20 10 2010

This morning was the first frost of the season at Three Chimneys, and as I let the dog out to scombre in the garden I looked up at Orion, blazing down on me, the town around me still, no wind in the trees, that crackling hush of icy air and distance upon distance, concentric layers of cold stretching away from the warm house, and I was glad of home and hearth.

In my work as a witch I often focus on the simple, on removing encumbrances and working again with the most basic ideas and items. During my tenure as a Christian I was often stuck by the layers of obfustication, of difficulty, set on purpose between man and god; there can be no greater dishonesty (or arrogance) than proclaiming yourself the voice of god, or his representative on earth. I think of Jesus saying, ‘no-one comes to the Father except through me’ and I wonder. Mediated worship, whether led by a god or a man, cannot help but dilute the message.

This is the central tenet I return to again and again in my study of my craft. All the bells, whistles, altars, robes, music, degrees of initiation and lineages in the world, and what does it come back to in the end? You, the god, your conscience and their message. Shut up, put down the wand that cost you £60 from that great little shop in Glasto, take off the Stevie Nicks fancy-dress, put down the Silver Ravenwolf yada-crap, stop worrying about getting into that select little coven and what they think of you and are you good enough and whether they think you’re a ‘serious’ witch, and listen. Listen for the still small voice. It’s there – listen.


Reading Prevention Technique &cetera…

22 01 2010

I’ve got the perfect thing, for all you witches out there who don’t want to read anything:

1. Move house. 2. Pack all books into cartons. 3. Stack cartons in inaccessible boxroom with labels facing in and no hope of accessing said cartons in any case. 4. Sit at door and sigh impotently as you think of all the pristine, uncracked bindings that await you in *one or another* of the cartons you can’t reach.

For some reason, when I moved this time, I kept all my stones, altargoods, textiles and supplies to hand and packed all the books away safely. And now I want to read them and I feel like a dog without water on a sunny day!

In other news, I am feeling the want of a familiar – now settled at the new house and feeling robust and as if I have time on my hands, I made the fatal mistake of viewing a puppy at the rescue centre yesterday. Many tears were shed when I got home and was kindly but firmly told that trying to introduce another dog to our current spaniel would likely end in tears, as he’d seen one off before. Boo hoo. No puppy for me, but I might be able to have a cat. As I had hoped to take the pup to work with me and have it as my constant companion a cat might not fit the bill so well, but you cannot gainsay the relaxing and soporific qualities of cats – and they are so beautiful and strange. And they kill mice. Which in our current place would be no bad thing. I will keep you posted!

I haven’t made anything beady for an age – since before Christmas actually. Seeing that Fox has got the restocking of Shades of Midnight underway has spurred me on to at least think about projects for the Spring. And Tattooed Witch is seeing us all off with her glorious textiles and embroidery. A real natural. I say, chaps – do cakes count?!

I’ve got buns in the oven

8 11 2009

Nooo, not the metaphorical type; literal buns! In fact, bread, and shortly chocolate chip cookies, if I don’t eat all the dough.

It’s a grey, dank and cold day here at Three Chimneys. I went out running with the dog this morning at 8am alongside the river, which was roaring and churning, the ducks prudently staying in the few shallow bits. I saw a heron trying to spot fish but he looked like nothing so much as an angular and grey pensioner, hair awry, peering myopically both ways into heavy traffic, looking for a gap in which to shamble across the road. Eventually he gave up and creaked skywards, his body language unmissable in its defeat.  No breakfast for you, mate.

The dog took to every rut and muddy puddle down the lane on the way back, and one comedy moment thankfully didn’t go down in history, but only because there was no-one else there to see me; clinging to the hedge and teetering on the edge of disaster, as I inched my way past a puddle the size of the Red Sea, which I know to be lined with brick fragments and assorted building rubble, and which I did NOT want to fall into. Back home and a nifty attempt by the dog to go and dry off in our bed was foiled at the off; now he’s sulking in his special armchair in the sitting room, clearly underwhelmed and wanting to sleep the day away.

Myself, I’m deep into culinary pursuits; I have found a glorious recipe for mincemeat (tip to our overseas friends – mincemeat comprises currants, raisins, mixed peel, cherries, butter, brandy and spices. I eat it from the jar, which I believe is a shameful thing to admit, but you can put it in a pastry case and call it a tart. It won’t mind). I’m intending to fill medium Kilner jars with this unctuous mixture (heavy on the Cognac, GW) and offer them as gifts to friends.

There’s also a rather amazing sweet-sour tomato preserve which I have found in one of my Elizabeth David anthologies; it comes up garnet rich and cornelian red and sparkling through glass jars. A perfect selection for the upcoming Christmas fairs locally. There’s thirty pounds of regular marmalade to make before the big guns come out and I have orders for a further thirty pounds of proper, amber-coloured thick-cut Seville orange marmalade to placate my stepfather and my best beloved, who both dote on the stuff and feel totally deprived if there is none in the larder, or if, god help us, they have to go out and buy some sub-standard simulacrum in the shops.

Pausa there as I went to take a large Swansea loaf out of the oven. Golden brown and crusty, risen high in the centre and with a cross cut into its floury top, I’m hoping it measures up against the ones we buy, which have the distinction of being utterly delicious even when three or four days old, and manage (somehow) to combine all the chewy, tasty character of a sourdough with the crisp crust of proper English bread.

The cookies will be coming to work with me tomorrow, to be devoured by the wastrels in my co-employ; really, I don’t mind, it’s great to watch people eat things you’ve made. I’ve always been far more of a savoury person than a sweet, temperamentally speaking; this comes out in my cooking to a great degree. Now I’m feeling light, happy and settled for the first time in years, I seem to have fallen into a routine of cooking for pleasure on the weekends; baking pies and cakes, making bread and scones, planning storecupboard batches of chutneys, pickles and jam.

My BB is upstairs planing wood and making a lovely job of finishing the landing. I’m settled in the kitchen, off in another part of the house, listening to Radio 3 and pottering happily. Work again tomorrow; but this isn’t a bad thing. I’m just loving the creativity that seems to be flowing through me at the moment. This evening, beading, I think. Mmmmm.


Postscriptum – The bread has cooled sufficiently for me to pick it up; the smell coming from the still-warm crust defies description. Is there anything more simultaneously comforting and quickening to the appetite than freshly-baked bread? I’m in bliss, just hugging the bread I made and breathing in its spicy, fresh yeastiness and savour. Delightful.

The Emergence of Ability

2 07 2008

Since beginning to walk as a witch, it has amazed me how much my creative and expressive side has come to the fore. Nor do I think I’m alone in this; many friends and fellow-followers have shown me exquisite examples of beautiful arts and crafts that they have produced, sometimes surprising even themselves with their level of invention. I think this is one of the blessings of the Goddess.

In a current project with friends – about which, more anon, Goddess willing! – the fountains of invention, the ideas, the capableness, the articulacy, the enthusiasm and the teamwork are already outstanding. The confluence of ideas is seeming to make us more than the sum of our parts, if you see what I mean. It feels to me as if the individual skills and the abilities we bring to the table are being amplified and sharpened simply by our interaction. Another huge blessing.

This is such a force for good. And these are skills for life; they can be transferred into our mundane existence and used to the good of all, as well as the good of us ourselves.

I love my new-found interest in making and creation; when I see something that I have made, and it looks beautiful, I want to give it away to someone I love who will treasure it. In a way, I’m distilling drops of the new spirit I feel into things that can be held and carried. Spreading the wealth!

Disengage brain…

2 06 2008

The perfect displacement activity. Beading. New hobby. Can’t get enough of it – on a strictly civilian basis. I don’t think I’ll ever get up to Shades of Midnight level!

I am enjoying it so much – so thank you, ladies of CL!

Lightcatcher 3

Crafty… in the Right Way – Update

7 04 2008

My check about the Pagan blogsphere this morning brings up a nice little coda to the above discussion, which I got into last week.

New British legislation will now require those charging for esoteric services such as spiritual healing, mediumship, charms, and so forth to provide disclaimers for their work if they receive payment. They will also have the burden of proof laid upon them if they are legally challenged and accused of fraud – if, for example, their spells don’t ‘work’.

There’s clearly two issues here; people are worried that their livelihoods might be taken away from them, and see it as yet another manifestation of the Nanny State (as the ruling has actually come across from the EU), but in my heart it looks like the Universe might be trying to tell these people something.

The other question is one of religion – we don’t ask the Christians to prove that Christ will save their souls, even though they go to Church and pay the company of the Church of England reasonable sums per year for upkeep on the buildings and so forth. We don’t ask Catholics to prove that wine and bread really do turn into flesh and blood during the Communion. So where’s the line? Many pagans believe their talents in this regard to be as a result of their spiritual faith – and so how does one regulate the results?

I expect there to be a healthy and lively debate on this; good. Perhaps it will serve to further the understanding of Paganism in general, and witchcraft in particular, with the masses. Perhaps that’s overly optimistic, but it’s sunny outside and I’m feeling upbeat! 🙂


Here we go – sane and reasoned commentary on this matter from Matthew Parris. I agree.


Wonderful Gift

1 04 2008

During my visit to Somerset, S gave me possibly the best present any witch can give another… a cloak. Navy blue fleece, trimmed in black, with a deep hood. It reminds me of the dark night’s sky, and to that end I’m planning some embellishment!

It’s at least 6 inches too long, so I’m going to take it up, and embroider a clasp panel to go onto the neck. Instead of a catch, it has a solid panel of material,  which goes round your neck. Perfect for a 4″ x 6″ embroidery panel. And then, the back!!

I have no idea what should go here… except it will be silver, and that it’s waay beyond my capabilities as a seamstress to do the work. Planning and, I hope, Divine Inspiration to follow! Mercian, here we come!