Tag: Permaculture

Flipping Off The System

No Comments

A Lesson in Onions & Worth

The 12 Tenets of Permaculture

In the last week or so I’ve harvested enough onions and garlic to use in our meals for months and months.  The red onion harvest alone should keep us in red onions for nine months. I look at these harvests as a big screw-you to the horrendous systems we have created on this planet. Growing my own food has been a constant rebellion for me against Earth-damaging capitalism. It also is a double fisted flip-off to the patriarchy, which continues to try to keep women from an autonomous existence or doing the things that bring us joy. Yes, friends, growing your own food is a big fuck you to the establishment. 

However, I’m also finding that some of the ways I have felt pressured to establish the worth of these efforts I’m ready to give the middle finger to as well. Over the years I have been growing food (more than 20), I’ve kept track in one way or another of our harvest totals. I say “our” harvest, but it’s mostly just this lone crone doing the #PermieWitch work around #VillaWestwyk. This spring, I found I was resisting the kinds of metrics found in pages of spreadsheets: how much lettuce did I just harvest? How many eggs has our flock produced for us? And what’s the break down between chickens, ducks, and geese? How much meat have I bartered for homemade sourdough bread? Blah, Blah, Blah! 

Part of my Onion Harvest

I know there’s abundance here. Who else do I need to prove it to? My spouse? Not even. I’m fortunate that my Writing Witch, Permie Witch, Green Witch, and the like are all fully supported by my partner. His father grew up on a farm. He knows how hard it is to grow food. Do I need to prove it to my community? This crone does not care if they think the 80 pounds of potatoes I grew last year (this year’s totals TBD) is a waste of my time. But being able to understand just how much I have produced is important. Of course I had to put my little rabble rousing ways on that, too. Let’s take a look at my Star System. No, we’re not talking astrology; however, my Taurus midheaven and North Node are all about Earth Healing.

For about a decade now I’ve referred to meals I’ve made containing ingredients from our gardens and pastures by a star count. Homegrown onions on the plate? One star. Freshly harvested potatoes on the plate? Another star. Greens from our hot house on the plate? You guessed it, another star. 

When this season it just gave me ZERO joy to worry about measuring, marking, and doing all that data work, I went back to the end result and the satisfaction that it brings. When I know or can share that there is at least one thing, if not many things on the plate for our meals that was grown or raised right here in this little 2-acre parcel – that, my friends, is just pure and utter delight and satisfaction. Consuming the stars on my plate – again one for each thing that is homegrown/made and ½ a star for those I bartered or procured from farming neighbors – is some of the regular joy and balance in my life. And again, as I’m fat and happy, I’m flipping off the establishment.

If you follow me on instagram, I regularly post photos of my meals and how many stars there are on our plates. Those metrics make me happy and smile. It tangibly shows the percentage of food I’m growing/raising is making an impact as opposed to data on a spreadsheet. For instance, breakfast this morning contained our eggs, zucchini, green beans, and chard. Four stars. Yum. 

Oftentimes, I verbally make note how much these items may have cost at our local market while eating this farm-to-table meal with my meal guests (in this COVID-19 World, that’s mostly The Viking). But then my Viking asked me how much the entire Onion harvest would cost us at the local farmer’s market. It took me a minute to do the arithmetic and I did have to do some measuring and whatnot, but the results were surprising. I conservatively estimated that my red onion harvest will shave approximately $130 off our grocery bill over the next six to nine months. Again, that’s conservative. If Whole Foods was selling it, it would probably be closer to $230. Ha! Plus I don’t have to worry about recalls because of listeria or any of that nonsense, which is worth even more money. I grow my veggies organically. They are fertilized with compost and seaweed tea. Pests are dealt with naturally (our slug and snail population has gone down so much, thank you ducks), in part due to our permaculture approach. That’s $130 in our savings and that’s not counting the sweet onions and garlic I harvested, too. 

I’ll take it. 

That simple question from my Aquarian hubby – who is so good at looking at situations from a different perspective – totally changed my perception about the work I’ve been doing. I started thinking about how so much of this late-stage capitalism is just fucking up our planet. How it devalues such cottage revenue as a vegetable garden or small-holding livestock. In short, there isn’t a societal value placed on the work that I do to feed my family and friends.  It’s looked at as a hobby. Whatever dude. Sweat your butt off in the summer trying to ensure a tomato harvest, or move your animals to higher ground during a flood event, or even just have a planter of strawberries on your patio, and talk to me about how it’s not valuable. 

However there is value. Part of that value is in the sustainability that we practice and are working hard to increase. And you can’t really put a price tag on that. Healing the Earth is priceless. Saving the planet one row of onions at a time is pretty fucking cool, though. 

This realization of value I recognized quickly fell within the Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback tenet of Permaculture (#SelfRegulate #AcceptFeedback). The lesson here came from myself first in that simple spreadsheet calculations were not bringing me joy. Is there food on our plate that we produced? Win. The other feedback came from The Viking. He saw the value in another way, not just the #ObtainAYield, another of the 12 tenets of Permaculture we’re applying to our lifestyle here at Villa Westwyk. That segues into the  Design From Patterns To Details tenet. Onions grow well here. They are low labor and work as pest control (#IntegrateDontSegregate) around my Brassicas. Surround your broccoli with onions. The pests will be way less. Also, when you cut an onion you grew yourself, the tears are worth it. 😉

A lot of the capitalist world may look at my daily life as less than, but I understand the Magic that is being created by focusing on healing the Earth (and meanwhile myself and my family – #EatYourselfWell) and working with her is more valuable than metrics and a paycheck. But, honestly, I am creating value and abundance, even if the patriarchy and capitalism can’t see it. I see it. Therefore, I’ll continue to rebel in my own way.

How about you? Are you growing food? Even herbs? Where can you increase your own food security? Please let me know in the comments below. 

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

Kitchen Witchery meets Permaculture For The Fur Babies

2 Comments

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?

No Comments

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.

Reflecting Back On 2021

No Comments

Yes The Witch Is Still Here

Our test market garden in June 2021

Thank you for still being here. After my last blog post in July (yikes!), permaculture work was demanding and unending. Things have finally slowed down where I can focus some energy back here on my site. And for the most part, I’ll be developing this space more and more through the end of this year and into 2022. When I first started this website/blog it was so I could share my knowledge of the craft and provide a space to share my services & magical items. Sharing that knowledge has been a slow expansion, but it feels strong and sure. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Take a look at all the photos on this post and you’ll see the entire cycle I’ve been living through. So much growth and so much abundance. I’m grateful, but I’m also a bit tired. Not going to lie, this #PermieWitch life squaring with #WritingWitch life trine #RuneCaster & #DreamInterpreter conjunct #KitchenWitchery is non-stop, exciting, rewarding, but a bit fatiguing way to live life. Not sure I’d have it any other way. Chalk it up to my Cancer Moon, Leo Rising, and Scorpio Sun.

Our test market garden in July 2021

So now we’ve tilled, planted, tended, and harvested our way through Summer, and now we’re welcoming Scorpio Season and Samhain Season. My favorite time of year. It doesn’t hurt that this is my Heritage Day time and Birthday Month. I’m dealing with my double pentagram birthday and currently transiting my 3rd house with Neptune and Uranus trining their natal positions in my chart. ;There’s lots of transformation going on, in other words. But I’m going to lean into these changes and not shy away from it. I know this work will benefit my health, business, and relationships. I’m here for it. Hopefully my sharing of this journey will help someone else down the road as well. I’m planning a trip to reset with nature for my birthday weekend. We’ll take our modern Vardo “Siggi” and park next to the ocean. There will be hours of reading, and lounging, beachcombing, familiar snuggling, until our toes curl in delight. After the challenges we’ve encountered this autumn, it’s a much needed break. Nothing fancy, but perfect all the same. Do you plan an adventure for your solar return? I may also mark this occasion with a tattoo. We’ll see. Given COVID-19 and the fact that I’m in a new community and know ZERO tattoo artists, that may have to wait. After that I’ll be celebrating Astrologic Samhain with a deep ancestor ritual. This actually falls on my Heritage Day, so the energy seems ripe for significant progress to be made in my generational healing. Are you celebrating on calendar Samhain, or later, like me? Tell me how you’re celebrating.

Our test market garden in August 2021.

Every Witch will tell you that the veil is thinning. It’s the time of year that the energy is so strong to connect with those who have gone before us. I’ve been getting messages strongly, especially in dreams. And some of the dreams have given me some perspective on what would be better use of this little cottage on the internet, as I like to call my website. Other dreams have been so potent and unusual I had to share them on my weekly Instagram Live “Solitary Shenanigans.” A reminder that messages don’t always mean we can help. Much like not every spell is going to work out exactly as you intend. Regardless, this is a public record that the universe has spoken, and I’m trying my best to listen as I walk the path to vibrate my highest. Sharing like I do on Solitary Shenanigans has helped to build friendships and relationships and I am so excited to give that space more energy, too. The positive response plus the messages from the Dream Maker frame this a no-brainer for energy consumption going into 2022. So see you Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. (Pacific Time) on IG Live?

Our test market garden in September 2021.

Continuing to visit me here, you’ll be getting more about dream work; more about being a caregiver of the land and how it aligns with witchcraft, and you’ll be getting regular kitchen witchery as well. If there’s a particular subject you want to know about, please let me know in the comments. I am investigating platforms that will allow me to teach dream work deeper, more practical kitchen witchery, and invite those interested in communing with nature right here to Villa Westwyk. More on that hopefully by Spring 2022.

Our test market garden in October 2021

The past year has been full of so much. My new website here; continued efforts on my business as a dream interpreter, rune caster, and magical goods provider; and tending to the land of Villa Westwyk. In addition to that I’ve found a new community of wonderful people who vibe higher and stronger, which has blessed my life in so many ways.

There are plans a plenty for 2022 to include an expansion of things that were tried out this past year, so hopefully you’ll stick around to find out about that.

In the interim, I’m wishing you all a Happy Witch’s New Year. Deep Samhain Blessings to you.

Eva, Indy, and Willie started small, as does every seed you plant. But look at them now!

Growing That Witch Life

2 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be ready for the Magic.

~Runa

Personal Harvest Day Reflection

3 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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