Category: Blog Post

Book Review: Air Magic by Astrea Taylor

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Air Magic by Astrea Taylor, part of the Elements of Witchcraft series. Released, April 2021 by Llewellyn Books.

I was instantly drawn to this book, Air Magic by Astrea Taylor, when I learned about it, because Air Magic is something so unusual to me. In my own craft practice I work Earth, Water, and Fire Magic often. But beyond incense and feathers, Air Magic was an enigma. This book clarified so much.

So when I saw that Taylor had authored the book, I was happy to dive right in, getting a special autographed release of it as well. I had already read her previous work, “Intuitive Witchcraft” which was such a great guide to what many of us in the Craft are truly practicing and a book I regularly recommend to my fellow pagans. Air Magic arrived with a sweet note, book mark and Air Magic stickers. It was an added bonus that really helped put me in the mood to learn all about Air Magic. And learn I did. Like did you realize that birthday candles on a cake are Air Magic. Of course, duh! But I never thought of it in regards to Air Magic. Fire, Earth, yes. But, it is also Air, as detailed in this book. And when you think about, it, yes. That fire cannot mold the ingredients into cake or light the candles without its fuel: Air. Make a wish, Witch.

Special bonus reminders of Air Magic accompanied the special autographed edition of this book during its inaugural release.

Air Magic is the second book in a series of the Elements of Witchcraft. It not only digs deep all that encompasses Air Magic, but even gives you meditations, rituals, and spells to begin your understanding of Air Magic and incorporating it into your personal practice. It also featured one of my other favorite Witches, Laura Tempest Zakroff. Taylor takes us through not only the history and mythos of Air Magic but also where Air Magic is aligned with animals, crystals, deities, and more. I was thrilled to learn that one of the trees on my property is aligned with Air Magic specifically with the Norse traditions. It will now become the place of my Freyja altar.

But the practical parts of how the reader can use Air Magic in their own practice is the most dynamic part of the book, so earns a top shelf placement in my bookshelf. I appreciate that some of the practical information, the how-to if you will, leans on the simple. Simple, everyday Magic is something that even novice Witches can begin to put into their lives. But there is more in depth rituals as well for those who feel best doing something more formal and detailed. I especially like the Air Magic for travel. And as I deepen my connection to Air Magic, I’ll be using the meditation she outlined in order to get in touch with the element of air.

Before reading this book, Air Magic felt so foreign. Taylor’s Air Magic lifts away the caul of Air Magic and spotlights its interwovenness in our every day lives and easy ways to incorporate it. Packed with deep references, you could easily grab tome after tome from the book’s bibliography and go down an Air Magic rabbit hole if you like. This Scorpio appreciates anything well researched. This book also revealed places where the Air element was way more active in my own practice. Praying Mantis familiar, anyone?

This book is a great blessing to learn about Air Magic.

Lastly, the fact that the word Magic is used in its typical sense – minus the K – in this book also spoke to me. If you’ve been here a bit, you know my feelings on Magic with a K.

Even as a Crone, practicing the Craft is all about learning. Books are the best way to get there, in my opinion. Air Magic is certainly a cornerstone to unravel the mysteries of Air Magic and presented in a clear, practical, and engaging way. If you find yourself drawn to Air Magic you need to add this book to your Witch Library. I’m glad I did.

Special Solstice Reading Available

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Only available for the month of June until booked up! Schedule today!

Inspiration hit while soaking in the sun. Time to offer a special Intuitive Reading.

For the month of June — although just 13 slots available — I have a special Solstice Reading. Around the sun we go to reflect on where we are, what brought us here, what’s our best path forward, who might help or get in the way, what will help us be our truest selves and live our best life. We are in the middle of the calendar year with a Solar Eclipse this month. Lots of strong energy for me to divine and download messages for you. You will receive a typed up reading with photos of your spread of the Runes and Oracle Cards.

You can book through my Etsy shop (The Magical Flea Market). If you’re not on Etsy, you may always email me and book through a Paypal transaction. Whatever you preference, I urge you to book today.

The Summer Solstice is a time of reflection. What has the year brought you? Where have you been? Where are you going? This special Rune & Oracle Card Reading with Octagonal Perspective will help guide you into your truest self and best life. I look at your personal timeline (what’s happening now, what brought you here, possible paths forward), the people around you, the community around you, and your best path forward. This listing will expire at the end of June. Given that we have a Solar Eclipse on June 10 as well as the Solstice this month, the energy is high for looking deeper and receiving a reading.

You will receive a written and photographic record of my reading showing all the runes around the sun and their corresponding oracle cards. Most reading will be returned within 24 HOURS of scheduling (availability limited). When the schedule is sold out, this listing will be removed from The Magical Flea Market listings. So don’t delay. The Runes and Cards are waiting for you, as am I.

I am so excited to offer this special reading and work with you this month!

REMEMBER:
A rune casting should not be used as a substitute for medical, psychological, psychiatric, professional, legal, or financial advice or care. I am not qualified to provide legal, financial, or any medical advice and this advice should be sought from a suitable professional. Rune Castings and Oracle Card Readings are for entertainment purposes only. The user is responsible for his/her own life choices and decisions. When you purchase my readings you are confirming your age is 18 years or older.

RESTING THROUGH RETROGRADES & READYING DREAM WORK

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If you follow astrology, have friends in it, or are daily tuned into what the Cosmic Weather is, you’ve probably heard about this big Saturn retrograde, Pluto retrograde, and the impending Mercury retrograde (summer will bring a Jupiter, Neptune, and Uranus Retrograde, too!) and the energy that it will deposit upon us Earthlings.

I spent the last week reading, divining, and reflecting on exactly what these mean in the midst of Gemini season, typically a season that has me focusing on what my legacy is because Gemini splits my 10th and 11th house. In that reflection, it became clear that Saturn’s retrograde was that we are being given time to take the time to reflect and honestly re-everything: re-evaluate, renew, revise, reflect, and REst.

This is the perfect Cosmic Weather to pause and think. There’s not much to do — yet. First you get to have a think. For me that deep think was prompted by the realization that hit me whilst working the land and listening to Cory Hawkins and The Feral Strega do their Feast of Saint Rita’s Instagram Live. The realization is that I’ve been moving towards being able to live more simply, quietly, and basically alone. As a deep introvert (another reason I’m a Solitary Witch), you’d think that would be an easy path. Not really. A family nest is central to my Natal Chart throughout my life. And, yes, I have The Viking, gratefully, but I have to be okay with being alone more often, depending only on self. I realized that the family that I chose, what I came here to learn (i.e. Akashic record), is all about living more simply, humbly, and in harmony with the planet. In this goal is the peace I am desperately trying to achieve.

When we moved to Villa Westwyk*, I was in the “seeking peace” mode (my chart at the time was all about slowing down and seeking peace, too) and I set the intention that this property would be a sanctuary, that we would live peacefully here and in cooperation with Mother Gaia. Our goal was/is to add value to our lives and healing ourselves (from decades of trauma), and healing the property. This retrograde season is going to give me so much opportunity to re-invigorate that goal.

For me this Saturn retrograde in Aquarius falls within my 6th and 7th house, which means I need to re-evaluate my work, routines, health and partnerships. And I’m doing that. With this super full moon total lunar eclipse on May 26, it’s about what am I going to step away from and step closer and what I need to lean into. I am stepping away from those who cast doubt on my goals or zap my energy. I am stepping closer to my word magic and my book revising and writing. I’m leaning deeper into my health focus. And I’m doubling down on my efforts to deepen my most important relationships.

I am also going back to basics with my Craft practice, especially dream work. I expect that I and all of us are going to have some deeply psychic dreams given the aforementioned Full Flower Blood Moon Total Eclipse in Sagittarius. We all need to be prepared for that. Now many will tell you that doing Magical work on an eclipse is not advised, this is because the energy is so powerful. So if you feel any intuition to not do something — listen to your gut. But for me, dream work renewal — reviving my dream bags, herbs, crystals and the like are going to be done and beefed up. I also have prepped my calendar to handle extra dream interpretations, because I know my regulars and complete strangers (to me) are going to be hit with a wave of dream messages revealing deep truths. The Dream Maker likes to work extra during these energetic times. So be ready.

For you your retrograde season reflections and dreams may look different. But the re-evaluation and investments should definitely be done to take advantage of this. But do it slow-mo. No rushing. Listen for the messages in the strangest places. Don’t know what questions to ask yourself? Don’t just take my word for it, check out what others are sending out to help us all navigate this season. May I suggest that you check out Foxy Astrology’s blog post on this. She poses some good questions there for personal reflection and some directions to look at in your personal astrologic chart. You may also find that @risingwoman has the message you need to hear. Or my latest astrology love, Jessica Lanyadoo. And of course, if you’ve been reading my blog here long enough, you know how much I love The Painted Goddess’ Astrologic Lab, where I’m learning astrology on a deeper level.

Remember, move slow and deliberate. Work with intention and mindfulness. We’ll get through this and on the other side we will be Retrograde Bad Bwitches! Summer 2021 is going to be very interesting. Are you ready?

Wishing you healing, peace, and transformation.

So it is,

~Runa

*I would like to acknowledge that Villa Westwyk resides on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. I hold the deepest respect and gratitude for our Indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.

Growing That Witch Life

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I had a reminder this past weekend about what it means to be a Witch, to live as a Witch, and how I’ve been doing that most of my life. The philosophies I’ve been living consistently in my life is all about what most, as well as myself, call Witchcraft. To wit, I have been living the Craft all along, even though at moments or in periods of my life it may not have looked like it outwardly. I mean, I knew that pursuing a life centered on Magic is what I wanted; but, It took me deeply dedicating myself to living the life of a Witch, centering my lifestyle and livelihood as a practitioner of the Craft, even achieving Crowned Crone status, to understand that it was all Witchcraft the entire time. 

I am so mostly self-taught in my practices as a Witch. And when I say that word, Witch, I mean that wise woman who moves with the environment around her in harmony and deep care and love. That Crone who wants you to learn what she learned so you can live so much better. You don’t make the same mistakes. Make new ones, because that’s how we learn to be a Witch, only doing that for which creates complimentary energies, like that in Permaculture. Please understand there was no coven initiation for me as a Witch; there was no big ceremony, even though I could have done one as a Solitary Practitioner, ala the Crone Crowning I did in October 2020; and there was no direct openly known “hereditary” Witch for me to be taught or told, “You’re a Witch.” Yet here I am, clearly a Witch.  

Figuring out how to live my life and with whom has been such a long fucking journey. I just knew that some things felt right. Move here — yes, I’m learning, exploring, trying out new things and lifestyles. Take this job — again another level of exploring, trying out new things and lifestyles. Yes, these people; oh, maybe not. Yes, these lovers; oh, maybe not. I love this dress; nope, I hate this dress. Hell, I own like one dress. My life seems to require pants more. You get the drift.

Some of my best memories of my childhood were when our family was outdoors or camping, or working in the garden or kitchen together. They also were some of the most stressful, but that’s part of the journey, too. We all wish those times were less, but they teach us, too. It takes a long time to become grateful for those terrible times. For many of us it taught us to be someone who fights for justice, or to be a lightworker/healer, or  to just be our truest selves and live our best life. And when you are not to the point of having gratitude for those times, the good memories still stand out. And if my family wasn’t outside, we were inside, surrounding ourselves with stories: writing stories, reading stories, hearing stories —especially when family visited— or even sometimes in the evening at home in front of the television or on a Saturday afternoon at the local matinee, we were watching stories. 

So I would, in my own way, seek out the activities of that which I have benevolent memories. I would garden. I would cook. I would seek out nature as entertainment. I would gather a family; sometimes, that was all the “Deadbeats” at a particular college campus, or a bunch of lost single Soldiers in the barracks, but family nonetheless. I would create some sort of nest whether for myself or for these hobbled together families. I wrote. I read. I experimented with story in audio and video form. I had articles published; short stories published, even a book (with number two coming soon). I worked in radio. I worked in television. I found that I would repeat this pattern, in slightly different ways. Maybe in this town? With these people? Surviving by myself above in an antique store in Casper, Wyoming. Working as a journalist and editor. Or in a condo with two addicts before heading off to the military. Then finally as a wife and mother wanting to make something work so hard, that I didn’t see how it very much was not working.

Throughout all of that, I would turn to the Craft. It’s mysticism that felt so natural and as an undoubtable fact in my brain. That first seemed to just be whispered to me as a confused 13 year-old, “You feel different; you think differently; you are different: You are a Witch.” I could see and feel the energy in things my family and many peers could not. I was called foolish for talking about colors around people. Spirit visitations were considered imaginary friends and making up stories (it didn’t help that I wrote and wrote and wrote stories from the time I was about 8 years old). When we camped, the animals, birds, and insects would appear when I was about or I would notice them before anyone else.

But as I traveled through life, and about this planet, I found people who felt like me, dug deeper like me, tried to connect and provide the stories of living in our times. I wild foraged or grew food. Then I would make sure that lifeforce is forged into the food to feed our bodies, minds, and souls. We do so with purpose and intent, holistically. It’s Magic. When I finally learned about shadow work and I started to bring all these joys, delights, and lifestyle into fruition. And it’s so high on the scale of good so often that I feel flabbergasted. I can’t believe this is my life. How did I get so blessed? Easy: The Craft. Now before I come off sounding like a privileged ass, my life is not all sundae cones with unicorn sprinkles. I have had to travel some dark roads of abuse, trauma, war, discrimination, rape, loss, grief, sadness, depression, and unbelievable pain. I mean, we’ve all been through a year of death while having to act like things are normal. However, I persevered. I pushed and fought to move forward, with the help of the Craft ala the Runes, my rituals, my knowledge that my words are Magic, that my Energy changes things. As a Witch, you learn, sometimes even naturally understand, that transformation, doing the work to achieve our best and highest good, can be like a ravaging forest fire. From its destruction, new life forms.

Here I am, in another iteration in my life. A new home. A new town. A new direction (Permaculture). Basically, me, but a new me. A new Witch. As I was in the garden this past weekend—our experiment with a perennial growing and market garden space (something to double our efforts and reap a yield) such a knowing of purpose and self washed over me. I was preparing the land to grow onions and cabbage. It has been patiently waiting for me to tend to it, and for which I was patiently waiting for the weather to be right. And out of no where, Spirit (perhaps Gefion or Freyja) whispered to me again, “Yes, Witch, this is good and right.” Of course the dork in me is like, “What’s good and right?” Because Witches are not Witches unless we’re also questioning, yes? 

Within a heartbeat of that message, I realized that living like this — to live with the land in a healthy fashion and provide basic needs and then, with luck, needs of the community, is part of the tenets of Witchcraft as well as Permaculture (a deeper blog post on this connection soon). Furthermore my work is that of many witches: to see the good in the world you wish to see, remove suffering, care for, and certainly love. All of those things started with camping trips, loving stories, and picking green beans in the garden. It evolved into a mishmash of Hedge, Green, Kitchen, and Intuitive Witchery that I live and work to elevate everyday, hence practice. And now that Crone-level mix of Witchery is married to Permaculture, and still writing. And if you look at my natal chart, you’ll like say, “but of course that’s what you’re supposed to be doing.” 

As if to punctuate it this a-ha moment, I saw my first true butterfly of the season, followed closely on its tail with two dancing dragonflies. That told me my ancestors were behind me. That even if in life they may have disagreed with what they knew about Witchcraft, they could see how I am living is divinely led. And just to really put me in awe and make sure I remembered this moment, the Pileated Woodpecker that I often hear hammering away nearby came and landed in Villa Westwyk’s ancient Willow tree. His visit let me know that I needed to share this moment of self understanding and reassurance of purpose with all of you. To let you know that even when things are confusing or seem hopeless, there is strength in perseverance and doing the work.  And the work is good. The confusion, the hopelessness, even fear has taken a backseat to some really spectacular Magic. And I’m here for it. For the long haul.

Wow, what a life. What parts of The Craft am I going to learn next? I’m sure it’s going to be something that continues this journey of peace and harmony and plants, food, and stories, with Magic the center of it all. 

How about for you? When have you been reminded of who you are, or who you should be, and how you’ve been living? And if you’ve made it this far to the very end, I send you good Witchy energy for many blessings to you.

Be ready for the Magic.

~Runa

Personal Harvest Day Reflection

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This week, in the astrology of my life, I reach the end of my 9th house and arrive to my Harvest Day and then my 10th house. I am transitioning from the House of Fruition to the House of Harvest, as laid out in The Book of Houses by Robert Cole and Paul Williams. In this great guide to the harvest cycle as it applies to your personal astrology, they recommend that you pause on your Harvest Day and reflect. To look back on what the seeds you chose in the 11th house and how you manifested. Reflection is often the seed of epiphany, so it’s a good practice, and one that Witches weave into their lives constantly. The Wheel of the Year — Lunar & Solar Cycles — bring us such opportunities in monthly and quarterly and biannual cycles. But to focus solely on your astrological harvest cycle is a new thing for me, but very fertile all the same. Allow me to share in summary that reflection and its harvest.*

At the end of May 2020 we had just moved into Villa Westwyk. Our nomadic life of travel had come to a screeching halt with the persistence of a global pandemic, and we needed a place to hunker down and be safe until we figured out our next move. We came to realize fairly quickly that a nomadic life no longer appealed to us given the state of the world and it was going to be a very long road to get back to a place where a life of constant travel was copasetic. That realization coincided with my 11th house, and we knew that making a home that we didn’t need a vacation from and which was self-sustaining was our path forward. But with the addition of a mortgage payment again on top of our other responsibilities, we were going to have to get creative in how we lived. I recall doing a pretty powerful spell right around Beltane 2020 to help me find my path forward.

It was then that I imagined an online marketplace to present the magical gifts I have to offer others and the magical tools and specialty items I find so endearing. My Magical Flea Market was born. It took a bit of time to get it moving forward, living among boxes and not having anyplace to sit to eat meals and the like was quite the distraction. That seed choosing also found me desiring a Crone Crowning Ritual, which many of you were privy to via Instagram. And that status has allowed me to embrace a role as wise woman and mentor to a choice few and its been such a circle of blessing. We also made put our sailboat up for sale and are taking some time to explore our new community, including the wilderness surrounding Komo Kulshan (the big mountain we can see from our property).

It was no accident that the home we landed in has plenty of space to host friends and family, as well would allow us to return to the micro-farming and permaculture efforts that we undertook in our last sticks-and-bricks home. I quickly carved out a small space and planted greens and herbs — because it’s something we eat daily and you can continually harvest. We were blessed with bumper crops of all the berries and fruit trees that already called Villa Westwyk home and we slowly made this place spark with spirit that is inside me and my partner, lovingly dubbed The Viking. We cleared away trash, overgrown brush and weeds, and lots of negative energy that was allowed to fester whilst the former residents’ energies were elsewhere.

A year later now and the house is mostly furnished, save a few odds-and-ends, and we’re in planting mode, enlarging the kitchen garden and establishing a perennial bed and market garden. We’ve brought home a small flock of chickens and a trio of goslings. Ducks should be here in a month or so. The Magical Flea Market is building slowly and my craft has helped a many people clarify and illuminate paths, understand ancestral and divine messages, and untangle the confusion of dreams. I am comfortable in my Crone skin and status. My home is filling again with jars of dried herbs and tinctures; the larder is full of cherries, black currants, apples, peaches, pears, and all the things to make One Spooky Witch and her Handsome Devil healthy again. My studio allows me to be creative, spiritual, and meditate regularly, as well as host Solitary Shenanigans on Wednesday mornings. The dogs love being able to explore without leashes and are learning the command “take cover” since we have a healthy population of Bald Eagles in the neighborhood, not to mention coyote and fox. We are gifted with mountain views and some spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

That is quite the harvest, yes? And contemplating those blessings and the appreciation of all the hard work that went into reaping this harvest will help me decide what seeds we will choose in a a few weeks when I reach my 11th house again. I’ll be spending a good chunk of the month of May trying to figure out what seeds for my personal harvest cycle I need to choose. But for right now I’m fairly content with what I have and am feeling blessed to have found my way here to Villa Westwyk and a life that allows me such time to heal a small plot of land, as well as myself.

Where are you in the harvest cycle of your natal chart? Did you celebrate your Harvest Day? If so, how and what did you learn? If you’re celebrating your harvest day soon, take advice from Granny Shadow below and take some time to rest and reflect.

*A big shout-out to The Astrologic Lab for inviting me to learn more about myself via Astrology. If you want to learn Astrology, you need to join the Lab!

I would like to acknowledge that Villa Westwyk resides on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. I hold the deepest respect and gratitude for our Indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.

Book Review: By Rust of Nail & Prick of Thorn (The Theory & Practice of Effective Home Warding)

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Even though it’s new to my library, By Rust of Nail & Prick of Thorn: The Theory & Practice of Effective Home Warding by Althaea Sebastiani is already a well-referenced tome in my collection.

Home warding has been central to my practice for many years and within weeks of moving into a new place, I found this book, rather by accident — an internet post by some stranger put it in my sights. And I’m so glad for that serendipity. I only know a few warding things that were taught to me through the years by older witches, and all I use without fail; but, I was interested to learn more. Enter this book by Althaea Sebastiani, By Rust of Nail & Prick of Thorn… Written for both emerging and long-time practitioner of the craft or just those seeking more alignment in their sacred space, the book explains what warding is, why it’s done, and then how to do it. Simple. Perfect.

The thing I appreciate the most about this book is that it is clearly no-nonsense. It’s clear reading through it that this author knows her stuff and offers no apology for it. I love the clean, clear writing style and practical application part — you know the actually doing of the wardings in all their varieties, including valuable advice about the where, how, and whys of warding.

Sebastiani covers charms, chimes, plants, powders, and so much more. I was especially in love with her section on Spirits, since this aligns with my personal practice quite well. There is even a section on Emergency Warding.

The only criticism I would offer of this book is that I would have loved even more detail. It’s a “read it in a weekend and take notes” tome, which is great for keeping in your Witchy Reference Shelf; I just wanted a bit more. I’d love to see a re-release with how the author applies these wards in her own home, as she is a traveling soul, as I once was. I’m such a visual learner that seeing images of Statuary, Sigils, or Stones in action — or any of the other ward types — would be even more enlightening. Regardless, I highly recommend this book. I have zero doubt it will be one you refer to often and use all year in your Craft practice.

One of my go-to wards, Chicken-Foot- Scratch Back Ward, which although not would fall under the Charms section of Sebastiani’s book.

Categories: Blog Post Witch Library

Retreating Back To Me

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Our Waning Crescent Moon in Gemini, April 14, 2021 over Western Washington skies.

She’s back. Yep, back from vacation. But it wasn’t a vacation in the traditional sense. There was lots of work. Lots of caring going on for both family, pets, and land. In fact, I worked myself pretty hard and also dealt with the side-effects of my first Covid-19 vaccine shot. So, yeah, no fun drinks with umbrellas or poolside reading. Regardless, it was all work necessary to get me to a place where I can take a break right out my back door, if necessary.

Family emergencies due to injuries and ongoing health stuff aside, everyone is doing well and recovering for the most part. Good energies towards my loved ones are appreciated.

Speaking of appreciation, the outpouring of messages from so many both immediately after I announced my departure from the virtual world — and honestly anything outside the gates of Villa Westwyk seems virtual any longer given the Pandemic world– and the messages continued throughout the week. They were little balloons of caring and were deeply appreciated. I felt everyone’s love and respect for my need to step back for a bit. I felt your love and please know it boosted me through a couple of really dark moments this past week. So, thank you. May your love come back to you threefold. I was so nervous to step away from the momentum that all my Runa Troy work had achieved so far, and people reaching out told me my work is appreciated and valued. My heart is full.

Throughout the week I was also dealing with an avalanche of work, so much of it still needing to be tackled, to get Villa Westwyk up to snuff. There are so many projects, basically left to us by the former residents of this space. We are in the midst of correcting planting mistakes, repairing neglect to infrastructure and landscape, and creating a place of balance and health. Water issues have come to the forefront and how to harness its preciousness is also at the forefront of the work created. But with just two of us working it, mostly on the weekends, things came to a head, especially given our family responsibilities.

But this work of week to care of family and home allowed time for contemplation and understanding of purpose and paths ahead. When we first moved here I understood instinctually that my clan needed a place of retreat. That the Viking and I needed a home we didn’t need a vacation from — something that served all our needs and then some. Since entering my Crone phase, the absolute need for peace and sanctuary has been almost obsessive. Anything that disrupts that is the focus of some baneful words from this witch. I’ve been building and creating so much that I lost sight of even enjoying it. So although I was blessed with beautiful weather to accomplish these tasks, I was feeling overwhelmed and unable to be present and it was raising my stress level. Something had to give. And I knew that the whole reason I work the way I do — writer, artist, permaculturist, and public witch — is so I can do all the things that bring me joy in balance. And balance and living beholden to myself was the lesson of this week. I mean I understood it intellectually, and why I stepped away for a week — and even that time frame may have been pushing it — but to embrace it in my spirit, my heart, took a little bit of time. However, I did get there. It took me all the way until Sunday (funnily enough, a Moon in Cancer day) to really get there, but I got a couple of days of working without grumbling and talking to the earth and the bees and the birds (I have a special story about that I’ll share during my next Solitary Shenanigans), and feeling the sun and the wind on my skin and face. And that was enough. And I was enough. It was all enough. It was good. And it taught me that if I lay good foundations, the rest will follow.

If you’ve made it this far into the post: we in the same tribe! Thank you. This is your message to seek balance, peace, and sanctuary. Step away, take a break, do what you can, and know that if you are doing your best; that is enough.

Blessed Be All,

~Runa

Komo Kulshan in all her beauty during my break.
I would like to acknowledge that Villa Westwyk resides on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. I hold the deepest respect and gratitude for our Indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.

Book Review: The Oath – A Heathen Poet’s Journey

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Helping to Rebuild My Witchy Library is this Pagan Poetry Book: The Oath – A Heathen Poet’s Journey.

Not every book in your Witchy Library has to be some reference on spells and rituals or divination how-tos. Sometimes you need something that feeds your mind and spirit all at the same time. Emerging Poet, Jason Ralls, inaugural release of The Oath – A Heathen Poet’s Journey does just that. Through poetry he expresses a spiritual journey that wanders from curiosity into the depths of love and loyalty. Although its subject matter explores the author’s relationship with the Norse gods, the journey of belief holds inspiration for all Pagan hearts.

It’s not a large tome, but features three acts detailed by nine poems, from following Idunn, to Ran, to Hel, to Balder, and Tyr, to Freyja, and to the Mad King himself, Odin. You can feel the writer’s movement from not really knowing the gods, to professing his creed of belief and service. I found reading it outside was deeply inspiring as well as healing. It’s slim profile fits in a day pack for hiking and re-reading when you pause to take in the view and rest before returning back to the modern world. These poems seem to connect the ancestral world and its inhabitants to the now.

On the back cover of the book, the author warns that the book is more than poetry and that between the words is a liminal space to be aware of when diving into the text. I agree there is a spirit and presence in this book that spoke to me and gave me pause to find my own journey to the deities that are calling to me.

If you’re looking for a inspirational book for your Pagan heart, I highly recommend this one.

~Runa

This book is a perfect companion for a day spent in the forest.

You want to be a Witch?

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Get yourself a book, darling

I often get inquiries from what the internet has termed “baby witches.” As time goes on, I’m less enamored with that term, but people instantly know what you’re talking about. However, I am likely to use Novice Practitioner, or Emerging Witch or some such instead. Regardless of the term used, those beginning on their magical path ask me about how to learn. Without hesitation, I tell them to begin to grow their Witch Library. Read everything you can get your hands on. Use what speaks to you; discard what you don’t vibe with naturally; and embody the things you love. 

When I was first starting on my path, circa 1979ish, hunting down books on living a magical life were harder to find than they are now in this time of “new age” shelves at commercial book stores. Calling yourself a Witch in public was not as accepted as it is today or even necessarily safe. For many of us, we still work under a glamour of “normalcy.” Finding books became a bit easier with the strengthening of Weiser Books, Llewellyn, or even the now defunct Walking Stick Press, and of course that behemoth Amazon, and the surge of independent publishing. My Kindle was my mobile Witch library whilst living the traveling life and holds dozens of Witchy texts like Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic by Lisa Lister, Intuitive Witchcraft by Astrea Taylor, and Waking the Witch by Pam Grossman. But back when I was a Wtichlet, I had to hunt libraries, and used book stores, couching it in terms of Neo Spiritualism or Occult Curiosity. One particular Saturday, all dressed in black with matching gothy eyeliner and obnoxious pentagram earrings, the clerk in a long-gone secondhand book seller in the heart of Detroit pointed me to the very back room without a word. I still giggle about that.

Reading with the familiars (Granny Shadow & Ms. Snickle Fritz), one of my favorite pastimes and how I grow my craft.

One of the first books I read on magic was Witch Amongst Us by Lois Bourne, who entertained letters from a young girl living in the East side of Detroit. This led me to The Spiral Dance by Starhawk, whose continuing bibliography populates my bookshelves, both physically and digitally. Next I found myself reading Positive Magic by Marion Weinstein, which I often re-read when things looked dark. Yes, I re-read it in 2020. The point is I systematically found myself reading everything I could get my hands on — books on crystals and spells and on and on. 

When I lived in Europe (1993-1996), I was able to get many more volumes on everything from palmistry to tea-leaf reading. I spent time in the woods or on mountaintops with established covens and learned more from them. It was then that I learned about dream interpretation and Runes and deepened my connection to those things as well as herbalism and alchemy. And although I encountered people along my journey that shared and gifted me some of their knowledge the bulk of it has been by self-education through reading and practicing.

You can explore everything and really dive deep into the callings that speak to you best via books, whether it be Moon Magic, Solar Holy Days, or Divination, and more. It’s out there to explore. My tactic was to acquire everything I could and read everything I could. In doing so, I recognized that things like Wicca didn’t appeal to me, and that being in a coven or circle wasn’t always good for my energy. I felt more empowered and aligned with the cosmic energies by doing my craft as a solitary. 

My Library before The Great Purge of 2017.

I am currently in the midst of rebuilding my Witch library, having gifted many of my books in the great purge of 2017, including the first volumes that nudged me along my path, as we readied for a life of nomadic existence. Thankfully, I had my book of shadows throughout the years and those records let me know where I need to refresh my Witchcraft texts. As I rebuild this library, I plan to post reviews of books I read that would appeal to both early and experienced Mystics, Witches, Healers, Lightworkers, Energy Workers, or any of the other names that Witches call themselves. I hope to do the first review here next week. So look for a continuation of this Witches Library discussion to come. 

Slowly but surely rebuilding my Witch Library. As I do, I’ll review the books here.

If you are just beginning on your magical path, may I suggest you meditate and ask Source to guide you to what book(s) would serve you best and allow you to be your truest self and live your best life. You could also just go into a book store and head over to their spirituality shelf and find something that makes you pick it up. 

Like many Witches having a library, a garden, and some familiars makes life super magical. And they all seem to go hand in hand, like a Triple Goddess Venn Diagram. What books did you start with on your path? What books are you looking for? Where is your favorite place to read? Do this Writing Witch a solid and tell me what book has informed your path and clarified things for you. If you, like me, had to sell all your books, which ones would you keep? If you’re re-building a library, like me, which ones are must haves? Let’s talk books, Witches. 

Women’s History & Cottage Craft

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This piece was handmade in Hawaii by Erma O’Brien.

For women’s history month, I’ve been trying hard to get this post done. Instead, I’ve been busy treasure hunting for things in the Magical Flea Market. I scour yard sales and thrift stores and love me a good estate sale. I am always on the hunt for anything my fellow Witches would find useful or lovely for their own homes, altars, and sacred spaces. I especially love to come across things that are handmade and contain decidedly positive and/or elemental energy like the piece shown above. It was handmade, and carefully curated, and clearly holds some water energy. It’s vintage for sure, given the technique and the hardware to hang it. This one is likely from the 60s.

Love to find treasures like this and pass the magic along.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find other information about dear Erma’s work; but I do know she is still living in Maui and has achieved uber Crone status. I wonder if she knows her piece of art is up here in Washington State?

Regardless, I share this because this is a prime example of the things I try to put up in the Magical Flea Market. All items are cleansed and charged magically so that they arrive at your door step ready to imbue joy and good energy for your workings or just your pleasure. When something is handmade, featuring an elemental item (shells in this case) I’m immediately drawn to it, imagining the artist creating it. If I find, like this one, that it’s made by a woman, it ups my interest as well.

The history of women getting together and crafting both useful and just for the love of art items is long and many of our Pagan siSTARs through the years sat sewing, weaving, molding, and in Erma’s case here, designing, something that would grace walls, counters, altars, and the like for years to come. Before the internet or any modern communication technology, these circles of crafting women, were where lessons were learned, information was shared, and feminine bonds were created. It’s also, often, where movements for equality and progress were born. There’s a reason why the Patriarchy is so afraid of any kind of circle, whether it be a Witch’s ritual one, or just a knitting one.

Giacomo Ceruti, Women Working on Pillow Lace (1720s) (via Wikipedia)

This post is also a reminder that each week — most recently each Thursday — I post an “item of the week” from the Magical Flea Market. It sometimes comes with a discount if you purchase a featured item. So check back either here or in the Etsy shop to find that something with that special vibe that you just can’t live without and which some artist lovingly made. Unfortunately, our dear seahorse shown here has already been claimed. But there’s lots more to see over at the Magical Flea Market, so don’t despair, there’s something there for you.

In the meantime, I encourage you to explore where crafting circles exist in your ancestry and your community. There’s a good chance you have your own Erma in your family tree or in your own neck of the woods.

Happy Spring,

~Runa