Thursday, September 23, 2010

Full Moon Musings On Praxis

My freshman year as a theatre major brought with it lots of surprises, in addition to all of the normal surprises one experiences their freshman year of college.  For one, theatre majors are generally required to take two years of dance lessons; including jazz, tap, and ballet.  Included in these classes were also a lot of yoga, tai chi, and meditation instructions. 

Obviously, all of these things are beneficial for performers; you have to get in touch with your body, you have to know how to move, and you're also going to be doing things with your body that could lead to permanent damage.  Serious permanent damage.

I am not especially willowy or petitite, and the thought of having to do ballet was not one I was amused by.  I took a lot of teasing from high school friends, and even some family members.  But when the time came for me, in character, to hurl my body across a stage as if I had received a powerful blow, I was thankful that my body had been conditioned to accomplish this correctly.  The only injuries I suffered were a few minor bruises, which saved the makeup person from having to create fake ones.

I could have attempted it without any training, and been rushed to the hospital because of the broken ribs and crushed ankle I would have received from an improper landing.  I could have picked up a how-to guide to ballet or yoga, and attempted it on my own at home.  And without a properly trained teacher to help me know the difference, I could have trained my muscles in a lot of wrong behaviors that would have ended up getting me hurt.  I could have also not bothered to show up to class and do the work, and then complained to any who would listen at how my teacher/theatre/ballet had failed me.

But I didn't.  I stuck it out, and while my training was never intended to make me a professional dancer, it did teach me an awful lot about how my body works and what I can do with it.  It completely altered the way I walk, how I carry myself, the way I sit. 

What does this have to do with Witchcraft?  Why, everything of course! 

At this stage of my studies, seeking coven based Witchcraft and Traditional training, I know that there are things that I have picked up as a solitary eclectic that are "bad muscle memory."  When I find a teacher and present myself as a candidate for training, there will be things that I have to re-learn or put aside for the time that I am learning their Trad.

And I welcome this.  I welcome the chance to start again, if that's possible.  To look at the Craft with new eyes, to see it a different way.  To understand it in ways I never could when I was reaching out towards the Mysteries on my own.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harvest Home, Harvest Moon

There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

- Robert Burns, 1782

This year the Autumnal Equinox and the Harvest Moon are back to back, a two for one special if you will!  So for those of you who will be celebrating, have a happy and joyous Equinox!

*And in case you were wondering, nothing can compel me to refer to this holiday by the incorrect and utterly modern label of Mabon 


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eleanor Bone



Today is the anniversary of Eleanor Bone's death, and I thought it fitting to share this little gem from Witchcraft 70.

In photographs, Eleanor always looked like a very proper Englishwoman, so I was delighted to see her having as much fun as she clearly was in this video.

We need more Witches like her.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hints From Hertha: Cleaning Metal Altar Furnishings

Chances are you have some sort of metal on your altar; perhaps a brass censer or candlestick, or something made of copper.  If so, you also know how quickly brass and especially copper start to tarnish or look a bit dull.  Doubly so if things are getting handled a lot or sprinkled with salt water or wine. 

A handy tip I picked up a few years ago for cleaning metal is to make a paste of equal parts salt and lemon juice and use it as a cleaning solution.

Please note this only works on real brass, copper, etc.  I have not tested this on plated metal, and I don't advise you to try it either. 

The salt acts as an abrasive and the acid in the lemon juice cuts through dirt, oil, and tarnish.  The two combined with a little elbow grease leave the metal very bright and shiny.  Ketchup will do the same thing for brass, but it's very messy and smells foul.

Copper tarnishes much more quickly than brass or other metals, and if your pentacle is made of copper, mine is, then you're likely to have lots of tarnishing considering how much handling it receives.  Add splashes from salt water, and you've got a lot of polishing to do.

So there you have it!  An easy solution to making all those metal tchotchkes look show-room new.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hints From Hertha

Awhile back Trothwy posted a blog about solving one of the many wax-related dillemas we Witches sometimes find ourselves facing.

In the comments, there was some discussion about a Hints From Heloise type thing for Pagans; a Hints From Hertha

*Since I am, in fact, very much a Dude, I wonder if Hints From Herne would perhaps be more appropriate.  Please weigh in with your opinions*

Being responsible for most of the domestic tasks around my house, this sort of thing is right up my alley.  There are plenty of books on Witchcraft, and how to do some of the things that Witches do.  How to make incense.  How to pour your own candles.  How to stick a damn crystal into an otherwise lovely piece of wood.

But a guide to some of the more mundane things that seem unique to Witchcraft?  Hardly.  At least not in the Woo-Woo section of your local Barnes and Noble or Occult shop. 

We're always getting wax on something, or needing to get wax OFF of something.  Ever mixed incense by hand and found your fingers stuck together because of wet and goopy super-glue like Myrrh resin?  Want a non-chemcial way of cleaning up those brass and copper altar furnishings?

So a new feature of this little blog is going to be my own practical tips for dealing with some of those special tasks that Witches have to do.

And hopefully some of the other Awesome Witches I'm honored to know will chime in and share their own tips and ideas as well.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cross that palm with a shiny dime. Quarter? Master Card? Platinum?


The Season of the Witch is approaching, and something about this time of year always makes people in my social circles seek out tarot readings or other forms of divination.  Sometimes even a brave few who are wanting love charms or to hex a rival.

I have never read or done spell work for money, mostly because I keep a low profile in my everyday life.  When I was in college, people would come to my apartment and share their liquor in exchange for a tarot reading, which I thought was most fair.  One fella even offered to clean my apartment...shirtless.  Natch, I thought that was fair as well.

But at some point I realized how draining it can be to have constant requests for divination or spell work without getting some kind of compensation for it.  Spell work especially can be a major drain on one's resources, and an intense round of divination can be very taxing on my system.

So I look to you all for guidance.

What better way to ask a question of some of the most awesome Magicians in the world, than to do it via this blog.  So for those of you who read for others and charge for it, what do you think is an appropriate fee?

A Spell? On a Witch Blog? Groundbreaking.

Most magical systems recommend practicing some sort of regular psychic or magical hygiene rituals. This might be as complex as taking carefu...