Ritual vs. Routine? Hint: Ritual is Sacred


Oh … The beauty of ritual— and it’s ability to ground, renew, settle, focus, clarify…and purify. Ritual can be like a detoxification—where the residue we collect can fall away and leave breath and room for our more meaningful and true experience.

CURIOSITY: Ritual / Routine?
If you have one (which most of us do…whether we see it as such or not), what is it?
• Early Morning
• Morning
• Work space
• Lunch practice
• Afternoon break
• Evening reward/renewal
• Before Bed
• Sleep

Ritual vs. Routine? Hint: Ritual…is sacred.

A DAY IN THE LIFE: A Ritual and A Routine
At my bedside, I have an essence—and this is what I wake to. I inhale essence—and thus begins my relationship with the new day. I have animals, so I greet them: we stretch—make connection and embark together. Fresh air is next, no matter what the season: taking it in is cleansing, awaking. I turn an oracle card and maybe a tarot card: these give me clues and awaken awareness. I review my calendar and ground. I am careful to avoid the news first thing. Quiet is good…or maybe a little music. And so the day begins…

As the day progresses, I have small alters and reminders in place to keep me focused, connected, secure and aligned. It doesn’t always work, but truly helps. These, for me, create pauses so I don’t spiral in or out. In the evening, I journal—and often meditate.

Most of us keep some sort of “routines.” They have great purpose: The bills get paid; the recycles are out for pick up.” I ask you to consider which and what assists and which and what possibly restricts. Sometimes our rituals and routines can create boxes—or confined spaces or confining practices. It is important to stay open. So, consider ... What is routine and what is ritual?

Ritual and Routine: take a moment to define and re-define these words for YOURSELF.
Purity and Purify: Take into consideration how language is formed and re-formed by culture. Open your mind.

Mysterious: DATURA

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A friend saved seeds . I’d walked outside her home a couple years back and smelled the MOST amazing smell…and then spied the MOST beautiful flower. She told me of DATURA. Since then, I’ve read of it in “Clan of the Cave Bear” and been educated a bit by my herbalist friend Carmen. Here is some info for you! And by the way, I have three plants if your curious to sit in their presence.

(This below is adapted from a blog post at www.patheos.com.)

“Dark Fairy Herb of the Nocturnal Witch’s Garden

Datura is one of the sisters of the Nightshade family; the Solanaceae. She has been used by European witches, native shaman of both North and South America, and is a popular plant of modern witches and sorcerers on the Poison Path. According to Scott Cunningham, Datura is used for hex breaking, sleep and protection—but that barely scratches the surface of this witch’s herb. 

This group of plants has many names: Jimsonweed, Thorn Apple, Devil’s Weed, Devil’s Trumpet and Witch’s Thimble.  It is a dangerously poisonous plant. Although its powerful chemical constituents have been utilized medicinally, like the other baneful herbs; there is a fine line between panaceae and poison.

Seductive Visionary Herb of Shamanic Journeying

Datura is Belladonna’s seductive sister whose sweet-smelling and delicate flowers hypnotize and seduce those who are pulled close by her beauty. A closer look reveals her thorn-covered fruit hidden beneath dark green leaves and gossamer blooms. Once pulled in by her seductive wiles it is often too late, and her claws have dug deep into the unassuming psyche. Lulling her victims into a state of complacency whilst their sense of reality unravels around them, all the while wiping away any memory of her having been there in the first place. She whisks mortals off to the Otherworld, showing them both wonder and horror, returning them (hopefully) dazed and confused.  She is not always so kind, and like the other tropane containing plants of the Nightshade family, which act on the delicate tissues of the heart she can easily kill and cause madness.

As a shamanistic tool, Datura has been used by many cultures to aid in divination and spirit flight, opening the gates to the Upper and Lower worlds.  Other visionary plants allow us to peer through these gates, while remaining anchored to the physical plane, Datura grants freedom from those shackles sending the spirit on journeys both above and below.

Shamanic Uses:

This plant has been used by shaman and medicine men for thousands of years from one end of the world to the other.  As an entheogen, a plant that allows one to connect to the divine, all parts of the plant have been utilized either topically in oils and ointments, smoking the seeds and leaves, or brewing them in visionary teas. When used recreationally without sacred ceremony and knowledge of how to approach and appease the plant spirit; it causes nightmares, invites unpleasant spirits and leads to death through cardiac arrest.  It has been known to cause insanity and induce a catatonic state when used by the ignorant user seeking a high. 

Angel’s Trumpet is the Brugmansia variety, which has downward pointing flowers as if they were being played from the Heavens, while Devil’s Trumpet points up from below, playing her nefarious siren song to those with the ears to hear.

Witchcraft, Magic and Potion Making

The plants that have earned a place in the Witch’s Garden, the eternal Garden of Hecate, have done so due to their effective uses in sorcery.  They are the witches and magicians of the plant world, and have proven their usefulness to those who walk the Crooked Way of magical herbalism. They are able to heal and harm, to give power and to take it away, and have willingly placed themselves in the path of the cunning one’s to act as guides. This plant, like her sisters, is intimately associated with magic and witchcraft, and the dark goddesses who were the first to journey to the depths of the Earth and return with arcane knowledge; or those who chose to stay making the Underworld their kingdoms.

Other resources and references:

Castaneda, Carlos. The Teachings of Don Juan

Grimassi, Raven. Grimoire of the Thorn-blooded Witch.

Penczak, Christopher. The Plant Spirit Familiar.

Pendell, Dale. Pharmako Gnosis: Plant Teachers and the Poison Path.

Ratsch, Christian and Claudia Muller-Ebeling. Witchcraft Medicine. 

Ratsch, Christian. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants.

Roth, Harold. Datura stramonium, Alchemy Works.

Ward, Coby Michael. Devil’s Breath: A Trick of the Nightshades

Ward, Coby Michael. The Poisoner’s Pocket Guide.

Ward, Coby Michael. Poisoner’s Apothecary on Tumblr


Chronicling Ireams Illuminates!

Waking at night to jot down your dreams? What a drag, right? ‘I’ll be wiped out!” Right? But…I ask you to think again: First of all, the process of embracing your dreams and releasing them provides lush relief. Secondly, the subconscious outpour has amazing clues and healing messages. I began studying dreams when I found a big book of dream interpretation in my brother’s library: then…of course, there is Carl Jung. Dreams illuminate.

Snake & Fern illustration by Lauren Blair

Snake & Fern illustration by Lauren Blair

A bounty of dreams travelled through the night with me. So much imagery: bus rides, school trips, lost cars, choosing between cars, returning home, my dogs, my heart, a black serpent, the Catskills, a lost-and-found bag, reunion with children and loved ones. SOOOOOO much there. Here’s a nugget on the “black serpent” from blacksnake.org:

“There are several possible meanings for black snake dreams. The most common dream interpretation is about dealing with dark emotions, such as sadness or depression.

Black can also represent the unconscious or the unknown. The presence of the snake in a dream may point to significant changes that are taking place in your life. When interpreting your dream, it’s important to remember that this symbol has both negative and positive connotations. Serpents symbolize threats and challenging situations, but also the emergence of new insights and transformation.”

Full Moon Magic

This past full moon was particularly powerful: both somewhat jarring, but also totally celebratory. I wanted to share a few pictures. With love and blessing….

What are you Dreaming?

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“To dream that you forget or can't find where you parked your car indicates that you are dissatisfied or unhappy with an aspect of your waking life. You do not know what you really want to do with your life or where you want to go. ... If you have unfulfilled dreams, go for it.”

In a general sense, dreams about our own cars say something about the driving forces in our lives or about the manner in which we move forward in time. By this, I mean car dreams are a symbolic image for how we carry ourselves through life.

Despite what some people like to think, we are not completely conscious of what drives us; some things are below the threshold of our awareness.

If losing your car is a recurring dream theme, then that says something about the manner in which you carry yourself through life. The emotion of the dream is frustration. So you have to ask, where in your life do you feel frustrated?

If you say that you do not feel this frustration in life, then the dream says, something in you is frustrated about not being able to move. This latter case is what Jung called an unconscious conflict. When we don’t make ourselves conscious of that kind of thing, then it will play out in our lives as Fate.” (Above from Quora.Com)

In my work with those finessing “life art” or the “art of life,” one of the practices we use is to journal our dreams. At first, it seems disruptive…to wake in the night/early hours to become somewhat alert and write down what you can capture. But actually, the outcome is quite restful as one’s unconscious is allowed voice, space and breath.

For more info about my work (Life Art and Story Medicine…Dharma Dowsing and the Lotus…) reach out to me.

Coffee with Love & Health

© pexels.com

© pexels.com

My friend and I were chatting the other day about the lovely ritual (and sometimes habit) of coffee. I was raving because, Hegen Witch that I am, I’ve been experimenting with combining plant-world value with the basic coffee bean. My favorites are: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, and Cacao. I’ve also added coconut, hazelnut and almond. There are so many ways to imagine doing this, but I’m simply adding the ground material to the ground coffee. This means you could go with a coffee press or an auto drip, etc.. It looks beautiful, smells beautiful, and adds a bit of a beneficial health boost to your blend. Enjoy!!

Guided Meditations

Photo Capture from The Honest Guys

Photo Capture from The Honest Guys

Journeying is quite different from silent meditation: I’ve found that out over the past years. It’s quite profound. I was comfortable with journeying—and loved it! And then I joined a Sanga group. Sanga has changed my life—and I cherish those moments of grounding and silence. All becomes quite indescribably clear in the seemed “nothingness.” Journey, on the other hand, scoops you up and propels you along a path—where there is often a particular outcome. Tonight, I did this one (below) which I enjoyed. I wondered if the Oma followers would enjoy access to a list of links to favorite guided meditations and podcasts.

(Note: the only thing I recommend if you choose to do this meditation is that, in the end, you weave yourself back through the entering process before emerging from the journey.)

Something To Think On...

Courtesy of the New York Times

Courtesy of the New York Times

I posted an article on Facebook that was forwarded to me by a relative. I quote a bit of it here: “What is that conception? Simply this: that divinity is fundamentally inside the world rather than outside it, that God or the gods or Being are ultimately part of nature rather than an external creator, and that meaning and morality and metaphysical experience are to be sought in a fuller communion with the immanent world rather than a leap toward the transcendent.

“This paganism is not materialist or atheistic; it allows for belief in spiritual and supernatural realities. It even accepts the possibility of an afterlife. But it is deliberately agnostic about final things, what awaits beyond the shores of this world, and it is skeptical of the idea that there exists some ascetic, world-denying moral standard to which we should aspire. Instead, it sees the purpose of religion and spirituality as more therapeutic, a means of seeking harmony with nature and happiness in the everyday — while unlike atheism, it insists that this everyday is divinely endowed and shaped, meaningful and not random, a place where we can truly hope to be at home.”

At first, I was thrilled. And then I thought: “Not really. They don’t get it.” That’s personal. This is all so personal, but I’d love to hear your various thoughts.

p.s., I am not quite sure why we always need to form things into simple words and concepts. I am not sure my beliefs are “capture-able.”

The original post is here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/opinion/christianity-paganism-america.html

Coming Home

Image from Pelexs, stock-free photogrpahy

Image from Pelexs, stock-free photogrpahy

“Thoughts about personal change may not be the first thing you associate with autumn, yet for many this time of year can be a good opportunity for a fresh start.” The fall shows up as such a transformative, quiet and evocative time. It is a humbly, subtle and powerful time to set intentions and create new goals and resolutions—or at least begin to entertain them. This time is the darkest time in many ways: if you correlate this season of the year with the cycles of the moon, it would be as if the three darkest days before the new moon. If you correlate it with death and renewal, it is the shedding time (and re-weaving). “When you are looking to make change and set goals, it has to be something you really want…something you BELIEVE in…” says Olivia Stefanino. She goes on to say that the goals set because we “should” or simply for someone else, never have the same power, content and long-term potential. She suggests letting go of all our need-to-do and shoulds and imagine what life would look like if you could choose…wave a magic wand. For many of us, this is hard to do: It might be difficult to even imagine a perfect day or way. But this time of year offers a “soft-stage” to imagine and reflect upon just that—then make some concrete initiatives toward manifesting that vision. Maybe, eventually, you will walk that walk. (Outtakes from Breathe Magazine, UK)

Gift for Today

Photo: Mother Nature Network

Photo: Mother Nature Network

It seems like a funny day to contemplate the Wands, begin October, and start the week. Here in the Northeast, it has been raining steadily—and continues on this lovely Autumn day. I think of yesterday’s card pull for this week, AND I PONDER. The Page of Wands.

What I thought of first thing was how I LOVE LOVE LOVE these rainy days. I love cloudy days. I love all the days in all their natures (all moods aside). And I watch the ducks as they love this rainy day, the sheep (as they don’t seem to mind) and the chickens (as they nestle). The dogs really don’t care. So what is it about us that gets SAD, that says: “oh bummer, it’s a rainy day.”—and checks out. “I just FEEL the snow coming…I HATE winter.” That’s super un-Page-of-Wands.

This week’s Tarot card pull alluded to creative spark and magic. In this, I think of deep, inner commitment. I think of the Magician with all of his discipline and Temperance with her discernment—in all circumstances. Why is it that we feel less motivated when the weather SEEMINGLY does not support our spirit? Inner fire?

I encourage you to strike the match to which I referred. Have keen awareness for the unexpected. Find the golden nugget in the unlikely places. This is what the rain told me.

Contemplating Success


Success: What is it?
• Doing things well?
• Devoting time and attention?
• Having care and purpose?
I had a dream…and consider the idea of success. I think: “it’s a successful task!” But, I hear so often: “He’s very successful or She’s very successful…or They are very successful,” and I wonder what that means. Very often, it seems to be attached to a particular type of job, degree and…money. I think of success this way sometimes:
• Having integrity, love, dedication and responsibility kept
• Having trust and courage
• Surrender
• Owning the spices of creativity.

What is success to you?

Our Shop is Live on Etsy...

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So excited: first step in the MagicOma shop is in place. Yes, we’ve joined with those other great artists who collaborate in this community—and bring to market such fabulous stuff. On our way to building our own on-line shop, we decided to give this a whirl. In 2019 (if not sooner), we’ll launch a shop here too: with books, tarot decks, artwork, jewelry, essences, manifestation bags, magical teas and all good things for well being. Let us know what you’d be looking for!—all with the blessing (“seal of approval”) of the MagicOma team.

Karma? Let's do Better

Photo from VT Digger (vtdigger.org)

Photo from VT Digger (vtdigger.org)

Where do we come from? Do we live in and from a place of heart and honor? I read an article in VT Digger this AM—and it left me feeling puzzled, inquisitive…and bothered. https://vtdigger.org/2018/09/23/early-vermont-towns-warned-undesirable-settlers/

I’ve decided to do a little investigation of our 52 states. I’m going to create a little map with flags and colors—and am curious as to what it will speak. (And what about this entire planet?)

How do you work in this world? Where’s your dharma and how does it roll out? Please do share what you are, what you think, what you know and/or what you wonder. xo

Dressing Down the Beds?


Big winds last night: doors blew open…I awoke to chilly temps and scattered plants and seeds…sheets or notes and and tarot cards. It was as if I descended the stairs and strolled magically into a scene from the Wizard of Oz—Northeastern style. After catching the ducks and re-grouping them, I walked the property: all but the sheep emitted some sense of “wow! wowah! and are we ok now????” And now, as I sip coffee and witness the beautiful sun, so soft yet strong, bringing some sort of renewal to the corn fields and grasses, I ponder the great task of PUTTING THE GARDENS TO REST for the winter.

I think of this as “tucking them in.” Never done in haste. Always with honor. It’s the 22nd…and I’ve elected to wait. Though I’m called to “get it done,” that is JUST NOT RIGHT. I listen: It’s …just, not, right. Some part of me has this urgency to put her down, but there is so much growth still in each garden. I am curious about this urge, need and (truthfully) anxiety: who am I answering too? Why the anxiety? What’s the need and push? Answer: it really stems from my detachment from nature. It’s my “time machine” head that pushes. Nature just rolls along. I think I will learn to roll today.

Life Cycles and Tea Leaves

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I have heard voices of ancestors in dreams. The messages come from year to year, but they are always clear and consistent: guide, gift and … read tea leaves! Last year I bought a book and a small deck and began to learn a bit about tea leaf reading. The grandmothers and relatives who guide me here, mostly read too. The encouragement I get is to invite people into my home for readings.

These particular relatives have come and gone. I only really knew one of them—the others I have known only in my growing years by memory and circumstance. I think of this often: I know so many people who know their grandparents and relatives so well—and, in fact, spend weekends, holidays and/or phone or chat time with them regularly. This is not my story, so I can only wonder what that is like. In my imagination, I hold hands and celebrate with those who came before me. I am curious about different realities.

October, November and December are favorite months for me (as all months are, really). They are also the months showing the highest death rates and times of suicide. Curious again: as the leaves turn and go under, as the seeds disperse and lie down for the winter, as animals may hibernate. Have prayer. Give thanks.

The Cycle • The Lessons


When things get to busy, fuzzy and complex, IT’S A MESSAGE. I come to this place time to time—a “place” where the city is abuzz, the trains are not running on time, there are too many people in line and everyone and thing is rushed, etc…etc…etc… And I pause: and I figure out that the subway just needs to shut down for a while. I live in rural Vermont, so this is all just a vision I’ve created in my head to try to make sense of the conundrum which has recently befallen.

Samhain: one of my very favorite times of year. A time of slowing. A time of honor.

This morning, I cancelled a few things and rearranged. I struggle with my mind when I’m overcome by the feeling (or reality) that I have let someone (or a group) down: I will push myself out of balance to maintain a perception of never wavering, never wanting, never needing and always delivering. I often carry this illusion that I am angelic in nature: surpassing human qualities, restrictions and capabilities. For all of my “spiritual depth and connectedness,” you’d think me more often the wiser?

By the end of the day, the subway system will be back up and running.

Turning the Soil

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Deep into it.
In the big garden.

My hands begin to burn a bit from the turning: I have been digging in the dirt for 2 or more hours—my dogs by my feet and about me. I am reminded (on this sunny, warm and incredibly beautiful day) how much I LOVE and ADORE the earth. I return to the worms. 

I smell. I see: last year's angelica, yarrow and strawberry are the first to show up. And I can, indeed, see the garlic greening from it's clove. 

It is truly a miracle. I am reminded. 

Angelica Root: Something you should know


The first time I met Angelica...I knew she was an ally. When I harvested at summer's end, I was transcended—purely by the powerful essence and aromas of the volatile oils. This is a powerful plant, and one worth getting to know.

The volatile oil is found in all parts of the plant, and root contains bitter substances: it is a gentle bitter (not as gentle as Chamomile, but not as heavy-hitting as Yellowdock).

Angelica has a long history of use in Europe: Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland. There, it was highly protected for it's valuable properties. 

"In the 14th century, angelica had become well known as a medicinal herb throughout Europe. During the middle ages the root of the plant was believed to be effective as a treatment for the plague and in the 17th and 18th century the herb was widely used against intestinal infections such as dysentery and cholera."

Herbalists today consider angelica to be a warming and invigorating bitter, but used as a remedy for so much more. Angelica is useful for poor blood circulation and Raynaud syndrome. It can be a helpful remedy for bronchial respiratory issues. It is being studied for effective use in Cancer treatment. 

"The stems of angelica are edible. They are very rich in nutrients and can be eaten in the same manner as celery. The outer layer of the stems is usually removed and only the green and juicy inner parts are eaten. They have a strong taste, but if cooked the flavor becomes milder."

The plant has been used as a flavoring agent in liqueurs for centuries and is still the main flavor ingredient in the French liqueurs Bénédictine and Chartreuse. ENJOY ANGELICA!