Pagan Blog Project: H is for Herbs

When I was a baby witch, just learning my craft, I got really into herbs.

From Pixabay
From Pixabay

Like REALLY into. ūüôā

I had the classic Herb Book, which is likely still in my library somewhere!

I bought herbs at magick shops and food co-ops.

I had mason jars and containers full of herbs.

Cooking herbs.

Healing herbs.

Essential oils.

Tinctures.

I made my own incense.

I made massage oils and candles.

I made tea (technically tisanes) and potions.

Wet and dry potpourri.

Cordials.

I’m not much of a cook, but give me a shelf full of herbs and a pot of water, and I’ll mix something that smells good, at least.

At various times, I’ve had herb gardens.

Herbs are at the heart of magick for me. laurel-272961_640

In pretty much every culture, there has always been a healer, a witch, a wise one that knew the ways of plants and how to use them to ease suffering or to conjure dreams and visions.

And this is another thing that somewhere along the way I lost touch with.

I had an herb garden when C was a baby. When we lived in Washington, there was a huge herb farm nearby (which seems to have “retired” now).

But as we moved around, I had to leave behind living plants, or give up space on my shelves for things that had a higher priority.

I used up or got rid of my stash.

Eventually, all I had were the basic cooking herbs.

As our financial situation worsened, and my daughter grew, and my faith waned. . . I gave up my herbs. I gave up my magick.

Last summer when I was going to one of the local farmer’s markets, there were big bunches of purple basil and mint.

I brought them home and used some of the basil for a tomato sauce and mint to flavor my water, but I didn’t want to waste the huge bunch, so for the first time in a long, long time, I hung up my herbs to dry.

Weeks¬†later, I was looking for my regular, old, bought-for-cooking dried basil and couldn’t find it.

Then I remembered, among my cluttered shelves, I had hanging this beautiful basil.

My mortar and pestle, if I still have them, are in storage, so I pulled the leaves off the stems into a bowl and rubbed the dried leaves between my hands to make them smaller.

As I was doing it, I wondered, “How did I ever get away from doing this?”

My hands smelled like fresh basil, and the taste of the herb was strong in my sauce.

Basil is for flying, faithful love, and drawing money to you.

I felt so good to be doing that simple thing. Refreshed.

One of my Core Desired Feelings is “Restored”.

I felt restored.

As my daughter is pretty much grown up now, and I’m rediscovering who I am without the “C’s mom” added to my name, I know that I need to bring the herbs back into my life.

I regret leaving them behind and not bringing my daughter up with the full appreciation of the art of herbal magick.

I don’t know if I can realistically fill up my shelves again the way I did in my early 20s, but I want to¬†start again.

I wonder if the apartment complex will notice if I cut a few rosemary branches?

 

Pagan Blog Project, D: Divination & Dreams

Oneiromancy: Divination by dreams.

Dream divination is not a new¬†thing. It’s been around as long as humans. The earliest cultures talk about dreams and interpreting them, from Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh’s dream to Gilgamesh sleeping on things to think them over to Aristotle’s treatise, “On Prophesying by Dreams“.

Image
from lucindafaye on Pixabay http://pixabay.com/en/users/lucindafaye/

I think Dreams may have been my initial introduction to divination and magick.

Being young (preteen maybe?) and experiencing very strong cases of d√©j√† vu, remembering a flash of a dream months earlier. Luckily my mother was open to the idea that this might actually be divination, in fact, she’s probably the one that told me that’s what might be happening.

Over the years, I’ve kept a dream journal on and off. Sometimes my dreams have been intensely rich, colorful and true-seeming. Other times, they have been confusing, dark, scary.

You know, like everyone else’s dreams. ūüôā

But sometimes, still, that strong sense of¬†d√©j√† vu hits and I start flipping through my dream journals, and sure enough, I find something in there that directly relates to what I was experiencing. The frustrating thing is that I can never tell what dream is going to be “real” and what’s just stuff working out in my head – until an event¬†actually happens.

For a few years I didn’t remember my dreams very well at all. Maybe that was sheer exhaustion and depression. Maybe it was medications. Maybe it was my crisis of faith. For whatever reason, I lost touch with dreaming.

It’s coming back – strong, vivid dreams that I can remember in meticulous detail. I need to put a notebook by my bed again.

Do you keep a dream diary/journal? Do you talk to other people about your dreams? Do you think dreams are significant, either from a psychological or magickal perspective? Have you ever analyzed your dreams?

Business: Networking and Social Media

There are things you are “supposed” to do to promote a business like the one I’m trying to get started here.

Part of that is to “be authentic” (pretty sure I’ve got that down – you guys see the good and the bad!).

And you’ve got to be “present” in social media on a regular basis – I’m probably a little too¬†real there, but not really . . . pushy enough on the selling.

Having “mastermind” and/or support groups with others walking a similar path is supposed to help (when we’re not all comparing ourselves to each other!)

But there’s a problem with that sometimes.

First, I’m part of a couple of great smaller groups – my little masterminds (3 people each!) I love! One has been somewhat dormant, but when we do post stuff there, or talk, it’s good. In the beginning we had a couple of telephone conversations/meetings that really spurred us to get some stuff done.

But the somewhat larger groups. . . .

There’s supposed to be talking about what we’re doing in our businesses, yes, but asking for help, giving help and inspiration, TALKING to each other. . . .

And after a fairly short period of time, two that started out really, really well turned into advertisements for trying to sell to each other. In particular, two or three people that offer great services started spamming several groups at once.

It totally ruined the atmosphere.

So many of us stopped posting because of it.

Recently, a couple of people, including me, have tried to revive the groups in the spirit of which they were intended. And it’s failing. ¬†I know one left in a huff because she felt she was being chastised. Others are just not even looking. Something I posted earlier today only had 3 views out of 79 people who are members.

I posted this in the group that I thought would get the most feedback. Three of these groups are somewhat nested in each other. Group 1 has 700 member, subgroup 2 has 79, subgroup 3 has 51. Everyone in subgroups 2 and 3 are in group 1 and some overlap between 2 & 3. So, I don’t want to post the same thing in all three places – that’s spammy and self-serving, even if I’m not selling anything.

And then there’s Group 4, which is totally separate, but still has a couple dozen overlapping people – so, again, I don’t want to keep posting it in different places.

But I thought more than 3 people would see it where I posted.

And they probably will, eventually. I’m probably overreacting – I do that sometimes, but I’m not the only one that thinks this happens.

Recently, another leader in the spiritual/self-help business community started another of these groups with the stated intention that it be for “authentically” connecting – which is GREAT. But there’s already over 400 people.

I’m afraid that this will start out gangbusters, and then it will die – again.

Maybe not – this woman has a large following and does good stuff, and it appears she wants to moderate the group. If there continues to be moderation, it might be good.

I think that’s the problem with the other groups – not enough moderation.

But why do we do that? We’re supposed to be supporting each other. To SOME extent that means talking about our services, but it should be so much more than that. Talking about:

  • How to find our target audience?
  • Sales techniques that don’t feel spammy, or too salesy?
  • What to do when X isn’t working?
  • Do we need support to get something going? Encouragement not to give up?
  • Help with pricing?
  • Feedback on our offerings?¬†
  • Testing our offerings out with each other?
Why did it turn into trying to sell to each other?
Where did the support go?
Today, during a nap, I had a dream that I really felt was about trying to build this business.
Last week, I was offered an opportunity that might end up helping me grow rapidly.
Taking advantage of the opportunity is a great risk, and I was really wishy-washy about it.
But earlier this year, saying, “Yes,” to a few things got me some well-timed help and information.
While I’m not making nearly enough money to live on, I have made moves to actually DO stuff, which I had not done in several years previous.¬†
This help and info got me moving – taking action – which is something I had been scared to do.
So, I spent several days consciously thinking about this opportunity.
And yesterday, I spent a great deal of time in meditation, unsure if I was making the right decision.
I still did not really reach a strong decision. 
But today, I took a nap, and I had this dream.  . . . and this is what I posted to this support group:
photo by cosmic dustbunny
As part of the dream, I was going to go skinny-dipping in this beautiful lake. As I got close to the shore, the ¬†edge of the lake wasn’t nearly as nice as it looked from a distance, but that wasn’t going to stop me.¬†

I got undressed and started to go into the water. I expected it to be cool, but it was colder than I expected. Still not going to stop me, though. 

I start wading out. The rocks under the shallow water go from being smooth to pointy, cutting into my feet, and the water still isn’t deep enough to actually swim. But I keep going.

The water is about knee deep when I come to a drop off, where the lake suddenly gets a lot deeper. Suddenly, the water isn’t clear any more – it’s dark, almost black. Something moves under the water, and I can’t see what it was.

Now, I am suddenly fearful. If the water is this cold in the shallows, it MUST be even colder in the deep part. And I can’t see what’s in the water. What if there are dangerous animals? I really WANT to go swimming but I’m so scared, I freeze and just stand there for a minute, and then turn back. I’m mad at myself for turning back, but tell myself I will go get someone to come in with me, it wouldn’t be so scary then.

The dream morphed into something else then, in the way of dreams, but damn, if that and the disappointment I felt when waking up isn’t a CLEAR message to keep going, I don’t know what would be.

So, it’s scary, I don’t know where it leads, what’s under the water or where to go next, but damn if I don’t need to jump in and see.




So, I think I need to take the opportunity – if it’s still on the table.

Dream: Bricks and fire

Sometimes images from dreams remain strong, and a couple of images keep coming up for me from last night’s dream: bricks and fire.

To start off, I was living in an old brick townhouse connected to a long building. I had a couple of floors and roof access. I would go out on the roof to chill, look at the moon, all that stuff.

I had what looked like a square-shaped wood stove that was burning a nice, warm, steady fire, with the door open.

At one point, in the morning, I saw on the TV that there was a big fire in a tallish building, but it looked like it was under control and fire fighters were there and everything.

At another point, I was soaking roof tiles for my mom and neighbors so that they would be ok when something bad happened. [No idea where that came from.] A couple of the tiles came loose, but none fell.

Later, it was dark and I went on the roof with a glass of wine to relax and I saw this big brick building a few blocks away burning. It was beautiful in the dark, watching the flames. I watched for awhile, assuming that fire fighters were taking care of it. I went inside for something and when I came back out, the fire was worse.

I was suddenly terrified that the fire was going to jump out and take down other buildings.

I ran out into the street, trying to get help, but no one else seemed to see the fire, or care about it. One person thought it was the same fire from the morning. I was confused, how could the fire be raging that long and still seem fresh?

I ran back into my place.

When I went back in, the wood stove was in a different place, and there was no fire. I opened the door on it, and at first glance, it looked like wood was laid in place, ready to light, and I was relieved. Then I realized that there were also leaves and cobwebs and maybe even a mouse in the stove (something moved, impression of a tail).

I started cursing and pulling the wood out so I could clean it and get the fire going again.

I don’t know if I actually lit that fire, though.

I was out on the roof again, watching the other building burn, thinking that it was going to be completely gutted, but hoping the bricks would still be standing because it was a gorgeous building. I still couldn’t believe that no one was helping to put it out, but I wasn’t scared it was going to spread any more, I was just exhausted.

So, some of the symbolism is blindingly obvious (wood stove = hearth/home; fire can warm or destroy, etc)

Some of it, though, not so obvious.

I still keep getting close up images of the bricks on both buildings (slightly different colors), as if the fact that they are bricks was important.