Astra Anima’s Grimoire Zine: Issue 1 Protection and Reflection

Astra Anima's Grimoire Issue I: Protection and Reflection I’m super excited to announce that I’ve released my first witchcraft zine: Astra Anima’s Grimoire.

Issue #1: Protection & Reflection is a collection of spells, tools, and research on those two topics.

I’m a zinester from way back, so for me this is a return to my roots. My dad was a pretty well known figure in zines and underground comix in the 70s, and he got me into zines as a child. I published my first zine at the age of 7 and have published probably around 70 zines in my lifetime, including a long-running zine about my personal life that I wrote in High School (so cringy now).

Some of the spells in Issue #1 are revised and updated versions of articles that appear on this blog, while others are brand new and will never be published online. All told there are 5 protection/reflection magickal spells, 3 resource lists, and a further reading section.

The contents, in order, are:

  • Tourmaline Spell to Return Negativity
  • Sage Spell for Eliminating Negativity (preview shown below)
  • Witch Tips: Crystals for Protection (preview shown below)
  • How to Make & Use Cascarilla
  • Witch Tips: Deities & Spirits for Protection
  • Pillow Spell for Ending Bad Dreams
  • Evil Eye Jewelry Enchantment
  • Witch Tips: Plants and Trees for Protection
  • Bibliography & Recommended Reading

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New Moon January 16th 2018 in Capricorn

The January 2018 New Moon in Capricorn occurs at 9:17 PM EST on Tuesday, January 16th. The Moon then goes void-of-course at 1:30 AM on the next day (you can also think of it at that evening). The good news is that the Moon is in Sagittarius all day January 15th and it enters Sagittarius at 2:42 PM on Sunday, January 14th, so it will essentially be in Sagittarius for two full days. This gives us plenty of time to work with this New Moon. This information is also detailed in my January 2018 Cosmic Concerns post and is listed below.

New Moon January 2018 Timing

  • January 14th, Sunday: Moon enters Capricorn at 2:42 PM
  • January 15th, Monday: Moon is in Capricorn all day
  • January 16th, Tuesday: Moon is in Capricorn all day; New Moon at 9:42 PM
  • January 17th, Wednesday: Moon goes void-of-course at 1:30 AM

Practically speaking, all this means you can do your New Moon ritual on the evening of the 16th (recommended), or any time on the 15th.

The two week manifestation point for this New Moon is on Wednesday, January 31st 2018 with the Full Blue Moon in Leo. The six month manifestation point is on Thursday, June 28th 2018 with the Full Moon in Capricorn.

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 Capricorn

Capricorn is the tenth sign of the zodiac, a Cardinal, and an Earth sign that is ruled by Saturn. Capricorn is associated with winter and is associated by my favorite mythological animal, the hippocampus. It is the zodiac’s hard worker, ambitious, and anxious for a project. They are goal-oriented to the point of stubbornness, and can be curmudgeonly thanks to ruling planet Saturn.

In fact, Saturn moved into Capricorn in December 2017, and will stay there until 2020, making this an excellent time to work with Capricorn energy. This sign wants to be at the top of the mountain, and this can make them come off as domineering or egotistical, but they’d say that’s just the price you pay for being the best. Capricorns can also be patient, level-headed, fair dealing, and full of common sense. Yet, they can occasionally be unforgiving, and crave recognition for their work. This is a down-to-Earth sign that, like all Earth signs, isn’t afraid of hard work; as a Cardinal sign, Capricorn initiates action.

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Review: Coloring Book of Shadows Planner for a Magical 2018 by Amy Cesari

Coloring Book of Shadows 2018 by Amy CesariColoring Book of Shadows Planner for a Magical 2018 is written and illustrated by Amy Cesari, who also self-published this planner. Getting the book I had no idea that it was not traditionally published, which was really cool. After reading it, I only had a few inklings, which deserve a mention. At one point the author makes the assumption that all witches are pagans and uses the terms interchangeably. Also, on the November page, Cesari refers to Scorpio energy as “selfish,” and as a Scorpio you can guess how I took that. A broader issue is that the reader is encouraged to “channel” various entities at different times; using channeling as a harmless or simple concept is probably something a witchcraft editor would have advised against. The Mabon “Flaming Pumpkin Sacrifice” spell seems flat out dangerous, as in, burn your house down dangerous. Those are all of my complains because I actually really like this planner, so let’s move on to the good stuff.

The Coloring Book of Shadows Planner for a Magical 2018 measures 9″ x 6″ and the cover of the book is matte black. It has a clean-yet-magical vibe to it that also fills the pages inside. While I got the bound version of the book – which was much cheaper – a spiral bound version is also available. This is very much appreciated since I love to have a planner that I can fold in half on a desk or lay completely flat for writing. It has a total of 156 pages, and there are illustrations on every page.

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A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging Part 1: How and Where to Start

So you want to start a magickal blog. Great! Now the question is where to begin. You might have a lot of great ideas, but you don’t know what to do with them, or maybe no ideas, but a desire to write. A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging is a four part series meant to help you take the steps you need to in order to start writing your magickal blog. I have been blogging for well over 10 years, so it’s definitely something I feel comfortable talking about. In Part 1 you will take the first three steps, finding out who you are as a writer, exploring what you want to write, and deciding where you want to host your blog. Let’s get started …

Step 1: Who Are You?

One thing that will largely influence what your magickal blog is like is who you are. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you younger or older?
  • Are you an experienced witch or new to the Craft?
  • Do you have a set path or are you finding your way?

Your age means that you will have specific experience that relates to your phase of life. A young witch in college can write study spells, whereas a parent raising magickal children could write about their witchlings. A teenaged college student wouldn’t know about being a magickal parent, nor would the adult with kids know about being a carefree college student, and you know what? That’s a good thing! Your life experiences inform your magick which, in turn, guides your witchy writing.

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Weekly Witch Question #1: The Devil

I’m am very excited to introduce a new feature this week, the Weekly Witch Question! This feature was inspired by a massive list of questions that my dad sent me about witchcraft. This will be a regular feature this year, appearing every other Friday. 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, too. You will also find a question for your magickal journal at the bottom. I absolutely promise you that, if and when you come out of the ‘broom closet’, this question will be one of the first you are asked.

Question 1: Do witches worship the Devil? Do they worship nature?

The Devil Mystic Mondays Tarot

Witches do not worship the Devil, though most people seem to think that we do. The easiest way to describe it is by explaining that witches don’t worship the Devil because the Devil is something that Christians made up; it has nothing to do with us. I would feel comfortable claiming that very few people worship the Christian Devil at all. Some pagans believe that the Christian Devil is based on the Great Horned God, who, with the Goddess, moves around the cyclic Wheel of the Year. He’s born again at Yule, which is akin to the Christian Christmas. However, that’s pagan, and not witchcraft.

While ‘pagan’ is an umbrella term for people who follow an Earth Based Belief System (EBBS) that usually involves the spark of ‘divinity’ in nature; witches do not all fall under this umbrella because not all witches are pagan. Witches don’t actually ‘worship’ anything because witchcraft isn’t a religion. Rather, it’s a practice, a Craft, something you do, rather than something you follow. The only witchcraft religion that is officially recognized by the government (at this time) is Wicca, and many witches and pagans are not Wiccan, myself included. This is potentially changing since there are many types of witches and none of us are afforded with religious protections that come with being an officially recognized religion. In other words, if you’re not a religion you can’t experience religious persecution or discrimination, but many of us do. So while witchcraft isn’t a religion, it gets into a gray area very quickly.

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25 Bullet Journal Ideas for Witches

Bullet Journal Ideas for Witches and Pagans

There’s no shortage of bullet journal guides out there, but what about bullet journaling for witches? We have a specific set of needs, so below are some witchy ways to fill your bullet journal that I hope you will find inspiring.

What is a Bullet Journal (BuJo)?

In short, a bullet journal is an organizational system that favors simplicity above all else. A bullet journal can be created with nothing more than a notebook and a pen; they are a catch-all way to organize life. The bullet journal system was created by Rider Carroll. If you have never heard of bullet journaling before, the basics can be found on the BulletJournal.com website.

BuJo Page Ideas for Witches

Astrology & Moon Magick

1. Monthly Moon Phases
2. Yearly Full & New Moon Phases and/or Dates
3. Yearly or Monthly Planetary Movement (Cosmic Concerns)
4. Your Birth Chart
5. Numerology (monthly or yearly)
6. Mercury Retrogrades
7. Lunar Tracker

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Astra Anima’s 2017 Year in Review

2017 Year in Review

2017 was my second year writing here on Astra Anima; I wrote for much of the Spring, took some time off over the Summer, (thankfully) found my muse again, and returned to writing in the Fall. This year I feel like I figured out my voice, both in the sense of what I wanted to write, and how I wanted to write it.

Much of the information that I post here is information that goes straight into my own magickal diary: recipes I cook in my own kitchen, information that I’ve researched, and spells that I’ve performed myself (and that have worked). Writing here gives me a better understanding of my own path and makes me a better witch; that you want to read it too is such an honor to me.

Below you will find the eight most popular posts on the blog this year, as well as my eight personal favorites. At the bottom of the page is a look forward to 2018.

Top 8 Articles

  1. A Witch’s Guide to Starting Your Grimoire and/or Book of Shadows
  2. A Witch’s Guide to Organizing Your Grimoire and/or Book of Shadows
  3. Simple Kitchen Witch Coffee Spell
  4. Eight Samhain Season Celebration Ideas
  5. Full Moon December 3rd 2017 in Gemini
  6. Thoughts on Mercury Retrograde 4/28/16 – 5/22/16
  7. Self-Love and Acceptance Spell
  8. Crystal Closeup: Citrine

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Late December 2017 Magickal Link Roundup

Magickal Links for Late December 2017

It’s time for another magickal link roundup, the last one of 2017 to be exact! I’ve been finding so many wonderful resources around the witchy web that I’ve had a couple of requests to break this monthly post into two, more digestible, bi-monthly chunks. I think it’s a great idea, so here is part two of December’s magickal link roundup.

Below you will find the my favorite links from around the magickal interweb from the second half of December 2017. If you have a favorite witchy post/blog/product to share, please feel free to post it in the comments.

~ Late December 2017 Magickal Link Roundup ~

Astrology & Numerology

2018 Horoscopes: Your Yearly Astrological Forecast on Astrostyle – There is a lot of movement in the stars in 2018; this post is an overview of what to expect with specific details for each sign.

January Month Horoscope: Intentions Get Activated on Astrostyle – Very similar to their post above, but more information on planetary movement in January and what it means.

Books & Publications

Femme Fatale Volume 2 Zine on Little Paper Forest – I got this fancy zine as a holiday gift and absolutely love it. $15 is a bit pricey for a zine, but the print and paper quality is excellent, and I loved the content of the zine itself. If it appeals to you, I highly recommend it.

DIY & Handmade

DIY Swan Garland on A Beautiful Mess – A very cute idea for a garland made with cookie cutters and Sculpey. It looks really easy to make, which I like, and could be adapted for many different Sabbats.

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Magickal Journal Ideas for January 2018

Magickal Journal Ideas for January 2018

Happy (almost) Solar New Year, everyone! Can we agree to call the first month of the year Plan-uary? Because I always seem to buy a new journal or planner right before the new year starts. Personally, I’m starting a BuJo this year (yes, I’m years behind on this), and I’m really excited. Below I’ve have a list of topics to pack your magickal journal, grimoire, or book of shadows over the course of January. There are both prompts and correspondences below.

Activities/Prompts

Planning Ahead: January is an excellent time to plan ahead. Even if you celebrate one of the many, many other ‘new year’ times on the calendar, the people around you will likely be observing a solar year in some form. Now is an excellent time to write down Full and New Moon dates, signs, and times; Sabbat days for the Wheel of the Year; or brainstorm a list of topics you would like to add to your magical journal over the course of 2018. This is also a great time to set up a magickal journal if you don’t already have one.

Release List: I enjoy a good gratitude list (aka my cat’s name and then a bunch of food I want to eat) just as much as the next person, but for the new solar year consider writing a list of things to release instead. What no longer serves you? What holds you back? Write them down and (try to) let them go. Burn the release list for an extra boost of GTFO.

Something New: Think of a new skill you’d like to add to your witchcraft repertoire. Have you always wanted to try a different type of scrying? Make your own oracle deck? Create charm bags? If you’re drawn to something that usually means you have a knack for it. Try out a new witchy skill and add the information to your magical journal.

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Full Moon January 1st 2018 in Cancer

Moon Magick January 2018

January 2018’s Full Moon is on Monday, January 1st at 9:24 PM EST; this Full Moon ends the cycle that started on June 23rd 2017 with the New Moon in Cancer. The Moon moves into Cancer at 3:10 AM on Monday January 1st, and exits Cancer at 5:46 PM on Tuesday January 2nd. This information is also detailed in my January 2018 Cosmic Concerns post and as in list below.

January 2018 Full Cold Moon Timing

  • January 1st, Monday: Moon enters Cancer 3:10 AM, Full Moon at 9:24 PM
  • January 2nd, Tuesday: Moon void-of-course 5:46 PM
  • January 3rd, Wednesday: Moon enters Leo 2:23 AM

I recommend doing your Full Moon ritual on the evening of January 1st, after 9:24 PM is ideal, but any time during the day is fine. You can do your ritual any time on January 2nd before 5:46 PM as well. Regardless, to charge items, they should sit out on the night of the 1st. January’s Full Moon is also a Supermoon, which will provide an extra dose of energy to your magick.

My guide, Witch’s Guide to Full 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.

About January’s Full Moon

The two most common names for January’s Full Moon are the Cold Moon and the Wolf Moon. The name Cold Moon comes from January being one of the coldest times of the year; the name Wolf Moon is related since this is the time of winter when food is running low and wolves are growing hungry. Another name for the January Full Moon is the Moon After Yule, since the January Full Moon always occurs after the pagan holiday Yule, but before Imbolc, the next Sabbat on the pagan calendar. This Moon is occasionally called the Snow Moon, but that title usually refers to the February Full Moon. The message of this Moon is that we are in the heart of winter and must survive. This indicates a time of patience and hibernation.

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Cosmic Concerns: January 2018

January 2018 Cosmic Information

This list of January 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, January 2018

2nd: Uranus Direct in Aries 9:13 AM
11th: Mercury enters Capricorn 12:09 AM
17th: Venus enters Aquarius 8:33 PM
19th: Sun enters Aquarius 10:09 PM
26th: Mars enters Sagittarius 7:56 AM
31st: Mercury enters Aquarius 8:39 AM

Moon Cycle, January 2018

1st: Moon enters Cancer 3:10 AM, Full Moon in Cancer 9:24 PM
2nd: Moon void-of-course 6:46 PM
14th: Moon enters Capricorn 2:42 PM
16th: New Moon in Capricorn 9:17 PM
17th: Moon void-of-course 1:30 AM, enters Aquarius 3:32 AM
30th: Moon void-of-course 11:40 AM, enters Leo 1:53 PM
31st: Full Moon in Leo 8:27 AM

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Cosmic Concerns: New and Full Moons of 2018

New and Full Moon Dates for 2018

The goal of this Cosmic Concerns masterpost is to provide you with all of the New and Full Moon dates and times for 2018 so that you can add them to your magickal journal and/or plan ahead accordingly. 2018 looks to be an interesting year for Moon magick with twelve New Moons, and thirteen Full Moon, two of which are Blue Moons (the name for the second Full Moon in a month). There are two Full Moons in Cancer and no Full Moon in the month of February. All times are in EST and should be adjusted for your time zone, this may change the date that several Moons fall on depending on where you live.

New Moon Dates 2018

  • January 16th 2018 at 9:17 PM in Capricorn
  • February 15th 2018 at 4:05 PM in Aquarius (Solar Eclipse)
  • March 17th 2018 at 9:12 AM in Pisces
  • April 15th 2018 at 9:57 PM in Aries
  • May 15th 2018 at 7:48 AM in Taurus
  • June 13th 2018 at 3:43 PM in Gemini
  • July 12th 2018 at 10:48 PM in Cancer
  • August 11th 2018 at 5:58 AM in Leo
  • September 9th 2018 at 2:01 PM in Virgo
  • October 8th 2018 at 11:47 PM in Libra
  • November 7th 2018 at 11:02 AM in Scorpio
  • December 7th 2018 at 2:20 AM in Sagittarius

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Book Review: Llewellyn’s 2017 Sabbats Almanac

Llewellyn's 2017 Sabbat AlmanacThe Llewellyn’s Sabbats Almanac was started in 2009 and is published annually. The book is divided into eight sections, one for each Sabbat, starting at Samhain 2016 and ending with Mabon 2017. There are seven articles within each Sabbat’s section that repeat: an introduction, Cosmic Sway, the Old Ways, Feasts and Treats, Crafty Crafts, All One Family, and a ritual. This is consistent throughout all the Sabbats Almanac books, though occasionally the features are swapped out. For example, for the 2018 Almanac, All One Family has been taken out, and a plant feature has replaced it. Even though it’s rather late for this review, I marked more pages in this edition than the 2016 and 2018 volumes combined, so it’s still well worth picking up. Each section is about 30 pages long; I read each after the previous Sabbat has ended to get new ideas to add to my own coven’s celebration.

Aside from the Cosmic Sway section, which discusses particular cosmic timing, this Sabbats Almanac can be read any time. Because the Cosmic Sway section has essentially ‘expired’ by now, I’m leaving it out of the review, though I will say that I found the articles really useful at the time. The recipes in Feasts and Treats usually use meat in some way; there are multiple recipes provided, but since I’m vegetarian I don’t think I’ve ever used a recipe from a Sabbats Almanac. The Old Ways sections are always brief (about 3 pages) and go into Polish, Slavic, Russian, and Lithuanian traditions. I always really enjoy this section, but writing that under each Sabbat heading would be repetitious. Below are the highlights of each section, organized by Sabbat.

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Simple Sage Spell for Eliminating Everyday Negativity

Simple Sage Smoke Spell

There was a time in my life when there was a lot going wrong; not anything that was significant on its own, but lots of little things that added up to a bigger picture. The ‘run of bad luck’ that magickal folks are always a little suspicious of, shall we say. I worked on protecting my home multiple ways, which worked very well, but I also needed to work on myself.

While I believe there is absolutely a time and place for healthy negativity, I found myself thinking negative thoughts almost constantly, dwelling on things long after they were resolved, and finding a lot of negative things being attracted to my life. Along with a serious energy cleaning and protection work on my home, I started using this daily sage spell, and it worked wonders. Eventually the odd ‘coincidences’ went away, and the run of ‘bad luck’ ended. I hope that you will find it helpful as well!

Simple Sage Spell for Eliminating Everyday Negativity

Supplies:

  • Cauldron or fire-proof container
  • Lighter or matches
  • Sage bundle or loose leaves

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Early December 2017 Magickal Link Roundup

Early December 2017 Magickal Link Roundup

It’s time for another magickal link roundup! I’ve been finding so many wonderful resources around the witchy web that I’ve had a couple of requests to break this monthly post into two, more digestible, bi-monthly chunks. I think it’s a great idea, so here is part one of December’s magickal link roundup.

Below you will find the my favorite links from around the magickal interweb from the first half of December 2017. If you have a favorite witchy post/blog/product to share, please feel free to post it in the comments.

~ Early December 2017 Magickal Link Roundup ~

Astrology and Numerology

Astrology Forecast for 2018 on Forever Conscious – This post goes over some of the big astrological shifts anticipated in 2018, but without specific dates. It looks at the vibe of what’s ahead, for example, there are lots of outer planets in Earth signs. There are also more than a few eclipses, but I’ve never put much stock in that, since an eclipse is just a New Moon in the daytime.

December Numerology: Creating Space for What’s to Come on Astrostyle – I think the numerology posts are some of the strongest they write, and I always enjoy seeing if and how the information plays out over the course of the month.

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Yule by Dorothy Morrison (Llewellyn’s Holiday Series)

Yule a Celebration of Light and Warmth by Dorthy MorrisonLlewellyn’s Holidays Series was published in the late 90s and was eventually replaced by the Sabbat Essentials Series. The Holidays Series was what I had as a baby witch, and I decided to start collecting them a while back. This was partially out of nostalgia and partially in the hopes of supplementing some of the weaker Sabbat Essentials books. “Yule: A Celebration of Light and Warmth” by Dorothy Morrison is the second book that I read in the Holiday Series, and it’s excellent. This book’s Sabbat Essentials counterpart is “Yule” by Susan Pesznecker, which is also great.

While the information in many of the Holiday books is outdated, there is still a lot of good information in them. In fact, some of the Holiday books are better than their more contemporary Essentials Series counterparts. One of the quirks of the Holiday series is that some books are titled the Christian or secular name of the holiday, which is a little odd. I think it was done so that you could read the books in public and/or give them to muggles, but it’s not consistent throughout the series. Thankfully “Yule: A Celebration of Light and Warmth” by Dorothy Morrison is not one of those.

Morrison’s “Yule” was first published in 2000 and I have a first edition, 11th printing from 2011. I absolutely love the cover, it’s so festive and pretty. A few more notable differences between the Holiday Series and the Sabbat Essentials Series are that the Holidays Series does not have consistent covers/spines (though they are all the same size), or a uniform chapter structure, and that the Holiday Series books are much larger in size than the Essentials Series books.

“Yule: A Celebration of Light and Warmth” is divided into four sections with a whopping twenty total chapters; in the interest of economy I will be review each of the four sections, rather than each sub-section, which would be tedious.

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New Moon December 18th 2017 in Sagittarius

Sagittarius Plate from Urania's Mirror

The December 2017 New Moon in Sagittarius occurs at 1:30 AM EST on Monday, December 18th. The Moon then goes void-of-course at 8:10 AM on the same day, so even though the New Moon is technically on the 18th, you will almost certainly observe it before (unless you’re a night owl). The Moon then enters Capricorn at 8:33 AM that same day. The good news is that the Moon is in Sagittarius all day December 16th and 17th, and it enters Sagittarius at 8:07 PM on Friday December 15th, so it will essentially be in Sagittarius for two full days. This gives us plenty of time to work with this New Moon. This information is also detailed in my December 2017 Cosmic Concerns and is listed below.

New Moon December 2017 Timing

  • December 15th, Friday: Moon enters Sagittarius 8:07 PM
  • December 16th, Saturday: Moon is in Sagittarius all day
  • December 17th, Sunday: Moon is in Sagittarius all day
  • December 18th, Monday: New Moon at 1:30 AM; Moon void-of-course 8:10 AM, enters Capricorn 8:33 AM

Practically speaking, all this means you can do your New Moon ritual after 8:07 PM on the 15th, or any time on the 16th or 17th (recommended). Remember that this New Moon is also during a Mercury Retrograde, so tread lightly when it comes to putting big plans into action.

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Coven Craft: Fillable Intention Ornaments

How to Make Filled Intention Ornaments

If you’re looking for a Yule craft to do this year with your coven, magickal family, or solo, I present to you: filled intention ornaments. This is the very craft that my coven is creating for Yule 2017, and I’m very excited to share it with you.

Traditionally, an evergreen tree was brought inside the house as an act of sympathetic magick, protecting the forest throughout the harsh winter months. The tree was decorated with candles to represent the returning light, which is where the tradition of twinkle lights comes from. The round ornaments we are all familiar with represent the sun, as well, making this craft perfect for Yule. These ornaments can be made any time during the Yuletide season and can be done solo, with witchlings, or with a coven.

Below you will find a supply list, directions, and a list of correspondences that you can print for you or your group. Items can be mixed, matched, or left out as you please. The directions below make ten ornaments. The cost of each ornament is about $7 if you have to buy all the supplies, but you will probably have a lot of the supplies already on hand. My personal shopping list is in the Notes section. If you have a small coven like we do, this craft makes beautiful, personalized gifts for your friends and family.

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Book Review: Yule by Susan Pesznecker (Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials)

Yule by Susan PeszneckerLlewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials series contains eight small books, one for each Sabbat in the pagan Wheel of the Year. The author varies by the Sabbat with no author having more than two books in the series. Yule: Rituals, Recipes, and Lore for the Winter Solstice was penned by Susan Pesznecker and is one of the best books in the Sabbat Essentials series.

The standard sections in the Sabbat Essentials books are: Old Ways, New Ways, Spells and Divination, Recipes and Crafts, Prayers and Invocations, Rituals of Celebration, Correspondences, and Further Reading. There is also a Series Introduction that is the same in all eight books, so I won’t review it aside from saying that it is worth reading over annually. It also has two really beautiful Wheel of the Year illustrations, one for the Northern Hemisphere and one for the Southern Hemisphere, which is worth copying into your book of shadows immediately.

The Old Ways section is extremely interesting and has a lot of helpful information. The section covers the origin of December as a month, the Yule log, traditional festivals, the gift giving tradition, the solar new year, as much more. The New Ways section discusses basic activities, different traditions in their modern form, and details important correspondences and activities. This section also addresses the living vs. artificial tree debate that seems to be an inevitable part of the pagan household, as well as what to do when only one half of a couple is pagan. Happily enough, so many ‘Christmas’ traditions are actually pagan in origin that you can openly celebrate Yule and still stay in the ‘broom closet’ without a lot of effort.

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Eight Yule Season Celebration Ideas

Yule Season Celebration Ideas

While Samhain is the New Year for Wiccans, Yule is the New Year in the Druid tradition. My partner is Druid, and the solar new year works well for me, so we celebrate Yule as the last Sabbat in the Wheel of the Year. Below you will find a list of ideas for solitaries, partners, covens, and witch families that I hope will add a little variety to your Yule celebrations. Remember that Yule is a six week long season, not just one day! Please feel free to post suggestions in the comments, and have a beautiful Yuletide, friends.

1. DIY Garlands: Decking the halls with garlands is a fun way to decorate for the Yule season without spending a lot of money. Garlands that are made with food items can be placed outside after Yule as offerings, as well as for animals. Outdoor food offerings in winter are just as important as outdoor water offerings are in summer (I’m looking at my fellow Floridian witches). Make garlands out of cranberries, popcorn, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Garlands made from fresh ingredients should be checked for mold, but shouldn’t attract critters unless you make a chocolate bonbon garland.

2. Enchanted Ornaments: There’s a craft that I’ve been wanting to do for years that I never get around to, and it’s making witchy ornaments. This year, it’s finally happening. Specifically, I got clear plastic ball ornaments (because I will drop them) and before our coven’s Yule ritual we are going to fill them with various herbs and crystals with specific correspondences. These would make awesome coven gifts, too, and could be tailored to the recipients by addings names, symbols, or sigils with paint markers. These fillable ornaments are widely available online, and are available in many sizes as well. My directions for this craft will be up on the website early next week, too.

3. Handmade Snow Globes: A fun Yule craft is making your own snow globes; this craft can be done with witchlings too, provided they are old enough and/or responsible enough. All you need are jars, fillers (small plastic toys, tumbled crystals, or anything that’s small and won’t dissolve in water), glitter or fake snow, aquarium glue or E6000, and water. Using waterproof glue, affix items to the inside of the lid of the jar – that will be the bottom of your snow globe – to form a scene, and let dry completely. Add glitter, fake snow, snowflake confetti, or whatever you want floating around, to the bottom of the jar, and fill partially with water. Test with the lid to see how much water your items displace, then glue the lid to the jar with waterproof glue and let dry. Once it’s dry, flip the jar over, and you have a beautiful, handmade snowglobe. You can even write the year on it and make it an annual tradition in your household.

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