February 2018 Magickal Link Roundup

Tea with Lavender Buds

It’s time for another magickal link roundup wherein I have compiled this month’s best resources from around the witchy web. Normally, this feature would be bi-monthly, but since February was a relatively quiet month in the cosmos, there weren’t many links to share around the halfway point.

Below you will find the my favorite links from around the magickal interweb from February 2018. If you have a favorite witchy post/blog/product to share, please feel free to post it in the comments.

~ February 2018 Magickal Link Roundup ~

Astrology & Numerology

Chinese Astrology: 2018 Tibetan and Chinese New Year of the Earth Dog on Mystic Mama – While Mystic Mama is a pretty good site, I have to say that I cannot stand these clunky post titles, it’s a strange pet peeve, but it’s nagging at me. I think it’s because I’m an English teacher by trade, and the titles read like they were written in another language and run through Google Translate. Regardless, this article is similar to the one below, various perspectives on the new Lunar year in Eastern astrology.

Chinese Astrology: Year of the Yang Earth Dog 2018 on Forever Conscious – As we exit the year of the Fire Rooster, this post gives an idea of what to expect during the upcoming lunar year.

February Numerology: Building Foundations for Love & Life on Astro Style – The monthly numerology report is always interesting, and I’ve found it to be generally accurate. My January report was correct, and I’m finding this monthly numerology report to be one of the best things this site produces.

Year of the Earth Dog: Your 2018 Chinese Horoscope on Astro Style – Their twist on this month’s common theme: what does the Year of the Earth Dog hold?

Tarot & Divination

Seventh Sphere Tarot de Marseille Deck by Labyrinthos Academy – This is a new release indie deck for February and is a stylistic companion to their Seventh Sphere Lenormand deck. The cards look really beautiful, my only complaint about collecting indie decks is the price: this one is $50 before shipping. (I still want it though.)

Tarot Birth Cards: Discover Your Inner Self on Biddy Tarot – I’m definitely interested in trying this out.

Moon Magick

A Free Moon Magic Coloring Page Set on Coloring Book of Shadows – You have to sign up for an email list to get this set, but they look pretty cute. I’m already subscribed, but haven’t gotten anything, so maybe you need to re-subscribe to get it? Update: Yes, you do.

Witchcraft & Paganism

A Druid’s Meditation Primer on A Druid’s Garden – This post goes into three different types of meditation, different types of breathwork, and includes three meditation exercises for the three phases of Druidry.

Love Potion Tea Recipe on The Witch of Lupine Hollow – I’m sure you all know I’m very against love spells, but this tea is for opening your heart up to love, a nice twist on a common witchcraft request. This blog always has interesting seasonal tea recipes, for the adventurous amongst us.

I hope you find these links helpful for you magickal doings. I very much enjoyed compiling them, and hope you find these resources useful, too. I will be back in March for another link roundup.

Blessed be, friends!

Image Credit

Stock image by Brigitte Tohm via Pexels

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Cosmic Concerns: March 2018

Woman Face Silhouette

This list of March 2018’s astrological events is for witches and pagans who are interested in what’s going on in the cosmos. All times listed are in EST (Eastern Standard) and should be adjusted for your own time zone. Please note that this list is not even close to being exhaustive, but compiled by me to list events that are of magickal importance. This information is great to copy into your magickal journal if you maintain one; if you are looking for something more extensive my Guide to Lunar Trackers is on the site here. I hope that you find it helpful; blessed be!

Planetary Movement, March 2018

6th: Mercury enters Aries 2:34 AM; Venus enters Aries 6:45 PM
8th: Jupiter Retrograde 11:45 PM (until July 10th 2018)
17th: Mars enters Capricorn 12:40 PM
20th: Sun enters Aries 12:15 PM
22nd: Mercury Retrograde 8:19 PM in Aries (ends April 15th 2018)
31st: Venus enters Taurus 12:54 AM

Moon Cycle, March 2018

1st: Moon enters Virgo 12:57 AM, Full Moon in Virgo 7:51 PM
2nd: Moon void-of-course 6:50 PM
15th: Moon enters Pisces 6:12 AM
17th: New Moon in Pisces 9:12 AM, void-of-course 9:12 AM, enters Aries 2:57 PM
30th: Moon enters Libra 1:52 PM
31st: Blue Moon in Libra 8:37 AM

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Bullet Journal Tarot Tracker

I started testing out a bullet journal (bujo) system in November 2017, and switched to using it officially (aka formally replacing my planner and BOS) in January 2018. I knew that I wanted to start tracking my daily tarot card pulls in the bullet journal because I feel that practice is the only way to really learn the cards well. I searched a bit online, but couldn’t find a tarot tracking system that I liked. After some frustration (and a lot of erasing), I ended up making my own.

Bullet Journal Tarot TrackerI use the Leuchtturm1917 dotted A5 notebook in gold from the metallic 100th anniversary edition of notebooks. I’m noting this because I’ve heard online that the grid in this edition is slightly different than their standard notebooks.

You can see the blank tarot tracker to the left; I’m quite proud of it. I used a very simple version for a few months, but wanted something a little more fun and graphic looking. I used this tracker throughout January and it worked very well.

Each card ‘box’ is three squares wide by four squares tall. There’s a two square space in between each row, and a one square space between each column. The key box is ten squares tall by seven squares wide. This layout has enough space for the key and 32 card boxes, more than enough for every month. The extra card box can be used as an ‘oops box’ if you mess a card up enough that you want to rewrite it. Alternatively, you could use it for a monthly card, or leave it off entirely.

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A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging Part 2: Finding Your Voice

Geometric Stained Glass

This post is a continuation of the Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging, a four part series meant to help you take the steps you need to in order to start writing your magickal blog. If you haven’t read Part 1: Where to Start yet, please head on over there now. Part 2 covers finding your voice as a magickal author including tips for making the leap from wanting to write a blog to actually writing one.

Step 1: How to Find Your Voice

Even if you’ve written before, your voice as a witchcraft and/or paganism writer is likely going to be different. ‘Voice’ is essentially your style as a writer and covers things like formality of writing, tone, punctuation, etc. Some authors use a lot of personal anecdotes, and others speak factually; some use evidence or sources, while others don’t. (I do suggest, if you want to have a credible site, give sources of information at the bottom of your posts, just so your readers know you aren’t making up information.)

The only way to find your voice is to start writing and publishing posts. This is so hard to do, and I get it, but you have to take the leap. You’ll risk publishing posts that you aren’t completely happy with down the line, to which I say: welcome to blogging. No one is 100% happy with every post they write. There are some posts that I feel aren’t my best work, and they end up being popular, while other posts that I adore are barely ever viewed. There’s never going to be a perfect overlap between writer and audience, and that’s okay.

Luckily, when your blog is in its infancy, not many people will be visiting it anyway. For example: The first year I wrote this blog it was viewed a total of 400 times; the second year I wrote this blog it was viewed 6,000 times. A huge improvement! While I was sad that no one saw my writing that first year, now I’m glad that no one did, since my articles weren’t consistent at all.

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Book Review: Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman

Basic Witches Book CoverBasic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman was published in 2017 by Quirk Books. I pre-ordered the book because it’s illustrated by Camille Chew, whose work I’ve followed for a bit. I’m so excited that she’s getting magickal book illustration gigs, so I actually bought this book to support her. It’s very modern and ‘hip’ looking, designed to attract, presumably, young women. The color scheme of the book, especially the internal illustrations which don’t have any gold, is exactly the same as the Little Paper Forest Zodiac Deck that I just reviewed. The book itself is hardcover with gold foil details (all the yellow parts shown are metallic in person), and a much appreciated ribbon bookmark built in. It’s divided into seven sections with illustrations throughout, some of which are very funny. Every chapter ends with a set of spells related to the content that was covered therein.

The book is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, in part, and absolutely not for real witches. At the beginning of Chapter 1 the authors define “a witch” as any woman who is rebellious: “For our purposes witchcraft means the kind of mundane pursuits that might once have resulted in accusation: … not caring what men think, … and just knowing stuff” (15). They continue, “If you speak when you’re told to be quiet … you’re practicing witchcraft” (15). Then I put the book down for four months.

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Weekly Witch Question #4: Man Witch

Welcome to week four of the Weekly Witch Question! This feature was inspired by a massive list of questions that my dad sent me about witchcraft. The phrasing of these questions were adjusted, if they were changed at all, for clarity.

Feel free to ask any questions about witchcraft that you may have, and, if the question inspires you, respond in your own magickal journal (a prompt can be found below). This week’s question addresses men in witchcraft.

4. Can a man be a witch?

Absolutely! Witchcraft is for everyone, regardless of gender identity, including if they reject gender altogether. Terminology is where it get a little sticky. The term ‘warlock’ which means “oath-breaker” was/can be used for witches who identify as male, but this is also considered to be a pejorative by some. This debate is taken up in the 2018 Witches’ Companion in the article “Exonerating the Warlock: A Brief History and Revision of a Misunderstood Term” by Storm Faerywolf. I’m not sure how Storm identifies, but for another perspective on the debate, that’s the article I recommend. This all seems simple enough, but things get complicated when we start to talk about gender.

Comme des Garcons Fall 2012

What is this? A witch.

Witch is a gender-neutral term and can be used by anyone who considers themselves to be a witch. However – and it’s a big however – the term “witch” is generally considered to be a ‘feminine’ term. Just like “purse” or “whore” the term “witch” is associated with women, and when indicating that it’s associated with a man, “man purse” and “man whore” enter the vernacular. (The title of this post is to poke fun at this, “man witch” it not a term anyone is using.) Since things that are coded as female are then devalued and read as ‘not masculine’, the association between witch and woman is problematic, specifically because it hurts recruitment. Many men interested in witchcraft end up instead in paganism (in general), Druidry, or Satanism rather than witchcraft. Even when pagan men work with magick they are hesitant to call themselves witches.

Looking at pop culture, for example, the most well known male witch in the world is probably Harry Potter, but within that story, male witches are called “wizards”. No magickal modern man that I know calls himself a “wizard,” or a “sorcerer” for that matter, since both of these terms are associated more with fantasy novels than magick. “Mage” has similar issues, as it evokes the feeling of choosing a character class in a fantasy video game.

So, while men are absolutely welcome in witchcraft, we have a real hurdle to get over when it comes to “witch/craft” and gender issues. If there are any magickal men out there reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

For your magick journal: What terms have you seen used for a man who is a witch? If you are are man and a witch, what do you call yourself? Do you think that the term “witch” is always going to be associated with women? How do you feel about that?

Image Credit

Comme des Garcons fashion via Vogue

Indie Deck Review: Zodiac Cards by Little Paper Forest

Zodiac Cards by Little Paper Forest

I have been a fan of Nikkie Stinchcombe, also known as Little Paper Forest, for some time now, so in October 2017 when she announced that she was starting a zodiac illustration project, I was rather excited. I had planned on posting about the project when the last illustration was completed, but she implored the internet to leave the pictures alone, since they were still being revised. Then, in late January 2018, Stinchcombe announced that the illustrations were being made into tarot-style cards, and I immediately hit “add to cart.”

Zodiac Cards by Little Paper Forest

The cards feature feminine interpretations of each sign of the zodiac, plus Ophiuchus, the so-called 13th sign. Many of the figures feature looks from high fashion/couture, such as Iris Van Herpen, who I adore. I also like that the cards have a uniform color scheme of black, grayscale, and bluish-lavender. It’s unusual and very pretty. This is a more modern deck, in lines of a Labyrinthos Academy, more than a Lo Scarabeo, for example.

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New Moon February 15th 2018 in Aquarius

Aquarius - Urania's Mirror

The February 2018 New Moon in Aquarius occurs at 4:05 PM EST on Thursday, February 15th. However, the Moon goes void-of-course at the exact same time, meaning you will need to observe this Full Moon sooner rather than later. The good news is that the Moon is in Aquarius all day February 14th, and it enters Aquarius at 10:11 AM on Tuesday, February 13th, so it will essentially be in Aquarius for two full days. This gives us plenty of time to work with this New Moon. This information is also detailed in my February 2018 Cosmic Concerns post and is listed below.

New Moon February 2018 Timing

  • February 13th, Tuesday: Moon enters Aquarius 10:11 AM
  • February 14th, Wednesday: Moon is in Aquarius all day
  • February 15th, Thursday: New Moon at 4:05 PM, void-of-course 4:05 PM, enters Pisces 9:42 PM

Practically speaking, all this means you can do your New Moon ritual after 10 AM on the 13th, any time on the 14th (recommended), or before 4 PM on the 15th.

The two week manifestation point for this New Moon is on Thursday, March 1st 2018 with the Full Worm Moon in Virgo. The six month manifestation point is on Friday, July 27th 2018 with the Full Moon in Aquarius. This New Moon marks the end up the Lunar Year, with the Lunar New Year occurring on February 16th and the year of the Dog. 

My guide, Witch’s Guide to New Moon Magick, can be found on the site here; this post is a companion to that guide. If you’re new to Moon magick that’s a great place to begin.

New Moon in Aquarius

Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the zodiac, a Fixed, and an Air sign that is ruled by Uranus and Saturn. Aquarius is associated with social justice and responsibility. They are the zodiac’s rebel, and enjoy being unique and different. An Aquarius is more likely to have a lot of casual friendships, rather than a few deep ones, because they are a very social sign. Because of their confidence, they are able to make friends easily and are passionate about causes they believe in. No one loves a conspiracy theory more than an Aquarius, but maybe this is because they’re usually ahead of their time. Aquarius might be the water bearer, but any Aquarius would say that what they really carry is the truth! Saturn was the original ruler of the sign, but Uranus was also assigned to Aquarius after its discovery. This New Moon ushers in the Lunar New Year and is also a Solar Eclipse, which will give an extra boost of energy to your magick.

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13 Magickal Ways to Fill a Notebook

Open Books

I absolutely love blank books, and am pretty much always looking for an excuse to use them. Luckily, witchcraft lends itself to the hoarding of notebooks, blank books, planners, and what not. Here are thirteen magickal uses for notebooks so you can hoard away.

13 Magickal Ways to Fill a Notebook

1. Animal & Nature Sightings Journal – Animal sightings are a type of divination/sign in and of themselves, but I often forget to include them in my magickal journal. You can keep a diary of just animal sightings, or include when you see certain flowers, plants, or compelling clouds. To take it a step further you can press flowers and record where you collected them, then add magickal correspondences and uses.

2. Astrological Correspondences – The correspondences between the 12 signs of the zodiac and the planets is extensive, and could easily fill a notebook. There could be a page for each sign with its information and correspondences, a page for each planet and its movement and magickal information, and a section that cross-references the two sections (ie: what Mercury in Scorpio means). There can also be information on planetary retrogrades, and a calendar that covers as much or as little of the information at you like.

3. Book of Shadows/Grimoire/Magickal Journal – This is the obvious choice, of course, and my article on Starting You Grimoire and/or Book of Shadows is my most popular post. A magickal journal is a must-have for a witch, in my opinion. Magickal journal is an all-purpose magickal use for a notebook, and a lot of the items on the list can be added to a magickal journal, too.

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About the Witch: My Witchcraft Story

Hello all! I hope that you are all having a wonderful and magickal year thus far. I thought it would be a good idea to take a moment and introduce myself to new readers of Astra Anima. What better way than by telling the story of my own magickal journey?

About the Witch

Meet the WitchI’m Brigitte, the magickal writer behind Astra Anima, and an eclectic pagan Taoist witch. I was raised in an Eastern religious tradition (my father moved toward Buddhism as I moved toward Taoism), but even though I was brought up in those traditions, I never felt like I completely fit in. Still, my ideas about life, death, and ‘the Universe’ are very much informed by Taoism, so I’m include it in my official witch title at the moment.

I became a witch when I was in 8th grade (so about 13 years old) and met my best friend who became my first coven leader. We were in a coven for the next six years that eventually grew to have four regular members and, at the largest ritual, a total of about a dozen people. This is where I learned a lot of my pagan witchcraft foundations as we celebrated the Full Moons and Sabbats. I remember sitting in her bedroom with a copy of Scott Cunningham’s Earth, Air, Fire, Water taking copious notes in a cheap spiral notebook. We would sneak into the local park or clamor over the chain link fence behind her house into the scraggly the woods for our Esbats. There was one Sabbat we did at the beach where our grill was pulled into the ocean; I will always remember her chasing it into the water, dodging the hot coals that floated out as she retrieved it.

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Book Review: Brigid by Courtney Weber

Brigid by Courtney WeberBrigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess by Courtney Weber was published in 2015 by Weiser Books. I picked it up in 2016, but only got around to reading it recently. The book is divided into ten chapters ranging from about 15-30 pages each. I picked this book up off my shelf as Imbolc loomed large over the horizon. Having already read a couple of books on the Sabbat itself, I decided to learn more about the goddess associated with it: Brigid.

On the whole my feelings about this book are positive, but I did struggle to read it at points, and for multiple reasons. I found myself getting a little bored at parts, forgetting what I had just read, or letting my eyes flit around the page. I started out really enjoying the book, but early on, the author confides that the book is part of a ‘deal’ that she made with the goddess. Forgetting the deal and not holding up her end of the bargain, the author says that Brigid became cold and vengeful, culminating in the priestess doing Weber’s dedication hitting and berating her. Finally, a friend channels Brigid who, again, vengefully leaves the newly-pregnant woman with twins who resemble the goddess as punishment for the friend’s resistance. There’s something about 1) speaking the mystical aloud, and 2) this vengeful idea of Brigid, that cooled me on the book somewhat. I’m all for warrior goddess – all for them – but the idea of Brigid as petty and cruel over what amount to human error or misunderstandings just doesn’t resonate with me. Also, as witches and pagans we all have unusual mystical experiences, but when they’re stated aloud they lose something to me. I feel like the author’s personal stories about Brigid were a roadblock to me fully appreciating the book, and the research that went into it. All that being said, there’s quite a lot of good in the book as well, so let’s get to the content of the book itself.

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Indie Oracle Deck: “Supra” Oracle by Uusi

Supra Oracle by Uusi

Uusi is an independant tarot and oracle card maker extraordinaire, and their latest release is the “Supra” Oracle, which include 56 unique cards. From their website:

“Supra” is an oracle deck loosely based on Jungian psychology and how it mingled with Gnosticism. We loved the melding of physics, psyche and ancient knowledge in Jung’s practice that inspired an artistic leap at the dawn of the 20th Century in how Man relates to the world around him. It was a process of soul making in an era of growing preoccupation with the Machine and a return to our mystic roots that nourish and enliven our essential selves – our individual identities – within the immeasurable expanse of the cosmos.

With a world very much in play and running more and more at a machine’s pace, we need objects and practices that ask us to stop, to reflect, and above all to allow us time to be human – to listen to what is in our hearts as much as what is in our minds.

I am very intrigued by the idea of a Jung-inspired oracle deck, and the archetypes are pulled from various (presumably Western) traditions. I believe the aim of this oracle deck is to sort of mimic a sort of collective unconscious and to pull advice from that system of “mystic roots”. My first reaction is that this deck would be potentially very useful for shadow work.

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Weekly Witch Question #3: Witches in the Media

Welcome to the third installment of the (Bi)Weekly Witch Question! This feature was inspired by a massive list of questions that my dad sent me about witchcraft. The phrasing of these questions were adjusted, if they were changed at all, for clarity.

Feel free to ask any questions about witchcraft that you may have, and, if the question discussed here inspires you, respond in your own magickal journal (a prompt can be found at the bottom of the post). This week’s question addresses how witches are presented in popular culture, which, in turn, influences how non-magickal people view us.

Question 3: Are there really witches like the ones portrayed in popular media (e.g., Macbeth, Salem Witch Trials, Halloween, etc.)?

30 Rock Witch Undertones

The short answer is no, witches are not like the way we are portrayed in the popular imagination. To illustrate, I’m going to take a moment to address a few of the major ones and add a notable example to the list.

Macbeth: The Macbeth witches are based mostly on other people’s portrayals of witches from that time period; the 2018 Witches’ Companion published by Llewellyn actually has an article about them specifically. The witches three seem to be an adaptation of the three Fates (Greek) or the Norns (Norse) that rule over people’s lives.

Salem: The people who died in Salem weren’t witches at all. The Salem witchcraft trials were one of the last gasps of witchcraft persecution, a European import. There’s a trend at the moment to declare oneself a “descendant of Salem” aka a witch. I find this obnoxious for a few reasons: first, as stated, the people who died in Salem weren’t witches. The other is that I’m an actual descendant of Salem, specifically one of the ‘bad guys’, Cotton Mather. I really do have Salem in my blood; if you don’t, then please don’t buy a shirt pretending to be like me.

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