I’ve been struck with a gastric flu and I will be off a couple of days until I recover. All orders will be processed along this week. Sorry for the inconvenience – hopefully I’ll see you soon!
Archive for November, 2009
Lucid Dreaming is a shamanistic practise that consist of increasing our conscious will while asleep, as well as communicating with spirits, animal totems and any kind of spiritual entities, either to find a way to solve a problem or to receive knowledge from our spiritual masters. It is a very safe technique that Witches at all levels can practise, and of course there are many herbs that are specially suitable to enhance our dreaming capacity, and to create the right atmosphere for spirits to communicate with us.
Don’t be scared: none of the herbs I am going to talk about is hallucinogenic or dangerous for you at all. Though I personally do not disapprove the use of visionary herbs, this is a personal choice, and not a need in the practise of lucid dreaming. These herbs are completely legal, can be found on most good herb suppliers and you can even grow them yourself from seed, most of them with little effort.
The herbs I am presenting you can be used in teas, burned as incense, added to a dream pillow (a small sachet filled with herbs to place under the pillow) and even smoked in a hookah or pipe. It is important to experiment as these herbs may have different effects depending on the way they are used, and even depending on the individual. But – experimenting is the best part of being a Witch, isn’t it?
For Starters: Sage (Salvia Officinalis), Wormwood(Artemisia Vulgaris) and Passionflower (Passiflora Edulis): relaxing, healing and very safe for starting Witches. Many varieties of Wormwood have a very bitter taste, so it is better to save this one for incense only. Sage and Passionflower leaves are specially active when smoked, Sage and Wormwood make the best smudging sticks and Passionflower tea is a real delight by itself.
For Intermediate Practitioners: Catnip (Nepeta Cataria), Vervain (Verbena Officinalis) and Nettle (Urtica Dicoica): these three very magickal herbs are excellent for Witches that have been practising Lucid Dreaming for a while already, and want to extend the boundaries of her experience; Catnip and Nettle works best smoked, Vervain and Nettle make an awesome tea, and Catnip and Vervain make wonderful incense.
For Advanced Witches: Damiana (Turnera Diffusa), Indian Tobacco (Lobelia Inflata) and Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata). For Witches with an extended experience in dealing with spirits: though the plants are not dangerous at all, the visions while dreaming can be too intense for starting dreamers. The three of them can be smoked, used as incense or drank as tea, in any combination of your taste.
As with everything in Witchcraft, your research and experimentation when approaching the world of Herbalism is essential. Connect with these wonderful herbs and let them take you to the magickal world of dreaming, where anything can happen.
Special order for a very dear friend and customer: handpainted coconut rattle. I love it when I have complete freedom to work! The customer wanted earthy tones and style, so I went for a henna-style ornamentation – and it worked wonderfully as you can see!
I’m getting ready to spend the weekend making Christmas gifts for family and friends – no Black Friday shopping for us! Not only we don’t have ANY money to spare right now, we actually hate shopping, malls, and all the consumerism around it. We have been making homemade Christmas gifts for years and there have been no complaints so far lol! Since we still have sunny and warm days (not a cloud in the sky today), there is also a lot of work to be done in our magick garden before the cold comes. Banana bread is in the oven, filling the house with its incredibly comforting scent, getting ready to be shared with my sister who will come for a visit today. What a blessed life!
See you on Monday – have a great weekend :D !!!
We like to change our main altar each two weeks or so, and we had not changed the Pan altar since the week before the wedding so today, to get rid of the tiredness after the Tarot day, I decided to go creative and create a new altar. I always ask for a sign to know which deity should we create the altar for, and Hanuman raised his voice clearly.
I have to say that monkey gods are a weakness for me. As a child I read the legend of the Monkey in a book of Chinese mythology and fell in love instantly. That astute troublemaker enchanted me: little I knew then about archetypes and trickster Gods, that trickster Gods would be my destiny, and that maybe that was the first hello that Eleggua sent to me. In my late teens, I got deeply interested in Buddhism and Hinduism and read the Ramayana and the story of Hanuman, the brave devotee of Rama that stands for him in every fight and every danger, being at the same time an example of humility, service and love for God(s). At that age, the example of Hanuman was written in my soul for good, and my devotion for Him has never decreased.
Hanuman has always been one of the spiritual archetypes I look up to. Whenever I need to remember that I am nothing but a servant, whenever I have had to shown generosity or equanimity beyond my personal desires, he has been there to guide me. He reminds me constantly that devotion is the key to Grace, and that Grace is the key to all blessings.
“Those who remember Shri Hanuman in thought, words and deeds
with Sincerity and Faith, are rescued from all crises in life.
All who hail, worship and have faith in Shri Ram as the Supreme
Lord and the king of penance. You make all their difficult tasks very easy.
Whosoever comes to you for fulfillment of any desire with faith
and sincerity, Will he alone secure the imperishable fruit of human life.“
Words From The Hanuman Chalisa – read the complete text HERE.
Being a Green Witch is not only brewing nice oils or creating incenses; much more important than those things is the belief that Nature is our true and only source, and that it must be respected and cared for as much as possible. Both for rural or urban witches, reducing our waste and recycling are the biggest steps into a greener, more conscious living, and the ones who make a true Green Witch in my opinion. Here are some helpful and very cheap (if not free) tips that we use on our daily life:
- Save the water of boiling potatoes and eggs and water your plants with it. Not only this reduces your water waste, that water is full of nutrients for your plants.
- Any herbal debris from your herbal garden can be saved and used to make “compost tea”: cut all leaves and stems in small pieces with scissors and place them in a piece of fabric (thrifted sheets are perfect). Add a stone or any other heavy object and tie the fabric to make your “tea bag”. Place it on a bucket of water, cover the bucket and leave in a warm place for a few days. Your herbs will love this water! This always works best with fresh herbs.
- Don’t throw away that nettles after you’ve weeded them! Not only they have wonderful properties for your health, they also make the best cold infusion to fill your plants with nutrients.
- Coffee grounds and powdered eggshell make a wonderful organic fertilizer.
- To keep you plants free from most bugs, spray the plants with a garlic infusion; boil the water, put on the garlic cloves (as many as you want, I use a full clove head per gallon of water) and let it sit until it’s back to room temperature. Then, add a glass of apple vinegar and spray your plants with it, specially under the leaves. Most bugs will starve to death as they hate the taste of the infusion. Once you have ended with the bugs, “shower” the plant spraying clean water, to get rid of any residual taste. Note: do this only when you have bugs or you’ll end up with garlic flavoured herbs :).
Feathered And Furry Spirits
- Your local birds need extra food on the winter, mainly carbohydrates to create fat to survive the cold season. Make bird food for them recycling stale cereals, muesli, cookies, cakes and bread. Mush your leftover mix to very small pieces and add two teaspoons of honey and a powdered eggshell for extra calcium intake.
- Place some extra bird houses on the warmest wall of your garden. Birds always avoid air drafts, so keep that in mind.
If you have a garden, you can also place sheltering places for animals. Wooden boxes, old buckets, just use your imagination! Leaving a little of your pet’s food outside is no big waste and could help animals who are breeding to avoid starvation.
- Don’t forget your local shelters! Most of them accept donations of all kind, from old blankets, leashes, rubber toys… even if you can’t afford to give money, there is always something we can contribute with.
As I said a couple of posts ago, Fernando had purchased a few small dolls to make customized pieces for The Hoodoo Shop – and as usual, his intuitive purchases always end up being something beyond our own expectations.
Dolls in Santeria are an institution, specially in Cuba, where the tradition dresses them in white silk and gorgeous handmade laces, often with dresses over a yard long for a doll that’s only a few inches tall. They are traditionally placed on a small chair, usually made by the devotee or bought to an artisan, and the chosen spirit is called with offerings to inhabit the doll. On special occasions, or in return for favours, the spirit doll receives a new dress, a new chair, an embroidered cushion or cape, jewelry… until a spirit doll with several years of work in the house of a Santero is like a living jewel, covered in riches and offerings. The spirit that inhabits her (or him) can be a local priestess, an ancestor, a famous deceased figure of the religion like the Negra Tomasa and the Negra Francisca, two lovely spirits of Santería priestess (that I will tell you more about soon). Of course, they can also represent a deity, but they are not used as the Orisha’s vessel, as the Orisha vessel must be something of a purer essence, like a stone, and not a plastic figurine. On the other hand, they are widely used a gifts for the Orishas, specially when asking for a difficult spellwork.
Images From Flickr – Original Here
Of course, tourists get the cheap, assembly-line, totally lame Santeria dolls. There is hardly no alternative online, so I was very happy when Fernando brought these dolls, because they are small and light enough to be sent without expensive shipping costs, and still big enough to allow me to work on detail in the clothing and adorning.
Pomba Gira Doll
Pomba Gira is the female Eleggua, the god of luck and opportunities in Santería. She is the patron of lovers, the queen of gypsies and the owner of the night and its secrets. She favours women who have been treated unfairly in love, and all those who have been outcasted or abandoned. She is the bringer of change!
Full underwear: bloomers adorned with red satin ribbon and vest made of cotton and lace. Turban made of vintage satin.
Finished Piece: White cotton petticoat with embroidered eyelet ribbon and red satin ribbon. Overskirt made of vintage satin and black lace. Black satin belt and turban adornment made with a victorian style carved button and a burgundy feather. The doll wears a crystal bindhi on her forehead, sign of its spiritual use. Traditional Santeria beaded jewelry has been made in the colours of her worshipping.
The doll is 21 cms/ 8,5 inches tall (not including clothes or turban) and has poseable arms and legs, but would need a stand to make her stay on her feet. Traditionally, they are placed in the altar sitting, with the skirt spread around as in the pics I am showing here. All the doll’s clothes, including full underwear, have been handsewn using fabrics of many different origins: some are new, some vintage, some recycled, etc. Though the pieces of clothing are sewn separately as you would do with human sized clothes, they have been also sewn between them to preserve that all pieces stay in place correctly – so the doll cannot be undressed. If you purchase a doll and want to change the doll’s clothes in a future time, I’ll be very glad to me a new custom outfit for her if you send it to me after we discuss design and price.
Each doll will be a unique piece, and though I am open to custom orders, I cannot do reservations as I only have four of this dolls right now. The price of each doll may vary depending on the materials used, hours of work and my own time availability. Of course, no spirit has been called to inhabit the doll: that is completely up to you. I have only casted a general blessing over her as I do with all my artwork. You can give the doll to your deity as an offering, perform a ritual for it to be inhabited by a spirit, or use it simply as a good luck charm.
You can find this doll, and many more soon, at The Hoodoo Shop at Etsy
- 150 grams (1/3 pound) of butter, at room temperature;
- 1 egg, at room temperature;
- 150 grams (1/3 pound) of sugar, white or brown;
- Baking soda, two teaspoons;
- 250 grams (a bit more than 1/2 pound) of flour of your choice;
- the rind of half an orange, grated or cut in really small pieces;
- a spoonful of ground cinnamon;
- five cardamom seeds, powdered;
- two teaspoons of spearmint (Mentha Spicata), minced and preferably fresh;
- two teaspoons of catmint (Nepeta Cataria), minced and preferably fresh;
- two teaspoons of peppermint (Mentha Piperita), minced and preferably fresh.
Mix the butter and the sugar until the mix is soft and fluffy – if it’s too cold where you live, you may need to heat the butter just a little to get a good result. Add the egg, and the herbs if they are fresh; in another bowl, mix all dry ingredients together (and the herbs if they are dry) and add slowly to the butter mix, mixing very well. Preheat your oven on High for about 15 minutes and prepare your oven tray with waxed paper, adding portions of the mix in the size of a teaspoon. Low down the oven temperature to Low-Medium and bake for about 15 minutes. These cookies are very light so keep an eye on them!
The taste of this cookies is really a suprise; first, you get the taste of a delicious homemade cookie; then the flavour of the herbs and the orange rind appears, minty and so… comforting! Tonight I’m making hot chocolate because I’m sure they will make a perfect match :). I also have plans to make a salty herbal cookie recipe soon… mmmm…
After four days of dollmaking, I was seriously missing my herb witching! Since the day was sunny and without a cloud, we got up early and worked on transplanting, cutting, cleaning and generally spoiling our beloved green babies.
A disoriented geranium that is not aware that we’re almost in winter bloomed last night.
Pomba Gira, in her jungle of basil and peppermint.
Borage is loving this climate, as you can see! The leaves are like twice the size of my hand.
Beautiful Borage flowers.
And this is today’s harvest! Wormwood, peppers (fruit and flowers), catnip, spearmint, peppermint, basil and those five yellow fruits are miniature melons! I will try to dry them as is done with gourds to make small altar vessels with them. Today we put some plants to “sleep” as they were starting to be damaged by the colder temperatures at night. The trunks were set to dry on the roof for our bonfires, and the leaves were cut and added to our mini compost bin.
While Fernando finished cleaning, I went downstairs to process the herbs. I made several bundles, both medicinal and magickal, and the leftovers of the edible leaves (on the dish) were cut to make a cold water infusion.
Now I still have to add all this info to my BOS – the work of a Witch never ends lol…
Update on the doll’s work:
The skirt was made with a piece of red satin under an overcoat of hand-dyed lace that my sister brought me from London.
The headdress – sorry that it’s a little blurry – made with the same ribbons used in the bodice, and also adorned with ribbon roses. Green and black satin ribbons hang on the sides.
It’s almost finished! I still have to make some jewelry and construct a box where the future owner will keep her. Fernando has already prepared the wood for the tambourine, keeping a stripe a pine wood from a fruit cake in hot water for several hours, and forming it around a circle frame – now it’s set to dry.
And it’s already Friday night again… this week since the wedding has really flown. We’ve had our car on repairing since last week, so I think the weekend will include some outdoors activity…the country must look beautiful since we’ve had a week of rain and sun intervals. Right now it’s still so hot that we have the windows open all day to let the wonderful scent of our super mild winter.
Yesterday Fernando bought some dolls to make a few small, more affordable pieces for the shop. Customized dolls are actually a very important business in Santería, made by the finest seamstresses – they are offered to the Orishas as gifts, often in ask for favours or good results in spells. Also, they represent important deceased priests and priestesses, whom are not in the Orisha status, but are still powerful enough to protect devotees, just as it happens with gurus in the Hindu traditions. As soon as I have something to show, you will be the first to know :).
Have a wonderful weekend!