Thursday, 22 January 2015

Grow Your Blog Party 2015 Post

Welcome to The County Witch’s Cottage, my little corner of the blogosphere. My name is Stacey (photo of me on my ‘Who Is’ page), I’m 30 (nearer to 31 really), I’m a witch, herbalist, recently certified nutritionist and tarot enthusiast but before the year is out I think I’ll have many more things to add to that list – I’m a bit of a study nut, I like to learn new things (so among that long list is past life therapy, reiki, holistic skin care products, make up artistry, horticulture and quite possibly digital photography – I’m still deciding on that one). Yep, I’m definitely a little bit learning-mad. I’m a book nut, I have bookshelves that hate me due to the rather large load they have to carry, I collect tarot and oracle decks but only those that speak to me, I’m currently trying to figure out how to perfect the Indian curry to a level that I can eat and I’m in love with Mexican food but because I have a spice sensitivity – Mexican food I can make at home. I love to garden and post more photos of that than anything else. I’m a regular contributor to the Australian Pagan Magazine, which is a wonderful experience (and a great mag for those Aussies out there wanting Australian targeted info). 

I like to make things, so I’m learning how to make soap – my first batch went really well, lathers beautifully - and plan on learning how to weave using a loom (a small one) to see how I go. I’m beginning a new regime of exercise and nutrition in order to become healthier in a way I can manage (I have some autoimmune issues), I’m not entirely happy with where I am health-wise right now and have finally plucked up the energy or perhaps the will to do something about it. I also think that as a herbalist, (possible) nutritionist and individual who is hoping to create a career from those things, it wouldn’t do to not be healthy myself. Since I am not particularly fond of the ‘do as I say not do as I do’ school of thought, I can hardly impart that myself to others.

I also like to use brackets a lot when I write (shameful I know).

I am looking to this year to grow as a person and to finally put my life in order health wise, spiritually and career wise, I wouldn’t say I’ve been aimless but I’ve not funneled any energy into creating the life I want but with the courses I am doing (and have done) and the tiny house I am building (and by 'I am' I mean my stepdad is going to be doing most of the heavy lifting), I’ve slowly started to put the pieces together (gads, I’m finally growing up, what a terrifying prospect).  I’m looking to be fit, healthy, happy, advanced in my spirituality and doing what I love. So I suppose that is what you will find in this blog, the things that I love to do. If you’re at all interested I have a tarot/oracle blog here and a herbal blog here, (although that herbal blog will probably be more focused on my health journey for a while). For my soon-to-be herbal business blog go here (yes it’s pretty much sparse right now….it’s another goal…I have a few). 

In the spirit of all things herbal and lovely, I am offering up as a prize 6 herbal pinches of your choice, posted anywhere in the world. What is a herbal pinch you ask? All the necessary info is HERE as well as a list of the available herbs (go down to the listing description section, that’s where the list of herbs is). The winner will be completely random and hopefully surprised! (Just make sure there is a way I can contact you).

I hope you like my blog, feel free to have a look around, comment or write me an email (email address is in the right hand column under profile image); I’m quite happy to answer any questions and I will definitely be checking out the blogs in the party! 

Herbal Pinch

*Update* I realised I negated to actually put a finish date so I was thinking 25th Feb, it allows a month since the start of the GYB Party and it gives everyone plenty of time to pop by and say hi.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

PDU - Altars

Altars are an interesting part of any witch’s practice. We all vary so much on the use and importance of altars in personal practice; (Australis Incognita wrote a really beautiful post for PDU). I don’t think my post will be as lyrical or beautiful because I tend to not actually use my altar (or any altar as such) all that much. I have one, I have items on it that relate to my path but it is more of a touchstone of where I am at any given time in my practice than a practical space that is for working.  Here is a photo of my altar as it stands right now; it reflects the green elements of my craft.

Weed Wife & Maiden, Mother, Crone by the wonderfully excellent Rima Staines
Carved Triple Hare to represent the hedge by the fantastic Moore Designs
Datura spirit bottle
Herb charm bottle
Handcrafted altar candle
Various crystals
New grimoire (embossed leather with lovely handmade pages)
Cat (cos I love mine)
Greenman plaque

All of these things are representations of aspects within the journey I am taking. They’re not used all that much because I’m a lazy witch who really needs to get her stuff together (I’m trying, honestly) and get on with crafting a better spiritual practice. And I will. Eventually. 

But how does one go about creating an altar? They’re personal spaces reflecting your path so there is no one way or right way to do it. It’s pretty well intuition as to how it comes together. The problem is, you could research until the cows come home and every site/book/person will have a different way of doing things. So let’ start with the basics. 

An Altar Cloth – this is the base of your altar so to speak, the foundation on which everything else will sit. However it is not mandatory to have an altar cloth, it could be a lovely piece of wood, a flat surface that suits you – my altar has a handcrafted Celtic tile, this was made by my parents as a gift so it is very special to me. I do however have a black altar cloth on the wall above my altar; it has the cardinal points and glows in the dark (and yes, it is awesome).

If you’re Deity inclined, your altar set up for each one could be something like:

Left Side for the Goddess:

White or Silver candle to represent the Goddess
A Statue of a Goddess (if you intend to represent her that way or if you have a statue of a Deity you work with)
Your Chalice
Bowl of Water

Right Side for the God:

Candle either Gold or Yellow
God Statue (if you intend to represent her that way or if you have a statue of a Deity you work with)
Bowl of Salt

For each of the elements:

Earth: Pentacle, bowl of salt, stones, plants or a green candle
Water: Bowl of water, seashells, cauldron or blue candle
Fire: Red stones, charcoal, dagger or red candle
Air: Incense, feathers, bells or a yellow candle 

Having everything representing each element is neither necessary nor practical, or even has to be done – it really depends on your practice. My altar guide here is based more on the Wiccan view of altar arranging simply because as I am a hedge witch with the trad bent – and this would be the same for many other practitioners who follow a similar path – the altar reflects my practice. Some will have bones, banes and other bits that have nothing to do with elements or Deity. They may have their altar strictly dedicated to their spirits or ancestors so therefore would reflect that.

Your Grimoire or Book of Shadows can sit on your altar or underneath it as mine does (I have a shelf that it sits on, saves room). My altar is also a cabinet of sorts that holds my herbs and other bits and pieces, everything is together in one central location. This may or may not work for you. If you find that you can’t keep an altar up permanently buy a nice box, decorate it and keep your items in it until you need them. Though I would perhaps streamline what you need for your altar because you may not be able to have everything on it at once if this is the case.

The best advice I can give for building an altar is always personalise it; after all it will be a reflection of you and your own spiritual practices, you will be working with it. Don’t let anyone tell you it has to be done a specific way because you’ll likely end up with a space you don’t connect with, and if you don’t connect with it, you’ll not be able to successfully work with it.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Big Prize Pack Comp!

I am part of a huge prize competition that starts on the 21st Jan, 2015 ends 8th Feb 2015. It is open for international participants, the rules are in the right hand bar, just click the 'See More' link.

You can go in the running to win a $419 prize pack full of lovely goodies from 8 different stores.

For full details the prize pack and competition go to: MidSummer Love Comp

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Gladioli Love

Beautiful flowering gladiolis in my garden. I just adore this plant, there's something incredibly regal and magical about them. There's a few more not flowering yet so I am really excited to see what other colours come up as these all came from a mixed bag of bulbs.

Monday, 5 January 2015

New Things to Try This Year

I'm hopeless at new year's resolutions. I end up keeping nary a one of them. Except maybe the intention to always do them - that I most definitely keep. Resolutions are a funny thing because there is always this sense of obligation to keep them, of course when you don't the feeling of utter failure envelopes and paralyses you because it enforces the doubts that run through your mind when you're rationalising not completing (or in some cases even starting) your resolutions. So instead of writing a long list of resolutions and being less than honest with myself about how much of them I will actually keep, I'm trying a different approach, thinking outside of the resolution box and trying something new.

I'm going to have a list of things I would like to try this year - not will do but will try to do (with a big side helping of guilt-free non obligation).

Learn to weave
Complete courses currently studying
Go to a Pagan event further away
Have stalls at country fairs
Start a nursery (teeny one)
Get Belladonna and Henbane up from seed
Keep Mandrake alive
Grow pumpkins
Wassail my apple trees
Start writing novel
Launch herbal business
Write workshops for future presentation
Make more soap
Test flying ointment blends
Begin planning overseas trip
Find love
Be happy

Sunday, 4 January 2015

PDU - New Year Witching

I’ve never really participated in these types of things before, I tend to get all enthusiastic and it wanes but here I am, giving it a go. Probably part of my New Year thinking process; giving things a go instead of shying away.

As for witching in the New Year, I want to be more connected to my spiritual path, my journey as both witch and herbalist somehow combining the two into a wisewoman path that balances both interests. I’m also wanting to see how far I can push myself spiritually because overall I’ve been a fairly lackluster individual when it comes to my path. I feel something pushing me forward, pushing at me to …. I don’t know, I’m not clear on that yet but I think really embrace the witchcraft path, more so than I have been anyway.

I’m not motivated at the moment, it’s too hot. And parts of the state are in a state of emergency due to the fires down south. Worst in 30 years, thankfully no human deaths so far but the loss of animal life has been heartbreaking and terrible.

I am looking at the new year with something akin to enthusiasm and purpose, figuring out the intricacies of what I finally want to do with my life.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year, New Look

New year, new look for the blog, I'm not completely sold on it being permanent but I felt like it was time to freshen it up a little, I've been feeling a bit restless about things and thought a change might inspire me a little more. I'm planning out my year insofar as what I want to do witch-wise and herbal-wise, I've got some ideas and hopefully some new products coming your way. I'm also planning on creating functioning websites that are not eBay or Etsy related....we'll see how that goes - I may just end up throwing my tea at the monitor in sheer disgust or frustration....possibly both.

I've included a photo of myself on my 'Who Is' page. You'll have to forgive the make-up, I sort of won a makeup/photo shoot which was fun, the prices of the photo packages not so much so I declined their rather ridiculous prices and went to the park and had some taken with Mum's Iphone thingy (yes my mother is way more tech savvy than me), I think they turned out okay. I am contemplating the option of retaking them but that's a project for a later time. My hair is naturally that colour, I live on the darker end of the ginger scale - auburn as it were - though bright sunlight turns my hair a curious orangey shade.

I've also decided to take on a larger caseload study-wise just because I'm a masochist. So I'll be studying Holistic Skin Care Products, Business & Marketing for Holistic Therapists and Reiki along with Advanced Nutrition and Past Life Therapy (all courtesy of the School of Natural Health Sciences) - possibly Cert 2 in Horticulture (T.A.F.E) as well. On top of that I am going to be trying to expand The Country Witch's Cottage shop and begin building my herbal business - The Wild Wortwyf. So no pressure. It'll definitely be a balancing act. I'm trying to make this the year I finally get my ....stuff (yeah let's go with that word) together and get on track.

I'm also considering giving weaving a go, I saw it on a program series by Monty Don called MasterCrafts, but I'll be getting one of those little absolute beginner style frames...not getting too ambitious there. I found the episode on Stained Glass massively interesting but I'm not at a point where I feel like I could properly give it a go.

Oh and in amongst all of that, I have a tiny house to build.

Yep, 2015 is going to be a busy year.