I have an instagram account and follow a lot of really inspiring witches. One thing I see a lot is altar set ups. I love looking at them; some of them are huge, and intricately designed. Statues, bottles of herbs, huge crystal towers, placed everywhere. Sometimes it makes me feel guilty. My altar is just a small chest of draws with a few essentials on it. In fact, I don't really use it at all. It sits in the spare room/junk room as there is nowhere else to put it, in an upstairs room with no curtains. The room is a mess and everyone can see in, so I tend to do all of my spell work downstairs at my 'hearth', which feels more appropriate for someone who considers kitchen witchcraft to be a large part of their practice.
I've mentored a lot of new witches, and one of the main comments they always have is 'I just can't find the time to practice my craft'. It's a valid thought, and one that I struggled with when I first started out. We always talk about how witchcraft is a 'lifestyle', but especially when you are beginning your path, it can be difficult to work out what that actually means. It takes time to build up habits, and that is exactly what we mean when we say witchcraft is a 'lifestyle'; you are building these habits of practicing magick into your every day life. Sure, some things you need to set time aside for, such as full on rituals, but we strive to entwine magick with the mundane on a physical level.
As such, my whole house is my altar. I keep a bottle of quartz water in the bathroom cupboard, so I can anoint myself and say my morning devotion as I'm getting ready in the morning. My tarot cards live on my desk, so I can pull a card for the day after logging into work and checking my emails. The herbs I use in spells or potions live in the cupboard in the kitchen along with the herbs and spices I use for cooking.
The park where I take my lunch time walk is my altar. I enjoy making offerings to the water spirits in the local park, or connecting with the trees to help heal.
You may instead have a lot of 'mini altars' set up about the place. A statue in the kitchen that represents Hestia, a small collection of crystals and a special sigil on your desk to encourage creativity, for example. Just because these aren't big or elaborate doesn't make them any less powerful.
I have to remind myself when I see these fantastic altar set ups on instagram that sometimes, the traditional altar just doesn't suit some witches. If that's your vibe, then go for it (and show me pictures lol, I do love looking at them). But if you don't have the space for an altar, or even if you just don't really care for altars, that doesn't make you any less of a witch, or your practice any less valid. I believe it is much more important to focus on making your witchcraft a habit, and a true part of your lifestyle, and this often means working 'on the fly'. So, if that is you, embrace not needing an altar! Your craft is your own, and the witch makes the magick.
We have been lucky enough to get snow here today! It rarely snows, and when it does, it rarely settles. However, today saw the largest snowflakes fall, settle, and stick around for the day. It was beautiful going for a walk through the park and seeing the trees all covered in snow. It also got me thinking about snow magick. I don't get the chance to do it often, so I want to make the most of this opportunity!
To me, at least, snow represents balance. There is something extremely tranquil about staring out across the land as it lies under a blanket of pure white snow, untouched and undisturbed. Snow can bring joy; snowball fights, building snowmen, and going for long walks and admiring the view. It can also bring isolation, and harsh conditions which are difficult to survive without the proper resources. This balance is something which is referred to in almost every resource I have read about snow magick, and is one which resonates with me.
Snow also represents transformation, and letting go. It tranforms the landscape, and as it melts, the land reemerges anew. We all have difficult challenges and obstacles we face from time to time, and snow energy can teach us to just let it all melt away and wait for what is revealed beneath it. As the snow melts, so do our worries.
'Letting go' is a prevalent theme with snow magick, as it is also good for cleansing, purification, and banishing.
Here are some ideas you can try for making the most of the snow in a magickal sense:
The type of conditions you collected the snow in should also be taken into consideration. For example, if
you collected the snow during a freak, raging blizzard, then it may not be most appropriate for a peace
Unfortunately the lack of regular snow around here makes it difficult to practice snow magick, but when the opportunity does arise, it can be a lot of fun!
December 24th - January 20th is known as the month of the Birch Tree under the Celtic Tree Calender. The Celtic tree calendar is a controversial subject; essentially, it is believed that it was created by someone much, much later on for the purposes of a book as opposed to being something the ancient Celts actually followed. However, I don't see any harm in at least acknowledging it, and whether it is authentic or not shouldn't stop you from utilising the power of the sacred trees in your magick.
The birch tree makes a lot of sense being assigned to the new year. Pronounched 'Beh', and spelled 'Beith', it is the tree of rebirth, regeneration, new life, growth, and new opportunity. After a forest fire, the birch tree is one of the first to grow back. As such, the energy of the birch tree is great to utilise if you are doing a 'new year, new me' sort of thing, or making new year resolutions.
In Celtic Reiki, we use the 'essence' of trees in our healing. The birch tree is one of the essences we encounter in level one of Celtic Reiki. It helps us release old ways, habits, thought patterns and general negativity, so that we can embrace the present and the future. As well as helping the user to work through any issues that may be holding them back from making the changes they wish to see or making any progress, it is a great motivator. Starting something can sometimes be the hardest thing to do; the energy of the birch tree will help you get over that intital inertia and fear of the unknown, and help you find the motivation you need.
To use the energy of the birch tree, draw the symbol for Beith (below) on each palm. Then meditate, and see the symbol of Beith in your crown chakra, glowing golden in colour. Chant the word 'Beith' either out loud or in your head (remember, it is pronounced 'Beh'). It's that simple!
Word of warning; best not to perform this meditation before bed. Every time I have done so I have been filled with such energy that it has taken hours to get to sleep!
The Weekly Witch:
Once I week I talk about something 'witchcraft' related I have done with my week. How we incorporate witchcraft into our every day lives is always a topic that has interested me, so I wanted to start this blog to explore it further!