Tag: runa troy

Gift Like A Witch: Yuletide Gift Ideas for 2022

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Witches Are Different; Our Gifts Are Too

Oh, Yule. I love you and then don’t love you. I’ve been trying to get this post out since well before western thanksgiving. Clearly it’s been a struggle. And gift giving is, whether we realize it or not, also about how the act of giving makes the giver feel. I want to feel good about what I an giving, for sure, but I also want to make sure that it’s squee-inducing and sustainable. I know, I don’t want much.

This year the preparation for celebrating the Winter Solstice is finding me feeling very grinchy. I have a book to write and a lot of my creative power goes to that project, so thinking of gift ideas or holiday plans feels overwhelming. These feelings may very well be due to the world being like….well, our world. If you are feeling the same, I’m here to say you’re not alone.  

This time of year it’s easy to feel this way, which could easily lead to stressing out or hurting people’s feelings. And feelings might be hurt not because you didn’t give a gift, but rather because there was no care in the thought of the gift. This is my 57th Yule, I can tell you receiving last-minute gifts from someone comes with the same energy. You’re better off giving a hug and telling the person the truth, then basically giving whatever.

These Bah-Humbug feelings can dip down into our thoughts about how to give gifts with our kindred, a Yule tradition for centuries. My Germanic/Norse ancestors started sharing their bounty with their kindred and community long before the word Christmas was uttered. Gifts were mostly consumables like food or drink, hand-made tokens of affection (think hand-carved into hair comb, or a fur collar for hunting in the snow) or simply spending time together. All good tried-and-true choices. I never dislike receiving a bottle of wine, or chocolate, or anything hand-crafted. 

But I don’t have a lot of time or energy this year, plus resources are tight. So now what? 

Bounty was the word that kept being whispered to me and which pinballed around in my brain every time I sat down to write this post. What bounty could I share with my children, my family, my friends, and my community?  

Outside of my larder, which will still be a source of gifts for friends and family and has been for decades, there are larger things that I think I will be looking at as “gifts” this Yuletide. I’m sharing them here to hopefully inspire you, reader, and others to help cross off your gift-giving lists. 

  1. Change for Climate Change. I do not know anyone who calls themselves a Witch who doesn’t care for our planet and its creatures and who actively works – in a myriad of ways – for its benefit. Climate change is here. And we have to make drastic changes. It’s one of the reasons permaculture called out to me. This is my number one gift-giving idea. From giving to organizations to helping someone change a not so great consumption habit is likely number one on a Witch’s Yule wish list. Organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund, 1000 Gretas, or Climate Foundation can use all the gifts in people’s names they can get. Many organizations can let you give small amounts each month, which makes it easier to gift for those of us on a strict budget. During the gifting season a lot of organizations offer cool trinkets for the donation that you can then gift to your kindred in addition to the donation. For several years now, friends and family have received replacements for less sustainable living solutions from The Viking and I. Everything from reusable sandwich bags, bamboo towels, convenient reusable shopping bags, beeswax wrap, hemp socks, solar powered chargers, and the list goes on and on. There’s a healthier choice for just about every item we use daily out there. Go find it. Lastly, you can plan an outing with your clan to do something restorative (trash clean up, planting trees or community garden) for the environment and have a picnic or support a small local restaurant or food truck afterwards. Memories plus! However you give an offering to Mama Earth to your Witches, you’ll watch the Earth heal together. 
  2. Civic Participation. So many of the Witches in my circle and community deeply wish for a more equitable society. Many of us use our platform to educate folx about those in need of justice and care. I think this is a huge gift. Again donations are always welcome for nonprofit organizations working to create safe spaces for LGBTQA+, women, immigrants, war refugees, and animals. Volunteering with organizations that do that is another way to gift. Those hours add up to a monetary value by the organization and as the volunteer, you can get a tax deduction. No lie. Many organizations will give a certificate of your hours, the worth of that donation, and can dedicate it to another individual. We do that now with Habitat for Humanity, since houselessness is an area that really gets my attention. Look for the local organizations (for me here in the Upper Left USA it’s the Opportunity Council) that work directly with the most vulnerable in our community. Additionally, gifting to candidates who work for the issues important to our community may also be more heartfelt to your kindred. Voting for those candidates that work for our entire community, not just the corporations would be such a great gift for one another. If you told me you voted, I consider it a gift. So, thank you.
  3. Growth Opportunities. When I say this, I don’t mean therapy sessions or scary bungee jumping to overcome fear – although, you do you, Witch!, but something that lets you grow together or even individually. Something that invests in your loved one personally or your relationship. My friend recently got ceramic classes for her and her mother. They are learning something together, taking time out each week to be with one another, and exploring the world together. This is what I mean. How about a gift certificate to your friend’s favorite yoga studio? Maybe you both take a meditation class together? Plan a monthly hike together. Stretch your creative muscles together in a community painting class. My local library has some great classes that provide gardening, painting, and even sailing lessons! Make a plan, stick to it, and what a gift you’ll have in both directions. 
  4. Time Investments. Time is the most precious commodity any of us have. Perhaps gift some regular time with your loved one. A second Friday happy hour together? How about brunch at the end of the month? Go to your favorite plant store together once a month.  Or walk the beach nearby twice a month looking for red sea glass. Saturday card games with good snacks are always fun and low-stress and easy on the budget. Again, flex those creativity muscles and find a way to connect regularly and with grace. What a gift!

So no need to be overwhelmed. Set yourself up with a small bit of time, some tea, your best familiar, and make a list of what truly would feel good to give and has some collective meaning to it. For me, I’m just grateful I finally got this out into the world. But you better believe, I’ll be looking at these four bigger-picture gifts for my best Witches and kindred. 

Happy Yuletide all! Let me know what is your wish or go-to sustainable and heartfelt gift? 

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. 😉

Is This Message For You?

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Divination through Dreams

If you’ve been following me here or on social media, you know that dream work is a main focus of my work and life. Recently I had a dream but it was more than a dream. This dream was a message. There’s no doubt about it. But who it’s a message for, I haven’t a clue. When you have a visitation in a dream it’s so deftly clear that it’s a visitation and a message. It took me a minute to get this posted, but the dream was about a week ago. The woman visited me last night again, just as I was fading back to sleep after another dream telling me that I’m on the right path.

Upon having the dream the first time, I wrote the dream down right away and in my notes I titled this “Message For The Young Man In The Hay Loft.” He was featured in the dream and the visitor, a woman, wants me to find and deliver the message. But this man is not in my life anywhere. So, I’m turning to the power of the internet.

And from the hayloft she was pushed.

Message for the Young Man:

The dream opens in the hayloft of a barn, although it also has kind of a clubhouse vibe to it. So maybe it was a hayloft at one time, but isn’t really used as that any longer. Dreams, you see sometimes are a kind of movie, like reels, and other times they are snapshot collages. This dream was like watching an episodic program. First episode, there’s this young girl (late teens, early 20s). She has dark hair. Glasses. She wears a long thick braid. She is sad. The energy is all dark and desperate. She isn’t crying but looks very much like she is crying. She can look out that hayloft window (many barns have an opening at the roof’s peak to make sure the stored hay gets air to not combust and to move the hay more easily to the animals below). She is looking out across a farm and an old two lane road leading to the property. I can see a big Elm tree — at least I think it’s an Elm tree. It looks to be maybe the beginning of fall because some of the fields in the background across the road look like wheat ready to harvest. She is wearing a flowered top and blue jeans. I get the sense from the clothing maybe this is the late 60s or early 70s. She’s breathing in the air and I can see she’s trying to calm herself. She is not bracing herself, but letting the light breeze blow on her face. One navy sneaker, like a classic Ked, perched on the sill of the loft opening, the other on the loft floor. She has one hand on the wall of the loft opening and the other is on her heart, as if, again, she’s trying to calm herself. And from behind, I see, feel a presence. In an instant, you see that there is a hand on her back. The nails are painted a light pink. It reminded me of the color my mother would allow me to use as a young teen, because it was very sheer. The hand pushes. And the young girl falls to her death. In the dream I see her on the ground. The leg that had been on the floor of the loft is bleeding. Her eyes are open. She sees the shadow in the hayloft. 

The visitor then guides me to look in a different direction and I instantly know I’ve moved perspectives and it’s like a stage change. New episode. In the next scene there’s a young man. Dark hair. Glasses or maybe they are some kind of safety glass? Thick black frames. The young man is plain in that country sort of way, but he is strong, from working the land or learning to blacksmith? I’m not sure. He’s also like in a barn, but only three-sided, more of a lean-to. He’s learning to be a blacksmith, maybe even a farrier, as there’s horses in pasture not so far from this lean-to. He has kind of a cloud over his head. He knows he needs to be here, but he’s just so sad. There’s an older man, I feel like they are related, and perhaps this is an elder uncle or even grandfather. The familiarity between them as I observe them work metal and the older man instructing this young man gives the watcher (me) the sense of relationship. At any rate, the young man has this tool. It looks like a hammer, but there’s a sharp edge on the one side and a weird type of funneled-shape head on the other. The two men are taking a break, drinking tea or coffee, the mugs look like coffee but there’s a kettle in the background. Anyhow, the young man is sitting on a stool at a two-person table kind of in the opening of this lean-to. I can see an anvil to the side of him, where the older man has his mug resting. The older man is talking. I can’t hear him. And likely I can’t hear him because the younger man has my POV and he’s not listening. He’s thinking of the girl from the barn. You know how “in love” people have that far away look. I feel it without knowing it. Intuition is strong here. He’s thinking of the one who was pushed. But he thinks that she jumped. He feels guilty. I suddenly see the spirit of the dead girl, her leg still bloody in her flowered shirt and ked sneakers. She’s trying to tell him that she was pushed. She didn’t jump. She loves him. She wanted to be with him. She tries to reach the mug to push it, to get him to see her. But instead she moves the tool he’s holding, and the sharp end begins to swing toward him, but just in time the older man is there to catch it and he berates his younger to pay attention, that this craft is not something to mess with. I see the dead girl’s face. She’s talking to me now. Tell him, she says. Tell him I didn’t jump. Let them all know that she pushed me. She killed me. I loved him. We were supposed to be together. Then she screams this awful, awful cry of someone in so much pain and torment. 

I wake up. 

I have received dreams like this before. Messages from beyond. But I have known who the people are, or I get a name that I can then relate to whomever I come in contact with that day. I don’t know these people. I don’t recognize their landscape. I was super distressed by the scream at the end of the dream. Waking with a start. Disturbing the Viking. I often have nightmares as I am a survivor of much trauma in my life. He patiently asks me to talk about my dreams. I tell him. But the distress after relaying this particular dream is more about how do I reach the people who these messages are for. My intuition says that the old man is likely passed on. The young man is probably receiving social security now. What of the woman’s who’s hand with pink-painted nail pushed the other woman? I don’t know. I only saw a hand and the nails. Why I didn’t get to see the face? I don’t know. My distress again is that I do NOT know who this is a message for. I do now I’m suppose to relate this message. Tell him, she said. Tell who, lady? This is a gift that is to be used, although for so many years I dismissed it because I didn’t understand it and it can be perceived as unhinged.

My Viking suggests that I should write about it. Post it as a message knowing that the person who is supposed to receive it will see it. Ah, my Tech Witch Hubby is brilliant. So here we are. I’m posting it here. Who knows, maybe it will find the intended receiver. 

It’s all I can do, I suppose. But on the night of the Virgo Full Moon March 18, 2022, I had this message come through. 

Is it for you?

New Blog Feature: Weekly Kitchen Witchery

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Wrapped-Up-In-Hope Asparagus

Wrapped-Up-In-Hope Asparagus

This is a new feature I’ve been trying to incorporate into this blog/site for some time now. And I’m happy that with the astrological new year I will be able to premiere my Kitchen Witchery of the Week content. For these posts I’ll be incorporating seasonal foods, Wheel of the Year energies, and the Magic and/or spell that goes with it. Long ago when I first began the path of the Craft and still today, Kitchen Witchery allowed me to practice Magic in a very focused way, quietly, and without judgmental eyes. I expect there are many neophyte practitioners that could easily incorporate these workings of Magic into their lives as well. Also, if you’re a crone or well along your path as a Magician, you may find this is an easy addition to your own personal Magical practice. And for those who start their practice, or continue to contain their practice in the proverbial broom closet, this is a great way to walk your path without persecution. I mean, who doesn’t love a good meal? My aim is that you have something yummy, and dripping with Magic to eat and serve your loved ones. So it is. 

Spring Time Flavors & Feelings In One Recipe

Because we have begun Aries season and as of today there is a tempermental energy with Mars squaring Uranus, and some of us are still dealing with cruddy winter weather, I’ve put together some Hearth Magic to ease potential or occurring conflicts and bring the hope and the warm cheer of the Equinox and Aries season into our homes and onto our tables. 

To work towards this our Kitchen Witchery “spell” is one that features asparagus. The energy of Asparagus is ruled by Mars and Jupiter and the element of fire (think of little green torches). Its masculine energy is also sacred to Zeus. We won’t be using its properties to help fuel male stamina today, instead we’re working with its passion and healing properties. In our workings today we will call out its ability to decrease those anxious heart rates that winter sometimes brings and send a general calm to any part of the body “inflamed.” 

Asparagus is a natural and gentle diuretic and is full of strength-building nutrients. It’s a great Spring Tonic to cleanse away the winter doldrums and troubles. It is dense with nutrients, including high levels of folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamins A, C, B6, and thiamine. 

This recipe includes dairy and meat. If your diet precludes you from those, feel free to experiment and find alternatives. You could replace the meat with some thinly sliced cooked mushrooms (which also have massive healing properties). You could replace the goat cheese with some of the Boursin plant-based “cheese.” I am particular about my cheese, yet find that the Boursin “cheese” is very good. 

A simple Kitchen Altar can be such a powerful force.

This recipe is for a small gathering, as it only serves 8 single servings or 4 double servings. I tend to make this for a couples brunch or just for those in the household. Even at our max capacity here on the Covenstead of Villa Westwyk, we could serve all five of the kids and my partner and I. This can be eaten with a fork or hand held in a rustic fashion. You decide. 

A couple of notes…

  • Funny enough, I have found that each bunch of asparagus in the markets seems to have 24 stalks. I don’t know the history behind this, but it works for this recipe, so thank you, farmers. 
  • You are a super Witch if you make your own, so don’t feel like you have to make this ingredient! Store bought is fine!
  • In regards to the Artichoke Antipasto, Trader Joe’s has a yummy and affordable variety; if you can’t find this you could substitute sun-dried tomato spread.
  • For the prosciutto, I prefer to get mine from the butcher or deli counter as the packaged stuff is super thin and hard to work with.
The rule on the side of your bench scraper is a great way to get the neatest cuts possible.

Wrapped Up In Hope Asparagus

Tools:

Oven

Extra Large Cutting Board

Large baking sheet

Parchment Paper

Bench Scraper

Glazing Brush

Small mixing bowl

Knife

Non Stick Spray

Candle on your kitchen altar

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus (24 stalks), trimmed to length of pastry

Puff Pastry 

Artichoke Antipasto Spread

8 slices of prosciutto 

Goat Cheese – about 4 oz. 

Egg (for wash)

Herbs de Provence (for sprinkling)

Sea Salt (for sprinkling) 

Cut through conflict with ease and grace.
Eggs Are So Powerful in Spring Kitchen Witchery

Instructions:

1. Take your time and make sure your space has been cleansed and is ready to perform the Magic. Making sure your space is ready for your working allows you to focus your energy and intention without being distracted. A quick way to do this is to light a small candle (I always have one ready on my kitchen altar). Then I go to the four corners of my kitchen and clap in each corner, which sets a circle quickly and easily (just be sure to keep your intention in mind. Then I stare at the candle for just a moment while taking three cleansing breaths (a little fire magic here) and say my intention out loud. For this working, you can say something like, “Me and Mine find our troubles fading away with every bite and we bring in the fire of the Aries season to motivate us to peace and love.” 

2. Defrost your puff pastry. That means you put the package on your counter for about 40 minutes before you’re going to work. Don’t do it longer as the pastry may become hard to work with. The colder it remains, the easier it will do what you want. I also bring out all the other ingredients and bring to room temperature. It makes it easier to work with everything. 

3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Lay the defrosted puff pastry out on a very large cutting board and cut each sheet (there will be two in the package) into four squares, so you will have 8 squares in total. As you cut the squares imagine cutting through any conflict with ease and grace.

Wrap Up The Positive Energy

5. Add about 1 tablespoon of the artichoke spread onto the center of each square and spread it evenly throughout the pastry piece. As you spread this onto the pastry, look at it as a healing balm placed on winter wounds. Spiritually, the artichoke reminds us to have fun on our spiritual path as we peel back the layers within our crown chakra, just as a whole artichoke is peeled to get to the gorgeously satisfying center.

6. Lay a piece of the prosciutto on top of the antipasto spread on each square. As you do this, say, “I lay my worries aside to focus on the love within these walls.”

7. Add at least 3 asparagus tips to each square with the tips into one of the corners of the squares. I think of the stages of life – maiden, mother, crone, as I’m doing this and how the magic of 3 is always so powerful. 

8. Crumble goat cheese onto the top of the asparagus evenly throughout the 8 squares. As spring approaches, things like goat cheese are very plentiful. I sprinkle the cheese and envision new abundances coming to us in this season. 

9. Lightly whisk the egg in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. 

10. Carefully fold one side of the pastry square in the middle as if you were beginning to swaddle it with the puff pastry. Dab a little of the egg wash on the side that will meet the other side and pull the other side of the pastry square over that and brush all of the up-facing pastry with egg wash. Be gentle with the pastry, but try to enclose the fillings as tightly as you can. As you do this your intention to wrap your diners in positive energy is an easy focus. 

11. Next take your wrapped-in-hope asparagus and place them on your prepared baking sheet, giving them as much room as possible between each. Sprinkle some Herbs de Provence and Sea Salt over the puff pastries. See new abundance and good health sprinkled over you and yours.

12, Bake for 22-25 minutes or until each is golden brown and the asparagus is cooked. While the savory pastries bake, I will sometimes pull some Oracle cards to put at each place setting for my guests/family.

13. Remove from the oven. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. As you and your guests enjoy these packages of hope and the possibilities of Spring, you can feel the warmth of your love and Magic nourishing and blessing all those around your table and hearth. 

14. At the end of the feast, be sure to extinguish your candle. So it is. 

Cards Read; Let’s Eat!

If you try this recipe, please let me know in the comments below how it worked for you, both taste and Magic-wise. Post a photo on your social media and tag me.

Next week I’ll be back here with some more Kitchen Witchery! Hope you’ll join me. Happy Spring!

Touching Lives One Animal At A Time

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Saweetie.

The call of nature to those who follow the path of The Craft is strong. You may find yourself surrounded by orphaned animals, or unusual sightings of uncommon creatures. Your home may host plants that can survive no where else. It’s because these children of Gaia know that you are a healer. Witches heal the earth and the earth heals us. But sometimes we need a little help.

Recently we had this 16-year-old Australian Shepherd wander onto our property. Now, we live in a very rural area. Farmhouse after farmhouse. Farm dogs wander, but they always go home. So when they wander onto our property, we normally greet them without objection. However, it doesn’t take long for our own two dogs to exclaim annoyance with the interloper and loudly. To keep the peace, we calmly tell our farm dog visitors to go home. And they depart with no fuss.

Saweetie, as we would come to call her, kept coming back. Repeatedly. Our two dogs, Granny Shadow and Ms. SnickleFritz, were not happy with the visitor, who was calm and clearly unbothered by our smaller dogs. When she came back the third time, I noticed she was walking kind of crooked. She wasn’t aggressive or even crying. Just not looking like a dog should, even a senior one.

My Viking, aka The Dog Whisperer. He’s not pleased with the state of this dog’s health.

When she came back the third time, I called the Viking from his shop and asked for assistance. Anyone who knows my spouse knows he’s a big animal lover and very much a dog whisperer. He has mused often that he would be happy to be reincarnated as one of our dogs. What a great life they lead! Without hesitation he leaped Into action regarding Saweetie. She easily came to him and we leashed her and tried to assess if there was a collar or tags or what not. She was not in good shape. Her hair was matted badly. She was in need of a bath. Her nails hadn’t been taken care of in a long time. When we tried to give her water, we began to suspect that she couldn’t hear or see very well. And then there was the matter of looking like she might be injured because of the crooked way she was walking, which was very slowly, and her constant panting, which can indicate stress in a dog.

The only tag she had was a rabies vaccination tag. So The Viking called our local Humane Society. It was the weekend and we were thinking it might be not until Monday until our message was answered. We began to create plans to house Saweetie until we could get her help. Before we could even set up a dog house, the Whatcom County Humane Society called us back. They had received another call reporting Saweetie missing. Not too far from our home as well. She was a farm dog, like we suspected. They offered for us to take the animal back to the owners, or have the owners come to us, or they would dispatch an officer who would come out and retrieve the dog and take the animal back to its human.

We chose the third option because we felt that once the animal control officer saw the animal, some counseling to its owner would be more well received from them rather than The Viking and Some Crone Witch lecturing said alleged neglectful owners. We also had no idea if the people who have had this animal for 16+ years were some how unable to care for her appropriately. Whatever the case, if more was needed for Saweetie or her humans, the Humane Society said they would help. That sounded good to us. Within the next hour, the animal officer arrived at Villa Westwyk.

The officer arrived quickly and observed all the factors about Saweetie’s situation that we did. Such a good dog in not a great state. Next up was to return her to her licensed owners and provide some feedback to help Saweetie live out her life in a bit more comfort. This isn’t the first time we have rescued an animal and how the officer handled Saweetie showed what a good natured animal she really was. She even got to ride up in the cab with the officer because she wasn’t taking her far (less than a mile) and the dog was too injured to get into the kennels in the back. Saweetie went home and was reunited with a grateful family, which learned some valuable lessons about the needs of their lovely pet.

Saweetie got to ride in the cab because she was so old, feeble, and just an true testament to the name we gave her.

I share this story with all of you so that if you are in a situation where you want to help animals but can’t be a full-time care giver to one, then supporting an agency like your local humane society — and wow! is ours a great one — is definitely a path to helping animals on the daily. Along with our local Habitat for Humanity’s program of Homes for Hives, we will be supporting this local agency in as many ways as we can. Not just because of the good work they did this weekend at Villa Westwyk, but all over counties everywhere.

If you’ve had an interesting animal encounter lately, let me know in the comments. How did it align with your path of The Craft?

Pick A Rune – 5/7/2021

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Pick a Rune: Left, Middle, or Right. Hag Stone, Aragonite, or Bloodstone.

Want the Runes to give you even more messages and guidance? Consider booking an annual, quarterly, or triple Rune Casting from yours truly. You can message me to book at Runa@CountryDwellers(dot)com or via my Etsy shop, Magical Flea Market.

See the reveal and the reading below:

The Hag Stone on the Left, formed by the strong energy of water, it is used for protection and warding. Aragonite in the center is helpful in grounding, performing Earth magic, or Root Chakra work; on the right we have Bloodstone, used in Craft work to strengthen intuition and find the path to healing.

The message today from Fehu has to deal with your spiritual wealth. If you have not protected your sacred time to enhance your spirituality, this is your message to focus on your spiritual life to increase the abundance you receive from such work. Quit making excuses and set the time aside for craft work, meditation, yoga, and even just walking barefoot in the grass. Perhaps you need to wander along the water’s edge and find your own Hag Stone.

Aragonite has brought Sowilo forward, which is the Rune of personal energy. You have the inner drive to transform, but you’re going to need self-control and discipline to continue the positive direction. Keep your ego in check. Always be humble and kind.

The Bloodstone holds up the Rune Wunjo Merkstave (reversed). This is your reminder not to isolate yourself. Everyone needs some solid interaction even in small doses. Do be mindful of possible betrayals near you. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, just like your mama used to tell you.

Thank you for allowing me to provide this divination for you. I hope the messages lead you to your truest self and best life.

Blessed Be,

~Runa

Pick-A-Rune, 4-30-2021

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Today’s Readings was done after making an offering to Freyja, and all the energy she represents. Since these readings will now take place on Friday, it seemed only right. The Buffalo Teeth Runes were used, hosted by (1) Chalcedony; (2) Lilac Kunzite; (3) Apache Tear.

Thank you all, once again, for honoring me with providing this reading for you. The energies following the Full Moon in Scorpio this past week are still strong. Messages have been clear and many. If you’re new here, for this reading, please pick one of the Runes. Look at them, understand that the stones next to them hold energies that very much may be calling to you. Look away or close your eyes for a moment. Open your eyes again. Where did your eye land first? Was it to the left with the stone, Chalcedony? Was it to the right with the Apache Tear? Or did it land smack dab in the middle with the Lilac Kunzite? Whichever you picked, the reveal and reading is below.

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From Left to Right, the Runes cast are: Laguz, Ansuz, and Kenaz. For their messages, see below.

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If you chose the Chalcedony Rune, you are wanting to bring your mind, body, and spirit into harmony.

Laguz is the Rune that has been cast for you. It is full of water energy and understands you want relief from hostility and to transform your melancholy into joy. What you dream of is not a fantasy. Laguz bears the message that if you can imagine it, you can make it happen. Pay attention to your dreams for more information for the path forward.

If you chose Lilac Kunzite, it’s likely you are needing some free expression of your feelings or needing to connect with people who have experienced what you have.

Your choice has brought you a message for Ansuz, the Rune of ancestors and the Allfather. Your inner child is in need. It longs for creative expression and to live the vision of life you know you want. Forget the heartache, it is blocking you. Align that Heart Chakra and go for that which you desire. What battles did your ancestors already fight so that you could live a better life? Honor them by living your best life as your truest self.

If you chose Apache Tear, you are seeking protection and grace.

If you chose Apache Tear, you know that grief must be shared, and the wrongs of old healed. Kenaz is the Rune cast for you today and it is a Beacon of New Strength. You recognize the gentle support you have been given to move forward past that which is no longer serving you. You know the guiding light in your life directs you to vibrate higher and to harness your power. Fry Scrying may provide you further direction forward.

Weekly Magical Flea Market Spotlight – 4-22-2021

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It may seem like a riddle or a puzzle, but there’s a message in that dream for you. And it’s my spotlight item this week for the Magical Flea Market.

Dreams are an incredible resource that provide messages and guidance from the universe for our best and highest good. Dreams can be a powerful tool of insight into our daily life’s challenges and where the solutions lie. Not sure what choice to make? What path to take? Your dreams are probably giving you all the information you need to move forward.

I have been doing dream work and interpretation all my adult life. When I interpret people’s dreams I pull from not only my intuition, but my long study of dream work, especially Jungian Psychology. If I am unclear on something I may ask for directions from my spirit guides, pull a Rune, Tarot Card, and/or check the current astrologic environment.

When I do a dream interpretation, I provide you with a written report on all the symbolism, and other messages held within what may seem something very nonsensical. Trust me, there are Divine Downloads in that cryptic imagery from the Dream Maker.

You may book a dream interpretation via my Etsy Shop – The Magical Flea Market – or message me at Runa@CountryDwellers.com if you’d prefer not to book through Etsy.

Retreating Back To Me

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Our Waning Crescent Moon in Gemini, April 14, 2021 over Western Washington skies.

She’s back. Yep, back from vacation. But it wasn’t a vacation in the traditional sense. There was lots of work. Lots of caring going on for both family, pets, and land. In fact, I worked myself pretty hard and also dealt with the side-effects of my first Covid-19 vaccine shot. So, yeah, no fun drinks with umbrellas or poolside reading. Regardless, it was all work necessary to get me to a place where I can take a break right out my back door, if necessary.

Family emergencies due to injuries and ongoing health stuff aside, everyone is doing well and recovering for the most part. Good energies towards my loved ones are appreciated.

Speaking of appreciation, the outpouring of messages from so many both immediately after I announced my departure from the virtual world — and honestly anything outside the gates of Villa Westwyk seems virtual any longer given the Pandemic world– and the messages continued throughout the week. They were little balloons of caring and were deeply appreciated. I felt everyone’s love and respect for my need to step back for a bit. I felt your love and please know it boosted me through a couple of really dark moments this past week. So, thank you. May your love come back to you threefold. I was so nervous to step away from the momentum that all my Runa Troy work had achieved so far, and people reaching out told me my work is appreciated and valued. My heart is full.

Throughout the week I was also dealing with an avalanche of work, so much of it still needing to be tackled, to get Villa Westwyk up to snuff. There are so many projects, basically left to us by the former residents of this space. We are in the midst of correcting planting mistakes, repairing neglect to infrastructure and landscape, and creating a place of balance and health. Water issues have come to the forefront and how to harness its preciousness is also at the forefront of the work created. But with just two of us working it, mostly on the weekends, things came to a head, especially given our family responsibilities.

But this work of week to care of family and home allowed time for contemplation and understanding of purpose and paths ahead. When we first moved here I understood instinctually that my clan needed a place of retreat. That the Viking and I needed a home we didn’t need a vacation from — something that served all our needs and then some. Since entering my Crone phase, the absolute need for peace and sanctuary has been almost obsessive. Anything that disrupts that is the focus of some baneful words from this witch. I’ve been building and creating so much that I lost sight of even enjoying it. So although I was blessed with beautiful weather to accomplish these tasks, I was feeling overwhelmed and unable to be present and it was raising my stress level. Something had to give. And I knew that the whole reason I work the way I do — writer, artist, permaculturist, and public witch — is so I can do all the things that bring me joy in balance. And balance and living beholden to myself was the lesson of this week. I mean I understood it intellectually, and why I stepped away for a week — and even that time frame may have been pushing it — but to embrace it in my spirit, my heart, took a little bit of time. However, I did get there. It took me all the way until Sunday (funnily enough, a Moon in Cancer day) to really get there, but I got a couple of days of working without grumbling and talking to the earth and the bees and the birds (I have a special story about that I’ll share during my next Solitary Shenanigans), and feeling the sun and the wind on my skin and face. And that was enough. And I was enough. It was all enough. It was good. And it taught me that if I lay good foundations, the rest will follow.

If you’ve made it this far into the post: we in the same tribe! Thank you. This is your message to seek balance, peace, and sanctuary. Step away, take a break, do what you can, and know that if you are doing your best; that is enough.

Blessed Be All,

~Runa

Komo Kulshan in all her beauty during my break.
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.