Let’s Talk Witch – Urgh, The Winter Blues, How to Beat Them!


Urgh, The Winter Blues, How to Beat Them!

Let’s stop the Winter Blues this year before they ever get a chance to appear. I always have the Winter blues but apparently they are not as bad as some. So to get a jump on the blues before the blues can jump us, I found some hints and tips to give us a headstart on them this year. I believe if you give some of these tips a try, you might be amazed at how well they work. Won’t hurt to try, will it?

1.  Adjust your schedule. Simply said, do less. Don’t overcommit and respect the season’s slower pace. Focus activities on the home front. Now is the time to settle into books, projects and other activities that require a long span of time. Have family game nights or invite friends over to share the fun.

2.  Adjust your environment. Invest in good lead-free candles for atmosphere, and if you have a fireplace, stock up on dry, seasoned wood. Light the area you’re living or working in, but leave lights off through the rest of the house. Turn the thermostat down to 65 degrees–leave blankets throws on chairs and couches and wear slippers to keep your feet warm and layers of fleece or wool sweaters for toastiness. Make your bed with flannel sheets and thick blankets and spreads.

3.  Purify your surroundings. Many houseplants are valuable for purifying the air, particularly peace lilies, rubber plants and spider plants. You might also invest in an air purifier for the bedroom and main living spaces. On warmer days, open the doors and windows to let fresh air in.

4.  Embrace winter herbs and spices.  Burn incense or diffuse oils in scents of cinnamon, clove, cardamon, pine or cedar. Sip herbal teas or fresh-made Chai. Simmer a kettle of hot cider or mulled wine with fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole cloves, cardamom pods and thin slices of citrus.

5.  Eat for the season. Focus on grains, legumes, and warming root vegetables. Carrots are excellent for digestion, parsnips support the lungs, beets furnish elemental irons, and sweet potatoes are full of vitamins and fiber (and are delicious mashed with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar!). Try a hot cereal of oatmeal or buckwheat topped with sauteed apples or dried fruit. Enjoy roasted meats, homemade soup stock, and mugs of rich hot chocolate, each with a warming pinch of cayenne. Stewed fruit, crisps, and cobblers make delicious winter treats.

6.  Pamper your body. Enjoy warm baths, adding 1 cup of Epson salts, 1 teaspoon olive oil and a few drops of essential oil to each tubful. Try lavender for relaxation or thyme or rosemary for invigoration. If you skin is dry, replace the Epsom salts with colloidal oatmeal (or blend oatmeal to a powder in your food processor). Consider a weekly “spa night” in which you pamper yourself from head to toe.

7.  Feed your mind. This is a perfect time to dive into magickal study, work on garb or tool craft, or read the stack of books that’s accumulated on the nightstand. keep a daily journal to track your activities and monitor winter’s progress.

8.  Stay active. Engage in slower-paced excercise, such as yoga, Tai Chi or swimming (indoors). Take bundle walks through your neighborhood, watching for the seasonal changes.

9.  Serve the tribe. Take care of your own family, but reach out as well. Winter is powerful time to do volunteer work in your own community.

10.  Honor Yule, Christmas, Imbolc or whatever holidays you celebrate. The winter holidays are the perfect time for lights, gifts, and greenery: Be merry and rejoice!

Honor the winter’s rhythms and you’ll feel the magickal and health benefits that come from slowing down and embracing the season as a restorative time of quiet, rest, and reflection.

Excerpts taken from:

Hibernation: Embracing Winter
Susan Pesznecker
Llewellyn’s 2012 Witches Companion
An Almanac for Everyday Living

4 Sunny Activities for Summer Stress Relief

4 Sunny Activities for Summer Stress Relief

by Wild Divine

Everyone looks forward to summer outdoor fun, and you may even feel your  energy pick up when you head outside, but it’s not just a summer state of mind.  It has been proven that the sun can improve your mood, increase your energy, and  provide measurable health benefits.

According to Dr. Casey Adams, board-certified alternative health practitioner  and book author, the sun offers up multiple benefits: “The sun delivers heat,  raising core body temperature. Higher core body temperatures facilitate  increased cell function and higher energy. This increases our detoxification and  purification systems. Sun also regulates our natural biorhythm cycles. Boosted  core temperatures increase cortisol levels during the day, ushering more  relaxation and deeper sleep during the night.”

In addition, Dr. Adams, among others, points to the need for vitamin D  production. It has been reported that as many as one in seven adults is vitamin  D deficient; however, vitamin D can be synthesized by exposure to sunlight.  Vitamin D is converted to calcidiol in the liver which is in turn converted to  calcitriol in the kidneys.  Calcitriol regulates the amount of calcium and  phosphate in the bloodstream, which ensures healthy bones and teeth.

So despite the warnings to minimize sun exposure, moderate sun exposure  (including a thorough application of sunscreen) can have tremendous health  benefits. For sun-aided stress relief, here are four suggested activities:

1) Meditate in the meadow – or anywhere outside. If you are  an experienced practitioner, simply find a comfortable place and let the fresh  air breathe new life into your practice. If you are a beginner, simply find a  comfortable seated position. Then close your eyes and take slow deep breaths.  Feel the warmth of the sun and allow it to flow through your body – from the top  of your head to the tip of your toes. Quiet our mind and think only of the  breath and the warmth. Smile.

2) Downward dog in the daylight. Take your yoga mat and find  a nice flat area outside and perform literal sun salutations! Many have found  that a higher body temperature improves their yoga practice. Doesn’t a warrior  pose in the park breathing in fresh air sound like a nice change of pace from  the hot yoga studio?

3) Walk with wonder – take in everything around you. No  matter where you’re heading to – the store, to find lunch on your break, or  nowhere in particular – notice everything you pass. The trees, the flowers, how  the sunlight reflects off the buildings, the birds chirping – just take it all  in. For that moment, think of nothing else but what your senses are delivering  to you at that very second in time. You are truly in the present.

4) Journal your joy. Step outside to write down what makes  you happy, what you are grateful for, why you feel joy.  Removing yourself from  your walled environment – whether it be home or office – can help you let get  past the distractions and away from the sources of stress so you can open up  your mind and heart to feelings of gratitude and contentedness.

Not only will participating in these activities bring your relief in the  daytime, they have also all been proven to help you relax and sleep better at  night. Combined with the boosted core temperatures and increased cortisol levels  achieved by the sun exposure, you should not have any trouble drifting off. And  there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to relieve stress.

Many have observed that moods elevate in the summer – and there is a  scientific explanation. But by proactively harnessing the power of the sun, you  can leverage this phenomenon to even greater benefit. So, put on something cool  and comfortable, lather on the SPF 30, and drink in the summer sunshine. Your  mind and body will reap the rewards.


Everyday Fire

Everyday Fire
By Link

It is around us every day. We see it, touch it; we are sometimes burned by it. It is the warmth of a comfortable place to sit, and the roaring blaze that devastates an entire village. It burns within every beat of our heart. Fire.


Fire is Change

Fire is around us everywhere. The energy of Fire is often quite obvious, but sometimes can be tricky to spot. Do you have a special piece of jewelry? Most times we look at an object and see its earthy solid form, what it looks like today. But the metals in your jewelry took their present shape by being forged at temperatures higher than we might imagine. And as long as they retain that shape, they retain the impact of Fire. Fire is energy. Energy has the power to change things. In fact, the symbol for Fire (a triangle pointed upwards) is a Greek symbol called Delta – which means change. Think how the energy of events in your own life have “forged” you, changed your life and shaped you into what you are today.


Fire is Light

Much of the work and play we do is aided by Fire. Reading uses Fire, since it requires light, usually either Sunlight or electrical light — both very Fiery indeed. Next time you read something, give a special “thank you” to the light energy which carried its joy off the page to the gleam in your eye. Take note that whatever change in the world caused by reading – every classroom, every election booth, every love-letter – comes to us via the light of Fire.


Fire is the Sun

What else depends on light? Photosynthesis: the act of turning Sunlight into food. Plants do this everyday. All our food, our incense, our herbal medicines, our wooden homes, all contain the Sunlight stored away over the years by plants. Feel it? Recognize the Sun’s stored flame next time you hold an object made of wood. When wood burns it actually releases this solar energy into a fiery glow. Feel the warmth of the sun next time you enjoy a camp fire, fireplace, or simple votive candle. There is something very primal within Fire. From cave-times to today, people huddling around an open flame regard it as something special.

Without question, people notice how Earth’s agricultural breadbasket nourishes us. But what nourishes the Earth with enough energy to create such delights? The sun! Mother Earth contains the solid materials, the building-blocks ready to construct this bounty. But Sunlight provides the energy to ignite life, turning the fields green and growing.

Sunlight also charges people with a special glow. Try soaking up the Sun on a hot summer day. Store it within you. Whether you feel it or not, the Sun’s energy changes you a bit, like the way a glow-in-the-dark watch shines after you hold it up to the light. Feel the Sun’s flame within you. Is there a special part of your body that reacts to the Sun more than others? Maybe after hours of soaking up its energy, you have Sun-hair, Sun-skin, Sun-eyes? Do more intense things happen to you after you’ve been in the sun? Do people treat you different? Perhaps they sense a little bit more radiance within you.


Fire is Magic

We often recognize the magic of water and herbs when brewing our magical teas, but the heat in our hot steamy cup also contains Fire. Next time you seek healing energies from a cup of hot tea, direct the Fire energy within its heat to work for you as well. Ask it to speed your recovery. You might find working with all the elements within your cup works better than any single one alone.

Your home is well-charged with Fire. I often look to my heater’s pilot light as a perpetual candle flame that always stay lit. A home is rarely without Flame. Its lights, its electrical devices all breathe Fire’s life throughout your house, transforming it from a cold dark place into a warm happy home.

People often find special magic within color. Fire burns with a variety of colors. Copper burns green; silicon (like sand or glass) burns yellow. If you like working with Fire, and color, try creating a Flame that matches the color of your desires. But be ecologically aware – whatever you burn ends up in the air and the ground where its ashes remain. Try to keep it simple.

People work with Fire in many ways. Ever notice someone trying to start a difficult car? They make facial expressions, utter words of encouragement; they even do some rather interesting rocking motions – anything to crank electricity from the car’s battery to the starter and into the engine!

Gotta light? Ever notice the way someone acts when they light a cigarette for someone else, someone they desire? Its like they communicate right through the flame as it is passed from one person to another.


Passing the Flame

Try passing a flame from one place to another, like lighting a candle or incense stick from somewhere special on your altar. I like to pass flames from one candle to another, thinking about how one candle gains the gift of life from another. If you use a candle in magic, when might you want to light its flame from the Goddess candle on your altar? The God candle? Or perhaps the candle of a particular direction? Is there a particular source of flame that might work best for your intent? If you own a car, what type of special work might you do with the flame from your car’s dashboard lighter? From your kitchen stove? What fires await within that matchbook you took as a memento of a special place? For some fun, try lighting a Fire with a magnifying glass, starting your flame with nothing but the light of the Sun!


Fire is Divination

Fire can be used for a variety of divination techniques. We’ve all heard of scrying into tea leaves, but what about scrying into the ashes left behind by a small fire, perhaps in your trusty cauldron, or maybe in that same heat-resistant mug you use for tea. Instead of pouring water on your fragrant leaves, light them aflame! Try burning special woods or herbs, parchment, photos, old pay stubs, the daily news. What might work best to answer your particular question? Besides looking at the ashes, did you notice anything unusual about the flame? Did it peak in any particular direction before going out? What does that direction mean to you? For a new experience, take a blank piece of paper and wave it over a candle flame, close enough to leave black soot marks, but not close enough to ignite. Interpret these sooty shapes and designs the same way you would a cloud in the sky. Do you see a pair of lips? Perhaps a bunny rabbit? What do these shapes and symbols mean to you? (“Faerie Realm,” Ted Andrews, Llewellen Publications.)


Fire is Alive

Each flame is a unique life form, a unique spirit unlike any other. It has life and breath, it is born, consumes, grows, then flickers out, leaving behind an empty shell. Ashes to ashes. Are we any different? Try sensing the spirit in the flames you encounter. What makes “this” candle just a little bit different than the other? Try communicating with the engine spark that moves you from one place to another. Acknowledge the energy that warms your bath, rings your phone, gives you a tan or just keeps your heart going one beat to the next. Try whispering softly to even the bathroom nightlight. Some of these flames might just answer you back!

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