Personal Guiding Principles

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A journey to what I hold dear

My principles ended up with nine; yours may be more or fewer. What number did you arrive at when you thought about it?

Right around my solar return in November, a question was posed to me — and honestly, I don’t recall where it came from — I mean, obviously, Source. But what vehicle for which the message was delivered, I’m unsure of, and does it really matter? Not really, except to understand that we can get messages from Source or our Spirit Guides in just about any manner. We need to allow ourselves to be open to receive it.

This particular message was regarding my Personal Guiding Principles, my own witch’s creed if you will. It was then it occurred to me that I may not necessarily be able to spout out something succinct. But in the complicated world we live in, can such things be succinct? Perhaps. Regardless, I had my mission and set out over the last months to detail exactly what they are.

I set about by meditating, first. I imagine if you had been a dragonfly on the window sill of my studio I would have looked quite the stereotypical new-age westerner. Lotus position. Lights dimmed. Candles lit. Incense wafting. But, hey, it worked. I saw words flash into my mind’s eye. I saw little vignettes when in my life I had exhibited the words in my head. It was almost like a beat as I breathed in and out and focused solely on the things I hold dear. 

Following meditation I did some automatic writing. This is when I just let things flow out from my hand to the pen and paper (or keyboard, if appropriate). What followed was a bit of a mess, which it normally is and requires much interpretation and revision. After the follow-on editing, I produced my personal guiding principles. They are not in any kind of order, just as they came out of my head. All nine are important regardless of order. I do find it interesting that there are 9, as that is an important number to me, but that exploration is for another day. However, what I did notice is that there’s a bit of a mnemonic to it. I call it my WiTCH D-REPS. I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out why.

My personal guiding principles:

Worth:  Know your worth; understand you are a survivor. Prioritize your well being. You are worthy.

Truth: Is it true? Truth in speaking; truth in writing; truth in expression; what does your gut say? Do not dismiss your truth meter, your gut.

Courage: To do the hard work, even when it pushes me physically, mentally, emotionally (out of my comfort zone). Kill your fear, witch.

Honor: To do the honorable thing even when no one is looking; to honor the planet and its creatures.

Discipline:  Take small steps each day; even if you don’t finish, showing up is half the battle. One step forward every day (even if it’s just taking a shower); this includes practicing patience.

Respect: Self, Others, Earth

Energy: It is in us; all around us; we must be cognizant of how it is connected and used.

Perseverance:  Never Give Up!

Self Reliance:  Take care of yourself as much as possible and as independently as possible so you are able to help others with ease.

As the new calendar year unfolded, it may have seemed very basic to be examining such things, but honestly, in my more than half century alive, I haven’t sat down and said, here’s what guides my life. So, as our nation faces great threat from right inside its own borders, and a deadly virus rages without containment, it seemed as good a time as any. I mean, #Ronalife, right?

Now I imagine this will be what is called a “living document” and I’ll add and adjust as I focus even more on it. But these words basically could be tattooed on me and they wouldn’t change. Therefore, at present, I feel like these are a solid foundation to move forward for the next half century of my life.

Do you have a personal creed or guiding principles? Have you attempted to write or author your own? I’d love to know how you approach this if you call yourself a witch, pagan, or a mystic.

In truth,

~Runa

A Word For 2021

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Exploration doesn’t have to mean travel

Wait? We’re still in the Pandemic! How are you exploring? More on that below.

Last year was, well let’s be frank: a complete shitshow. Like many folks in 2020, my life was turned completely on its ear and I’m still trying to recover from all that the year brought, most explicitly the global pandemic that is Covid-19. Because of it this now formerly traveling witch (maybe I should do a sigil representing that ala Prince?) is not traveling any more. I know without hesitation it was the right choice to put all that travel on pause and hunker down. I’ve spent a good three months in shock once we made that move and another three months grieving, all while trying to process the trauma that the sudden life change deposited on myself, my Viking, the rest of my family, and friends.

I lost a lot of hope in the bulk of humans on this planet since March 2020; but, beginning in June, I found a new tribe, anchored by some very dear ones, that has blessed my life in innumerable fashions, and for that I have to thank the fall-out that was 2020.

I’m still grateful for all the traveling I (we) did do between Oct. 2018 and March 2020. It was a leap of faith and a dismissal of fear that allowed us to sell everything and live nomadically. And I’m ever grateful for the strength and heart it took for My Viking and I to do that. But by mid-April we recognized that such a life relied on the world being healthy and much more peaceful than it is now. And while we waited for things to return to an improved version of The Before Times, we needed space to prepare for the next chapter. In between we could make some plans to enact some strategies and apply some lessons we learned during our time living alternatively as we were. When I look at my natal chart, it all makes sense. But I digress.

Today’s entry is about my word for 2021, which I notice a lot of folks have adopted. It’s something I’ve personally done for many years. A word or a mantra each year. To come up with it a spend a good bit of time around the end of the calendar year journaling and meditating. Some automatic writing and a bit of dreamwork lead me down the path to find a good focus for the months to come.

My word this year is Explore. That is the part of traveling that I miss the most, that facet of exploration that goes hand-in-hand with it. Although exploration will look much different than travel life, but it will still be thrilling, enlightening, and educational. I have a list of things I want to explore, to include some that will end up populating my public witch life, so you will eventually find them in this space.

As January really gets rolling and many of us here in the States are focused on Inauguration Day, I can say that I’m more focused on the positive things I can bring into my life, be it a borrowed book from the library, a walk along an empty (hopefully) trail, or trying out a new recipe. Exploration will be my balm to distract me from the fact that I haven’t been able to hug my kids at this point in more than a year. Exploration will be my drill sergeant to tear down the old me and build up a better self. Exploration will be the compost for 2021 to enrich my life and let me grow. Exploration this year, for me, will be magic.

Tell me what word or words you are focusing on for 2021? How did you come by finding this new focus? Where are you sprinkling magic, growth, and exploration for your year ahead? I’d love to see your comment below so we could chat further on it.

BB.~Runa

2020 Gratitude

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Giving Back to Say Thank-You

I’m doing a little giveaway because in 2020 my life turned upside down (I know, join the club, Runa!). Because of ::gestures wildly at the state of the world:: I was led to open my Magical Flea Market and easing down the path to public witch life.

The response from all of you to that move has been steady and clearly building. I feel very blessed. With each new heart on my Etsy shop, every new order, each Solitary Shenanigans attendee, and all the positive energy being shared, I see a clearer path to living a magical life and sharing my gifts.

The people I’ve connected with through this have often become much more than customers and I see new expansive horizons for 2021 for this path I’m on. Giving back seemed a natural part of this journey. Therefore, I’m giving away a Year Ahead Runic Reading, which gives you a full Elder Futhark reading. This includes a digitally sent transcription with photos. You will also receive a coupon for a 50 percent off coupon for a future triple rune casting for you to use or gift for later.

But you need to enter the giveaway. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Be sure you’re following me on Instagram.
  2. . Like the giveaway post on Instagram.
  3. Comment on that post: Skal!

Those steps above give you one entry.

Once you’ve done those, you can add some bonus entries by:

a. Tag someone on IG or here in the comments who you think might like to enter the giveaway (three entries for doing that).

b. Share my IG post in your IG stories (3 extra entries).

c. Favorite The Magical Flea Market on Etsy (5 bonus entries).

I will pull a winner on Jan. 2.

Let the Giveaway begin!

Yule Bird Tree

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Feast & Festive Outdoor Tree For the Birds

Our designated Yule Tree for the Birds. It sits where we can see it from several spots in the house and near where some of them naturally nest.

For me, caring for the land in my trust is part of the creed I live by. It has been a guiding principle in my life for many decades now and will always be a part of who I am.

It is natural then, when the Yuletide Season begins, I’ll want to bring the cheer and festivities outdoors. In the last couple of years we’ve not been able to do this; but, there was no stopping us during our time at home in the midst of a pandemic.

Your favorite crone checking the placement of the garland and other feeding ornaments for our Bird Yule Tree.

There are a ton of recipes out there for the how and why. For our tree this year we made a garland of popcorn, cranberries, and dried oranges. We also spiked mandarins with black sunflowers pierced into the rind and hung them. They act as nutrient rich liquid supply as the birds peck at them, as water sources can freeze this time of year, which the day after we put all this into place we got the following:

Under that snow is a feast for our feathered friends.

We also took the last of the pumpkins from our garden and cut them in half and filled them with birdseed and coconut oil. I had just recently made Sun King Soup and used the center piece of the two halves of the pumpkin I roasted for that, which contained a cool looking stem, and rubbed the inside with vegetable lard — fat intake is critical to birds right now toothpicked cranberries inside of it and made little cranberry perches for the birds.

Getting creative with squashes from our to create winter treats for the birds (and likely squirrels, and rabbits).

We also took apple slices and put natural peanut butter on one side and dipped it in wild bird seed. Lastly, we created holiday cookie cutouts of bird seed and coconut oil; but, I don’t have any silicon molds, which was recommended, so it didn’t quite work. More exploration for perhaps a Imbolc tree for the birds? At least we learned and can better prepare for next Winter Solstice.

Our not as successful birdseed ornaments. We will need to tweak this ‘recipe’ next time or invest in some silicon molds that can be refrigerated or frozen.

As I write this we haven’t yet seen our feathered friends; but, there is evidence they have found the goodies. One of the oranges has already been pecked of its seeds and something with sharp teeth bit at the rind. Of course now, that orange is under the snow; but, it’ll be there when it likely melts in the next day or so.

This holiday tradition is deep in its pagan roots of caring for the earth and its inhabitants. And it was fun and fulfilling to do. We have hours and days of watching the wildlife enjoy our offering and as a food-grower, this area will become one that will be for the wildlife always and hopefully they’ll leave our crops alone (haha!) One can hope.

I’m happy to entertain any questions if you want to try to do something similar. You don’t need a whole tree; but, that certainly is prime. But over the years, I’ve hung these types of things from apartment balconies, along my favorite trail, or from a shepherd’s hook near a prime viewing window or door. A potted plant at the entrance can help bring you and nature together at Yule time.

Bright Solstice, all and a Blessed Yuletide. ~Runa

Happy Winter Solstice, Bird Folx.

Yule Log Smiles

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The easiest & best winter celebration tradition

Our Yule Log 2020

My ancestral roots in harsh Northern European winters run deep, that coupled with the years I spent living there have given me a deep respect for the Yule Log tradition. It has grown to be my favorite tradition. When the longest night of The Big Dark (that’s what we call most of the winter in the Pacific Northwest) hits, there is nothing better than snuggling up next to the fire, drinking Wassail, and watching the Yule Log burn, remember the day that the items for it were gathered and the display created. I also must add that the years I stuck to this tradition on the Solstice, the following calendar year was one of great abundance and growth. This has cemented my commitment to doing a Yule Log each year. In addition to the positive magic it creates, I love how festive it makes things and you can do it so on the cheap! Natural and inexpensive? I’m here for that!

Gathering the supplies for your Yule Log is half the fun.

The Why of the Yule Log

In ancient times, heck even before electric light was prominent in most homes, winters were super harsh. The cold, the dark, it was oppressive. Think how awful it feels in modern life some days. Now take away all our modern comforts of indoor heating, plumbing, water, and central heating. And there was nothing like Netflix or The Internet. Winter sucked. Finding food was awful. People starved to death every winter. Having plenty of firewood, food, grain, and even company was important. Our ancestors knew the importance of surviving the winter depended mightily on the ability to keep the fires of warmth and food making going.

In the Norse tradition, for which I am aligned with most closely, Odin was the god of not only mead-soaked revelry that you would find with the Solstice — the turning point away from the darkest times of the year; but, also the god of death. Jolnir was another name for Odin. The Solstice was often done to call upon favor of the All Father to bless the village — since no one did anything with just their little tiny nuclear family, but the whole damn town — with it would take to survive winter: warmth, food, strength, and shelter. Jolnir’s blessing or the celebration of Jolnir on the Solstice morphed over the eons to Jul. The Jul Log or now in English, the Yule Log developed into a symbol of the gifts of the gods and the Earth to help us survive.

The Yule Log tradition isn’t just if you’re European. It did make it’s way to America. There is a series of paintings by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris of the Mount Vernon Yule Log event(s). You know Mount Vernon like the ancestral home of our first president, George Washington? Not to be confused with the Tulip-crazy town in Western Washington. It’s been here in North America since Europeans first came to these shores.

Progress as we decorate; this is before adding spices and candles.

The How of the Yule Log

There are many different practices of how a Yule Log tradition is done — some with many secrets and downright formality to it. For instance, you will not find me keeping the ashes of my burned Yule Log under my bed for the rest of the year in order to keep witches and evil away. No, the ashes from my Yule Log traditionally get put in my compost. Excellent ingredients to make better harvest the following year. Besides, my Ancestors were not really a formal bunch ever, even with western society got ahold of them. So my tradition, which I’ll detail here, is way more casual, and honestly, I believe, approachable for anyone to add into their own Bring-on-the-Light Celebrations of the start of Winter.

My Yule Log tradition always starts with a journey of gathering. In the fall when mushrooming season is high, I normally find a log that will work for my formal Yule Log. The Log normally seems to call to me. You’ll know which will work for you. Just make sure it will fit in your fireplace, wood stove, or fire pit. After gathering it, I let it sit by the hearth to dry out and remind me that closer to the solstice I’ll need to decorate it and honor it with other symbols of a festive and easy winter. You can’t have the light without the dark — our ancestors understood that and our high-powered lives of the 21st century would do well to understand that. It’s easy to forget the duality of life in this modern age. The Yule Log helps us remember, allows us to feel gratitude for the blessed times we live in.

As you can see, Yule logs can be of any size and shape.

About a week before the Solstice, there’s another gathering session — this time to procure things like holly, evergreen branches, snow berries, pine cones, whatever natural item you can find to bring some winter wow-ness to your Yule Log. I normally save one white, one red, and one green candle for the Yule Log. Some years they have been tapers, other years tea lights, one time we had a huge outdoor celebration and our Yule Log was a giant log so that year we had pillar candles on it. Next, I’ll swipe some cinnamon sticks and Star Anise from the larder to help decorate, too. In years past I’ve only sprinkled ground spices on it. The French are famous for soaking their logs in wine so that it smells yummy while it burns. You decide what speaks to you.

I have a tray that I put the log on and a red cloth to “tuck in” the log. I take what I’ve gathered from outside, and put it on and around the log. Sometimes I drill holes to put the candles in. Sometimes I just melt the wax of the bottom of the candle and stick it to the log. It just depends on how creative I’m feeling.

As you can see, Yule logs can be of any size and shape.

The When of the Yule Log

On the night of the Solstice (this year it’s Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 — but feel free to celebrate the day before or after), we light the candles on the Yule Log. Because there’s typically evergreen boughs that are now very dry, I will always be in the presence of the lit Yule Log. By the light of the candle we have a festive menu supper accompanied by the warmth of a pot of Wassail. We build a fire in the fire place (or when we’ve had outdoor celebrations, a bonfire) and ruminate on our most recent year and retell the stories that made this year — man will there be many stories about this year! During the telling of the stories, we think about all the things we’d like to leave behind and those things we’d like to hold onto from the year, and we write these things down on small notes. When the candles have come to the end or the evening is coming to a close (whichever comes first), we blow out the candles, remove them from the log, and then toss the yule log — decorations and all (and that is why using natural things to decorate the Yule Log is best) — onto the fire. We toss our notes on top of the log and pause a minute in silent reflection and watch as the flames burn away the past and fire-up the future. We wish ourselves the strength and resources to get through another winter and see the light of Spring as easily as possible.

All ready to light another Winter Solstice.

Another Year Another Yule Log

See? Nothing too elaborate or difficult. Just takes a bit of planning and setting aside time to actually enjoy the fruits of your labor. And given 2020s challenges, I am so needing the magic of the Yule Log this year. From writing this post, to actually gathering the log, decorating it, and preparing to do the traditional ritual of it, I’m flooded with the gratitude, joy, and peace of the Yuletide Season. I wish you the same.

If you decide to do a Yule Log, please take a picture and post it here, or tag me on your IG, etc. I love seeing how different everyone’s Yule Log center piece turns out each year. A Bright Solstice to you and a Blessed Yuletide Season.

My familiars, Shadow & Light, enjoying the Yule Log fire during a Winter Past.

Best Gifts for Witches Yule / Holiday 2020

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It’s the Yuletide season. The traditional gift-giving season for most of the world, whether you celebrate Yule, the Winter Solstice, or some other “bring the light to the big dark” time of year. I have to say, giving a gift to a pagan a/o witch is easy because we love so many simple things. So here’s a top 13, because, well, we love the number 13 given all its magical energy.

If you can source these gifts from other pagans and witches and they are local, you just scored even more good karma not just from your recipient but the universe in general. Throughout the article, there’s links for some of the markets and shops of goods from witches I know. Support other witches and you know the karma is tenfold.

These are not necessarily ranked from good to great, since most pagans practice attitude of gratitude and are more likely to be giving you any of these things as opposed to worrying about receiving them.

Magical Runic Vegvisir Ornament from the Magical Flea Market.

13. Candles. Whether it’s just to up the ante of Hygge in the home during winter, or for ritual or spell casting. You can never go wrong with giving candles to a witch, especially if they are self contained. Those 7-day candles at the corner market or bodega? Those are inexpensive and a staple in so much craft work. Get your pagan friend a set of them and you will glow with the light of thousands of candles to them. Is your witch siSTAR a tech witch? or travels lots? LED candles are awesome, too.

12. Incense. I prefer cone incense, because it’s easier to make black salt with. But I still have a few stick incense holders, too. Know which kind your witch prefers and get them one in several scents. Ritual work often requires sage incense or frankincense or dragon blood. But, some good ol’ nag champa or patchouli will work, too.

11. Herbs. Dried or potted, you can’t go wrong. Herbs are used in so much of the craft, from kitchen witchery to spell bags to rituals. If you’ve grown and dried your own, that’s even more magical. Some to focus on? Whole cinnamon, star anise, whole clove, rosemary, sage, lavender, and bay. Also, aligned with this category is things like garlic braids or chili pepper wreaths. These are many a kitchen witch’s dream.

10. Crystals. Whether raw, polished, a grouping, altar tools, or in jewelry, crystals are loved by witches. I honestly don’t know any pagan or witch that doesn’t love any and all crystals. Some all around good ones to give include rose quarts, black tourmaline, selenite, and citrine. You also could consider things like quartz or amethyst book ends, which is on my wish list

9. Books and Calendars with a Magical Focus. Whether it’s a book by another witch about how they became a witch, how they practice, or a particular subject like astrology, numerology, healing, or another path of magic, books are well loved by most pagans. On my wish list is actually a pagan book of poetry by Jason Ralls called The Oath: A Heathen Poet’s Journey. Additionally, calendars that focus on moon cycles and wheels of the year are well-loved, too.

8. Gifts For & From Nature. Whether it’s a beautiful sea shell, an unusual feather, berries or mushrooms you’ve gathered, pinecones scented with essential oils, animal skulls, or handmade seasonal garland, the witch on your list is going to love it. Even better? Take her on a hike and do these things together. If not directly from The Mother herself, give something to your favorite witch that is kind to Gaia: a reusable water bottle, wax food wraps,

7. Essential Oils. I go through a lot of essential oil. Most witches I know do as well. Rose oil, lavender, orange and lemon, and clove are some favorites. I use bay oil to create a safe “anti insect” spray for around my property and gardens. Tea tree is used medicinally and with lots of beauty recipes. But just about any are great.

6. Divination Tools:  Tarot Decks, Runes, I-Ching, Pendulums, Scrying Bowls/Balls, and Oracle cards. You name it.

5. Readings. Get them a reading by another witch. Witches love supporting other witches, so have their natal chart read, get them a deep tarot reading, or rune casting for the next year, or even a Reiki session. If there is a service one pagan provides that your giftee would love, you hit a gift homerun.

4. Statuary & Art. Art work featuring gods, goddesses and other figures that speak to their path are great gifts. I would add book ends that represent the outsider, too — owls, gargoyles, or the like.

3. Altar/Ritual Cloths, Runners & Tools: There’s nothing like keeping your altar in sync with the Wheel of the Year and to symbolize things that mean lots to witches — nature, the heavens, and symbols of the season. Altar Tools are always appreciated. Does your favorite witch have a wand?

2. Decorative Containers or Jars. Containers to keep candles, tarot cards, an athame or pendulum in are always in demand as well. Many can be used as travel altars if they have secure latches. Jars to store dried herbs in (maybe include things from item #11), potions, and tinctures are always appreciated. If there are protective sigils or runes on the outside of it, you just upped the magical-ness of it as well.

1. Witchy Clothing. A modern witch cap, a ritual cape, a scarf, oh, and the always favorite, striped socks or tights! Is she a seawitch? Maybe it has sea symbols on a shawl. Is she into astrology? How about some fingerless gloves with constellations on them? Anything earthy or ethereal will likely be a hit. You know your witch best. Or even something in her favorite color, even if it’s just black.

Whatever you gift or receive, may you have a blessed season and a healthy 2021. May the next year bring us back together again.

Witches Prayer / Meditation Beads from the Magical Flea Market.

Giving Birth in a Pandemic

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I didn’t expect to launch this site when I did. I mean it’s been gestating for a bit of time now. I’ve been a public witch since 2017, but resisted creating a website for so long, since my energies were really elsewhere. Then the Coronavirus pandemic hit and everything, including craft work, has gone virtual.

No longer could people come to me directly for tinctures, spell work, divination readings/castings, hedge riding, and the like. I had to have somewhere they could reach out to me. Social media is great, but it can be noisy and impersonal. I’d been holding on to the url runatroy.com for some time, but it just was just parked. Well, today’s the day I pulled baby out of the bunker and she’s driving down the highway now.

So here I am. I’m already working on my other first post, so stay tuned, and thanks for stopping by. I expect, this site will begin to mature as we go, and that’s fine. Being a witch is a magical journey of learning that never ends. Having a website mimics that very much.

In the meantime, please feel free to see my shop, the Magical Flea Market, or ping me on Instagram. I am also on Facebook. Let’s connect. I may be solitary, but we all need connection. I’m here for you.