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Winter Solstice

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2013 by theredlass

So it comes. That time of the year when we are half way through the winter and the reclaiming of the sun is closer. The nights are still long and dark, but this gives us time for rest and recuperation. This is a time to think and consider ourselves and what are plans for the next year will be.

I have difficulty getting people to understand what the Winter Solstice/Yule truly is. After all, in it’s modern secular incarnation it looks an awful lot like Christmas. So I wanted to take the chance to explain how it has become more meaningful to my little family to celebrate our more pagan alternative.

This year my wife and I had a long conversation and basically decided to forgo Christmas. We have always celebrated both in turn, but for some reason this year we just did not feel like it. It seemed…stale. Hectic and unappealing. I am sure there are people out there who keep Christmas as the warm and loving time of year we remember from our childhoods. I am sure there are many who still see it as a sacred celebration of the return of God’s child. And this is all well and good. But what we decided to skip was the mad rush for presents, decorations, Christmas music, family visits, sweaters, holiday parties and all that stuff that just ends up being more exhausting and takes away from the meaning of the season.

-We ditched out 7 ft tall Christmas tree in favor of a slim, 5 ft.
-We decided to take every weekend after Thanksgiving and handmake our decorations. (NOTE: Look up Julbocken on Pintrest. You will fall in love!)
-We decided that the gifts we gave one another would be singular and handmade. Something we took time and effort to do for one another.
-We learned how to make homemade cheese, butter and gingerbread and will be giving out boxes to friends and family along with a home made Julbocken card! (Seriously Julbocken. They are friggin ADORABLE!)
-We refused to having anything to do with Black Friday.

We are still going over to families houses this Wednesday. Mostly because it is something that they expect and frankly my mother-in-law can COOK! but we’ve been having more fun making all our stuff for the house. We started off with the felt julbocken, then made orange slices with clove. We made cranberry and popcorn garlands and mixed cinnamon stick with dried orange peel for a candle display.

Really? Really, Today Show?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2013 by theredlass

So one of my the things I do to wake up and watch in the morning is the Today show on NBC. I don’t really consider it news, but it’s kind of a nice thing to have going on in the background while I have my coffee and bagel. It came as no surprise that, with Halloween around the corner, it was a topic of conversation. I was only half listening, as most of it was about the usual complaints that seem to crop up. Some schools are choosing to ban Halloween due to “safety concerns”, “peanut allergies”, “separation of church and state”. It received no more than my usual eye roll as I listened to the cast discuss if these concerns were legitimate or not.
And then Al Roker said something that made me eyeballs twitch. “I’m just not sure people want their children celebrating an unwholesome, pagan holiday.”
Excuse me?
It took me a few minutes to wind down my temper before I wrote this so that I could present my case in a competent manner.
*deep breath*
Okay, let us first discuss that Halloween, in and of itself, is not a pagan holiday. It is derived from a Catholic holiday (or two) which were based off a pagan holiday and has been diluted through the centuries into an American holiday. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. It’s a lot of fun and represents a deep seeded psychological coping mechanism to deal with our fears. But Halloween is not, to me at least, related to the pagan celebration of Samhain. No more so than Christmas is related to Saturnalia.
So let us now tackle the unwholesome comment. I know that a lot of churches may not approve of the holiday, but I know of even more than sponsor Trunk or Treat, or full out Halloween parties in the church itself in order to provide a fun, safe environment for the children.
I’m not going into diatribe about the meaning of Samhain, because this isn’t about Samhain. It’s about Halloween. That wonderful, amazing time of year where we get in touch with our inner desire to play pretend and our inner sugar junky. It angers me enough when schools ban every kind of costume besides princess and superhero (hello gender indoctrination). Or when they say that children can not bring candy to pass out to the class because someone might have allergies. It infuriates me when beggars night is a full week before Halloween even pops up and when there is a curfew installed “for the children’s protection”. It upsets me when the media portrays Halloween in the fear mongering light as though your children are in danger of being poisoned at every turn. Just for the record, every instance where they found candy to contain poison or glass, it was found to be a relative of the child who gave it to them.
Guys, please stop turning this fun, quirky time of year into some mass conspiracy theory! Yes there is some amount of risk in allowing strangers to give your kids candy. I know it might seem ill advised to let them wall around as a zombie any other time of year. But just follow a few basic rules and everything will be fine.
1) Never let your child trick or treat alone. Go with them.
2) Only trick or treat in areas where you know people.
3) Make sure your children have a reflective patch somewhere on their costume and/or a flash light.
4) If your teenager refuses to dress up to go trick or treating, tell them to go buy a bag of candy at the store and stop being a dick.
5) Be sure to take your 10% candy tax at the end of the night. This includes first choice of all chocolate, nut and caramel filled treats. A full size candy bar is worth triple all “fun sized candy bars”. Junk candy (strawberry wrapped, candy corn and anything that can be found in the bottom of your grandmothers purse) does not count as legitimate candy and as such can not be used as taxable income.

Witch’s Are Crafty People

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 by theredlass

Yes I know it’s a terribly old and punny saying, but it’s also incredibly true.

Once every few years I pick my way through the obligatory Drawing Down The Moon by Margot Adler. It remains once of my favorite groundings books regarding the craft because it reminds me of certain immutable facts about our path.

Modern witchcraft is a giant patchwork quilt of concepts, ideas, practices and theories. The historical research helps, but just as often as not we are left to our own devices and must make it up as we go along. We are often having to draw from our own imagination in order to fill in the gaps for what we need to accomplish. And this leads to the crafting part of Witch Craft.

These last few weeks I have been at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. There is a person there who makes some of the most brilliant crochets I have ever seen. When I asked her where she found the patterns for her work, she chuckled and said she hates patterns, so she make it up as she goes along. Hey work is creative, well made, and very very beautiful. It made me think about how much we need to deviate from the prescribed concepts of our interests. Once you learn the basics and practice a bit, it isn’t necessary to limit yourself to what is already out there. Sometimes you need to stretch and experiment for yourself.

Of course this opens one up to mistakes and yes even disasters. But such is the nature of experimentation. You have to try and risk failure in order to achieve innovation!

Oh What A Wanderful Morning

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2013 by theredlass

Okay so it’s Oh what a BEAUTIFUL morning but still…

So something I’ve been interested in for a while now is working on wands and staffs. I find them to be an almost irreplaceable part of basic Craft knowledge, especially when you factor in all the different woods, oils, crystal and rune combinations that can be applied. When I discovered that the bush right outside my door was Yew (Taxus baccata), well that just added an excuse for me to start up with my creative juices.

I selected a fine branch, relatively straight. I have a certain aesthetic I prefer when creating my wands. I like there to be a curve or bend in them so that my finger can rest comfortably on the arch while still connecting the handle to my palm. I also like to leave some bark at the handle. It feels more natural that way and it gives one the opportunity to really see how the wood is colored. I used 120 grit sanding sheets to strip the rest of the wand by hand. It didn’t take long, perhaps half an hour plus a little extra for rounding out the ends smoothly. Once I cleared off all the dust, I used organic Eucalyptus oil and spent perhaps another fifteen or twenty minuets working it into the wood fibers till everything felt shiny and smooth.

I am pretty happy with how this one turned out from the base. I will be getting my hands on a small wood burning tool soon so I can start putting runes into it. I am also tempted to set a crystal in the tip, although I’ve never had any strong proficiency with crystals myself.

Out of curiosity, would anyone here be interested in a Wand Giveaway?

Bindrune Protection Ritual

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 3, 2013 by theredlass

Bindrunes seem like strange things to our own eyes. But in truth it is no more or less complex than writing a sentence in a near dead language. Rune were the ancient form of alphabet for the Scandinavian people. They held a great deal of significance, given that most people were not literate, and so to many these strange, esoteric marking must have held a kind of mystical power. Surely if someone was capable of discerning meaning from these lines they must be possessed of great powers and magic!

Thanks to my graphic design (and typography obsessed) wife, I know that a ligature is what happens when two or more letters are placed together to form a word, or glyph which conveys meaning. She then tried to tell me about kerning which just went right over my head. For instance the ampersand “&” conveys a shorthand glyph for the word “and”. Therefor if runes are the alphabet, bindrunes are the equivalent of writing shorthand to convey meaning.

If you have been keeping track of my sporadic posts, you will note that this has been a massively problematic last few months for me. I am typically of the mind set that when something bad happens, it is due to the action or inaction of ones self. therefor when something goes wrong, you (or rather myself) is the only person who can do anything to fix this problem. I don’t cast many spells because I don’t believe the gods will do for you what you can do for yourself. I am more likely to ask for council or to be helped to see how I might solve the problem.

But when things get bad, I am not above a good Bindrune Protection Ritual.

Image

The bindrune you see under all the items is handmade. I used two layers of undyed batting and stitched the circle with brown thread to make sure the seal was good and tight. I used two shades of green and blue threat to make sure that the bindrune itself presented an aesthetically pleasing shape as well as a cohesive appearance.  The powdery circle round the rune is my own blend of mallowroot, crushed eggshells, wormwood and kosher salt. I feel it makes for a heck of a protective circle when dealing with empowering a talisman. The bell is to draw forth and cast out any fell spirits or energies which may be inhabiting the area. The incense is to make them sicken and choke and drive them away. The cauldron holds a charcoal circle and…of course…a lock of hair from myself and my wife are present.

After I cast the working, I burnt the hairs in the cauldron. I will leave the circle out for a few hours so that the power can mull over it and solidify. When I come home from work tonight, I will take the contents of the cauldron and the protection powder, sew it up in a little pouch and bury it with a sacrifice for Hekate at the cross roads.

I will write something about this in my grimoire here soon. I need to think on it and keep an eye out for what results come forth. Though I do want to mention something. I did not ask for bad things to stop happening to me. I asked that if any entity is working against me and mine, that it be cast out. I asked that if fell powers were causing problem, that they be held back or halted. I made sure to include that the results of these powers (mounting bills, increased poor temper, relationship tension) were all things I was capable of dealing with on my own. When debt is incurred, be frugal until it is paid off. When your temper is poor, take a breath and remember to think before you act. If these problem are causing relationship stress, talk with your loved one, share your grief, and remember that you are a team and can share one another burdens. Magic can’t solve these troubles for you. Only you can.

It’s coming

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2013 by theredlass

We all can feel it.
In the change of the wind.
In the scent of the air.
In the color of the leaves.

It’s damn near here.

And we all want it.

When does hexing become an option?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 17, 2013 by theredlass

So from a general standpoint I try not to use spells and such for anything. I believe that if you want something, no one can provide it for yourself but you, and no amount of conjuring or rhyming words will help solve the problem. I am not against spells, I just have my own method of obtaining the things I need for my life.

That being said, I am being sorely tempted at the moment to lay a hell of a whammy on someone.

Without going into to much detail, I recently did nannying work for a private individual. Said individual had to give up custody of the children and so I was no longer needed. Fair enough. Happens all the time. However this individuals has now ignored all my phone calls, e-mails and meetings so that I can receive payment for my final two weeks of work. I have gone from polite concern to professionally irate.

And now it has been almost a week without any word from her as to when I will receive my due compensation.

Bitch is about to get hexed.

To be clear, I have no intention of wishing harm on the woman. That would benefit neither of us. However if a little demanding energy can be put forth on my part to persuade the owed compensation from her than so be it. I am not entirely without an ethical dilemma about this concept.  But it is becoming less and less of a concern. I do not have the patience to wait for karma or the universe to take care of those who have wronged me. It all goes along with that whole taking care of shit your self perspective that I maintain.

So what are the thoughts of the community? When does using your magic to force anothers hand become an option?