A Lammas Ritual Guide for Modern Witches

The Wheel of the Year was my introduction in to pagan ideologies. I felt the connection and celebration of the seasons was so intuitive. Today marks the beginning of the darker half of our year with the holiday called Lammas. As a cross-quarter festival, it marks the halfway point between the summer solstice and the fall equinox.

Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals, and a time for reaping what we’ve sown – both physically and energetically. You may notice Mother Nature bursting forward with life during this time of the year. In Anglo-Saxon England this was the celebration of the first grain harvest. Apples and grapes are ripe with life and ready to be harvested, the Sage and Basil bushes are nuts with growth,  and we give thanks to the bounty of food we receive.

If you’re interested in connecting with the energy of this transitional holiday, try a few of these simple and accessible ritual ideas. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Simply give yourself the space to connect in whatever way feels best to you.

Reflect and Recenter

Lammas is a time of reflection. We’re over halfway through the year. Where do you stand on some of the goals you set for yourself back in the winter? What can you take notice of and give thanks for, and what can you let go of? Sometimes the aspirations we set for ourselves seem wonderful in theory, but when it comes time to create we realize there’s no space for them in our lives. Or we get something we thought we wanted, only to find out it makes us feel even more bogged down. Image this as a time to take an imaginary scythe to your life. Where can you cut back, so you can give more fully to the areas of your life that make you feel authentic and whole?

Take out your journal and answer these questions for yourself:

Where do I want to focus my personal growth?

Where can I cut back, and give myself more space?

How can I create more balance for myself?

Set a Lammas Altar

Altar practices are the bread and butter of a ritual. Find a space where you can feel safe, relaxed and open. Maybe it’s a simple side table by the window. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Fill it with symbols and objects that represent abundance for you. Local, blooming flowers would be a lovely addition, as well as some decorative bits of wheat or corn. If you can get them from a more organic source, like a farmer’s market or from the wild, they’ll have a bit more magick in them for you. But store-bought items will always do. It’s all about the intention you put behind them. Colors of yellow, red, brown and green are traditional of harvest festivals like Lammas.

I found these super simple apple candle holders that would be a nice, handcrafted addition to any alter space.

Lammas Altar

Have a potluck dinner with friends

Enjoy your community and reap the rewards of the harvest season together! Pagan celebrations don’t always have to be super secluded and private. We love a good party just as much as anyone else 🙂 If you’re feeling extra festive, make a traditional Lammas loaf of bread. It’s a symbol of the traditional grain harvest of our ancestors and is a lot easier than you might think. Apple cider, potato and root vegetable dishes are also great seasonal selections. If your community would like to participate, you can do this lovely Lammas Harvest Ritual with them as well.

Take a walk to your local farmer’s market

Since we’re no longer in the time where we do much harvesting of our own food, it’s important to strengthen this relationship with the Earth however we can. If you have a garden, this is a wonderful time to harvest some of your bountiful produce. Be mindful and attentive to the energy of the plant, and make sure to say a thank you. If you don’t have access to a garden, local farmer’s markets are great. Connect with the people who’ve planted, tended and harvested the food. And have appreciation for the great cycle of life and how it sustains us all.

Abundance and gratitude meditation

Lammas begins the slow descent in to darker half of our year. It’s the time when we begin to slow down and turn inward. If you don’t have a regular meditation practice I encourage you to start small. Simply sit in a comfortable position where you can be undisturbed. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. Take a mental note of all the things you’re thankful for in your life – big and small. Say a prayer of thank you to Source for guiding you, and allow yourself to clear space so that you may harvest the fruits of the season.

 

There are free apps like Insight Timer that have thousands of easy and accessible guided meditations for you.

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Get ready for Leo season with this fiery playlist

This piece originally appears in the August issue of Witch Way Magazine.

Oh, how fun and how lucky we are to create a special Leo themed playlist! It’s your time of the season, fire darlings, and we know you’ve been waiting all year for it. Your dramatic, creative energy made this month’s music extra lively. So, we hope you’re ready for a party.

Leos are ruled by the all-powerful energy of the sun, which equates to a massive stereotype that they tend to perceive themselves as the center of the universe. Seems like a big call at first, and they’re definitely not all massive, center-stage drama queens.

Leo’s have an inherent personal magnetism. There’s a warmth and enthusiasm about them that makes them irresistible to most of the rest of the zodiac. It’s like moths drawn to their fearless flame. They are a spirit that’s inherently drawn to romance and playfulness, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse anyone? They get a bad rep for being the arrogant, drama-queens of the zodiac, but their ambition and strength is why we love to keep them around.

Tap into the flamboyantly fierce energy of this Leo themed playlist. Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and Charlie XCX pump up the party, while our patron saint of Leo energy Mick Jagger carries us through. And we totally ran with the Leo “lion’s mane“ hair jokes. But hey, Leo energy calls for a little playfulness!

Happy listening and merry magick making my loves!

Leo Season Playlist

Check out some of my other astro-themed playlists here.

Cancer * Taurus

Which of these yoga mats is best for your practice?

yoga mat

Your yoga mat can drastically influence your practice, and depending on your style preferences you may prefer a different kind of mat. There’s no one-size-fits-all yoga mat, just like there’s no one way to practice yoga. Sometimes you need time to experiment and see what feels best for you body.

Feel free to customize your mat as much your you do your practice. You have the ability to choose.

But searching can be overwhelming. I get it, there are lots of numbers, diameters and in such fun colors! If you’d like a little guidance in your search for your new yoga mat home, maybe try one of these variations.

If any one of these options is calling to you, click the picture to link to the brand’s page.

 

For the Budding Yogis: Jade Yoga Harmony Mat

Jade is a great contender for “overall best in show.” Its made of sustainable, all-natural rubber and no synthetics. The Harmony Mat is their most popular choice. It’s pretty moderately priced and comes in lots of awesome colors. If you’re just beginning to deepen your practice this is a great option. However, I’ve heard they don’t last as long if you have a more rigorous, daily practice. You can expect 2 – 3 good years out of this mat if you practice more than 3x a week.

 

For the Die-Hard Yogis: Manduka PROlite

Mandukas are like the Fords of yoga mats: strong, durable, and will probably last you a lifetime. These high-density mats have a lifetime guarantee that they’ll never wear out. They maintain their color really well, and they prevent bacteria growth with a closed-cell surface. They’re more of an investment, and the price reflects that. One complaint about the Mandukas is that they take awhile to break in, and their strong surface can make some of them really heavy. I recommend feeling the weight for yourself before committing to lugging one around everywhere. That being said this is the brand that I use, and I love it!

 

For Extra Cushion: B Yoga Strong yoga mat

If you need some extra padding beneath your joints while you practice, look at getting a thicker mat. The B Yoga Strong version is 6 mm thick, a comfier option than others. The trick with mat thickness is to find a medium that’s comfortable for your joints, but not so plush that it makes it difficult for you to stand up and balance. B Yoga also offers different lengths if you need some extra wiggle room.

 

 

For the Budget: Gaiam Yoga Mat

Maybe you’re not ready to drop that much on a mat. Maybe you only practice once every few weeks and are looking for a low-investment option. That’s totally cool! Gaiam is the budget-yogi’s best friend. They have tons of cool designs listed on Amazon for under 30 bucks. There are no real options for you to customize your size or your thickness here, and I wouldn’t expect a mat to last you more than a year or so. But it’s a great option if you’re just getting in to yoga and want something fun and worry-free.

 

 

For No-Slip Grip: Gurus Natural Cork Mat

Cork mats are the new craze in the yoga biz right now, but they’ve been gaining a lot of traction for their handy, non-slip surface. The cork in Guru’s mat is sustainably sourced and acts as a natural antimicrobial. This means your mat will stay fresh longer, without the need for cleaning products. I have heard that the feel of the cork can take some getting used to, and if you’re a old-school mat lover you may not be crazy about it. Good thing is, Gurus’ mat is reversible! Just flip it over if you’re craving a more traditional mat feel.

 

 

For Lightweight Travel: Jade Voyager yoga mat

It took me so long to figure out that I needed a travel mat. If your practice begins to follow you in your journeys, you may want to consider getting a second,lightweight mat. Firstly, if your daily mat is hefty, you don’t want to carry it all throughout the airport or on to buses with you. Secondly, if you’re stowing your mat while you fly, chances are it’s going to get pretty dirty in the overhead compartment or under the seat. That’s why a thinner, easily stow-able mat is a great option. However, their thinness can be uncomfortable. If you’re at a studio where they have free mat rentals, you can throw this one down on top for some extra cushion.

 

 

For Ultimate Alignment: Liforme Yoga Mat

If you practice Ashtanga, Anusara or any alignment-driven style of yoga, the Liforme mat is an innovative option for you. Their unique alignment marker system adds helpful guides to the surface of your mat in a clean and minimalistic way. I’ve heard rave reviews about their grip and durability. It also has extra space, both in length and width to give yogis more space to play. It’s a higher price tag, but this listing also comes with mat bag for you as well.

 

For the Creative: Yoga Zeal

If the nitty-gritty details don’t really interest you and you’re looking for a more expressive option, Yoga Zeal has so many creative options. Their designs all  have a mystic flair to them, but I’m partial on the moon phase option here, personally. Beyond their looks, they’re also made of natural tree rubber, and have a layer of faux-suede towel sewn in to the top. No need for an additional towel on top of your mat during heated practices.

 

What’s your favorite kind of mat to use? How does it influences your practice?

 

I’d love to see you on your mat! Come practice with me if you’re in New Orleans.

Cozy up with a Cancer Energy Playlist

Our sweet and moody Cancers, welcome to your season young loves! We welcome summer with our solstice in the northern hemisphere just as we ring in this cardinal signs’ birthday season. Please accept this playlist as a humble birthday gift from your Local Mystic.

What else could we have for our water sign besides tons of moody, “get cozy at home” tunes? As natural rulers of the fourth house of “roots,” Cancers love to be a bit of a homebody. While strong-willed and potential extroverts at the party, their true sense of belonging comes from deep within themselves. Their hard, outer shells keep them tenacious and fierce, but also act as a safe space. They can be quick to retreat if it suits their mood, and it can sometimes be tough to pry them out of their preferred hiding spot.

While it’s true they’re natural nurturers and will always be one of the most loyal and empathetic friends you can find, it’s important for these water beings to get their alone time to reset and recharge. They’re resistant and strong, but can also be endearingly sensitive. They’re you’re favorite, badass BFF who you know is a total softie at heart.

With the moon as their ruler, Cancers are patrons of strong maternal energy. It’s a strong, universal energy that we wanted our playlist to embody. Between Kali Uchis, Lana Del Rey, Tash Sultana, Sharon Van Etten and Hannah Reid of London Grammar, there’s a lot of lunar energy to rock with (or slowly roll, rather).

Merry solstice and happy cancer season to all my lovely water witches.
Happy listening, and merry magick making.

A Beginner’s Dive into Yoga and Meditation

The yoga world can appear really intimidating. Modern media depicts thin, fit practitioners with their ankles behind their ears and balancing on their heads. I get why a lot of people feel like they “can’t” do yoga! But that’s unfortunate, because the physical strength is such a small part of this greater lineage of practices for your body and your mind. I’ve been practicing for over five years and I still struggle with headstands! That doesn’t mean you can’t try yoga.

But I thought I would help and do a little demystify-ing for y’all.

This is a brief overview of different yoga practices (both meditation and physical) and some resources to help you get started. If you have any questions or struggles at all feel free to reach out to me! Or come to some of my all-levels classes if you’re based out of New Orleans. I would love to practice with you. 🙂

Happy diving, young yogis!

Asana

yoga New Orleans

Asana is the name for the physical practice of yoga – moving your body around the mat. It’s what we most commonly associate with the practice of yoga in the West. This is meant to be a form of meditative movement. It gives the body time to slow down ~ depending on the pace of your practice ~ and increases strength and flexibility. Try some different styles of asana and see which one works best for you.

Also keep in mind that different teachers will all have their own unique style. If something doesn’t feel right to you at first, branch out and see if something else works better!

Here are some common styles of yoga asana:

Vinyasa

Vinyasa means “to place in a special way.” Vinyasa classes are usually set to a faster pace and focus on fluid movements with smooth transitions. They’ll include common sequences like sun salutations, and other well-known yoga poses. Vinyasa classes are great if you want to switch up your practice every day and work on gaining strength. You focus on linking your breath to your movement, keeping energetic movement and working through creative sequences. There will also often be time to play with fun and unique postures!

Vinyasa videos for home practice:


Ashtanga

A more rigorous style of asana that was brought to the west by famed teacher Pattabhi Jois in the 1970s. It’s similar to vinyasa in that the movement is linked with the breath, but different because you perform the exact same postures in the exact same sequence every time. It’s called the “eight-limbed” path of yoga and is based of the ancient yogic texts and teachings.

It’s very physically demanding and builds A LOT of strength and dedication. Teachers can help you get acclimated to the sequence and build your practice from there. You may see some Ashtanga classed labeled Mysore Style. This means there is a teacher present to help with alignments, but there are NO verbal cues. You’re on your own with your breath and the sequence, but most studios will have printed “cheat sheets” of the sequence to help beginners. It’s a wonderfully meditative practice and can be very invigorating if practiced regularly. The series starts with five sun salutations. Just start there, move with your breath, and see how your body feels.

Ashtanga videos for home practice:


Yin

Yin yoga is much slower paced style of yoga. It’s a meditative practice that has you sitting in positions for 3 – 5 minutes at a time. In an hour-long yin class, you’ll probably only get to about 7 or 8 poses! It involves stretching the deeper connective tissues (fascia) of the body in supported poses on your back or seated. It’s like restorative (below) in many aspects, but yin requires a bit more muscular energy. While restorative yoga makes you feel like you’re melting in to a padded cloud, it’s not uncommon to come in to a Yin posture and think: “Ow!” Many poses are slightly uncomfortable at first. The practice comes when we can detach ourselves from the mind, focus on our breath, soften the edges of our body and relax into the shape.

Yin videos for home practice:


Restorative

Restorative’s focus is winding down and relaxing. It’s another style that spends more time in fewer poses throughout the class. Lots of props are used to help you sink deeper into each pose and into relaxation. For this reason, it’s difficult to practice at home unless you have an arsenal of awesome yoga props. It’s a great way to soothe the nerves and check back in with the body. Feeling like you need a midday nap? Maybe look for a nearby restorative yoga class instead! It’s just as refreshing, and a lot better for your sanity

Restorative videos for home practice:


Anusara

Anusara is a little newer to the yoga-game than most, so it’s often not as heard of. It was developed in the late 90’s as a way to help students experience their own intrinsic goodness. It’s five core values are called the Universal Principles of Alignment, and include:

• Open to grace (set your foundation)
• Engage muscular energy
• Inner spirals (think rotating your thighs inward in downward facing dog)
• Outer spirals (think rolling shoulders down on to back)
• Organic expansion (YOUR best expression of the pose)

For these reasons, Anusara classes are wonderful for alignment-based instruction, and will often help you explore some of your favorite poses in a new way.

Anusara videos for home practice:


Kundalini

Kundalini gets crazy! It’s a powerful, spiritually driven form of asana. Be prepared for lots of chanting, maybe some singing, and lots of energetic movements. Its focus is to release the “kundalini energy” that is coiled around your lower spine, like a snake. For this reason there’s usually a lot of core work, advanced breathing practices (pranayama), and fast-moving, invigorating postures.

Be prepared to have everything you thought you knew about yoga turned upside down if you take a kundalini class. With all that being said they’re totally rejuvenating! If you’re down for some meditation and mantra repetition, it’s a wonderful way to tap in to some of the deeper-set energies in the body.

Kundalini videos for home practice:


Pranayama

This is the second branch of the eight-fold path of yoga (as lined out by the defining text of yoga: The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali) Pranayama deals mainly with the breath and using that to help strengthen and manipulate the prana or energy of the body.

Pranayama was considered so powerful by the ancient yogis that it often wasn’t taught until a student had fully “mastered” the other steps on the path of yoga. We’re a little more gracious now, and pranayama is often included if you go to an asana class as well. There’s definitely an ocean of pranayama exercises to explore, but here are just a few helpful, common ones for your use, each with a video to help you try it out.

Alternate Nostril Breathing: Nadi Shodhana
Clears energy blocks from the body, calms the mind, balances the yin and yang energies.

Three Part Breathing: Dirga
Increase oxygen supply, lower stress, relieve tension

Breath of Bee: Brahmari
Stimulates parasympathetic nervous system, reduces stress, it’s fun!

Victorious Breath: Ujjayi
Both energizing and relaxing, sends fresh oxygen out to the body and gives a little boost of energy

Meditation

This is the crown jewel of our yoga practice! All our asana practice is meant for our mind and our meditation. It’s totally normal to feel intimidated at first! You may feel like you’re “not doing it right” or that it’s “not working,” but don’t worry! The best way to get started is to use guided meditations and app timers to help you along.

My favorite app is Insight Timer. It has thousands of guided meditations, timers and ambient tracks to meditate to all for free. Other popular choices are Headspace, Calm and Simple Habit. But there are tons! Look around and find what works best for you.

Find yourself in a quiet place where you can be relatively undisturbed. Place a blanket or a pillow beneath your sitting bones to help lift you up out of your hips. Settle your body. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Notice the cool inhales on the inside of the nose, and the warm exhales through the back of your throat. Notice the thoughts as they come up, but try to not let yourself run away with them. See if you can release them with the breath, then come back to a soft focus inward. Keep breathing!

I hope you feel confident in taking some of these practices with you and applying them in your daily lives. Even 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your emotional and mental health. Just keep trying 😊

 

Book Recommendations

Meditation for the Love of It by Sally Kempton
Yoga Beyond Belief by Ganga White
The Four Chapters on Freedom
The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele
Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater
Yoga: the Spirit and Practice of Moving Through Stillness by Eric Schiffman

Sing to the Sun with a Special Beltane Playlist

We’ve made it, witches of the north! The bright morning of our Beltane sabbat has blossomed after the dawn of our equinox. Hopefully you’re feeling increased vitality and a warmer climate wherever you are.

Danu Forest, author of The Magical Year, describes our rising Beltane energy perfectly:

“During Beltane we can use the fresh energy of the earth’s life force to energize and inspire us, to discover where our passions lie and what makes us feel truly alive at this time.”

Since then it has been turned in to modern festivities like May Day. This cross quarter holiday is a special fire festival. Literally meaning “the goodly fire,” Beltane is a celebration of Bel, on old Celtic god of the sun. While Pagan at heart, traditional May Day festivities are still celebrated around Britain and Europe. It symbolizes the energies within the Earth opening with fertility. The last of the cold has finally fallen away, gardens are blossoming, the birds have returned and life is infused with creative energy. We celebrate the “fire in the sky” as we welcome in the energies of summer and expand the energy of our hearts.

Our Beltane playlist for this month captures the blossoming glee of summer. Indie masters Tame Impala and DIIV create “windows rolled down, driving along the beach” energy. While Odesza, Rüfüs Du Sol, and Duke Dumont get your blood pumping with specialty electronic beats. Close it down with the infectious Beach Boys, because, duh.

Blessed Beltane and peace to all!
Happy listening and merry magick making my loves.

Music of the Bulls: an Ode to Taurus

Taurus season is fast approaching, magickal darlings. Known for their especially practical and grounded energy, the Taurus is a fixed, Earth element. Perhaps we can use this time of year to bring us a different perspective on how we’ve been choosing to go about our daily lives and our goal setting.

The Taurus is usually a dependable, committed friend and a hard worker. They’re patient, reliable, persistent and maybe even a little stubborn. The sign is ruled by Venus, bringing especially loving and beautiful energy to the zodiac. It’s an energy perfectly personified by our Taurus dedicated “Music of the Bulls” playlist.

Every artist featured this month is a born and bred Taurus, which started to become more and more apparent as the sophisticated, jazzy undertones came through. From Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder to the Arctic Monkeys and The Cure – our Taurus artists have been personifying an intricate sense of beauty throughout the ages.

Through soulful, somber lows and soaring, late 90’s disco-tech highs, let our Taurus artists put you in the mood of the season. Ground down, jam out and feel yourself be swept away by some powerful Taurus jams.

Happy listening and merry magick making my loves!

4 Ways to Celebrate the Spring Equinox in New Orleans Today

The spring equinox is the annual, lunar event where there are equal parts day and night, and it just so happens to be today. Cultural adaptations range from the Easter to pagan’s Ostara, but regardless of its title, it’s a time of heightened energetics.

And if there’s anything we know about New Orleans, it’s that she loves a good reason to celebrate. Here are five ways you can get a little witchy and celebrate the spring equinox today.

Drum Down the Moon with Crescent Craft Nola

Join New Orlean’s most recent spiritual community group in a special full moon circle for this equinox. The equinox also happens to fall on the full moon of March, known in some traditions as the “worm moon.”

The group will lead guests in a simple guided meditation, give some astrological insight into the full moon and the equinox, then hold space for some drumming and energetic work.

The event is donation based, with all proceeds going back to support the community.

Ostara Ritual with the Beehive Coven

Beehive is Metairie’s educational coven that holds public rituals during every Sabbat. A Sabbat is a special Pagan holiday and includes this spring equinox (Ostara).

“Our mission is to help educate the community about Wicca and serve as an outreach group providing resources to the Pagan and non-Pagans in our area.”

  • Beehive Coven

The public Ostara ritual takes place this Saturday the 23rd. Join the group for a 10:00 AM picnic followed by a public ritual at noon, all at Kenner Veteran’s Memorial Park. No pre-registration is required.

Hoop What Ya Mama Gave Ya: A Beginners Workseries at the Drifter

Start your evening off with a little movement meditation from your local flow arts community. Flow instructor and creator of the Glow With the Flow Arts and Performance Festival – Moon Bug – will lead the beginner’s workshop.

Learn some special hoop tricks, grab a drink, browse some local vendors, and stay for the special flow jam afterward. All for $10. All at The Drifter Hotel.

Sprouting Moon  by Enjoy the Productions

Take your equinox celebration into late night with Enjoy the Productions. Music performances include Marcus Lott, Otto, and Napier, all on a fully backlit dance floor. There will also be reiki energy healing, psychic readings, body art, live painting, dance performers and a special toast to the moon at 1 am.

Tickets are $5 at the door. Follow Enjoy the Journey for the address.

Seven Ways to Celebrate the Witches Holiday Imbolc this Week

Imbolc Ritual

In Pagan traditions there are eight special holidays, or Sabbats, that are celebrated throughout the year. While still honored by modern witches and Pagans, the Sabbats are also a great way for non-practitioners to celebrate the season and connect to nature on a deep level.

The next upcoming sabbat falls on February 1st and is called Imbolc. A Gaelic festival celebrating the beginning of spring, Imbolc has since been translated into variations like Groundhogs Day and Candlemas.

In the name of inspiring and uniting witches everywhere (and opening the conversation for those who might be witch-curious) here are seven simple ways to honor our upcoming holy period of Imbolc.

1. Clear and Release

We already know this idea as “spring cleaning.” If you’re feeling the desire to purge and cleanse, that might be some Imbolc energy stirring. The onset of spring calls us to release the stagnant energy of winter and make room for something new. Clear out your closets; sweep and mop your floors; all the little things you keep telling yourself you’ll “get back to,” do them now. This is a cleansing process not only for the home but also the mind. With less clutter taking up your space and attention, the more energy you’ll have to give to upcoming endeavors. If you’re feeling extra witchy, you can top it off with an herbal smudging ceremony. Burn a mix of vervain and sage to give your space a total reset.

2. Set up an Altar

Having an altar is one of the first steps to a witchcraft practice (or any spiritual practice for that matter). Find a space that can go mostly undisturbed, but where you’re likely to see it often. The great part is, the rules basically stop there. You’re creating a space that makes you feel calm, sacred and inspired. Whatever your altar holds is totally up to you. If you’re interested in keeping it traditional, Imbolc is usually associated with the colors of white (for purification) and green (to honor the awakening of nature). Aventurine and Sunstone could make great crystal aids, and basil or angelica can be helpful herbal allies. Bring in some of the earliest spring flowers and anything else that invokes the sense of clarity and renewal for you.

Imbolc Snowdrop
Snowdrops are another great reminder of spring.

3. Start a Garden

Imbolc literally translates to “in the belly,” as the stirrings of spring are rustling deep in the belly of the earth. One of the best ways to connect with nature is to interact with it on a daily basis and start your own garden. If it’s still too cold in your area to begin planting seeds at this time, start some propagation indoors. As you plant the physical seeds, think of all the internal dream seeds you’d like to plant as well. Take the time to nurture them! Chamomile, Sage and Lavender all make wonderful, soothing plants both indoors and out. Plus, they’ll double as herbal medicine when the time comes to harvest. If you don’t have a green thumb, start with a more resilient plant like Aloe Vera or a Snake Plant. Enjoying the presence of nature can be for anybody!

4. Make a traditional Imbolc meal

This time of year places a little more emphasis on domesticity and nurturing the family and the home. For our early ancestors, milk and butter were invaluable resources of nutrition during the long winter. You can make your own butter and bread for a more simple celebration, or try Gather Victoria’s amazing recipe for Lavender and Rosemary Seed Cake or other seasonal recipes.

For Imbolc libations, try this warming Celtic cream whiskey from Danu Forest‘s The Magical Year: 

Imbolc celtic cream

Celtic Cream Recipe

  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coffee powder, dissolved in a little hot water
  • 1 cup of fresh cream, warmed
  • 1 1/2 cups of condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whisky

Combine almond and vanilla extract, dissolved coffee powder and hot cream in a large bowl. Let it cool completely. Add the condensed milk and whisky and blend or stir vigorously. Perhaps say a blessing before drinking and sharing with loved ones.

5. Practice a purity meditation

Spring represents the energy of purity. Through cleansing and renewal, there’s a beautiful innocence to this time of year. For a different spin, we can also practice purity of mind. In the yogic traditions this is called Saucha. It refers to purifying our mind from the clutter of distractions and scatteredness, “so we may gain clarity to meet each moment with integrity and freshness,” (Adele). Take this time to mentally catch up with yourself. Try to sit in meditation for 10 – 15 minutes every day this week, and be purely with each moment as it comes to you. Give yourself this space of purity in your mind and your heart, and see how you feel. For some awesome meditation resources check out Sally Kempton or Tracee Stanley.

6. Do something inspirational for yourself

Put all your fresh intentions and energy to use for yourself. Take the time to do something creative that gets you excited . Imbolc is also a celebration of creation. What can you create in your life to inspire yourself? Maybe you’d like to make a vision board for all your dreams for the upcoming year. Maybe you feel like dancing barefoot until you’re out of breath. Maybe you make yourself a flowered headdress to wear around the house while you clean because why the hell not. Creating raising our energy levels, opens our minds and overall leaves us feeling great.

7. Ritualize

You can perform your imbolc ritual however you’d like. Some witches like to get together outdoors and have a communal ritual, others prefer to practice in solitude. Do whatever feels right for you at this time in your life. Imbolc is associated with the goddess of birth Brigid, so perhaps an honorary ritual asking for her blessings feel right. Fire scrying is another big seasonal magickal tool. Or you can simply meditate on the themes of awakening and clarity and see what comes up for you. If you live in New Orleans we’d love to have you at our Imbolc Celebration.

I’d love for you to reach out to me with any questions or thought you have about the Imbolc Sabbat or the Pagan practices. I hope this has inspired you to honor yourself and the season.

Merry magick making my loves,

Xx Sierra xX

New Years Energy Clearing Ritual & Herbal Floor Wash {Recipe}

kitchen with - the local mystic

Happy New Year to you and yours! I hope your transition in to 2019 has been gentle and exciting.

New Orleans is an especially festive city, so we’ve been celebrating a little extra. As fun as all the parties, parades and fireworks can be – I especially love this time for clearing, centering, cleaning and getting everything ready for a fresh new year.

I love to incorporate my magickal practice when I clean. While on the surface it might look like simple tidying up, it also opens up so much space for me to relax, manifest and welcome more awesomeness in to my home.

One easy way to make the task of cleaning more magickal and ritualistic is to use specific herbal blends with you clean. You can use fresh or dried herbs here, but you might add in an extra tablespoon if you’re using fresh. Sage is a common herb used for clearing, cleaning and traditional folk magic. I chose dried rosemary for increased mental clarity and inspiration. Other herbal options could include lavender for emotional well-being, chamomile for stress relief, mugwort for divination or basil for protection.

The more you work with herbs, the more you can tailor this recipe to fit your desired outcomes. The recipe I’ve included was my specific New Years clearing blend – but I’ve made note where you can switch around and personalize it.

 

New Years Energy Clearing Herbal Wash

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs. sage
  • 1 tbs. rosemary (or other herb specific to your needs)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • tea tree essential oil
  • ylang ylang essential oil (or other oil specific to your needs)
  • hot water

Process

  1. Add the dried herbs to a french press or a ceramic bowl. Cover with about two cups of hot water. Let that steep for 10 – 12 minutes. If using a ceramic bowl you’ll need to strain out with a mesh strainer.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a mop bucket with your white vinegar.
  3. Once your herbs have been soaked, pour the herbal mixture in to your mop bucket.
  4. Add five drops of tea tree essential oil and three drops of your other selected oil
  5. Top off with hot water – I usually add maybe an additional four cups or so (you can continue to add hot water if you start mopping and end up realizing you need a little extra)
  6. As you mop, picture all the energetic connections and old habits you wish to let go of. Take note of the smell of your herbs, feel yourself breathing a little deeper, feel a sense of lightness in yourself. Imagine your fresh, clean slate for the new year – full of possibilities.

 

Happy New Year to you. I wish you all success, grace and peace.

 

Blessed Be Xx

The Local Mystic