Hello There

My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Lucky Find: Patricia Crowther's "The Zodiac Experience"

Whilst wandering around YouTube I happened across recordings of a series of astrological rituals Patricia Crowther did for the public. It's unclear when they were released; some of them seem to be older and have background music that leads me to believe they were intended for radio. Others, though, are clearly much newer. Her book "The Zodiac Experience" came out in 1991 and is still available on Amazon. I've added it to my wish list and plan on listening along with the audio materials once it arrives.

This is the first time I've ever heard Patricia Crowther speak, and she's got an amazing voice that is captivating in its brilliance. I believe she has a past as an actress, and it really shows in her exquisite reading of the rituals. I imagine she must have been an incredible High Priestess.

 Here's the link to one of the videos. The others are available from the same channel. Enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Magical Hazel Tree

Followers of my blog will well know my love of trees; the magic and folklore of trees is my big area of study, and I have wood from almost all of the main "faery" trees. I also have quite the wand collection and have them from many different woods for many different purposes. In my old home in Texas, however, it wasn't easy to come by the "best" wands woods of Hazel, Blackthorn, and Elder. In my new home, however, such trees grow all over the place and can be found in backyards, public parks, and even by the side of the road.

You can imagine my joy, then, when during my walk last week I happened across FOUR Hazel trees one street over from my new house. Even better, they had just been pruned and there was a large pile of wood that I helped myself to. Hazel is considered to be the "best" wand wood, but it's not available commercially and is quite hard to come by.

Hazel has a long history of both magical and mundane use. The nuts of the Hazel tree, of course, are edible and are used for food by both man and beast. The wood is both strong AND flexible, and was woven together to make mats that are the framework of the wattle-and-daub homes in England and elsewhere. In olden times, a wand of Hazel was a symbol of power and authority and was wielded by kings and tribal chieftains. The most notable use of Hazel, though, was for its powers of divination and prophecy. Hazel is supposed to be the best wood for dowsing, and it especially useful for finding underground veins of water. In addition, the nuts are used for divination rituals performed on Hallowe'en, where a Hazel nut was placed by the fire and its movements (either shriveling away or popping loudly) were thought to indicate one's future spouse or sweetheart. There is a very old Irish legend concerning a magical well surrounded by Hazel trees, who's nuts grant wisdom to those who eat them. The nuts fall into the well and are eaten by the salmon that live within, and those salmon were thought to give those who ate them the gift of wisdom and insight. Additionally, the famed grimoires such as the Key of Solomon suggest a wand made of Hazel or nut wood. Tradition tells us that nut and fruit trees make the best wood for magical tools, probably because they "create" something on their own.

There won't be any Hazel nuts until next Autumn, but right now the trees are covered in long fuzzy catkins and are highly visible. I'm going to go on a Hazel scouting expedition this weekend and see if I can find more trees. In the meantime, though, I have enough wood to make several wands AND a small Stang, though it will have to dry for many months before use. I'm attaching a few images of the Hazels that I found, and I hope they will make it a bit easier to identify the tree  if you are not familiar with it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My New Victorian Home

Today I'm moving yet again. I'm staying in the same town, but am leaving the condo I'm sharing with friends and moving to a Queen Anne style Victorian home that's been converted into apartments. I don't think it's any surprise  to my readers that I rather prefer the old-fashioned to the modern, and it's long been a dream of mine to live in a Victorian. On a more practical level, this new place offers me easily 4 times the space I have now. With that comes a level of privacy I  haven't had where I've been staying. The new place is located in the historic downtown area, and there are a lot of attractions within walking distance.

This is also going to be a lot better for my Craft work. My new home has a huge private sitting room, so I'll be able to set up a full altar and do much physically active magical rites without having to worry about running into the closet door or accidentally stabbing the wall with my magical knife. I plan on putting in special shelving to hold my herbs, incenses, and oils and will be able to have an entire bookshelf dedicated solely to my magical books. Atmosphere matters in magic, and I confess that I'll be much more "in the mood" magically in this beautiful (and a bit gothic) old home than I have been in the modern  condo I'm at now.

Now, I hate moving......it's one of my least favourite things. However, I think I shall be much happier at my new place, and I am sure all the work will be well worth it.

 Enjoy a few images. I love the beautiful carved staircase and the wrap-around porch. It's going to be lovely drinking my morning tea out there!