So often throughout my life as a practitioner of the Craft, I will be asked, “What kind of Witch are you?” For decades I’ve answered that with varying terms: Hedge, Green, Intuitive or Gray when I was feeling particularly salty. However, it was always with a “ish” on the end or a qualifying “sort of.” Many times, I used the umbrella term of Eclectic. A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
None of those terms felt true to me. So much of my practice has evolved and aligns with some of all those terms, but not really any of them.
Now before I get too much deeper into this post, I want to address the likely response regarding labels. I know many of you dislike labels. That is the Pagan way. We don’t like it. But we do call ourselves Pagan. We call ourselves Witch. We call ourselves Heathen. Listen, honey, those are labels. Labels are bad when others give them to us. If we embrace them, that’s different (see LGBTQIA community’s taking back of the word Queer). That’s called description. It can very well be super empowering. Besides, such words have power, too. Hence why we don’t like others to label us.
Now if you can’t give yourself clear descriptions right now, it’s perfectly fine. And a pretty normal thing for many following a Witch’s path. Perhaps my journey will help you shine a light on yours. I offer it with the hope that you find something positive out of it.
Understanding and examining myself and my practice had been a focus since about May 2020. Eventually I found myself meditating regularly to clarify my path, my purpose, my understanding of the things I do to make my life Magical. I meditated on how to describe my practice and spirituality over the course of 2021. It came to me about mid year. I almost rebranded my business with this term, but recognized quickly what it really was. It’s my practice, my life, really, all in one phrase: Midgardening Witchery.
Yes, that’s a riff on Midgard, the Norse Mythos realm that is Earth. This particular leaning of paganism is where I find myself called as far as working with deities, magical tools (Runes). Combine this with Gardening as a nod to my Permie Witch* efforts as an Earth Healer, and of course all that I find myself doing as a Crone Hedge Witch. All this cooks in the cauldron and becomes the spiritual stew that is Midgardening Witchery, my personal craft practice. It’s founded in being the Hedge Witch I am, but combines all the passions in my life as well. My introversion has allowed me to pursue living a life that is more suited for me to be my true self and living my best life. Working with the Earth, divine, magic, food, dream interpretation, rune casting, and of course writing, have all brought me here.
Permie Witch is a term I’ve been using to mean a magical viewpoint on the Permaculture Principles and applying them as a path towards my desire to directly care for and live with the earth and its creatures.
Recently I’ve used my freshly minted label to hashtag or footnote a post or photo or social media content. I quickly received messages about what it was about. That in turn prompted this post. Ah, the circle of life. Ask a question. Get an answer. Then explain the answer further.
Here’s a little Venn Diagram to perhaps illustrate how I came up with this term.
All these primary things fed into creating my personal Witchcraft practice.
I share this with you, not only to answer the questions I’ve been asked about my personal practice, and certainly not because I’m starting a new sect or cult (although there has been much tongue-in-cheek planning and laughter about this between The Viking and me). Rather, I do so in order that you can perhaps make your own Venn diagram of things that feed your personal practice and create your own descriptive word. Or perhaps you’re the rare BWitch that is my doppleganger somewhere and this speaks to you directly. If that’s the case, we should probably collaborate.
Lastly, I think it’s a good practice as a follower of magical pathways to really look at what your belief system is. Doing that brought this little diddy to light. Critical thinking about our own devotion can only help us clarify, sharpen, and expand us as we move forward. For me this path has allowed way more harmony and peace. It certainly holds space for me to be my truest self and live my best life (even if the latter is covered in 5 feet of snow right now), which is critical to the self-actualization I seek.
I keep throwing these things out into the universe, called by some unseen pressure, to show & tell about my life in the Craft. It has provided me so much understanding and healing by encouraging my agency and my boundaries (you cannot heal without reinforcing self-protection and physical, emotional, and mental boundaries). I want that goodness for everyone, so here I am, occupying this little cottage in the forest of the internet, talking story into the void. If you’ve come upon this path, please take a moment and make this Crone’s day by leaving a comment about how you came to the Craft, this space, or just your favorite crystal. Let’s chat!
Three Easy Rituals To Incorporate for the Beginning of 2022
Blessed Calendar New Year, All You Magical Beings! The Winter Solstice is just past and we’re three-quarters through the 12 days of Yule.
In the spirit of the season, I wanted to share with you some easy Magic you can incorporate as you freshen up your Muggle calendars from 2021 to 2022. These are traditions that have been a part of my life for years and decades and they bring lots of good energy and abundance for me, I’m sure they could do the same for you. It is my privilege to share this magic with you and if you find some use for it or begin to incorporate it in your own traditions, please take a moment and comment below to let me know. Do note that although this says new years, there’s still time, especially with today’s (recent) Capricorn New Moon, to apply any or all of these to your energy and magical practice for January 2022.
The Good Things Jar/Attitude of Gratitude: I don’t know exactly how long ago we began working this intentional magic of recognizing our embarrassment of abundance and allowing it to energize us to be our truest selves and (thereby) live our best lives. We set the jar up early in our now 16-year marriage (I reckon 2007, but not sure) and put it in a prominent place in our home, one where everyone could access it. Each time we recognized something we were grateful for, you know, the good things in your life, we’d note it on a small piece of paper, fold it, and store it in the jar. Each person was responsible for tending the jar with their gratitude throughout the year. This little ritual of gratitude that happens spontaneously (see photo of examples), typically happened when any of us were alone. I rarely would see The Viking or say, Dragon Son, anyone, honestly, put something in the jar. I often feel like tending Magic is a very personal thing. This ritual that we do seems to follow. But it is “gathered” together to make it stronger. Setting up the jar can be a group activity, or like in my household, the Head Witch In Charge (me!) decorated or created the jar to store the nuggets of thankfulness. It can be as simple or ornate as you like. You don’t need a special jar, ours is just a left-over pickle jar. However, others who I have taught this practice to have made theirs very fancy-like. You do you, Witch. When the kids were younger it was a great New Year’s Day activity that could be done indoors and feed their creativity. During the New Year celebrations – some years we did this New Year’s Eve, some years, New Year’s Day, this year it was NYD – we gather around the fire, typically with cakes and ale (this year it was sparkling wine and Yule cookies), and read out loud each note of gratitude stored in the jar.
We take each note as they are read and place them in a paper sack. Reading the notes often spurs on conversation about the event (e.g. We got the vaccine! Appeared three times in the jar this year). The result of this energy is strengthening bonds within the household/family. After the reading of these strips of written blessings, they are burned in the fire. We hold and pause for an organic amount of silent time imagining the smoke as the energy of our annual recognition & focus on gratitude is set off into the universe to spread that positivity.
We may pray silently, individually for how we want things to improve and grow for the coming year, or just hold space to welcome any and all abundance. We hold one another and thank one another for all we do for one another throughout the year, describing often, in detail, what we appreciate about one another. Then it’s time for eating and drinking and talking about our hopes for happy memories (this year’s conversation was all about creating more gatherings for family and friends here at Villa Westwyk). In short this is about acknowledging the good of the previous year and carrying those good feelings from one calendar year to the next. Each year I have done this gratitude work has helped me get deeper and deeper into the life I’d prefer with the people I love. I am hard pressed to see us stop this well-loved ritual and magical work.
Hoppin’ John and Johnny Cake: Food is definitely a focus of my life. I love creating meals for family and friends. Kitchen Witchery is where I could practice a magical life hidden from the well-meaning view of Muggle and Christian friends and family. I’m way more open about my lifestyle and beliefs now, although there are only a select few who know all about the Magical AND Muggle me. This is a decision in my practice that was long passed down, you know, the whole I am the daughter of the Witch you didn’t burn. Will ever shall the two meet? I have no idea. But for now, Kitchen Witchery is so pronounced in my everyday life, literally, I have meal times each day to create magic through Kitchen Witchcraft.
On New Year’s Day, without fail, you will find me blessing those in my household with foods that bring abundance. Eating this on New Years is a ritual to bring a prosperous and healthy new year. Yule Ham is stretched to make the Hoppin’ John broth and meat the stew. Greens from the garden – we had kale this year – reminds us that the Earth still gives us fresh foods that are so nutritional. Stores from the larder are also used (canned carrots, if there are none in the garden), and of course the dried peas. Although this is traditional for many folx in the Southern United States, born out of the African diaspora, you will find pockets of families in the Midwest (especially Detroit & Chicago) and throughout the Rockies that cook a version of this meal for New Year’s. I continued this tradition when we moved to the Pacific Northwest. Here’s the key ingredients: Black-eyed peas: these legumes symbolize the coins we have in our piggy banks. If you host a Hoppin’ John meal on New Year’s Day, the host leaves a lucky coin under their guests soup bowls. These coins have been blessed and should be carried by the receiver throughout the year to increase their abundance. Leafy Greens (collards, mustard, turnip, kale, chard, etc.): These are the color of money (at least here in the United States). As I mentioned above, for a good portion of North America, you can still be growing these veggies in your kitchen gardens or in mini hoop houses and such. These greens are not only good for you, but keep you healthy so you have more earning potential. Visualize money coming to you. Ham Hocks: As winter approached, smoked meats were a pantry staple for many. Throughout the winter months, bacon, beans and rice are often served throughout the southeastern United States. Hoppin’ John is a celebratory version of this. Note: you can make this vegetarian, or even vegan, but unfortunately, I don’t have a tried-and-true recipe for such. Perhaps I’ll explore that this year. Tell me if you want me to figure one out. Rice: If you have rice, you have a meal, is a school of thought for many cultures. So to eat rice on New Year’s was done to insure your cupboards were full throughout the year. Onions & Garlic: Again, we’ve hit the time of year when long-storing foods would be more plentiful than fresh. Onions & Garlic in Kitchen Witchery are long thought to help repel negativity. Nutritionally they are great antioxidants, decrease inflammation and boost immunity. All good things during winter.
Johnny Cake (aka Cornbread): It’s the color and shape of gold coins. Again, eating abundance to attract abundance. Besides tasting delicious and pairing nicely with Hoppin’ John, Johnny Cake is a great way to get phosphorus for bone health. Other ingredients within the cake/bread are also natural antioxidants as well as boosting sodium in the body, which in winter can be an issue. Eating this to start off the new year is all about not only setting abundance intentions for the new year, but also about stretching the abundance to share with others. If you have enough , and I’ve always known the pot of Hoppin’ John to feed us for a few meals, and you eat it the next day (Jan. 2), it’s called Skipping Jenny and is said to reinforce the magic of eating it on New Year’s Day. Whether you feed a whole tribe or just your love and you, focusing intent into something going inside of you is powerful Magic. Adding the extra fun of the lucky coin (one year I charged the coins under the Solstice Full Moon in the mint bed) for Hoppin John Diners to carry for luck through the year just amps up the ritual. To your health and abundance, include this practice in your New Years! Break that corn bread together in love!
Fire scrying: Every new year, just sitting by the fire with a warm beverage and just meditating, if not getting into full-on trance mode and divining through fire scrying is a traditional part of my magical work and targeted reset for the calendar year. As a Witch, I often do “new year’s” work on Samhain. So the calendar year offers a great check-in time on how I’m progressing on my goals and to redress any tangents that are not serving me. Don’t have a way to sit by a fire? A candle dedicated just for your New Year’s magic works, too. This year we upped our connection to the fire, and did a short yoga practice next to the fire place. If you live where it’s warm and have fire-ring access, this could be such a beautiful ritual. Connecting with your breath before you gaze into the flames is such a great grounding action before letting your higher self take over. Some years, when my psychic energy was lower on the calendar new year, I just did a visualization exercise instead of scrying. I would stare into the fire and see myself accomplishing what I want to do for the coming year. This is a great way to hone your intentions for the new year – being lost and not knowing what direction to go in, often blocks our path. You are not alone, and I offer these alternatives for those times. It happens to every Witch at one point in time in their lives. Sharing my rituals and experience is again why I’m doing this blog.
Bonus- Journal Practice: Each new year I give myself a new journal and again, dedicate time to write down all I’m experiencing in my life and organize my thoughts, feelings, ideas, goals, etc. This year, my journaling practice is going to include more focus on my magical practice, specifically Runes, their meanings and using that medium even more definitely in my life. Your mileage may vary. You may want to focus on something else within your journaling. For years, I’ve added to our family’s collective Good Things practice by starting each day in my journal noting three things I’m grateful for. I’ve also kept track of things like sleep data, other personal health issues (e.g. I didn’t get help for my migraines until I kept detailed records of them and had ‘data’ to show my medical teams and holistic healers), to simply new music I like. It’s amazing how much comes into clear understanding just by writing things down. Synchronicity breeds off of energy put in black and white. Trust.
I hope these little New Year’s rituals are things you can easily use to be the Magic of the World, to be your truest self and live your best life.
*Permie Witch is a term I’ve been using to mean a magical viewpoint on the Permaculture Principles and applying them as a path towards my desire to directly care for and live with the earth and its creatures. Look for future blog posts detailing this deeper.
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.
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?