Tag: hedge witch

Kitchen Witchery meets Permaculture For The Fur Babies

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In honor of National Pet Rescue Day – DIY Magic Pet Food

Ms.SnickleFritz & Granny Shadow have bespoke food. Lucky Familiars.

May 20 is National Pet Rescue Day. My current ‘Puppers,’ as The Viking and I call them, are rescues. I’ve always preferred to adopt rescues than purchase my pet because I find they are just so loyal and loving. The added benefit that an animal in need is being cared for is a bonus. I’m not about to get into puppy mills and all that nonsense, or the fact that there are likely just as many feral cats in your neighborhood as there are people. Rescues are a kinder way for the animals and our planet. This Witch is all about kinder to animals and the planet.

Enter Kitchen Witchery and Permaculture to solve a problem. In Permaculture, you Design from Patterns to Details and the pattern was non sustainable food for my familiars. The details of what would make it sustainable begin to emerge.

These Witch’s Familiars, our canine yin and yang, are getting up there in age and now have special dietary requirements. Currently they both have medicated kibble. On top of the kibble we put a wet food, because they’ve made it clear the kibble alone is not very satisfying. Kind of how we have to put cinnamon and fruit on our oatmeal to actually eat it. Also much of the nonmedicated kibble is mostly water and does not have the protein that most canines need.

After finding that most of the softer foods out there are so full of things that my puppers do not need, are horribly expensive, and produce so much waste in its packaging, I needed something more economical, sustainable, and that the furkids would enjoy. About this time last year I started experimenting with making my own canned dog food. The idea to even explore that came to me because I often will make a big batch of stew or soup and I either need to preserve the leftovers, or was finding at least one pint would be used to augment Ms. Snicklefritz and Granny Shadow’s dinner. Much like how I approach the food that The Viking and I consume, I really wanted to know what my dogs were eating. I recognized that the best way to do that was to make it myself. The additional opportunity to make the food a ritual and infuse it with Magic, well, I couldn’t resist that.

Lamb, kale, carrots, and a small bit of sweet potato made this batch of dog food for my pups.

The intentions I put into each batch are all about protection, health, and, of course, love. I’m sharing this, as mentioned in the title, in honor of National Pet Rescue Day and in hopes that it might inspire you to look a little closer into your own food as well as that of your own familiar. As a Permie Witch, doing this follows the permaculture principle of Producing No Waste. Every part of our resources gets used. It is to a lesser degree aligning with two other of the permaculture principles: Obtain A Yield, and Creatively Use & Respond to Change. A weaker argument could be made for the tenet of Use & Value Renewables. As we begin the growing, hatching, and birthing season here at Villa Westwyk, we eat with the seasons here as much as possible. It’s a slow change, which also is within the permaculture lifestyle: Choose Small, Slow Solutions. Needless to say, we’re all in here at the covenstead with this “chore,” which is really a ritual and spell. This is about the moment when my youngest, Dragon Son, would say, “you feel me?”

I basically take a left over chicken carcass, stew bone, or even the remnants of a whole fish, bring it to a boil, then simmer several hours. You just need enough water to cover the carcass…don’t go crazy unless you plan to make soup or such soon, or can the broth (that’s what I do). I make broth in a pasta maker, that way the carcass and the meat still on it is easily drained, cooled, and picked through. Sometimes I will refrigerate the broth overnight before continuing with the pet food batch, so I can skim the fat off and use an appropriate proportion with it to cook the veggies in. But you could use oil, butter, bacon drippings, whatever you have on hand.

This is where my protein to make the pet food comes in, so you could buy store bought, but the bone broth provides so many nutrients and is a superbly economical way to acquire pet food. If you want to go full-on Midgardening Witchery, you’ll can the extra broth for the human pets in your life. 😉 My 9 half-pint batches start normally with about 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of protein. y last batch the protein portion was about 2 cups; I let the protein amount drive the rest of the recipe. If you homeschool, this is a great exercise in fractions and parts of the whole. 😉

I cook up the bite-size veggies with a little bit of fat, add the meat plucked from the bones, make a roux, add the broth, let it cook down a bit and can it up. Alternatively, you may freeze it at this point, or if you can use your batch up within a week’s time, you can keep it in the refrigerator.

If you know how to make biscuits and gravy, or any kind of a roux, this recipe will likely be easy for you. The below recipe makes about 9 half-pint mason jars. If you want to make pint or quart, do the appropriate math. 😉

Equipment:

Broth pot (stew pot with a colander in it, like a pasta cooker)

Cauldron (Dutch oven pot)

Pressure Canner with Jars/Rings/Lids or Freezer containers

Ingredients:

1 part Protein (leftover chicken carcass, ham bone, lamb leg bone, etc.)

1/4 part Fat (bacon drippings, schmaltz)

1 part Veggies (cats and dogs need their veggies, too)

1 part Something to help meld it together (sweet potato, beans, potato, brown rice, etc.)

~ 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup Flour

~ 2 cups Broth (double if making quart batches)

Salt (optional)

This batch includes rabbit, chicken, broccoli, and garbanzo beans.

Instructions:

  1. Make your broth. Put soup bones, poultry carcass, etc. in a pot covered with water. You’re only going to need about 2 cups tops to make a batch of pet food (I do 7-9 half pints at a time). But make as much as you like. If what you’re making broth with was unseasoned (not often on my covenstead) feel free to add a pinch or two of salt. Salt is good for your animals, too. But just like us, too much is not good either to taste or for their bodies.
  2. Once broth is made, remove the bones and separate any meat/skin/giblets out to include in the pet food. As you do this, put the intention of keeping the sick away from your beloved familiars. You are separating the good stuff versus the discard. Set the meat aside and discard the bones. If you’re going to can your pet food, this is where you’ll need to sanitize your jars, lids, and rings and inspect your pressure canner.
  3. Into your cauldron, add a bit of fat (butter, schmaltz, bacon drippings, oil) and heat on medium heat. Sauté the chopped up vegetables until tender. I put the veggies in saying, “Here’s to my familiar’s health.” Simple, but effective. Each time I stir the veggies I say it again, “Here’s to my familiar’s health.”
  4. Once the veggies are tender, add back in the meat you plucked from the bone(s), and sauté with the veggies until warmed (about one to two minutes). If you have things like potatoes or beans in your batch, give them a squish with your cooking spoon to help thicken things up in the next step. Mashing the ingredients in is optional, but my somewhat toothless wonders love it this way (just like aging people, pets sometimes lose teeth as they age). I do a simple stir three times clockwise (aka sunwise), putting a whole lotta love for these furkids into the cauldron’s contents.
  5. Depending on how full your pot is, you’re going to need between 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of flour. You are making a roux with the veggies and meat. Sprinkle the flour on the protein and veggies envisioning the flour as extra protection and mix it all in and let it cook for about two minutes.
  6. Add in your broth, and simmer until reduced somewhat. You know what wet pet food consistency looks like. You’re looking to get the same. Depending on the size of your batch, this can take five to 20 minutes. My 9 half-pint-jar-batch takes about seven minutes. If you’re filling a canner or freezing quart size containers, then it will go closer to 20 minutes.
  7. At this point you can package up your food and freeze, but if you’re going to pressure can, I always use half-pint (aka jelly) jars and can get up to 9 jars in my canner. Follow the manufacturers instructions for your personal pressure canner. Can the pet food at 11 pounds pressure for 15 minutes for half pint; 25 minutes for pint; 35 minutes for quart (for you folx with more pets or large pets, quart size might work best).
  8. Label your food with the ingredients & date and watch your pets gobble it up. Honestly, this is food that humans could eat, too. So, if you don’t label it, no one will be harmed. LOL. Regardless, you know whether man or beast, they are going to dig it. If I’m feeling particularly Witchy, I might put an appropriate sigil on the jar.
  9. When there’s only one jar left, be sure to make another batch. I also set aside one jar to always have in the pantry to bring abundance for my familiars: food, water, shelter, and love. If you do this “cupboard Magic” be sure to rotate the abundance anchor (your extra jar) so that the food doesn’t go bad. That’s some negative energy there. These will last in your cupboard easily for up to six months.

I hope that this helps you amp up your self sufficiency and self reliance, as well as brings a little Magic for your familiars/pets. Also, please join me in the Adopt Don’t Shop philosophy. And please give to your favorite animal advocate nonprofit. The Viking and I support the ASPCA regularly and have been known to gift animal rescue donations in honor of our loved ones.

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments. May this recipe bless you and your pets. Now go snuggle your familiar. 😉

What is your version of the Craft?

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What’s mine and How I arrived here

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

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!

Thank you for reading all about my path to MidGgrdening Witchery.

New Calendar Year Magic

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Three Easy Rituals To Incorporate for the Beginning of 2022

We are still within the 12 days of Yule, even if you now find yourself ‘back to business.’

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.

If you want to add more Magic to your life in 2022, these three simple spells/rituals may just get your started!

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.

Our ‘Good Things’ Jar.

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.

This is just a sampling of what we took note of in 2021…yes, even finding toilet paper.

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.

My Viking takes the small package of gratitude slips to the fire.

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.

More on this year’s Good Things Jar in a future post. Farewell 2021.

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.

Hoppin John is part of our New Years Tradtition.

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 – corn bread – helps focus goals towards wealth.

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!

Reinforcing the Magic of Kitchen Witchery with Skipping Jenny.

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.

Warming Our Magical Lives with Fire Scrying.

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 tend for more functional and high-quality journals for my practice; you can get as plain or fancy as you like. You do you, Witch.

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. 

Editor’s Note: This post and many more to come will be labeled under what I’ve discovered is my personal type of eclectic intuitive witchcraft: 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 in Witchery 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. Look for future blog posts detailing this deeper.

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?