Living by the Moon – Moon Magic Course Review

moon-magic-course-reviewLiving By the Moon – Moon Magic Course Review

Heart of the Forest is a great online school run by Serena White. It’s got courses on all kinds of things, including chakras, meditation and essential oils. Some of her great lessons are free of charge, and some of them, including the one I want to talk to you about today, are super great value.

Serena recently let me take her Living by the Moon course for free, and when I finished it I decided to look at the usual price, because I’m nosy like that. My jaw hit the floor when I saw it.

I would have happily paid $7 for the beautiful Moon Journal download alone, but the course has great information, exercises and meditations.

Serena really knows what she’s talking about when it comes to Moon Magic, and her lessons are short and to the point with no waffle.

Moon Magic can be a really tricksy thing to get hold of, but with this course, I found it really easy. Serena also gives you tips and advice on how to really live by the Moon, including non-magical activities like gardening.

It’s a great course, and at $7, you really can’t go wrong!

(Some links in this post may be affiliate links)

10 Things to Do on Samhain

10-things-to-do-onsamhainTen Things to do on Samhain

A collection of divinations, rituals and customs you might like to try out this year.

Apple Divination

Take an apple, and peel it. Try and peel it in one go, so it is just one long piece of apple peel and throw it over your left shoulder. If you can’t, take the longest piece.

The letter it forms will be the initial of your next love.

Dumb Supper

A Dumb Supper is a meal shared with your Dead Ancestors or relatives. Cook a meal, leaving a portion and a chair for each of the Dead that you wish to join you. However, you must cook and eat the meal in total silence, or they’ll vanish. Make sure not to season the food with salt either – it may keep them away!

Tarot Readings

Samhain is the end of the year, so it is perfect for Tarot readings or other divination. The results are usually the most accurate on this day about all others. Provided, of course, you use the ancient calendar – each day actually starts on sundown, not sunup. So, Samhain starts at sundown on the 31st. So you have a pretty decent excuse to break out the pumpkin spice candles.

Costume Parade

The original purpose of costumes on Samhain is to fool the wandering Dead that you’re one of them. So, if you’re planning to be out and about, dressing up as a Sexy Cupcake
is probably not your best option.

Although if any dish had a soul, it would probably be cupcakes.

Burn it Down

Building bonfires on Samhain, Hallowe’en and other similar days is something that crosses many cultures.

The two most common uses are to either dispel bad luck, or bring in good luck. I usually make my Black Salt from the ashes of either a Samhain or a May Day fire.

Leave a Light On

Again, there are two reasons to leave a candle, light, or Jack O’ Lantern in your window.

The Jack O’ Lantern is built to ward away evil spirits, again by fooling them into thinking you’re one of them – specifically the titular Jack, cursed to wander the earth with nothing but a turnip for a lantern.

The other reason is to actually signal spirits to you – usually your Dead relatives, to either welcome them into the house or give them a light to move into the proverbial Light.

You … probably can’t do both at once, so I’d choose how haunted you want your house to get – you don’t want some randos crashing the party. As we all know, the Spirits are strongest this time of year.

Mirror, Mirror

Another romance divination you can do, this is best done in a group, in the dark, and scare each other senseless.

If you’re unmarried, you can look into a mirror after midnight, and over your shoulder will be the face of the one you will marry. But beware – if they will die soon, you’ll be face to face with a skeleton instead.

If you choose to do this in a group, only one person should be reflected in the mirror at a time.

Spider Wisdom

Spiders can be great allies if you treat them right. When bad witches are near, they are said to fall into candles and burn to death. If one is scuttling around on Samhain, a Dead relative is watching over you.

And, at Samhain or any point in the year, if you catch a spider in your house and refrain from killing Her, you can ask her a question.

Take her outside, and before you set her free, remind her you had every right to destroy her since she was trespassing. Ask her to answer your question as payment, then ask the question. Look for your answer in the next three days.

(Don’t kill spiders though. That’s rude and unneeded.)

Hazelnut Divination

Another love divination! This one is useful if you are having trouble deciding between lovers. For each suitor you have, set a hazelnut beside a fire. Chant ‘ f you love me, pop and fly. If you hate me, burn and die!’

Trick or Treating

If you are going to be giving out sweets/candy for the Trick or Treaters this year, can I ask you to do one thing?

Keep a few sweets or chocolate behind suitable for kids with allergies or intolerances, not only to nuts but to things like gluten or lactose.

It doesn’t have to cost you any more – it’s getting much easier to find these things now, and a lot of popular, cheap sweets are fine as well.

Your whole stash doesn’t have to be Free From, but if you can keep a few back for anyone that asks.

I’ve heard of some kids who never got to go Trick or Treating because there were very few sweets they could eat without ending up in the hospital, and that broke my heart.

There’s no way you’ll be able to cater for every allergy, but if you could keep one or two things without lactose, gluten freelactose freeand without nuts, as those seem to be the more common ones.

(I also knew an old lady who would give out little bags of about 50p’s worth of 2ps, and some people give out inexpensive small toys or stickers too. Or fruit, but I don’t see an eight year old being too grateful for that one.)
It’s a small kindness that will make someone’s day!

Offerings for Ancestors That You Don’t Know

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Suitable Offerings for Ancestors You Don’t Know

 

It’s not easy to get in touch with your Ancestors, especially if you’re not fond of the ones closest to you.

 

Can you skip your nearest Ancestors and ask for help from ones further back? Of course you can. But the question that has been stumping me is how. How do you not only contact someone you don’t know and then convince them that you’d like a hand, with no prior knowledge of said person/people?

 

The way to start this path is to create a space where Ancestors who are interested in forming a relationship with you to come forward and introduce themselves. Creating a shrine or sacred space can be as simple as setting aside a shelf or portion of a table and filling it with items, images and offerings that might attract add Ancestor. As you get to know them, you can swap them out for things you know your Ancestor likes.

 

The idea that the first gifts must be absolutely perfect or the Ancestor (or Guide/Spirit/Deity) will refuse to work for you is what keeps most people (including me) stuck and prevents us from forming relationships to Unknown Spirits.

 

No Spirit (no Spirit that you would want to work with, anyway) is going to go off in a huff if you don’t figure out their favourite food from one interaction. The best way to start is with items that they might like, and with Ancestor workings that’s easier than you think.

 

Suggestions of Ancestor Offerings

 

  • Images of family mottos or coats of arms

 

  • Figurines of family work – are you looking to contact a particular sort of person? You might add items like needles, or knives, or bullets to attract a person who had a particular occupation

 

  • Money. You’d have to go very far back to contact a Spirit who didn’t understand the concept of cash. Money/coins is a good starting offering for many types of Spirit for this reason, but many traditions have burial practices involving the burial of a person with coins for one reason or another, so coins and Ancestor work go hand in hand.

 

  • Food or drink. If you have a national or regional dish, a family recipe, or other significant food that is a good place to start.  Even if they don’t like the food, you tried, you researched and you cooked a thing/bought a thing. That means something.

 

  • National and regional foliage, flowers or herbs

 

  • Pictures of human figures or skeletons. Giving them a ‘body’ to inhabit is a great thing to make communication easier. It doesn’t have to look precisely like them to be worth getting.

 

  • Shells, beads, and jewelry items. You’d have to go even further back, possibly to before sentience, to get a spirit that didn’t understand or value a gift. Shells in particular are great gifts for contacting Super Old, like pre-Bronze Age, Ancestors.

 

  • Pipes. Tobacco. Coffee. Alcohol. Things that were valued historically will often go down well. Even better if they are still valued now. There is no reason to go pouring a full bottle of Absolut for someone you don’t know, but a small tinny of beer or glass of wine usually grabs Their attention.

What items do you recommend giving to an Unknown Ancestor? Let me know in the comments!

PBuP: 05 On Resting, Generosity and Pinterest

Today I’m talking to Samantha, from This Crooked Crown.
1) Why did you choose to start your business? Why choose witchcraft and divination as a base? What drew you to it?
Because I love it! I love witchcraft and divination; it’s one of my major passions and something I could never grow bored of. Starting my own business came about when I was unable to work in the mainstream workforce anymore due to medical reasons. Once I hit on the idea of starting my own business, I went with two of my major passions – divination and witchcraft. It just evolved from there.
I’ve been practicing witchcraft and divination for over twenty years now and never really experienced a time where I didn’t believe in magic. For me, discovering that witchcraft didn’t exist in the realm of fantasy and people still practiced it was really eye-opening. It meant that there was so much more to the world than what I’d been taught and there’s so much possibility! I love sharing that awe with my clients.
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2) How do you balance what you give away for free (in terms of tutorials and spells, free readings etc) with what you charge for? 
I like to make generosity part of my business. I offer free advice and consultation on my blogs and to clients. I love offering resources like free spells and tutorials. I do free readings each Tuesday on my twitter, public meet-and-greets on Sundays, and give away readings for charity. I like to give back and help out as much as I can.
Balancing what’s given away and how much time I spend on non-paying work can be difficult but I try to break up the amount of daily work I do as 2/3 paying work versus 1/3 non-pay (donations, free spells, etc.). Monthly number crunching helps keep things real and makes sure that I stay on track.
3) How much time do you spend on blogs and social media, and how do you make that pay off, so to speak? What’s your social media strategy?
I’m a lurker! I’m always on social media but I like to sit back and see how people interact with each other. I find that really fun and really fascinating. I spend roughly two to three hours a day on various social media and sometimes twice that much when I’m setting up things like my daily tips on facebook. I try to update at least one social media platform a day. If I’m not on tumblr then I’m posting to boards on pinterest, tweeting on the go, or updating my instagram. I have a posting schedule of what to post and when but I like to keep it flexible. If I make it too rigid, it’s no fun anymore. Social media’s really great to get more people interested and drive more business to your doors but it’s really just a lot of fun to interact with the people that are reading my work.
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4) What’s your best piece of advice for someone who is starting a Pagan business, or hoping to improve their existing one? 
Take time off! It’s very easy as small business owners, especially in a niche like ours, to work all the time. You put in more time then you get more money, right? But it weighs on you until you begin to grow bitter or resentful. Taking time off seems counterproductive at first but it’s healthier, gives you a chance to have a life outside of work, and boosts your motivation and inspiration. It gives you a chance to reset your spirit and recharge your batteries which is critical when you a lot of energy-based work. It’s absolutely my number one tip to being happy, having a successful business, and following your dreams.
Siobhan’s Advice
You need to take time off, and actually take in blocks of time worth a damn. Don’t take loads of ten minute breaks instead of a day off. Doesn’t count, doesn’t work, and you spend more time messing around instead of working OR relaxing.
If you can’t work out where the time goes, try RescueTime. It’s free, and tracks exactly what you’re doing on your computer. The paid version also tracks what you are doing off the computer, too. You can also set goals with it, both the ‘Do this’ and ‘Don’t do that’ kind. You can get alerts, block distracting websites, and so much more. It basically does the work of about eight different apps all in one.
I’ve managed to get back about eight hours of working time last week without really trying. It’s amazing, I don’t know how I worked without it.
(It is an affiliate link, which means is you buy the paid version I get a commission, at no extra cost to you.)

How to Survive Mercury Retrograde

 

How to Cope

(First thing’s first, if you’re not sure what any Retrograde is, check out the beginning of this post.. If you’re wondering why all the sudden posts about Retrogrades, five planets decided it would be hilarious if they all went Retrograde at the same time. Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. We’ll be looking at Jupiter and Saturn next week. Hooray.)

Honestly, it’s not as bad as you think.  I know Mercury Retrograde gets a really bad rap. I can’t think why a planet that rules communication, contracts, the Internet and electronics in general, going backwards would cause anyone any distress… /sarcasm.

Still, as with any Retrograde you just gotta roll with the punches and try and learn the lessons that the planets bring. If you’ve got any sort of problem that you’re avoiding, the Retrogrades will ceaselessly bring it up. It’s probably better to use that energy to deal with it instead of trying to shove it back in the sock drawer.

Here are nine things to bear in mind when Mercury goes … weird.

Think before you speak.

Someone summed this up very well, and forth he life of me I can’t remember who.

Anyway, there are three questions you should always ask yourself before you open your mouth, lest you suddenly put your foot there.

‘Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me now?’

Read terms and conditions.

And not just written ones either.

A lot of relationships come with unspoken terms, conditions and boundaries.

The key to a successful friendship and/or romantic relationship, and indeed family life, is to all be on the same hymn sheet about what is acceptable and expected in the relationship.

Jobs are exactly the same. You can’t expect the new girl to suddenly fall in with your office culture of At Least An Hour’s Overtime Every Day* without telling her that’s a thing.

In my experience as a Tarot reader, I suspect at least 60% of problems can be solved with an Uncomfortable But Necessary Adult Conversation.

Don’t be Nick Burkhardt** and go around asking all of your friends and acquaintances about your girlfriend’s sudden life issues without talking to her first. Really.

Truth is relative.

There is no such thing as complete and unvarnished truth.

Everyone’s perception is influenced by their experiences, beliefs and mental state at the time.

You will never get closure by asking for the truth. You get closure by accepting what you were presented with, healing and moving on.

You will never know why he left you/why she cheated.

In the grand scheme of things, the whys are not always important.

Sorry about that.

Are saying/doing what you meant?

Ah, childhood. ‘But Muuum, I didn’t mean that.’

Intent isn’t always magic.

For example, my Grandmother probably thinks she’s doing me a favour when she puts my fresh laundry on top of my altar.

My stepmother probably thought she was helping when she pulled my jewelry business to pieces.

Thing is, they weren’t.

They didn’t ask whether I would actually like for those things to occur, just assumed that because they’d find it acceptable and pleasing, so would I.

I’ve done it too. We’ve all done it. Just assumed that everyone can read our minds and see precisely what we meant by any action or conversation.

And we’ve all hurt people by doing it.

Just talk to people. Really. Please. Just ask someone if they want something doing.

Oh, and if someone consents to being given your advice, make sure they know when they’re letting themselves in for. What one person sees as friendly advice, another sees as an insult.

Speak up.

Still riffing off the ‘People aren’t mind readers’ thing, what about your words left unspoken?

Alright, some of them probably don’t need to be spoken to another human being, but they don’t need to fester inside of you either.

You don’t have to be ‘good’ at art or writing for it to be helpful.

You have permission to release anything that you want to say into a journal. No one will judge you. It’s your own private space to let go and say what you have been repressing for so long.

Information Overload

We spoke in another post about not hate-reading blogs and why you shouldn’t do that.

You also shouldn’t carry on reading/watching/doing stuff that you’re a bit ‘meh’ about.

Give yourself permission to not consume media that doesn’t fire you up (in the right ways). I know people who’ll read a book to the end even if they’re not enjoying. How. Why. Stop.

You’re also hereby freed from having to read/watch/listen to something as soon as it comes out.

And, and, and you honestly do NOT have to answer the phone just because it’s ringing.  Carve out space and time for yourself to just Not Do.

We live in a 24 hour world, but we are not 24 hour people. There is no way you can possibly catch up on EVERYTHING so stop trying.

How are you coping with Mercury Retrograde?

*Personally I think that’s a shitty office culture anyway, but the point stands.

**Y’know, from Grimm. No-one has a conversation in that show about emotions until it’s far too late. Least of all Nick.

 

 

PBuP: 03 – Different Income Streams

Today I’m talking to Valerie from Demoiselle Étrange, about the different streams of income you can use to build your business.

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“I wanted to share my vision of magic; in a simple and modern way.

I like logic in spirituality and believe it is possible to be connected to nature in your everyday life.

My personal blog became an online store and slowly turned into a full time project, with classes and services.

Our classes are offered on downloadable PDF files, since most of our clients are from Europe.

It is more convenient that way!

These classes are the results of our research and studies on various theme of the craft.

We love to gather information and simplify, so it is easier to understand the theory. We also prepare exercises so our students can put their knowledge into practice.

Our mission is to turn magic into something logical and accessible. Our goal is to help people develop their inner power and connect with nature!”

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As well as their website Demoiselle Étrange also has an Etsy shop.

“I love making amulets, gris-gris and talismans!

Each of them are inspired by other cultures and traditions, each of them has a story of its own!

The best part of my job is to keep on learning, while sharing and bringing some magic in someone’s life!

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It is not for everyone! Even today, people have misconceptions and judgements about the practice.

I think it’s important to have a down-to-earth approach toward people who don’t know much about it, so they can understand better.”

Siobhan’s Advice: Don’t think of your business simply in terms of what you have to sell, whether that’s a book, a candle, or a piece of jewelry. Consider other revenue streams, some of which you build onto what you already have with not much trouble. Not all of them will work for you, but one or two may slot easily in to what you already do: sell courses, have third party adverts on your website, affiliate marketing or sponsored posts, e-books, Patreon, teaching or speaking. The list is endless. And advertising needn’t be a dirty word – there are models where you can choose who advertises on your site and how, so you can choose business who you are happy to support and build that advert in a way that suits you and your followers. The best thing to keep in mind when you consider adverts and affiliate marketing, is only to promote the things that you would recommend to other people if you weren’t being paid to do it. 

I will make some more posts about different revenue streams later this month.

More from Demoiselle Étrange:

Website: http://www.demoiselle-etrange.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/demoiselle.etrange?ref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/d_etrange

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/demoiselle_etrange/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/etrangebazar/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/demoiselleetrange

More from Siobhan:

ResurrectionJewelryx Shop

Tarot Readings and More

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Reconsidering the Elements: Fire

reconsidering the elements

 

Fire is typically hailed as the creative and destructive element, but since all other elements also have a claim to creativity, you’re then left with destruction or sexual energy.

Which is honestly a bit of a cop out, because then you end up with some very strange Tarot readings with only those two answers for fire!

To understand fire’s role in magic and metaphysics, I think we first need to understand fire’s role in human culture.

I truly believe that without fire, we would have led the same existence as other animals. Without fire, it’s harder to digest animal and plant matter. Without fire, it’s harder to make effective tools. Without fire, it’s harder to stay warm. Without fire, there is no home. Without fire, grasslands would become ineffective and diseased, cutting us off from our main food sources. Without fire, you can’t see in the dark.

Fire is human beings taking something from nature, and controlling it.

The only other beings on Earth to use fire are certain plants, who wait for the grasslands to die, become hot, and eventually flame up, then causing these plants to spread their seeds. They require fire, but they don’t control it.

I think controlling fire the way we do is a purely human idea.  Many corvids use tools to get what they want, sometimes even making a tool from something in their environment to aid them. But they don’t use fire. Elephants use tools and higher reasoning, so do chimps, even dolphins.

But none of them use fire.

There are so many myths and legends about fire, from all corners of the globe. Think Prometheus, think Brigid.

Fire is the bit of us that sits behind the eyes, that tells us to push. To explore . To take the other road. Fire is the voice that whispers ‘What if?’

And sometimes, of course, fire leads us astray. Fire is our greatest ally, but also our greatest enemy.

Without control, fire will destroy us. It can wipe away whole cities if left unchecked.

And that, I think, is what fire represents in Tarot, magic, and metaphysics. Control, or the lack of it.

If we control fire, we can live in luxury, with warm air, hot water, hot food and items made of metal, glass and plastic. We can achieve all our dreams with that voice that screams out for more, better, faster.

But if we don’t control fire, we die in agony, with everything we’ve built in ashes.

Fire needs respect, and if you don’t give it, it will run away and take down everything you love.

Fire is something almost unquantifiable in magic terms, it is a process, not a thing. And that is what makes it special.

If you want to work with fire, consider whether you are ready. Consider why you want to work with fire.  Any magic that you want to enact great change will benefit from the use of fire.

But of course, use it wisely.