Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Time of Divination

Merry Meet All,

Today we are going to look at divination. Divination is my favorite thing. I am going to post a series of topics on the subject of divination. I hope you enjoy reading them..

What is divination, exactly? It is a way of divining the future, a way of learning what the future holds through tools such as pendulums, crystals, scrying, cauldron gazing which is similar to scrying, and has many approaches. A person can choose to divine for himself or herself or for someone else.

The ancient Celts were the pioneers of divination. There is a book about that called Celtic Visions written by Caitlin Matthews, a real expert on the subject. Caitlin Matthews has written extensively on the ancient Celts.

The methods of divination are numerous and varied. A friend has introduced me to a new way of thinking about divination. It is about looking back to the ancient shamans and seers’ way of divining, and reinterpreting it to practice in our time. It is new to me. I have plenty to learn and read about this fascinating subject, methods our ancestors practiced long ago.

Today we still practice divination, owed in part to the revivals of Wicca/ witchcraft/ paganism and the many different traditions within it. Last night, I performed a reading for a client and I performed a tealeaf reading combined with a three-card spread of the Tarot of Pagan Cats deck. I like the fact that we honor traditions that were done centuries ago. Even in our modern, fast-paced technological, crazed world, we find time for a cup of tea and in person communication. Ipods, Ipads, laptops, wireless networks and Kindles have not stamped out time-honored traditions.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Salt Lines

Merry Meet All,

It is hard to believe that we are almost six months into 2012. The Full Moon rules the night on June 5.In Norse cosmology, Borghild, the goddess of the moon and evening mist, slays the Sun at the end of each day. Summer Solstice marks the turn of the Wheel of the Year on June 20th. Litha is the beginning of the three harvest festivals, the other two being Lughnasadh and Mabon. It will be Samhain before we know it. On that day, June 20th, the sun enters Cancer. The Celtic Tree Month of Oak begins on June 10. June 19 is the New Moon. We have a lot to look forward to. June is also the Pathfinding Horse Moon. Horses are beautiful, proud and symbols of travels to a distant place. The Full Moon will enter Sagittarius.

I am proud to announce I am being published in a local anthology, Salt Lines. It is a collection of writers’ wisdom and is to be launched in June. I am proud to be a part of this anthology of different writers from across Nova Scotia. I did not think that I would be included. The editor contacted me out of the blue for me approve the edits in the galley. It has a page on Facebook- Salt Lines. Many popular and favorite authors, including me, are in it. I can’t wait for the launch. I have created my own page on Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/witchescharms. I love the cover of the book, which is shown above. Feel free to check out the link and if you live in the area, be sure to attend the launch.

I have two articles published in the magazine Essential Herbal and an upcoming article slated for the Fall issue. The article Toxins in the Home is a reprint of an article that was published in The Source Health and Wellness Journal last fall. The Source has quit publication. Essential Herbal has published my second article on Herbs for Well-being, about herbal recipes for general well-being.

The book is promoted on Facebook and here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/saltlinesbook?ref=ts. The launch is on Monday, June 25, 2012 at The Company House on Gottingen Street. I am excited about the launch. A lot of popular writers, including me, are in the book.

The Chronicle Herald highlighted the Salt Lines book’s upcoming launch in their newspaper. Here is the link: http://thechronicleherald.ca/artslife/108659-arts-in-brief-june-19-2012

https://twitter.com/#!/magicka66 Tweets about the Salt Lines book.

The anthology is being published by a local independent publisher, Backalong Books. The cover art is beautiful. The funds for the book go to the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia Elizabeth Venart Emergency Fund. It will be an exciting move forward for me, to be in an anthology with the top writers of Nova Scotia.
I am honored to be included in this anthology. It is a collection of not only writers’ wisdom, but of authors working towards a common goal, to contribute a gift with the world.

The book will be available at the BookMark bookstore on Spring Garden Road. Drop in and buy a copy!! It costs around $15.00. Enjoy a collection of writers’ wisdom.

My garden is growing beautifully this summer. The perennials are up. I plan to add more plants to the garden and I will include photos when I have. I hope this summer offers you magic and blessings from the Goddess. Happy Summer Solstice everyone!!

Blessings,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Merry Meet All,

Today I am going to review a book written by a friend. The title of the book is An Ogham Wood by Cliff Seruntine. In a nutshell, the book is a wonderful faery tale for adults and young adults. On a deeper level, An Ogham Wood is a Celtic tale of a man who finds himself and finds healing in the last place he ever expected to find it. He sails to an island possessing mysteries, magic, myths, lore, magical creatures, history, and legend. It has something for everyone.

Swyen deSauld is emotionally wrecked over the loss of his wife Eilwen. He finds himself on the shores after a storm at the isle of Man-by-the-Sea. There, he embarks on a quest to find the true story of his wife Eilwen and on a journey of self-discovery. The story was engrossing and engaging throughout. It held my interest from the first page to the last typed word. I had to know if he would succeed. All through the book are wonderful vivid imagery, poetic descriptions of the faeries, the land, even a kitchen is described carefully in enough detail to allow a reader to feel they are right there in the room with a roaring fire and a pot of stew on the woodstove. The pacing is a little slow. Cliff tells the story slowly, allowing the reader to experience the story fully. The entire story seems woven with magic. This makes it a true gift to literature. It is a rare story because of its genre and its telling. This makes it unique. It is its’ uniqueness that makes it stand out.

The descriptions were lush and vivid. I saw the faeryish beauty of the island. I felt like I was truly there, beside Sweyn as he struggles through the mysteries of the island as dense as the trees and the myths of the fae. Cliff guides the reader to Sweyn’s self-discovery to his acceptance as Laird of the Island. The process of change that the character goes through is so satisfying by the end of the novel. You root for him.

While some people may be unfamiliar with Cliff’s use of the fae – or faeries, those with the Sight, which Sweyn achieves before the end of the novel- enabling him to accept his place on the island, the readers can still enjoy the story. As I mentioned above, there is something for everyone. For those who can relate, they will enjoy the novel.

Cliff writes with authority on the world of the fae, myths, magic, mystery, lore and legend. His command of knowledge is evident in the language the characters speak and when Sweyn travels through the magic forest. He makes the world believable. That can help a reader to understand the story and see it. The cover art is beautiful. It made me want to escape the mundane world and join the characters in the book.

An Ogham Wood is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. I highly recommend everyone read this book!!!
http://www.amazon.com/An-Ogham-Wood-Cliff-Seruntine/dp/1905297459/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337716407&sr=1-1

Blessings,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Merry Meet My dear readers,

Today I am going to talk about writing and getting published. It is blooming spring here. My garden grows more beautiful each day, more like each passing minute. Trees are festooned with blossoms.

Recently I attended a workshop at a writer’s organization. For discretion’s sake, I won’t say where or who here. The workshop went well. However, one thing stood out to me as shocking-and unnecessary.

A person participating in the workshop mentioned, albeit innocently, that a writer starting out in her career trying to get published should hire an editor. This is false. If a hopeful writer hires an editor to clean text for the person, that writer will never gain the skills or enough of an objective perspective to their own writing. It costs a lot of money to pay an editor. A writer must learn the knack themselves. Knowing how to clean text comes with practice. Skill is developed over time. I have had more than twenty magazine articles published and more upcoming, and I have never had an editor unless it was the editor of the magazine, change the text for me. That taught me how to edit my writing. Now I know what you’re thinking, a novel is a different story, no pun intended. You still have to learn to do the editing yourself. You are the one who knows your story. I know it is hard to sit and edit. I am experiencing that as I type! Yet an editor may sense you have enough confidence in your abilities to not need to rely on an outside editor and that does matter!

One way to gain confidence is to try to write smaller pieces at first then try a novel or novella, once you feel comfortable with it. I confess that I had to relearn how to write novels when I began writing my second paranormal novel. It was years since I wrote my vampire novel. Frustrating, oh yes. I hate not knowing something. It is my peculiar human nature. I don’t regret the amount of information I gleaned in the last nine months. If I feel I absolutely can’t work on it, I try a different genre-or this post! Poems, diary entries are practice. Practice. Eventually like learning to skate or ride a bike, it becomes easier.

There seems to be a criticism or a attitude that lurks under the surface toward unpublished writers. I really hate it. Once a writer is published, that writer seems elevated to an elite pedestal and the unpublished writers’ chins are jerked upwards to honor these new gods. I don’t buy it. It’s a farce. They struggled too, and while perhaps that attitude wont’ be changing, it doesn’t have to be liked.

Do not feel awkward or bad for not having a novel published or like you have to compare to Tolstoy. I know that too is easier said than done, but try. J.K Rowling and Stephen King have their own voices, their own styles. You have your own voice, your own style. That should be something to be proud of. Keep trying. Let your words grow like the flowers in the gardens blooming everywhere. Blessings!!

Lady Spiderwitch

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The clothes make the Witch or sometimes the Witch makes the ritual clothing. Witches and Pagans enjoy sewing their own ritual clothing. Some of you may be familiar with the information on sewing in this article. If you are new to it, I hope you gain something by reading this post.

A ritual robe is hard work. Once you master the basics of stitching in a straight line, and you know your seam ripper from your bobbin, your ritual robe will be the envy of everyone at the ritual.

Be practical when making a ritual robe. The first thing to consider is the function of the outfit. Decide whether you want to create something for Samhain or Beltaine or to wear all year. Decide how many times you will wear it. Make it comfortable and flattering.

When you sew a ritual robe, it is tailored to fit you. You put your energy into the garment when you make it yourself. It would make good economical sense to sew something that can be worn to more than one event.

A lovely cloak pattern is the Simplicity pattern based on the Lord of the Rings character Galadriel. The patterns referred to in this article are shown near the end. The cloak pattern has a full sweep of the cloak, can make you feel powerful, and sweeps leaves off of the sidewalk.

The tools required are a sewing machine, and good scissors only used for sewing, a seam ripper, bobbins, thread in an array of colors, sewing needles for machine and hand stitching, a pin cushion, fabric, bias tape, ribbons, patterns, tape, an iron, ironing board, and a tool for marking patterns onto your fabric. Get a basket or pouch to keep your sewing tools in one place so they are organized and easy to find.

Find a pattern in a size that fits you and if you are unsure, ask at the fabric store for help. Become good friends with the salespeople there for their expertise. Measure yourself to ensure the pattern will fit. Ask a friend to measure you with a measuring tape.

Unless you have a huge sewing table, you may have to cut out your pattern on the floor. Always clean your floor and perhaps put your curious animal familiars in another room till you are done. When you cut out the pattern, pay attention to the cutting layouts. This will help you save fabric. Cut the pattern out carefully. Take your time. This determines how the outfit will appear later. If you tear your pattern, repair it with scotch tape. A pattern can be reused if it is treated well.

For example, let’s say you want to sew a ritual robe. We are familiar with the basic t-shaped ritual robe. The Lord of the Rings pattern includes a dress pattern that can be used as a ritual robe. The pattern is nineteen pieces. You do not need to use all the pieces. The pattern can be sewn it in any fabric you choose, including cotton. It is a difficult pattern to sew.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about this pattern. Once you figure out the pattern, you will understand it better. The sleeves drape and are long. The point of the sleeve always points toward the floor. The sleeves are in two parts. The long part gathers, one of the things I love about the pattern. The underside of the sleeve is done in a French seam. Any kind of decoration can be added to embellish the sleeves: lace, ribbons, glitter, beads, trim, embroidery or piping cord. The sleeves are lined. The cap sleeve can be embroidered or sewn with lace. The collar of the gown can be adorned with lace. It is up to the wearer.

First, sew the body of the dress. The front and the back are each in three parts: the center, and side center parts, which attach to the center front piece, same with the back. It is important to mark in notches after cutting out the pattern but before removing the patterns. This way, you will know your pattern pieces apart from each other. This can save you anguish and confusion later.

Begin with the center front piece and mark your notches, stay stitch at the edges, and sew your side front pieces to the center front, same with the center back. You then sew the dress together at the shoulder seams.

Try the dress on now to ensure it will fit you properly then stitch the dress together at the side seams. Lose your fear of the seam ripper. It is your unsung hero. Try the dress on in front of a mirror. Note any incomplete seams or small repairs to make now. Make sure you stitch a reasonable seam allowance. You want to feel witchy in it, not as if you must starve yourself to fit it.

Be sure to not stitch right up to the top of the center back of the dress. The zipper is sewn on after the sleeves and collar are done. You will have to seam rip to undo the stitching.

Add interfacing to the upper sleeve and collar. This gives fullness to the fabric. The lower sleeves are lined. Once the sleeves are finished, they can be sewn together and sewn to the garment. Sewing in an upper sleeve is best done with patience. Do not rush this stage of sewing. Add many pins to the garment and sleeve, easing in fullness. Add your embellishments before sewing the sleeve to the dress. Take your time with this step. Always sew right sides together. Place the sleeve inside the dress to have the right sides together. Sew the sleeve in with care and it will look beautiful and feel right when worn. This is not a project to rush to completion. Care taken now ensures a nice ritual robe when finished.

The same goes when sewing in the collar. If there are many layers of fabric, sew it by hand. Your sewing machine needle may not cooperate when sewing. It is a good idea to have more than one spool of thread and threaded bobbins to sew the robe. Trim the edges of the collar to give it a finished look.

Hem the dress and add the zipper. Baste the zipper and use a zipper foot or a regular presser foot to stitch in the zipper. After, undo the basting stitch. The zipper is attached face down. Sew in one direction when stitching in the zipper, straight down on both sides.

You can let the dress hang overnight then hem the dress. Or mark and hem it after you have completed the other steps. Your other option is to line the dress, which hides the stitches and adds more body to your garment. Fusible interfacing is ironed onto a garment. Some interfacings can be sewn onto the garment. Fusible interfacing is easy to do. It gives support to a waistband or collar.

If you have stitched a consistent 5/8” inch of a seam, pressed, and always put in your sewing pins parallel to the seam allowance, your garment will look fabulous. The above tips are the basic backbone of sewing. Iron and iron again. This gives the beautiful illusion of a tailored ritual gown. Do not sew over sewing pins. If you break a needle, buy extra when getting your fabric and pattern to replace the needle. Invest in good quality sewing tools. Sewing is hard work and requires patience and persistence. The reward comes after one has mastered the basics.

After sewing the dress with sleeves, collar, zipper and having hemmed the dress, your beautiful ritual robe is ready to wear. Think of how magical it is now. You poured your energy into it after the hard work of making it. It will truly fit you and can be worn more than once. If you chose the color that flatters you and enhance your features, you will look bewitching.

Enjoy adding beads, glitter or jewelry such as circlets, crowns, tiaras, or what have you to the ritual gown. The more care taken and attention to the basics of sewing, the more magical you will look and feel. Sew a cloak in a corresponding color to the gown and you will have an outfit. Add a crown and wand to complete the look. All that is needed is a magical oak and ash broomstick to carry you off to the ritual.

The patterns used are as follows: gown Simplicity pattern 4940 and the cloak is Simplicity pattern 9887. The other patterns can be used for ritual wear. The patterns are as follows: Simplicity pattern 3632 and Simplicity pattern 9454.

Regardless of which pattern is made, the rules apply to all patterns. Master the basics of a straight seam allowance, use your seam ripper to neatly undo stitches for correction, and never take your anger out on your sewing garment. Halfway into the sewing project is when sewing gets tricky.

Here are some more tips to help beautify your garment.

Sew embroidery to a garment can be ironed on material and either glued or sewn to the garment once the embroidery is finished, unless you are lucky to track down trim on the Internet.
Take the same care with your lining as you do with the garment.
Use your imagination when enhancing the ritual robe.
Add your own preferred style or mark to the garment. Do not be afraid to be original. Your friends might ask you for tips.
Round the hood of the cloak and line it, which adds fullness to the hood. Knits are ideal material for cloaks. Knits hang well and are a good weight for a cloak. Sew on tassels, side trim, lining, embroidery; whatever strikes your fancy to the cloak. Savor the feeling of the power of your own handmade cloak sweeping the sidewalk clear of leaves as you head to the ritual.
To embellish a cloak, here are some suggestions: find oak leaves in nature and trace a pattern from the oak leaves onto the front of the cloak in a contrasting color.
Put trim or embroidery on both front edges of the cloak. Attach triquetra pieces of jewelry or other Celtic symbols to a cloak to add a Celtic flair, if you wish.
Add a cloak clasp to match the type of cloak you are making. Celtic clasps may be found on the Internet or at a local fabric store. Cloak clasps can be purchased at a metaphysical store in your neighborhood or online. It does not need to cost lots of money. Sew a pocket on the inside of your cloak to hold your magical items.
Store scrap fabric that can be reused. You never know if you need to repair a robe or cloak at the last minute and having fabric that closely matches your garment can be a lifesaver. Keep ribbons, trims, tassels, embroidery floss, buttons, and zippers that are in good reusable condition. You may be inspired to add a strip of trim to a witch hat or tunic.
Keep your sewing tools in good condition. They will serve you through many a sewing project. Like altar tools, they too store energy. Keep them organized and easy to find.

Enjoy your ritual robe or cloak. Dedicate it to your ritual wear and be magically blessed by the God and Goddess.

Heddy Johannesen is a full-time freelance writer with over twenty published magazine credits to her name, including a book of poetry. She writes constantly, supervised by a furry feline animal familiar named Lady Shadow.

Blessings,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Ghost Story I am going to talk about what helped me write my ghost story. It involves a lot of my life and background. I am a witch, for one, which was part of it. I couldn’t have written it otherwise. It is normal to me to smudge my apartment with sage on a Full Moon and perform divinations. I incorporated that into my writing and I realized I was writing about a character that is a witch. I thought, well, okay, but she is still a regular person. I have had many ‘experiences’ that have changed my beliefs. When I moved to Nova Scotia, due to the ley lines here and the strong energy, my mediumistic talents came out with a powerful bang. I had no knowledge or the training I have now. I predicted things that would happen to people and came true or psychically find people. It can happen to some people quietly that their psychic abilities come out or it can be The Big Bang like what happened in my case. It was out of control. I felt cursed and only now have the confidence in myself- and control. Having a control of it, I discovered, does not diminish the gifts. The other morning, as an example, I dreamed of a book about herbs and that morning I received the three copies of Essential Herbal magazine that recently published my article- a reprint of the Toxins in the Home article. I have lived in a supposedly haunted house for years. Weird things occurred there, that I do not possess a ready explanation for. I could go on and on with a long list of things that happened. Things like at night I would open the basement door and there would be a hush, or a door would be hard to open then slam on its own accord, lights floating to the ground at night, footsteps, cupboard doors opening and closing at night, objects rolling across the floor abnormally- not the way an object would usually roll across the floor, knockings, the bathtub filled with water on its own accord, sleep paralysis. I was not the only person to experience it in that house. Sleep paralysis is a feeling that something is sitting on you as you sleep, causing strange dreams from the fear and you are unable to scream, move, and barely even breathe. It is terrifying and brief, but terrifying. We felt chased when we were leaving the basement. Sleep paralysis can be googled for more information, if you choose. Another example – It all began one night when I was at home with my family. I had a strong feeling that something was wrong, in my solar plexus chakra. I experienced a vision of my brother’s friend, bent over in pain surrounded by a fiery red and orange aura. I knew he was in trouble and told this to my family, mystified by my vision. I did not understand why I was having the vision. I was confused about my experience and not sure what to tell my family or how they would react. I was experiencing the pain he was in. Fifteen minutes later, my brother’s friend arrived ill and in pain. We would learn later his kidneys had failed him. His mother arrived at our house and they went to the hospital together. I realize now Spirit was sending a message to me. I had not conversed with him that day or seen him until he arrived at our home. He has recovered well. Now I have studied the Spiritual and Psychic Development course from Level 1 to Level 3 from the Spiritual Sciences Fellowship. During the time of that course, which was eighteen weeks long, we meditated- think astral travel, gazed into crystals, and even held an séance. It was like going to Hogwarts. Ghosts, to me, signify unfinished business and a connection to the Otherworld, the other side, the final dimension. The other side or dimension is the last frontier that we have not yet explored, unlike the deepest blackest depth of the ocean or flying to the moon. We have never mastered or explored that final dimension because we need to die and return to life to be able to report about it. Rather difficult to do. I think an author needs a strong background in something, whatever that may be, to write well about something. I have read a lot of paranormal novels, which did not help me write mine any better, but that is another story. It helps to read widely in a genre you have chosen to write in. That background can be about anything though. I don’t like ghost hunters much. There is no point in hunting something as elusive and mysterious as a spirit. I also don’t like the term ‘ghost hunter’. To me, it is akin to hunting deer. A person should just stay calm and grounded and it will come to you. When that happens and if it happens, a person should send the spirit if it is a spirit to the Light. That is purely my opinion. Nine times out of ten, people are just filled with their own daily gripes and wishing for something dramatic to happen. People have to be grounded and centered- my training taught me that. If you keep wishing, you might get it but it won’t be what you wanted. A whole can of beans of trouble. A lot of people still treat psychics, mediums and the ilk like we are freaks. I believe that every one has a psychic, mediumistic gift or ability in them. Some ignore it, some know it and don’t use it, and some, like me, embrace it. We all have a sixth sense. It should be a natural thing, as natural as logic and common sense. We all share one thing in common- everyone loves a good ghost story!!

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