Thursday, February 27, 2014


                                           Crystals, crystals in my shell,
                                   Why has Winter gone to Hell?

I know what you're thinking: It's just never going to end. Never. Going. To. End. My daughter sent me a txt after the last storm, asking, “Are you OK?” I sent her this response:

                                               Oh...I'm fine...really...”

I have never seen so many Pagans, Christians, and other spiritual folks united in one common goal: hunting down a groundhog and beating it to death with a snow shovel. 
This is not a very Earth nurturing, Life embracing sentiment, I know. I'm an Elder. I'm an Elder for a I shouldn't be Googling recipes for groundhog stew...but...but if I'm going to KILL PHIL I shouldn't waste the carcass....right?....
I decided I needed to do something magical, something mystical, less bloody – something not calling for onions and carrots. I decided on creating a “harmony bowl” - and so can you!

Although a regular bowl or candy dish will do, I chose to use an abalone shell. Abalone is naturally associated with the sea. It is soothing, healing, calming and delightful. The perfect base for a “bowl” of harmony.

(You might notice that my pictures get fuzzier and fuzzier the more I bring the crystals together. The only semi-focused shot is the one of the shell holding grounding salt and sage. Hum.....).

The next thing I did was add a base of sea salt mixed with white sage. (I took mine from a small sage smudge wand.) The sea salt grounds the crystals, while the sage clears off unwanted vibrations. We certainly don't need the grumpies from visiting friends/family attaching to our crystals!

Next, I selected the stones that I wanted for my “bowl”. There were plenty to choose from, but I limited myself to nine. Three, seven, nine and twelve are all sacred numbers, but I have a preference for multiples of three. 3 x 3 = 9.

My stones were: (left row): amethyst, green aventurine, blue lace agate (to the right of that): rose quartz, carnelian (to the right of that): crysocolla, clear quartz point (right hand row): coral, and a unakite skull.

I did have a reason for the number of each stone. I used two amethysts because the stone is best known as a balancer. It also shifts energies to a higher frequency, and helps transform the environment. To me, 2 is the balance number of God/Goddess.

Green Aventurine quells anxiety and shields from energy drain. I used the sacred 3 for that!

Blue lace agate eliminates negativity and anger. It also balances and uplifts thoughts. Again, I used 2.

Rose quartz is an emotional healer. It brings love and peacefulness. Again, I used 2.

Carnelian is the stone that brings the “pop” to the potion. It has a stabilizing influence on the home. It clears negativity and lets the light into the environment. It stirs up positive energy and gets us moving again. I used 2, but if I had a third I would have added it!

Crysocolla brings renewed strength and vitality, helps communication, and aids in handling stressful situations. It also helps you connect with Earth Energies...reduces those “kill the groundhog” impulses. I used 1 as the number of the Divine, plus it's a larger crystal.

Clear quartz intensifies the other stones. I made sure the stone pointed into the room, so all the energy went into the environment, not down the hall or out the window.

Coral alleviates depression, calms nerves, and bring peace. Again, I used the Divine 1, and a larger pierce of coral.

And finally, Unakite releases blockages to your energy flow. I happened to have a unakite skull which I used to represent blockages in my thinking.

You can do a stone prep before assembling the stones in your “bowl” if you wish. Clean them under running water, expose them to sun or candle light, and breathe across them three times. This charges them with water, fire, and air. The Earth is represented by the salt upon which they will be resting.

When putting the crystals in the”bowl”, go by your instinct. Feel the colors, the balance, the aesthetics of the whole. When you have it “just right” for you, place it someplace where you can see it, but where it won't tempt others to touch. HOWEVER: if you have enough stones, or other stones that are soothing and calming, you may want to have an additional “touch bowl” where people can run their fingers through the crystals. These should be of uniform size and shape, so all the stones “feel” in harmony as they move through the fingers.

Good luck and good wishes for the coming Spring...sooner or later!...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Game is....Over!

I am pleased to announce the winners of my "...what is Sherlock's full given name" contest.  There were 5 people who ultimately came up with the correct answer, based on Baring-Gould. I was happy to see that Gatiss and Moffat (avid Sherlockians that they are) also did their research and allowed Sherlock to tell John - and the world - himself:

(Sorry for the quality)

Ellen has won the signed hard copy of "A Slight Trick of the Mind", and Natalie has won the new paperback version. Congrats to you both!

Well, Sherlock season 3 is over now. Hopefully we won't have to wait 2 years for Season 4 (but at least there will be a Season 4!).  Meanwhile, if you're still craving a little Sherlock, take a look at this wonderful piece of magic called: "Sherlock - The Musical".

Here's another little piece of delight. Benedict Cumberbatch gets to solve a   "calculating" mystery with the Muppets!

That should hold you for  a while.

Here in the East - as in many other places - we are being brutalized by Winter. Not much we can do about it but soldier on. Might as well sing ballads and wish for warmer days, so I'm ending with another exceptional song by my beautiful friend, Jodee James.

I mean - really. When you think "Celtic bard" isn't this the gal you picture? Enjoy!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Round and Round

The above image is from Lauren Curtis. It was originally drawn, based on my design concept, for the 2009 cover of Broomstix ( an e-zine for Pagan kids that Natalie Zaman and I founded. It still exists as a blog: It really sums up the symbols of the season.

Once again, the wheel has turned to Inbolc. I could go on about the meaning and history of this day, but I did all that last year. To read, all you have to do is go under my archive on the right, head down to 2013 February, and the post “As the Wheel Turns”. Yet, I will remind you all that on this day, when the Sun is obviously making its return, it is the feminine spot of 'yin” in the season of “yang” that we celebrate.

Here in the season of the God, we find the Goddess. Here in the snows and cold winds, ewes begin their gestation, come into milk, and seeds awake under the frost to begin their germination. It is a reminder of the coming season of life. So too, in Summer, there is a celebration of the God - a spot of “yang” in the “yin”. Ah, but that is for another time.

I remember one year, my x-hubby Gary showed up at my house with a plain paper bag. He reached in, pulled out a small, stuffed lamb, and a school lunch sized carton of milk. “Happy lactating ewe day” he said, sitting back with a wicked grin. Yes, my loved ones are all a bit...fey.

I also wish to remind you what groundhogs have to do with this date. It was said that on the feast of the Goddess Brigit, the Goddess in her persona of the hag (Cailleach) sets off to look for wood. She needs a bright, sunny day so that she can gather enough for a nice hearth fire to last 6 more weeks - the last leg of Winter's reign.

However, if the day is overcast, damp, uncomfortable, the hag will only be able to gather a small bundle of wood. With a diminished fuel supply, she would have to release her hold on the world sooner, allowing an early Spring.

But a groundhog? Yes. The hag is a shape-shifter and can appear as any animal. She is often seen as a rabbit or hare , but also other mammals and birds. A groundhog would be an easy guise for her. If it sees its shadow, the day is fair and the hag can prepare for a nice long end to Winter. If not – Spring will be around the corner.

Don't bother waiting at that corner this year, kids. Shadows were seen all over the place. Here in the East, a collective groan issuesd forth from a preponderance of soar throats. Ah well. What's a person to do?.... bless some new candles (it's also Candlemas, you know), settle down with a nice cuppa, and listen to this beautiful song by my friend Jodee James.

Imbolc Blessings, one and all!