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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Magickal Journal Ideas for November 2017

Maybe it’s the introspective nature of the Samhain season, but lately I’ve been wanting to redouble my efforts to fill my own grimoire. Below I have a list of topics to pack your magickal journal over the course of November. There are both prompts and correspondences listed below the activities. Hopefully we will all be inspired!

Activities/Prompts

Recipes: Any favorite recipes, Sabbat recipes, recipes only you know, or special family recipes that haven’t been recorded can go in your magickal journal. Not all people keep recipes in their magickal journal, but there’s no reason not to if it resonates with you. If you don’t want to keep food recipes in your journal, think of a home remedy from your grandparents or great-grandparents and record it instead.

Thanksgiving Gratitude List: I usually reserve gratitude lists for Full Moons, but Thanksgiving is a holiday about thankfulness, after all (at least in its modern form). Spend time around Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it) creating a master gratitude page in your magickal journal. Even if ‘gratitude’ it hokey to you, consider it a piece of attracting magick. This can be everything you are thankful for in life, or just in the last year.

Thanksgiving Reflection: Thanksgiving is a stressful holiday for a lot of people (myself included); before Thanksgiving, write a list of everything that you are worried is going to go wrong. Whether you realize it or not, you are giving energy to these fears. Once you have written them down, allow your mind to let them go; they’re in a safe place, no need to remember them anymore. After Thanksgiving is over, review the list. One of two things will happen: all or most of your fears will not have happened, or some/all of them have, and you’ve still survived. Variation: Once you have written your list of fears, burn the list in your cauldron to release them. Add a post-holiday reflection to your magickal journal in its place.

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Eight More Samhain Season Celebration Ideas

It’s that time in the Wheel of the Year again, Samhain, an easy favorite amongst witches. Last year I posted my list of Eight Samhain Sabbat Celebration Ideas and this year I’m back with eight more. There are ideas for solitaries, pairs, families, and covens, as well as many that would work with multiple configurations. Some require a little preparation or shopping, so I wanted to post them early enough that you can incorporate them into your Samhain preparation. Remember, though, Samhain is a six week long season and not just one day! I must confess that the season gets cut off Thanksgiving week for me, so I start my Samhain celebration a bit early.

1. Pagan Pumpkins: I saw the pumpkin craft idea pictured above (by Terri Foss) about a year ago, and instantly I wanted to make one of my own. You can easily reproduce this craft with a natural or artificial white pumpkin, and a fine-tipped permanent marker. Decoration ideas include sigils, astrological symbols, moons and stars (like above), pentacles, or other Samhain-themed art. Black pumpkins are available at craft stores and can be decorated with a silver marker, which would also look great. If you use an artificial pumpkin this could end up part of your permanent Samhain decoration stash. This would be a really cool way to decorate a LED candle, too.

2. Tarot Reading: I recommended doing divination last year, but I found the tarot spread to the left (click to view larger) that utilizes the theme of ‘as above, so below’. This is especially important on Samhain when the veil between worlds thins. The website, Fox and Feather Tarot, is defunct, but they have an Etsy store. If you’re looking for a more involved tarot reading to do on Samhain this one works well.

A variation of this tarot spread that I would use is: 1. Release, 2. Embrace, 3. Weaknesses, 4. Strengths, 5. Path Forward. You could do this as a general advice reading, or for something more specific.

3. Homemade Treats: There’s nothing quite as special as handmade treats, with candied apples being particularly fun for the sabbat. I’ve seen people make very creepy candied apples with grape Jolly Ranchers or food coloring, but caramel also works. A simple candied apple recipe can be found here. Just be sure to use a candy thermometer since molten sugar will seriously burn you. Making candy is for badasses only! I would not let even the most responsible child near this activity, so involve little goblins at your own rick. For an extra Samhain bump, set one non-candied apple outside as an offering.

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Astra Anima’s 2016 Year in Review

I thought it would be nice to end 2016 by posting a year in review for the Astra Anima blog, which I really started writing for in February 2016. It wasn’t until October that I really figured out what I wanted the blog to “be,” and after that point posts became way more frequent and focused. Below are my 18 favorite posts from the year, broken into categories.

Articles

Book Reviews

Moon Magick

Sabbats

 Mercury Retrograde

Eight Samhain Season Celebration Ideas

Samhain's Magic Circle Print by Poison Apple Print Shop

Samhain (also known as Halloween) is often a favorite in the pagan community with many witches using it to mark the end of the year. You may choose to celebrate Samhain on October 30th, 31st, or on the closest New Moon. The veil between the material and ethereal worlds thinning on a New Moon is too beautiful for many to pass up.

Regardless of when you choose to observe the Sabbat, below are eight ideas for Samhain celebrations to add to your ritual or observance, be it solitary, in pairs, in a coven, or conducted from inside the “broom closet.” Eight More Samhain Ideas can be found here! Please feel free to post suggestions in the comments, have a beautiful Samhain, and blessed be.

1. Ancestor Work: One of the biggest aspects of Samhain’s energy is the increased ability to communicate with ancestors who have passed to the other side. Bringing photos of ancestors to the ritual or to your altar is a beautiful was to observe this connection. You can also tell stories about ancestors, research your own lineage, or send them messages. One of the best ways to send messages to the other side, in my opinion, is to write what you want to say on a piece of parchment paper (remember to address it) and burn it in your cauldron, thus sending it to the other side. In the Chinese tradition, burning Joss paper (also called Hell Money) is a way to send literal currency into the afterlife.

2. Candles: No witch is a stranger to burning candles, as they are an integral part of so many sabbats, rituals, and spells. Fitting colors and their correspondences for Samhain would be: black (banishing negative energy and acknowledging the dark half of the year, death, etc.), orange (heightened creativity and energy), purple (increased psychic awareness, can be used in conjunction with divination), and silver (you can substitute with white; representing lunar energy). For those who have issues with smoke, LED candle are just as effective.

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