Wednesday, 30 April 2014

My Beltane Celebration and At Home Ideas

      For many pagans who follow the Wheel of the Year, tonight is the Sabbat of Beltane. This first fire festival of the year (Samhain or Halloween is the second) falls on the eve of April 30th and continues until the eve of May 1st.

Mixing herbs for a Beltane Cleaner
      In addition to being a fire festival, Beltane is also a celebration of the Earth's renewed fertility. For Wiccans, Beltane is the time at which the Lord or Horned God consummates his marriage with the Lady or Goddess. While some pagans choose to celebrate this festival of fertility by making babies of their own, in my opinion bedroom business should be reserved for the bedroom. That being said, if you are trying to get pregnant what better time to conceive than when the Earth is herself renewing life.

Beltane Witch Bottle (made of cleansing herbs described below)
      As a celebration of the Earth's sprouting life, this Beltane I am honouring the Green Man and his natural domain. I have asked him to renew my home and bless it for this coming growing season. As a Celtic witch I also felt the need to include Cernunnos, the Celtic All-Father and God of the forest (which is returning once again to life after a long winter) in my celebration so I've included both their tarot cards in my Beltane space (I don't really like the word altar, it has to many Christian connotations which I don't feel apply to me). I've also included some other tarot cards such as shadow weaver and entwined which represent my hopes and intentions for the coming season.


     As a season of new growth I prepared my home for tonight's festival by mixing: rose petals, pine needles, dried lavender flowers, water and citrus essential oil together in a bowl, and then wiping down the surfaces in my room and the doorways in the apartment. Pine, lavender and citrus are herbs noted especially for their cleansing abilities, while rose petals bring stability to hearth, home and relationships. Then, after I was finished wiping down surfaces I placed the remaining herbs in the wash bucket with some environmentally friendly soap (it was on sale yay!) and mopped the floors.


     Although it is said to bring good luck if one hops over a Beltane fire, I'm a little too nervous for such things so I'm simply going to light my green candle and cuddle up with my boyfriend and watch the Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

How are you celebrating this Beltane?

Monday, 28 April 2014

I like Digital Art ... Who Knew?

      Although I began working with photoshop in January for a school assignment, I honestly didn't pay it much attention until yesterday. I've been looking into digitizing some of my artwork for my Etsy shop and my own personal use lately, which led me to view photoshop as a more legitimate tool for creating art. Originally I thought that it would be best if I simply scanned my art and then fixed up any scanning deficiencies with photoshop (something that I haven't quite gotten around to yet) and then it struck me, wouldn't it make so much more sense to just create art on photoshop?! I'll be the first to admit that I'm still learning how to do this whole online art thing, and up until yesterday I was more than a sceptic about digital art.

To see more of my work visit http://ittybittycelticwitch.etsy.com

       I always thought that digital art was a bit of a cop out for lazy people who didn't want to bother picking up a paint brush, boy was I wrong. Let me tell you photoshop is not a walk in the park. Learning to use it is about as difficult as learning to paint or sketch. The only easy part about it is that once you're finished your artwork its already in the digitized form required by printers (which cuts down quite a bit on cost).

To see more of my work visit http://ittybittycelticwitch.etsy.com

       There are digital artists who have created paintings as amazing as those artists who use a physical brush. I admit, I am a convert. I accept that photoshop is not easy to use and that digital art is real art. Will my mouse replace my paintbrush? No, its a mouse not a paint brush the two aren't really all that comparable. Will I continue to explore the world of creating digital art? In a word, yes. There are days when sitting in front of my laptop in bed is far more preferable to taking out the paint box but there will also be days where I feel the need to hold a brush in my hand.

To see more of my work visit http://ittybittycelticwitch.etsy.com

     For now I'm going to continue to explore this new horizon that has entered my life and see where it takes me.

What do you think of digital art and photoshop? Is it real art to you?

Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Vikings -A Review

      Exams are finally over for winter term, so I'm officially done my second year of university! yay happy dance!!! Because I switched from science to arts I do have a tad bit of catching up to do so I'm going to spend my summer once more hitting the books, although I will have two online courses so I won't have to walk to campus quite as much. I'm not all that upset about spending my summer studying, I've always liked learning even if I'm not so much a fan of exams. What I am upset about is the fact that the T.V. series, Vikings is almost over.

Ragnar and Lagertha
     If you haven't heard of Vikings, in short its a show about the escapades of Ragnar Lothbruk, a Viking Earl who ruled off the cost of what is now recognized as Norway during the 8th and 9th centuries. Put on by the History Channel, Vikings is now in its second season and is scheduled for a third season to air in 2015.


      As someone who's ancestry is primarily Celtic (Scottish, Irish and Welsh) I have a very deep interest in watching the Anglo-Saxon rivalries. Aside from heritage, the plot of Vikings is absolutely riveting. It generally ends its episodes with just enough of a cliff-hanger to keep you wanting more without making you want to throw something at your television in frustration cough The Walking Dead cough cough hack sputter wheez....

Floki, Athelstan, Ragnar
      In addition to keeping the story active and preventing it from stagnation, the plot of Vikings also places a strong precedence on character development. Rather than allowing its characters to remain simply as good or evil, Vikings provides its audience with the opportunity to see the characters from all angles. The characters are far from superficial, they each develop in such a unique way that by the end of the episode you've feel like you read a good book about them or even had a conversation with them.

Lagertha -Sheild Maiden
Lagertha as Noble
      For all of my readers (who are like me) and are interested in the interaction between pagans and Christians, Vikings will be of special interest to you. Deviating from the more common representation of Christians as the white knights and the pagans as the invading savages, this show paints both perspectives in an equally "grey" light. Then and now, neither perspective when polarized or melded together (in consideration of pagans who take on the Christian God as their patron), was or is perfect. No view on spirituality can ever truly be considered the only way to experience the Divine, something addressed specifically through the character Athelstan (probably my favourite character along with Lagertha, Ragnar and Siggy.. oh never  apparently I love them all.. back to what I was saying).

      Before I find myself rambling into spoilers I'm just going to end it here and say that Vikings is awesome and you should watch it! If there's any Vikings fans readings this feel free to comment about who is your favourite character below!!!

Rolo, Ragnar, Lagertha


Sunday, 20 April 2014

When Everyone's Saying Happy Easter Jesus Christ is Risen & You're like I'm Pagan...

     Today is my first Easter being a pagan celtic traditional witch who is currently exploring pantheism. Essentially this means that this is the very first time in 19 years when I have not gone to a Catholic Church to give praise to the Christian God for Jesus having risen body and soul from the Earth to ascend to heaven. And honestly it feels a little weird, its not that I feel some latent desire to go to church to celebrate resurrection of Jesus as the son of God, I'm really quite content where I am sitting in my bed with a cup of coffee and the sun shining through my window. Its just strange after so many years blindly following the Christian Easter traditions to experience the day without hearing a priest describe the resurrection of Christ. So while doing the dishes I found myself musing about what Easter meant to me now that I am now longer Catholic and here's where it got me...


     I definitely no longer see Jesus as the son of the one God (Christianity). Jesus as history records, was the son of Mary and Joseph, most likely created by their very human love and not so much by a divine sperm floating down from the clouds. This is not to say that I don't think Jesus was a great man, history proves that he was certainly a revolutionary of his time and the gospels of his disciples indicate that he was certainly a good man. He probably even had divine inspiration, anyone who devotes their life to trying to improve the lives of others certainly has some holy inspiration from the universe. It is also entirely plausible that Jesus' soul rose three days after he died and that people saw him after his death, while not always believed in, in my opinion ghosts are totally real.


     Does this mean I think his body floated away? Not so much. When there is so much divinity in the way that grass grows or how the trees branch up to meet the sunlight I can't imagine him having to go all the way to Christian heaven to connect with the divine. I think his soul in all probability, seeking to further the good works he accomplished in his life, sought communion with his disciples and friends after his death to comfort and guide them.

Found this on Pinterest, the Bunny is just too cute!
      So on the day that everyone's wishing each other a Happy Easter because Jesus Christ is risen where does this leave us pagans who don't worship through Christianity. You could potentially celebrate it as an extension of the Spring Equinox Ostara, but personally that doesn't seem right to me, Ostara happened a month ago. Aside from the fact that I have two exams coming up in the next two days which means that today is a special studying day, I'm not really having any sort of special celebration. I'm really just happy the sun is shining and that the birds are singing. Maybe I'll meditate later on all the new life that's grown since Ostara and maybe not, maybe I'll just curl up and fall asleep with a bunch of historical facts bouncing around in my head for my exam.


     If you're a pagan whose wondering what you do when everybody's celebrating Easter I suggest you do whatever you want. Celebrate the new life of spring, go for a spiritual walk in the otherworld, warm your face in the sun, call your family, have a nap and rest up after winter. So long as you're not harming anyone there is no designated way that you should be celebrating Easter, celebrate it however your soul calls you to celebrate the day. And what do you say when people wish you a Happy Easter? Well, wish them a Happy Easter right back if you want, its spring and a pleasant greeting is nice whether your Christian or pagan or Buddhist. If you don't feel comfortable wishing them a Happy Easter then don't, respond with small talk about Spring its whatever makes you feel comfortable!!

     All that being said, Happy Spring, Happy Easter, Happy Easter Bunny, Happy Spring Chick, Happy Sunday, Happy Sunshine :)

Thursday, 17 April 2014

I'm on Etsy Now :)

     Before you get all yourself worked up in a knot about the title of this blog and whether it means Little Cloud of Sanity will become some sort of continual advertisement, take a deep breath, I reassure you that this is not about to become an advertising space. I won't say that I'm never going to share what I'm up to in my Etsy shop Itty Bitty Celtic Witch, because as you may have gathered from my blog I like to talk about what's on my mind but I guarantee this won't become some sort of self advertisement.

     So now that my disclaimer of sorts is out of the way, let me ramble a bit about what I've been up to. Lately as exams have descended upon me once again, I've felt my creative artsy side kick in and felt the strong urge to do something with my hands other than typing out notes or essays. A couple of weeks ago I found some little glass vials in Michaels Craft Store and was inspired to create some witch bottles for myself. While making them it struck me that other people might like them too, and so the idea to sell witch bottles on Etsy was born. Then about a week ago, I went coincidentally on another Michael's outing (its really very dangerous living around the corner from a Michael's store), to pick up some essential oils. 

Click on the Picture to Check out my shop:)
      Sadly they didn't have any essential oils, so for a little purity I found myself drawn to their bead section, which is full of crystals. I used to make earrings when I was younger but I haven't picked up a pair of pliers in atleast four years, nonetheless there I was standing in the bead isle filling my shopping cart with crystals and jewellery pliers and wires. My ears tend to get sore from wearing earrings, even if I wear the surgical steel or sterling silver kind, but apparently my love of making earrings has not lessened over the years. The minute I got home I plopped down on the bed and began creating away. The result? A bunch of crystal earrings and only two ears (that don't like earrings) to wear them... Two days later I was taking pictures and creating some postings on Etsy for earrings made with real crystals.

Click on the Picture to Check out my shop :)
  Here I am... about a month into my new Etsy shop, silently filled with thrills whenever I get a view a day (I'm tiny I don't expect fame). So I thought I'd share my new experiences in earring and witch bottle making with you. If you feel like checking it out, by all means and if you don't thats okay too :)
     
      What creative things have you been up to lately? Care to share? I always reply to comments!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Musings on the Upcoming Blood Moon - Night of April 14 (or Tues April 15 at 3 am)

      As you may know, tonight or rather more accurately tomorrow at approximately 3 am on April 15, the first of four blood moons this year will occur. To be honest even though I've been seeing a bunch of pagan and science notifications about the upcoming moon I didn't really have much idea what a blood moon really was until this evening when I took the time to look it up. Better late than never as they say...


      A blood moon occurs during a total lunar eclipse when particles of sunlight left in the atmosphere (while the sun itself is blocked by the earth) give the moon a reddish appearance. The last time that the earth experienced a blood moon was in 2003. Though it is extremely uncommon for a blood moon to occur four times in the same year as it will between 2014 and 2015, scientists have determined that over the next 5000 years there will 142 tetrads. While this is a significant amount of time from a human perspective, considering the age of the earth, moon and universe this is really the blink of an eye.


      The fact that four blood moons will occur over the next year is unique however, it can scientifically be explained by the fact that the earth's orbit is ever changing and as such tetrads inconsistently appear. Considering that there are multiple references to the blood moon or a moon appearing the colour of blood in the bible there are many theorists who believe that this will result, once again in the end of the world or the second coming of Christ. As both the moon and sun have a powerful effect on the humanity in general I definitely believe that the appearance of four blood moons in the span of one year will affect us. But do I believe that the end of the world is upon us once again and the Jesus will make his second appearance on Earth? ... not so much.


    According to paganspath, the energy of the blood moon is specifically helpful for "energizing fertility, abundance and communicating with the spirit". In general the full moon is an excellent time for cleansing i.e. of crystals, leaving your crystals or herbs out on this night bathed in moonlight would add a bit of extra mojo (every bit of earthy energy counts right?!). Oh and did I mention Monday is the day associated with the moon?! mhm. Also, if your Wiccan today is an awesome sauce day to celebrate the goddess.


    Personally I have an exam tomorrow so I won't be able to stay up and see the blood moon. Ah well university is priority. I did however celebrate this esbat by having a shower and turning clockwise repeating the phrase "I cleanse myself for this full moon". I would have liked to have had a bath but I am currently sharing my apartment with four other people (university budget and all, can't even hide my excitement for my new place this fall that will only be occupied by me and my bf :D ) so that wasn't so much in the cards for tonight.

    If you're celebrating this full moon how so? What does this blood moon mean to you?

Sources for the sciencey stuff:
CTV News
Global News

Friday, 11 April 2014

Simple Thursday Daily Candle Ritual Meditation


      So as you may have noticed if you read my post from last night, I spent Thursday evening pursuing witchy videos on Youtube. If you didn't get a chance to see what I posted yesterday I highly recommend you take a peek at this post: Traditional Witchcraft... Youtube Style as the Village Witch video I linked to was simply superb. Inspired by the aforementioned video, I decided to continue my perusal and eventually I came across a video by TipToeChick on Daily Candle Rituals. TipToeChick is a Wiccan blogger who covers a variety of issues from coming out of the broom closet to how to organize a Book of Shadows (Essentially a person Wiccan spell book). My favourite part about TipToeChick is that her videos are informative and relatable whether you're a new (or initiated) Wiccan trying to figure out how to practice Wicca, or you're a traditional witch who doesn't click with Wicca. She isn't one of the Wiccan vloggers who continually asserts that the only pagan path is the Wiccan one which makes her videos far more universal and in my opinion much better. If you've got some spare time on your hands I would definitely recommend taking a gander at her channel.



      Anyways back to the topic of this post, 'Simple Thursday Daily Candle Ritual Meditation'. Last night after watching TipToeChick's video on Daily Candle Rituals (which I linked to above), I decided to incorporate some of her suggestions for Thursday candle meditations. Though meditation definitely takes more than a little patience quite a bit of time to really get into, after a couple months of meditating off and on (for however long my attention span would last, usually anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes), I can honestly say I'm getting into the whole meditation thing. 

      In her video TipToeChick, describes Thursday as a purple day, a day of mental or physical healing, a time to sort out your inner problems and find your inner strengths. As this just seems to fit what Thursdays generally feel like to me I decided to go with it and follow her suggestion for a Thursday specific candle meditation. 

Things I used for my Thursday Meditation:


-1 White Tea-light (I didn't have a purple candle & white can be substituted for all colours)
-1 Purple Candle Holder (See I got the purple in there ;) )
-2 Amethyst Crystals (Because all I had was two, use as many as you want)
-3 Crushed Elderberries (Again crush as many as you want)
-1 Owl Rock & 1 Owl Pendant (Associated with my familiars)
-Water (I find the element of water strengthens my spells)



What To Do:


     Find a quiet space in your home or in nature, whichever you prefer and get nice and comfy. Fill your candle holder with your crushed elderberries, amethyst crystals (for psychic awareness, a personal addition to the meditation), and some water. Light your tea-light and gently place it in the candle holder. Set out your candle in front of you, and in my case I also used owl emblems to represent my familiar and call to her, these are not necessary you can incorporate or not incorporate whatever you want in the ritual. Once your all settled and your candle is lit relax and focus on grounding your energies (if anyone needs more explanation on grounding please mention it in the comments) and then settle into whatever visualization works for you to achieve physical or mental healing. And thats it!!



Note: TipToeChick didn't suggest elderberries I just felt that as the witch's herb they would enhance my meditation, and they're purple! :)


Feel free to share your Thursday meditations in the comments below, I always respond  :)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Traditional Witchcraft.. Youtube Style

    So I was watching some videos on witchcraft this evening on Youtube when I came across this post by the Open University. I can't say I've really watched a lot of witchy Youtube, I can't entirely relate to the majority of Wiccan Youtubers out there so I generally stray away from it. However, I feel like the message of the village witch in this video simply needs to be shared. For me pretty much everything she said was right on and agreed with my beliefs.

Have a watch and let me know what you think!


Monday, 7 April 2014

We are all Visitors under Nut (Nuit)'s Sky -Egyptian Mythology

     I have an archaeology exam tomorrow and while perusing my course materials I came across a rather interesting (at least in my opinion) interpretation of the Cosmos....

      The ancient Egyptians believed that their Goddess Nut (pronounced Nuit) was the fabric of the sky. To the ancient Egyptians, Nut was essentially the personification of the sky; her arms and legs comprised the pillars of the sky while her hands and feet touched the four cardinal points of the compass. Her naked body was also believed to be covered in stars. In depictions of ancient Egyptian artwork, Nut is typically depicted in the nude, holding her arched body upwards while gazing down upon the world below her.

      Next time you look at the sky just think, maybe Nut is looking right back at you :)




Sunday, 6 April 2014

Enchanted Oracle Tarot Cards -A Review

     I always enjoyed reading the horoscope in the morning paper with my mom when I was growing up but I certainly never thought that one day I would legitimately consider buying tarot cards... then again I also never thought I'd identify myself as a witch. It actually makes me smile to think about that, not a mocking smile, but an appreciative smile for the capacity of humans to change. I think it's a bit of an oxymoron that people tend to accept the theory that a person never changes and that change is inevitable at the same time, but in the same breath its also pretty freaking awesome. I mean could you imagine how boring life would be if things never changed, if there was no rain we could never appreciate the sunshine. If there was only one religion or way to express our spirituality I think life would get a little mundane, but then again maybe thats why I continually challenge and adapt my belief systems.


      Whether you appreciate change or adapt your spirituality with the seasons is all a matter of personal preference and perspective. Either way I think we can both recognize that I'm rambling at this point, considering the post's title is about oracle cards and now I'm talking about the adaptation of spirituality.Then again, maybe I'm not that off course considering that I am describing my own capacity for spiritual change by discussing my purchase of tarot cards, something that I would never have believed I would buy ten years ago...


      So anyways, to the central topic of this post, Enchanted Oracle Tarot Cards. I bought my Enchanted Oracle Tarot Cards online about a month ago from Chapters.Indigo.ca. As with Indigo shipping, which is always speedy they arrived promptly, about a week or so after my payment. When my cards arrived they came in a box that is a direct replica of the advertised picture. Accompanying the tarot cards, there was also a fairy pendulum and a book about the cards themselves authored by Barbara Moore. In the picture below, the fairy pendulum is silver with red wings however mine had clear wings, just something to be mindful of.


      In my opinion the accompanying booklet is definitely very helpful in establishing both a background to the figure featured on the given card as well as the meaning of the card specifically as a tarot card. The guide book also includes several suggestions on how to realize your reading through a variety of spells and visualizations. Generally I prefer to come up with my own spells, so I can't really testify as to how helpful the spells are. That being said, I have tried the visualization suggested for one card which keeps reappearing in my readings, Shadow Weaver. 



     As a card Shadow Weaver reveals the need to maintain organization amidst chaos, which in reflection of my life is almost always applicable. The visualization for Shadow Weaver suggests that to help achieve organization and the energy to do so that you picture yourself as a Shadow Weaver, and summon the energy of your inner dragon. I particularly like the idea of summoning energy from my inner dragon, I mean dragons are just crazy pants awesome!!


      Designed by Jessica Galbreth the cards themselves are also simply gorgeous!! The only thing that I think is particularly unfortunate about the cards is that there is a limited number of men in the deck, the cards are almost exclusively women. I do think it would have been nicer to see more men in the deck, as beautiful as us women are, we also share the earth with men and so I personally think masculinity should have been more equally represented in the deck. Aside from that I would definitely recommend purchasing the deck if you feel a connection to the deck's mysterious artwork.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Wait did you say Woden's day? A Wednesday Rambling We Will Go


     Tonight as my German Literary Masterpieces lecture discussed the history of Tolstoy, a Russian writer famous for such works as Anna Karenina and War and Peace, I learned about the pagan German God... Woden. Really this having a laptop in class thing is dangerous, especially in the evening when my tummy is rumbling for dinner and has driven my brain to distraction. But as Whinnie the Pooh would say desperately trying to reach for the last drop of honey in the honey jar, "Oh Bother". I was super productive today and mostly finished up one of my history papers that's due next week, so I'm going to take a break from taking notes during this lecture.


     Anyways, I was surfing for information on Anglosaxon paganism, because you know who doesn't surf the web to learn about Anglosaxon paganism in their spare time, its not like reddit or tumblr are more popular or anything... when I came across a page on BBC History, albeit the primary page, about anglo saxon beliefs which inspired this post. Okay back to normal sentence lengths... On this site, aside from adorable little cartoons of what the Saxons would have looked like, I found an interesting fact; Wednesday was named after the chief of the German pagan gods, Woden.

Lightbulb: Wednesday is Woden's day!

     Considering that the English language is largely Germanic in origins, maybe I shouldn't be so shocked that one of the days of the week is named after a pagan god, but I am. I mean how did the Christians let that one slip past them? I mean seriously, speaking purposely without a bias towards either Christianity or paganism, the Christian's were to say the least, paranoid about the continued existence of pagan beliefs. Considering that the Christian's converted hundreds of thousands of pagans and their descendants out of the fear that they were satanic peoples attempting to bring the devil to earth, I think its outstanding that an aspect of paganism was allowed to remain the namesake of a weekday.

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