Tag: country dweller

My Praying Mantis Wild Familiars

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The Beautiful Messages From Spirit Through Nature

Look at this lovely. Her messages were just as beautiful.

Since arriving at Villa Westwyk, there’s been many messages from Spirit to let me know I’m in the right place and on the right path. We found this property, honestly, in the knick of time. We had looked at dozens and dozens of properties and this one just randomly popped up on my search parameters and wasn’t even on our realtor’s radar. The property had a pending offer and went off the market, but I found it just as it went back on because the buyer pulled out. It checked all our boxes and although there were compromises (there is in any living situation), the important stuff on our list was met. 

Once here, the abundant wildlife was prevalent. So many song birds, but also bald and golden eagles, hawks, ducks, geese, and hummingbirds. The first weekend we spent here we saw fox, bobcat, and coyote. And the frogs. Oh my, the frogs are everywhere, telling me our property is pretty healthy despite the neglect from the former owners, whose lives took them away from the Villa to other paths. We have a resident raven, for which we’ve named SplitWing, because he has this seeming birth defect that has one wing kind of cattywampus and a deep split in it. You can pick him out of a crowd for sure. He tolerates the dogs chasing him a bit and visits each day to aerate the west lawn and get his fill of bugs and worms. When I put out seed for the birds, he’s always first to come along, but he shares with the others, to include a Pileated Woodpecker who’s call always makes me laugh.

Then there was the visit from my (deceased) Father — one of the strongest clairvoyant experiences this ol’ Hedge Crone has had in her life thus far. He told me to hang onto this property. To my family. To my friends. His spirit seems to hover here often. I’ll be working in the yard and I can smell the pipe tobacco he often smoked when I was younger. The fact that I’m writing this today, his birthday, seems very serendipitous. He would have been 75 years old today.

Then as summer moved closer to fall I was blessed with visits from many, many Praying Mantis. Every time I worked in the yard, I found them. One special time, a particularly beautiful one just landed on my hand as I held a shovel. The strange thing was that shortly before the first one descended onto our property (they fly rather spastically), The Viking (my spouse for those who are new here) had told me he hadn’t ever seen a Praying Mantis in person. Why we were even talking about such a thing, I don’t recall. Therein lies the magic of Divine Downloads.

That clearly was a sign from spirit. Therefore, the visits from the  Praying Mantis got me thinking. What was Spirit trying to tell me? About the time of their visits I was feeling rather verklempt over losing our travel life (this time last year I was in the Mojave doing magic in the desert and looking forward to moving towards Alaska on our sailboat come summer). But Pops message kept repeating in my brain “Hold on to what you have, Betty (his nickname for me).” What I have is wonderful. I love Villa Westwyk, but the restlessness of staying in one place after being nomadic for almost two years was draining me. And then the Praying Mantis came and made their home my home. In many cultures, the Praying Mantis is considered good luck. From a permaculture standpoint, they are an indicator of a healthy land space (much like frogs are) and they reduce the population of harmful insects. If you check my instagram from last year and you’ll see one taking care of a wasp — although wasps are typically pollinators, we had an imbalance of them on our property when we first moved in. The Mantis took care of that imbalance.

Even now their presence is about — I’m finding egg sacs all over the property — even one in our cold frame, which means we’ll be blessed again this year with more. After sitting with the message and meditating and, of course, doing my dream work and divining runes, it all pointed to one thing: Sometimes we give things up, regardless of how that sacrifice came up (mine was prompted by the global pandemic), only to learn that we are stronger and more sure of the path we are now on. This is much like the Praying Mantis, where after breeding, the female often eats the male. Well-nourished females produce healthier eggs. The sacrifice of the mate is returned many-fold by the hundreds of nymphs that emerge from one egg sac.

The sacrifice(s) that have brought me to this point in my life have produced hundreds of blessings. These Wild Familiars, not just the Mantis, hold messages when we have questions about our way forward. For now, everything points to I am where I need to be and doing the work I should be doing. That knowledge was brought forward by these Wild Familiars. When you have questions and feel that restlessness about which path allows you to be your truest self and live your best life, take a breath and see the messages about you through Nature and her creatures.

What are your Wild Familiars? What messages have they brought you?

Psychic Hangovers

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How They Happen; How to Avoid Them

You didn’t know that witches have special hangovers? Yep, we do. Just like overdoing it with alcohol, overusing your psychic energy can produce what feels very much like a hangover. When experiencing a psychic hangover, you may feel physically sick: fatigue, have a headache, feel nauseous or actually vomit, and or experience an extended period of malaise. Even the most practiced witch, medium, healer, and the like may fall to it, but if you are disciplined (oh, look, there’s one of the guiding principle words), you can prevent it. But to do that, we need to first understand how they happen.

In recent months as I’ve become a more and more public witch, my energy/magic/psychic output has spiked. If you viewed it in some sort of measurable graph it would look something like this:

And those highs notably follow a crash. And crash I did. How did I let it happen? I was feeling good and plain and simple was not careful. This is what happened, right around Samhain, I was doing rune casting/reading after reading, I had started Solitary Shenanigans, and was doing daily dream interpretations. Additionally I was making magical things for my Magical Flea Market. The output was high and I was loving it.

Now, I’ve been doing those things for most of my life, but they were weekly at best, and sometimes I would go a good amount of time without doing any kind of psychic output. Life today is very different as I’ve found my new path with a constant focus on a magical life. Then the crash came. I was dumbfounded by why I woke up one day just absolutely drained. I felt hung-over but had not imbibed in my traditional nightcap of a shot of whiskey in the nights before. I couldn’t eat because I felt almost a sea sickness. My head throbbed and within a few hours I had a migraine as I’d not had in a very long time. For three days I could do only the bare minimum in my life. I had to cancel Solitary Shenanigans. And reschedule clients. Everyone was understanding. My clients were gracious. My Viking was supportive. During my recovery, it didn’t take me long to figure out what had happened. I had a magic hangover. My psychic output had been so intense, I’d overdone it. I burned my hedge witch candle at both ends. I got burned. And it hurt.

When I started coming out of the fog, I reached out to some of the other witches in my life, asking them how they deal and, more importantly, prevent such psychic crashes. All of them could relate and had lots of advice. All of them had learned the hard way, even when they had protected themselves, grounded themselves, and done other prevented measures. What I also gleaned from talking to my fellow witches is that appears that we all need to push ourselves to know where our limit is. Much like most adults know they can have “X” number of drinks so they stay away from a hangover episode.

MareLin, the PNW High Priestess, for whom I have partnered with for three-plus years doing magical work and The Country Dwellers Podcast, told me that many a witch can find themselves getting sucked in and drunk on the craft. She teaches new witches all about this through her Path Of The Moon Initiate – Foundation and its initiate course. Preparation and protection are key, she said.

Preparation can just look like scheduling things in a more meaningful and relaxed manner. My fellow witch, Jennifer Hryciw, aka Painted Goddess, who has the fabulous Astrologic Lab, told me that after her lesson of trying to do 30 readings in 30 days, she now knows she needs to only do three readings a week. Your mileage may vary, but other folks I spoke to have restrictions on how much they put out. It’s also why readings have the cost they do. If you’re making your living doing magical work — it’s still labor and skilled labor at that (but that’s another post…stay tuned).

Protection can be done by wearing specific wards, crystals, or casting a circle. When I do readings and do magical work, I call on my guides for protection and wear all the protective crystals, specifically black tourmaline and carnelian. I save circles for big ritual work, where I tend to expend a lot of magic. But I can put it in my playbook for later, if I’m feeling like I need a boost. However, I know many witches that don’t work unless they cast a circle, often calling forth the deities they prefer to work with. My circles tend to use elemental energy instead. But it’s a protective resource regardless and available to prevent a psychic hangover.

MareLin’s advice was echoed in Mat Auryn in his book Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide to Meditation, Magick & Manifestation. He writes about the possibility of burnout and relays a story about his own experience with a magical crash. His experience was related to not grounding before practicing his craft. He also warns that continued pushing of the psychic limits without recovery or preventative measures can make you literally fry your ability to function. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

So how do we prevent getting a magical burnout or psychic hangover?

Like Auryn says in his book, the first thing to do is ground yourself. If you are unaware of how to ground yourself, there are a ton of resources out there. If you are wanting some guided grounding and meditative practices, besides reading books like Auryn’s mentioned above or Astrea Taylor’s book, Intuitive Witchcraft: How to use Intuition to Elevate Your Craft, I recommend you seek out someone like Tina at The Evergrove for guided meditation services which also incorporate grounding techniques. If you hurry you might be able to participate in a free session she’s giving Feb. 6 (2021).

But in my experience related above I did ground myself and still experienced a crash. So what do you do if you crash and need to recover? The Universe has just told you to sit you ass down, witch. You are going to have to rest. Much like recovering from the flu or a hangover. You need to hydrate. Drink some healing teas with a bit of honey. I know it sounds cheesy and cliché, but it works. Feed yourself whole foods. Nothing too high in fat, sugar, or carbs. Definitely nothing processed. As your energy expands, look at doing some light exercise like restorative yoga or a gentle stroll in nature (this is not the time to try to climb a mountain!)You can also look at doing some energy healing, like reiki or sound healing. I can recommend sessions from Steph Ananda, and her Ananda Industries offerings. Also, take a bath, if you’re able. A cleanse to purge the after effects of a magical binge is very healing.

A bath was a highlighted tactic and tip that Hryciw gave me when I reached out feeling blindsided by my psychic hangover. She told me, “If I could, I would do my readings from a bath, soak in those Epsom salts, and just charge me under the moonlight while I’m (doing) readings.”

I like it! Do your readings from a restorative bath!

But most importantly, you’re going to need to abstain from doing any magic. Seriously, give yourself a cease and desist order from anything magical. For some of us that may be tough. I mean I didn’t even do my daily coffee ritual or any kitchen witchery. We ate frozen leftovers and ordered in because I’m at the stage of my life where all kitchen work includes magical energy. For how long? Well, like everything in your practice that depends. You know you and your practice best. For me, the incident above took almost four days total to recover from. I didn’t even pull an oracle card or any small thing. Hell, I was in bed or on the couch for two of those days. You may need less time; you may need more. One thing to note is that magic hangovers get harder to process the more powerful a witch you are, or just how hard you tied on your psychic overdose. Make sense? Think back to how you could party in your younger days and still go to work in the morning (or for me, run in formation for six miles); but today, a hangover means you can barely get through the day or need to call in sick. It’s the same with your psychic (magical) energy.

Lastly, this whole experience made me recall the witch I learned the most from back in the day (you know before the internet, social media and people hearing the word witch daily), oh dear “LBT,” who wrote to me from her “Mushroom Cottage” responding to my gushing fangirling letter regarding her work. Told me to trust my gut and to rest as much as I work. And that’s how I’m playing it. In addition to preparation and protection, I’m balancing work and rest. Therefore, if I’m doing readings, for an hour. I rest for an hour, or two if  necessary.

Appreciate you reading all the way through. If you have things you do to prevent a psychic hangover, please leave a comment below. And stay tuned next week when I tackle the subject of Dream Hangovers! Yep, there are those, too.  



Personal Guiding Principles


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,


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.