier to find the candles. An old colonial charm states:

A bayberry candle when burned to the socket,

Brings health to the home,

And puts money in the pocket!

On Yule I will light my bayberry candle and allow it to burn down in a safe place (my fireplace 😉).

Abundance and protection: these most appreciated gifts of our Yuletide green allies surround us with their blessings! Do you use any other plants at Yule for their magickal energy? If so, please mention them in the comments below.

Let’s deck the halls and drink a toast to the return of the sunlight at Winter Solstice!

Yuletide Blessings,

Sarina

Ah… the veil is thin at Samhain! Time to commune with the spirits!

Our coven will often celebrate Samhain by casting a permeable circle at the start of our ritual. With a permeable circle spirits and the living alike can enter and leave the circle as they like. At Samhain we invite in the ancestors and call the quarters, being careful to stipulate that only helpful spirits may enter who are there for our highest good. At our Samhain ritual the other night we cast such a circle around the whole property so that we could enter the house from our outdoor circle area in the Oak and Willow Glen to go and eat our dumb supper.

A permeable circle is also a nice way to leave up the enchantment of a sacred space for the spirits to commune for a time past the ritual conducted by the living. At Samhain the idea of leaving up the circle until dawn seems like a cool idea. When hosting a sabbat ritual some of us have been known to go back to the ritual area after all our coven mates have left to further enjoy the enchantment of the circle.

Why not try casting a permeable circle of sacred space to invite in the spirits this Samhain? The idea is to cast a circle as usual but state that the circle is permeable, as well as what time it is to be released.

Here are the words we used to cast our permeable circle:

“Cast a permeable circle
Around I go,
To focus the energy
And help it grow.
To make protection 
Sure and true,
To guard us now in all we do.
And when the sun rises 
This enchantment will cease.
And then at that time
Will the circle release.
Three times around the wheel I go.
And as above,
So below
THE CIRCLE IS CAST!”

When you have finished your ritual be sure to thank all the deities and other spirits you have called in and remind them that they may come and go as they please until the circle is released at dawn.

Need a refresher in casting a circle? Watch our YouTube video:

Casting a Circle to Create Sacred Space

May your Samhain be blessed with a harvest of inspiration and messages from the divine!

Blessed Be!

Sarina

Happy October! As promised, I have chosen 5 winners at random from the followers of The Magickal Cottage to receive a free 3 question tarot reading. Congratulations to:

Kazbaby @urkazpatton

rogue ronan @rogueronan

J Alaine @mooondust888

Heidi Brantzeg @brantzeg

Stephanie Corax @coraxsteph

If your name is listed among the winners above, please email me at mobilepsychicfair@gmail.com with your 3 questions. In the subject line please write Free Reading for (your name). Thank you for following The Magickal Cottage!

Blessings,

Sarina

I seem to recall many people throughout my life saying that autumn was their favorite season. Even if you aren’t into the whole pumpkin spice thing, I think you have to admit that the first gust of an autumn breeze and crunchy colorful leaves beneath your feet awaken at least a little excitement over the magick of fall.

The pagan sabbat of Mabon marks the autumnal equinox. It is a time of balance between daylight and darkness. It’s no surprise that it is also the beginning of the astrological sign of Libra whose symbol is a set of scales or a balance.

Mabon is a great time to examine our lives and see how we may be in (or lacking in) balance either physically or mentally. Through self examination we can then decide on a way to add more balance to our lives.

I will be hosting our coven’s Mabon ritual this year and came up with an activity you might like to try in your group or on your own. By the way, some less witchy activities you can do with non-magickal folk and they will be none the wiser about its pagan origins. For the following activity you might eliminate the pins and use different words to use in a more mundane way. I’m sure it will still be perfectly magickal!

When I think about Mabon I think of apples.

Apples are quite sacred in so many witchy ways! Take an apple and cut it around the middle…sort of where the equator would be on a globe.

Do you see that star shape in the center? It’s a pentagram!

On this apple I had to cut away a bit of the flesh to more clearly reveal the pentagram, but it’s there in every apple.

Set the top half of the apple aside to eat later.

Next you will need some pins and a smallish candle…one that is thick enough to scratch a word or two on and that will hold seven straight pins. It should also be small enough to be inserted in the center of your apple half.

Take seven pins (one for each day of the week) and poke them into one side of the candle, spacing them as equally as you can.

I would also like to sprinkle and spread a little cinnamon over the cut surface of my apple.

Cinnamon is protective and helps to speed up a spell!

The next part is to enchant your apple candle. Grab your tarot cards, pendulum, tea leaves, rune stones or whatever your favorite form of divination might be. Connect with your divination tool and ask, “what will bring more balance to my life?” Be ready to sum up your message with one or two words. You will be scratching these words into the side of your candle.

Say, for instance, you pull the hermit tarot card. Perhaps you need more time alone to meditate? So on your candle you might scratch “meditate” or “go within” with a stylus or pin. Perhaps the tea leaves suggest an image of travel. Do you need to explore your world more to bring about more balance? “Voyage” or “explore” are perhaps words to inscribe on your candle.

When your candle is inscribed you are ready to enchant it either in your group or in your own circle.

Here are some words you might say over your candle as you enchant it:

Welcome Mabon, autumn time!

I now enchant with these words in rhyme!

Little candle I now empower

To help bring balance

As you burn each hour!

AND SO IT IS!

To use the candle, light it each day for 7 days. The first day, gaze at the flame and visualize your intention coming true. Allow the candle to burn just to the first pin from the top of the candle. Then extinguish the flame with your fingers or a snuffer. Do the same each day, lighting, visualizing and burning to the next pin and extinguishing the flame until you have reached the last pin on the seventh day. Prepare to be more balanced!

Mabon would be an excellent time to do this apple candle spell!

Arrange your Mabon altar with a cornucopia filled with fruit….especially apples….light some cinnamon incense…..toast the Lord and Lady with some apple cider and homemade zucchini bread and create some apple candle magick!

Bright Mabon Blessings,

Sarina

  • Starting today and all during the month of September 2019 you can become eligible to have your name placed in a drawing to receive a 3 question tarot reading by Sarina. On October 1, 2019 five followers of The Magickal Cottage Blog on WordPress will be announced as winners of a free reading as my way of saying, “Thanks for following!”
  • If you already follow the blog you will automatically be entered in the drawing. If you still haven’t followed, click the “follow” button at the bottom of the blog page on your phone, or on the sidebar to the right on your computer, and sign up! Here’s to magickal living!
  • Blessings,
  • Sarina 💜
  • I’m very drawn to the whole artemisia family of plants, and mugwort is so obliging and easy to grow. It dries wonderfully and retains its fragrance when burned, so can be added to smudge sticks and incense. What more could you ask for in an herb?!

    I grow both the California native mugwort and the artemisia vulgaris or common mugwort. Both herbs are great for setting the stage for meditation, divination and astral work. Use an infusion of mugwort to wash your divination tools…the waterproof ones….

    It is sacred to Cerridwen, a goddess bff of mine. 💜 And, of course, belonging to the artemesia group of plants, it is sacred to the goddess, Artemis. It has a definite feminine feel to it. Some say it is ruled by Venus and some say the Moon. Maybe it’s a switch hitter. Explore mugwort: sit next to the plant, meditate, and have a little astral tete a tete. See what she has to communicate to you personally.

    The name, “Mugwort”, is believed by some to have originated in the practice of using it to make beer before hops were discovered to be of use in brewing. “Mug” for the drinking vessel and “wort”, which is an old-timey word for “plant” or “herb”.

    There are medicinal uses for mugwort but it should not be used for more than a week at a time, and definitely not if you are pregnant. Read the article in Witchipedia if you are interested in its healing properties. Mugwort

    I have dried a bunch and plan to use it in incense, smudge and as an addition to a protective wreath. I may even put some in a dream pillow to help with lucid dreaming, but I am allergic to ragweed (one of its plant cousins) so will need to go slowly with that experiment.

    Mugwort is easy to grow from seed or cuttings. It likes well draining soil and a sunny location. It will spread through underground stolons, so make sure your neighbor likes mugwort, too, or grow it in a pot. Harold Roth at Alchemy Works sells the seeds here: Alchemy Works Mugwort Seeds

    Magickal mugwort! Every Magickal person should grow some in their enchanted garden. It’s a wonderful addition to your witchy apothecary.

    Worty Blessings!

    Sarina

    I’m sure you have heard about the fires in the rainforest in Brazil that are destroying our planet’s “lungs”, the trees and plants. If we could send some energy it would be wonderful.

    Here is a spell that my circle and I are doing to help bring rain to the area.

    You will need:

    A candle, a clear glass bowl and a map of the rainforest area.

    Put the map of the rainforest in Brazil under the clear glass bowl. I etched “rain for the Amazon rainforest on the candle and anointed it with rose oil to speed things up. Place the candle in the bowl and fill the bowl with water (rain water is good!). Pour the water up to about an inch below the top of the candle. Light the candle and envision rain extinguishing the forest fires. When the candle burns down the water will put the candle out. Rain in the rainforest! For the highest good! So Mote It Be! 🌧💦💧

    Every magickal garden should grow rosemary. It is often said that rosemary can be substituted for just about every other herb in magick. Plant it near your front door for protection from low vibrational energies. Some say that a home with rosemary growing by the front gate is a home where the woman is the boss. That seems reason enough to plant it!!

    “Rosemary for remembrance”, is an old saying. You can use rosemary in oils or incense form when performing spells where you want to make a lasting impression, as well as in spells to help your memory. Rosemary oil applied behind the ear could help during a test or exam…although it’s no substitute for studying!

    Making bundles of rosemary tied with cotton string and allowing them to dry is a wonderful substitute for sage smudge sticks. I call the rosemary ones “European smudge sticks” since rosemary is native to the Mediterranean. Wild harvesting of native white sage can be a problem in the US, so rosemary smudge can be a great alternative. Dried rosemary can also be added to homemade incense. The smell of rosemary can be enjoyed fresh, dried and burned!

    One traditional story about rosemary states that if you are trying to decided between two (or more…lucky you!) prospective suitors, write the names of each person you are considering on identical flower pots. Plant a small rosemary plant in each pot and observe how they grow under the same growing conditions (same soil, light and water). The plant that grows the best is your best choice for a relationship. If you have no prospects at the moment, create a poppet (cloth dolly) of yourself and stuff it with rosemary. Enchant it at the new moon to attract your perfect partner.

    Rosemary can be used for remembrance in kitchen witchery as well. It goes great with roasted potatoes. Infuse olive oil with rosemary to be used in the kitchen as well, and serve as a dipping sauce for a hearty, herbally bread. You are sure to create a memorable magickal meal!

    Rosemary likes a sunny, sheltered location but hates soggy soil. After watering let the soil dry before watering again. I have found rosemary grows well near a wall or sidewalk and that the concrete will protect it from freezing temperatures. In Texas I was able to keep a plant alive for years in such an environment. You could also grow rosemary in a pot and bring it inside to a sunny windowsill during the freezing weather.

    If you haven’t added rosemary to your magickal apothecary, I highly recommend it.

    Herbal Blessings,

    Sarina

    Every morning, as I sip my coffee, I make a point of pulling a couple of tarot cards. Last Saturday I winced as I dealt myself the Ace of Wands Reversed

    and the Tower.

    Of course no card is really bad, but these cards seemed to indicate there would be challenges ahead! I had no idea what the cards were referring to, but by day’s end they made sense to me.

    I had planned to do some witchy house cleaning, maybe light some candles and bake something. Create some hygge, as they say in Norway. But as I was returning from our morning walk, my fire sign self took over! For what seemed like the millionth time I noticed a bushy plant that seemed to dominate the front garden…in a bad way. And for the millionth time I wished it were moved to our back slope where it could spread to its heart’s content.

    The plant I am referring to is dietes, or fortnight lily. Let me tell you, this is one tough plant! In this case it was also a very tenacious one.

    I looked up fortnight lily’s magickal properties and came up with nothing, but I would assign it survival and strength….and stubbornness. Ok, ok, it does have pretty white or yellow flowers.

    I decided to muster some determination and went for my shovel and pitchfork. As usual, it refused to budge. But today I wasn’t going to surrender. Hey, maybe this plant was loaning me some of its own qualities?

    Long story short, I started to develop a strategy and the plant was coaxed loose. I noticed it seemed easier when I explained to the plant spirit that I would find it a better more spacious place to grow. This plant is very easy to transplant. Very easy. Any piece of a root left behind will start to grow again. I have no doubt it will thrive on our back slope.

    I piled the plantlets into plastic pots, used a pick ax to dig out more bulblets and carted everything down the back hill.

    Then for the fun part! There was a fun part. I placed a small birdbath and statue of a cat in the space where the monster plant had been. Around the statuary I planted sweet alyssum (protective against glamour spells and hexes), dianthus (for the moon goddess, Diana) and blue salvia (for protection, purification and divination).

    What do you think? The plants should spread and fill in well in the coming weeks.

    I thought back on the morning’s tarot cards. Interesting that the wand reversed suddenly suggested a hard to deal with plant! And the Tower card showed how I cleared out the old to make way for the new! In this case a large unruly plant was replaced with some lovely, daintier blooms.

    As I like to remind myself, magick is everywhere. You just have to be open to noticing it!

    Garden Blessings,

    Sarina

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