Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Accept Your Fate.

I'm moving from this site to a stand alone site, Charmed Finishing School.  Please update your RSS feed accordingly.

Monday, April 16, 2012

[Retro Recipe Monday] Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon


  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving:

  • Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Things You Need to Know

I have an article out today on WitchVox called I'm Not Clergy and You Can't Make Me.  Hello new readers!

I meant to have some kind of sparkling new entry scheduled for early AM today so you would be sucked in and instantly want to be my blogosphere friend forever but I have a head cold and I can't feel my face.  I didn't even have a cocktail at brunch (mon Dieux!).  

Instead, a list in no particular order:

1.  I offer a free course called New Year, New You: An Experiment in Radical, Magical Transformation. The first part can be found here.  The second part you need to sign up for in the little box on my blog page.

2. If you aren't familiar with my writing, Just as Long as We're Together: Amazon Rites New Jersey Style,  I Am Who I Am and Etiquette Lesson: How to Conduct Yourself When Someone Dies will give you the lay of the land.

3.  I cuss.  Sometimes a lot.

4. Every Monday that I have my shit together enough for, we do Recipe Monday.  Currently, I'm doing Mad Men era recipes because it's Mad Men season and I have a fascination with food from that time.  Also it's easy and I'm overworked right now.

5. I have a shop where I sell yarn and magical wares.  My non special edition oils are now labeled like my special edition oils are but I haven't had a chance to update the pictures as it's craft season and I have a day job and am finishing writing the eCourse because I like juggling chain saws and being constantly on the verge of a complete and utter nervous breakdown apparently.

6. I'm getting married in September of this year to my Husband Elect, Jow.  My Platonic Euro Husband (PEH) Gordon will be in attendance.

7.  I'm pre-selling a special edition oil currently called Unveiled.  I'm only making 10.  There are 6 left.

8. I'm 33 years old and I live in New Jersey with Jow and our two cats in a condo.  I consider myself a Hearth Witch which is fancy for dilettante.  I suck at meditation.  Currently I'm a nanny in my day job which is great when I don't want to bang my head against a wall until I stop moving.  I'm a published author, I specialize in smut (or "romantica" if you want to be polite), freelance articles on travel to places I've never been to, tents I'll never use because I hate camping and what to feed your pregnant mini pony as well as a contributor to Pagan sources such as Witchvox and Witches & Pagans.  I'm working on getting my craft business off the ground, I have contentious relationship with my body and I watch terrible terrible reality television.  I like St. Germain liquor and typewriters.

9. I'm almost done moving from this site to my new site, Charmed Finishing School because Gordon says I have to.  I didn't want to because I'm tired and lazy and I knew inevitably I would need an adult to sort it out to look the way I wanted it to look and that it would be a lot of time and aggro.  But Gordon knows what I'm supposed to be doing so I grudgingly complied.  It was a lot of time and aggro (a three hour baby nap to be exact - which never happens - and I could have been doing something productive like watching hours of Next Top Model or pinning) and I did need an adult to sort it out (thank the Goddess for Dossy.  If you need help with your website, go to him.  He's a local god).  So after this Recipe Monday I will be moving to the new site permanently.  Accept your fate as I've accepted mine and update your RSS Feed accordingly.

10.  I tweet fairly frequently if you're into that.  Expect a lot of #shen hashtags in the coming weeks for the Stag and Hen party.

11. I'm writing a book just like every other blogger.  My sole motivations on this are guilt and shame like every other writer.

Now you know everything you need to know to read my blog and I'm going to take a nap.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Even Sorceresses Have Blond Moments

Sooooo . . .a price for Unveiled would probably help, right?  I like that a few readers just gave it their best guesses!  It will be $15 plus shipping.  Already sold a few!

Shipping costs will be:

$3 USD - US

$5 USD - Canada

$7 USD - Europe

Unveiled Limited Edition Oil

Since everyone was most interested in a fragrance oil to help lower the veils, I will be making 10 Limited Edition Oils called Unveiled.  I will be consecrating them on the New Moon (April 21st) and releasing them for sale on Monday, April 23rd.  If you pre-order, I will ship your oil on Monday, April 23rd. 

This will be a unisex fragrance with notes of loamy juniper berries, fresh green grass, earthy cedar, exotic saffron and sensual absinthe.

If you would like to purchase this as a presale:

The oil is $15

Shipping costs will be:

$3 USD - US

$5 USD - Canada

$7 USD - Europe

For pre-ordering, go to Paypal and send payment and shipping to with the subject line "Unveiled".
My Limited Edition Oil Man in Black has (1) left.  There are (6) Goddess of the Hearth Limited Edition Oils left.  My regular oils Lucy's Lavendar Healing Oil, Rowan's Rose Love Drawing Oil, Britana's Basil Money Drawing Oil, High John and  Aurora's Mojo Hand Oil are now labeled in a similar manner to my Special Edition Oils but I haven't had a chance to put new pictures up yet!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

[Glamour Guest Post] Dressing Your Worst - The Dark Side of Glamour

Want to be part of the glamour discussion? Once a week, I have a guest post spot for people from all magic-y/gender-y/sexual orientation/personal glamour orientation walks of life to talk about what glamour means to you both mundanely and magically. Any spellwork or personal revelations are welcome! Essays should be between 500-1000 words and be sure to include a brief bio about yourself and any links (blog, Etsy shop, etc) that you would like included.

Send it to me in the body of your email with the subject "Glamour" to
corvaxgirl [at] gmail [dottie] com
A lot of articles and blog posts I've read about glamour often goes into the hows and whys of enhancing ones self. There are practical benefits to learning the basics of image, what your image says to others and how to tweak it to say what you want. Glamours can be really empowering if you work with them.

But are you dressing to highlight your best - or hide it?

Into her college years, one of my best friends wore her hair very long until it overpowered her features and constantly dressed in a child-like manner. Despite repeatedly moaning about how people never took seriously as an adult and artist, she refused to even consider changing her appearance to present a more mature image. Any attempts to convince her to try were met with the argument that she didn't want to change "who she was" or inhibit her "style". However, I doubt she would have described her personality or style as timid and childish! Her fear, insecurity and lack of confidence was dictating how she dressed - resulting in a glamour that made her forgettable and easily dismissed. It wasn't until after she had graduated school and was living on her own that she began to shed that glamour - dressing more appropriately for her age and even trying an adorably cute short haircut (the first time I had ever seen her cut her hair).

I dressed that way as well for many years. I wore baggy and bland clothing designed to blend into the background. Growing up, I always felt singled out and ostracized in my neighborhood, so I dressed to avoid further attention (and consequently, danger). I was dressing from fear, my glamour was to become invisible. As I became older and more confident in myself, I felt more free to choose clothing items that displayed my personality instead of hiding it (still working on it though).

But negative glamours aren't just about baggy, bland clothes and hiding behind your haircut. Overly revealing clothing can be a negative glamour as well - plunging necklines, non-existent clothing and skirts too tight to walk in draw attention to your body - not your personality or character. If someone is staring at your chest, they aren't looking you in the eyes and giving you the respect of their attention to your words. This can be an intentional glamour, just like dressing invisibly can be, but just as often negative glamours can be the unintentional result of unresolved issues. The difference is awareness.

It's good to get a basic idea of what various images you may be projecting by taking a good look at yourself (and your closet) and asking yourself a few questions. This is by no means a complete list, but some good starter points may be:

What are your favorite colors? Why? How do they make you feel or what images/memories do they evoke? For example, my favorite color is a bright electric blue- it makes me feel energized, but calm and makes me think of high mountain tops under clear skies and roaring winds. Yes, blue reminds me of Peppermint Patty commercial, so sue me.

How much of your favorite color(s) are in your wardrobe? If they aren't, why not?
What is the dominant color in your wardrobe? For me, my pants fall into two categories: blue jeans or black slacks. Casual and professional. I tend to avoid bright pants because a) black pants are supposed to be slimming and b) I can't cover up bright pants with a jacket. For tops, I lean heavily towards the cool color end of the spectrum: greens, purples, blues and muted versions of them.
What clothes do you wear over and over again? How do they make you feel? You'll probably find that you have "power" clothes- clothes that you really love wearing- and "comfort" clothes- the ones you throw on and run out with because they are simple, easy standbys.
How do they make you look? Really? For this one, you might want to take a photo. No, not one with a cute pose or at a flattering angle- a straight-on full-body shot in clear light. Try to imagine that you're looking at yourself walking down the street - do those "casual" clothes really look sloppy?
How is the condition of your hair? Do you have rampant split ends, dryness or other chronic problems? Do these come from not taking care of your hair- or taking too much care of it (blasting it with heat and chemical treatments for example)?

How long have you had your current hair cut? If you can't remember ever changing your hairstyle, ask yourself why. I've had my hair cut short for a few years and have kept it this way for very specific reasons - it's thin, so I keep it layered and short hair makes styling and maintenance a breeze. For me, the convenience outweighs the fact that the cut might not be the most flattering for my round, chubby face.

Would you be willing to throw away all your clothes and radically change your hairstyle? If just reading that question made you grit your teeth, ask yourself why you're so attached to how you currently look/dress. TLC's show What Not to Wear is a great example of people who really cling to their own narrow ideas of how they should look, so I recommend watching it.

Get your friends in on it. It can really interesting to have an impromptu fashion show and see what impressions your friends and family get from your look.

Of course, not everyone is going to be affected the same by your clothing or accessories. While you might feel sleek and polished in a pant suit, it's guaranteed that someone else will see it as typical corporate zombie wear, so don't drive yourself crazy trying to project specific images to the world. A red scarf or tie might help you stand out and be more memorial during a job interview, but that might be because your interviewer hates red and thinks you're an arrogant blowhard for wearing it (instead of appearing bold and confident like you intended), so at some point you'll have to just let the dice fall as they may. It can be more fun to treat it all like a game and experiment with different clothing personas (How would your superhero self dress? Or your zombie apocalypse survivor self?).

Remember, it's just clothing - not the definition of who you are.

Bio: ApocalypseGrrl is a writer and creative mercenary living in New York City. She currently is studying up on urban agriculture and quick and easy house building in anticipation of the coming apocalypse

Monday, April 9, 2012

[Retro Recipe Monday] Salmon Mousse

Salmon Mousse


  • Butter or mayonnaise, for greasing mold
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water and 1/2 cup boiling water, for gelatin
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 2 drops hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flaked and small diced poached salmon
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • Lemon slices
  • 1 bunch parsley, washed and dried
  • Special equipment: fish mold


Grease a 6-cup fish mold with butter or mayonnaise.

Soften the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir well, until the gelatin has dissolved. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lime juice, onion, hot sauce, paprika, and salt and mix well. Fold in the salmon and capers. Add the whipped cream and continue folding until everything is well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared mold. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, un-mold the mousse onto a large plate. Take the lemon slices and create a "tail" on the back of the fish. Surround the mousse with parsley.

Serve the dill sauce in a glass bowl next to the salmon mousse.

Dill Sauce:

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, grated, and drained for 1 hour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Glamour Rites

So I've been crying and whinging endlessly to anyone who will listen about being old and fat and no fun.  But at the end of the day, I'm a do'er.  I can't just roll around in the muck endlessly, I need to change things.  I've been trying to change things using boring, non magical means such as Pinterest boards to figure out where I'm going, not eating like my twenty year old self, going to the gym and changing my wardrobe.

But still.  There was inertia.  Then I read my PEH's soon to be seminal work, Sigils Reboot.  And I started thinking.  And planning.  I thought I would have done this rite like two weeks ago but shit kept happening.  So instead I spent my Good Friday (which I happened to have off and was both a Friday and a Full Moon) avoiding my family and practicing witchcraft.  Like you do.

You can't do a Glamour Rite without Beauty
Regime.  Pictured: Lucky 13 Soap (Lush),
Sephora Full Effect Mascara, Benefit Lipstick in
Miss Behavin', Coconut Milk Frangipani Face Mask,
Clinique Moisture Surge Moisturizer, Kabuki Brush
and Evian Mister


Ritual Attire

Ritual Altar: St. Germain, Fruit Tart, Mixed Dried Flowers,
My Ladies, Rose Absolute Essential Oil, Twilight Alchemy Labe
Milk and Honey, Stang and Cauldron propolis resin, Beeswax Candle
made by myself in French Hussy, vintage salt cellar with black salt

Post Ritual

Cherry Blossom Tree 


Primped from my nose to my toes

It was mandated by my Ladies that I go out post-rite to celebrate.
Grey Goose Pear Martinis for Everyone!

Monday, April 2, 2012

[Retro Recipe Monday] Crepes Suzette

Crepes Suzette


  • 13 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, plus 1 3/4 cups
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Orange butter, recipe follows
  • Zest, recipe follows


In a big bowl, mix the flour, salt, and 1 3/4 cups milk, in that order. Whisk vigorously by hand until it is the consistency of heavy cream. Break eggs and fold them in with a whisk. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups of the milk to the melted butter and pour into the mixture. Continue mixing the batter until it becomes shiny and smooth. Finally sieve the batter to get rid of any lumps. Leave to rest for 2 to 3 hours.
Dip a piece of kitchen paper in vegetable oil and grease a small frying pan. Ladle a spoonful of batter into the pan. With a flick of the wrist swivel the pan in order to get a nice even covering all over. A good crepe should be paper- thin. Cook on a high heat and flip it over when you see the edge turning golden brown. Remove crepes from pan and keep aside in a warm place.
Orange Butter:
  • 18 ounces unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces caster sugar
  • 12 oranges, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 big splash Grand Marnier
Melt the butter in a big saucepan on a high heat. Add the sugar and cook for about 10 minutes until it caramelizes. It should be a golden color.
Combine the lemon with the orange juice and pour it in when the caramel is bubbling. Be careful not to burn the butter or yourself. Add Grand Marnier and continue whisking as the mixture curdles a little and let it cook for 10 minutes to reduce. Finally mix with an electric hand-mixer to ensure that the butter is fully integrated.
Fold the crepes in 4 and put them into a deep frying pan. Spoon in enough orange butter to barely cover them and, on a high heat, reduce the liquid, turning the crepes over to make sure that they absorb the orange butter.
To serve, place the crepes on a dessert plate. Spoon the orange butter over them and garnish with a sprinkling of the zest.
4 teaspoons syrup (made by boiling 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan)
Peel the zest from the oranges and cut it very thinly. Blanch in boiling water 3 times and drain it to remove the bitterness. Put the zests in a saucepan with the syrup. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes

Friday, March 30, 2012

Everyone Wants to Be Famous, No One Wants to Do the Work.

So, I'm working on building my empire.  On crap days (which are currently more than the "good" days) I finish that sentiment a la Ani Difranco, "out of car tires and chicken wire/I'm queen of my own compost heap/ I'm getting used to the smell".  As we discussed ad nauseum, accepting this year is going to suck is one thing, living it is another.

I'm depressed.  There.  I said it.  It feels better every time I say it.  My mom says it's because I have too much going on and I think she's right.   But I also feel if I were doing this "right", I'd feel awesome and this depression is a failing on my part in some way.  Because . . .that's the kind of positive self talk I excel at frankly. 

So we've established that when trying to build an empire from scratch, depression is inevitable.  For me it's because none of my coworkers can talk yet and crafting (besides the selling) and writing aren't really known as team activities.  All your "usual" self care is probably super sucktastic right now.  You feel like you're accomplishing nothing besides possibly becoming agoraphobic.  If your mate is trying to build his/her/zir own empire too, congrats!  You can add irritating the shit out of each other too to the list.  And with Mercury in retrograde among other treats, everyone you know is likely acting like a self absorbed psycho like yourself even if they're not magical. 

What to do?

1. Subscribe to Marie Claire if you are female identified.   It's awesome.  It's the first mag in forever (since Sassy 1.0) to have interesting fashion, cheap buys, talk about relationships (including queer id'ed) in a realistic manner as well as serious women's issues and women kicking ass and taking names.  I felt really revitalized after reading it, like I could take over the world again.  At the very least like I could buy a few freaking velcro hair curlers ($4) and see what happens.  I would have never known this if Jow hadn't bought it for me on a whim.

2. Start an evening beauty regime (all genders, we all have skin and teeth).  First off, it calms your ass down.  I don't know why but it does.  Evening beauty regime should include: washing your face (I use CVS brand cucumber wipes because I'm lazy), moisturizing your face (I use moisture surge by Clinique) and eye cream (I use Murad eye cream because I have a sample of it), brushing your teeth and moisturizing your hands and feet.  It takes five minutes and I may have discovered this regime at 2a pawing through my makeup bag of samples while completely intoxicated and reading a French aspirational book but whatev.  It's worth it for the smug feeling of accomplishment alone.

3. Patronize local business.  Stay with me. You probably need goods for your empire.  I know I do. And I could buy some online or even at the grocery store, but that's not keeping my local Pagan brick and mortar in business. And if I want them to stay in business, I need to do the work.  So I buy shit from them. Not everything, but some things.  Yet another coffee house just closed by me taking the tally down from three semi-locally to two.  When I go to shop at Trader Joe's, I also get something at the local coffee shop because I like them and want them to stay in business.  Part of building your empire is keeping other tiny empires that you appreciate afloat too imo. 

4. Japa. It calms your brain down like whoa before bed and Shiva seems especially inclined to grant petty favors (pleeeeeeeeeeeease help me have a good attitude tomorrow, please help the baby take a long nap, etc).  All you need is a set of prayer beads with 108 beads and the correct pronunciation of "Om Namah Shivaya". 

5. Diversify.  I'm sort of working on two empires with some overlap at once.  My crafting business and my Pagan business.  With my crafting business, I'm keeping up an Etsy presence and also making sure I'm trying different kinds of craft friendly events to see where I'm making the most money.  My portfolio for the summer will include shows that are fiber arts only, farmer's markets, standard craft shows and indie craft shows.  This will help me see where I'm successful and will also help me figure out where my wares don't sell so I can map out my "bunny trail" for next season even better.  Next year will be year three so that's the real "make it or break it" year.  This year I'm focusing on buying my materials in bulk.  Next year I'll focus on buying machinery and more equipment to make my process faster and easier.  With my Pagan focused business, I'm focused on keeping up my blog presence as well as my presence on WitchVox and Witches & Pagans. I'm working on running my first class and making tangible goods as well.  I'm going to set up a pre-release book sale date so I am forced to sit down and write it.

6. Glad Game.  I started doing "the glad game" a la Pollyanna with my circle of friends when we were 21.  Picking out three things a day you're happy about keeps you from falling into a giant depression instead of a minor one.  I do it on my Twitter with the hashtag #gladgame.

7.  Accept Failure.  I have not been going to the gym as much as I want.  I'm keeping track of my calories though.  Sometimes you can't win at everything so figure out what you can win at.

Bon chance, darlings.  You're gonna need it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

For My Next Trick . . .

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Monday, March 26, 2012

[Retro Recipe Monday] Vichysoisse

I'm going to do some classics for a bit that you may conceivably eat so you can be psyched for Mad Men's premiere.  All Classic Retro Recipe Monday Recipes come from The Food Network unless otherwise stated.



  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups leeks, sliced and washed
  • 4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cup heavy cream


In large pot melt butter. Add leeks and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender. Place 3/4 of soup into a blender and puree, return to pot and stir in cream. Serve hot or cold

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Abbey Night: Servant Edition

I suppose we can snottily claim more "accurate" street cred for our Abbey Night because it wound up to be closer to our actual Downton Abbey station (i.e. servant class) verses our imagined ideal (i.e. the bitchy sisters and family).

I thought Abbey night would have, like, red wine and reading my French aspirational book.  Maybe beauty regime or occult hijinx.  We'd eat dinner slowly and have sparkling conversation.

Instead, as my first craft show is this coming Sat, we got to have a little time in the morning to (futilely) try to get tickets for the Sleep No More Remix (it sold out in under five fucking minutes.  Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh) and a little time to check emails in the morning.  I felt upbeat for the first time in weeks and even a bit optimistic about the day.

Then I needed to package everything I sold.

Then I needed to press all the oils I made.  Then some decanting and labeling.

Then it was 3p.  I needed to get dressed.

Then we went to the church (errand running for the Queen Mum).

Then onto the post office (. . . like a motherfucking adult).

A short break with a lunch at Fresh and coffee at Starbucks where Jow was downtrodden and disspirited by his lot as a servant.  I was feeling pretty depressed about life as well because (a) everyone else around me is currently beaten down by life so it's hard to be all yay life with that (b) all my days off have been eaten with completely unfun errands and crafting and (c) I'm feeling like I'm losing sight of my Experiment and feel like I am destined to be fat forever and a nanny and will never have money ever again.  I was thinking about the lines that the one maid said in Downton Abbey, None of it. I'm not going to be a secretary. I'm not going to leave service. I doubt I'll leave here before I'm sixty.  Oh, you saw their faces. And they're right. Oh, look at me! I'm the daughter of a farmhand, I'm lucky to be a maid. I was born with nothing and I'll die with nothing.
No plotting against each other or the ruling family (i.e. the cats) was done, too tired to do so.

Came home, cleaned the entire house.

Made candles, finished making soap.  Can't even take la-dee-da Mormon Mom pics because it looks like a hot mess when I'm working. 

Fed the complaining ruling family who was unappreciative.

Took my bedtime pills.  Got to eat dinner around 9p.

By that time we wanted our servants' privledge of making our own fun so it was intertubes forever for about an hour until bed.  Got to get up at 6a to take care of babies.

Next Abbey night we will be part of the imagined ruling class, damnit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reformed Abbeyists

Cat and I grew up as bloggists starting on Diaryland.  I had no idea what she wanted with me to be frank.  She wrote things that were beautiful and amazing (even just on Diaryland!  She hadn't even written any books yet!) and she was living abroad in Japan which sounded incredibly romantic and unfathomable at the time.  I, on the other hand, was a secretary living in Jersey who used her Diaryland to complain excessively about her mother.  But through the years, we've managed to somehow be present for key parts of each other's lives and I learned she cussed a lot too and liked cookies and macros so clearly, we were meant to be friends. 

Now we're both working on unfucking our lives through our own methodology and struggling (sometimes hilariously because sometimes the only way to get through it is to tell it as a story and make it funny).  But Cat had a great idea about starting Abbey Nights in her house.  When reading about it, my brain was so fried it was crunching so I thought, what a great idea!  Jow and I should do that once a month!  And I promptly marked it on the calendar to happen weeks from when I thought about it so presumably my life will have neatly fallen into place in a wonder of perfection and I'd be emotionally and intellectually ready to handle this. 

That week is this Sunday.

Weirdly, my life hasn't settled into perfection somehow.  I thought maybe I could just, like, not mention it and Jow would forget about it and we could settle comfortably in internet forever. 

Jow: So that Abbey thing is this Sunday right?

Me:  (damnit)  Ummmm.  Yeah.  I guess.

Jow: So how will this work?

Me: Candles aren't really too practical for us.  We don't have enough and I don't want either of us to go blind.

Jow: Agreed.  Besides Downton Abbey had electricity and they're an abbey--

Me: Right.  We haven't even started and already we're watering this down.

Jow: We're not watering it down.  We're just not Orthodox.  We're Reformed Abbeyists, that's all.

Me: Hee!  It's so weird because I'm like crap, what am I going to do?  No music, no telly, no internet.  Nothing.  Since I can't do anything fun I guess I could magically cleanse the house.  Or do a puja.  Or connect with my gods individually.  Clip the cats' nails.  Read my new book.  Spin on my wheel--

Jow: Yeah just all of that stuff that's imperative but never gets done.

Me:  Yeah.  That.

I'll report how it goes!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Limited Edition Oils for Sale at My Etsy Shop

Man in Black (5 left) - $15
This oil has a complex aroma with rich sexy notes of teak, cedar, green tea, saffron and cardamom with a hint of blood orange. Each scent component was carefully chosen to bring prosperity, confidence and an air of attractiveness to the wearer.

Goddess of the Hearth (7 left) - $25
This oil has a delightfully herbaceous aroma with gorgeous floral and tea undertones. Each scent component was carefully chosen to bring prosperity, love, happiness and protection to you and your hearth. Expect notes of lavender, thyme, rose and parsley among others.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Man in Black Limited Edition Oil

 Firstly, let me apologize for being a lying lying liar.  When making oils in small batches, it's still more of an art than a science for me.  I tried math this time to make more of it but . . .if math was my strong suit I doubt I'd be a artisan.  There will only be seven five of these oils available.  Once they're gone, they're gone.  

I have consecrated this oil using traditional Hoodoo methods.  Once the oil was decanted into labeled 5 ML amber glass bottles, they have been put in my altar to "marinade".

You can use the oil for anointing candles, mojo hands, ritual use or simply as a fragrance oil.

First off, I was a little nervous about making an oil for those who are more masculine identified because I'm ridiculously girly most of the time.  But I have to be honest.  I'm wearing it right now (myself and Jow are the only animals we test on) and I'm having a hard time not licking myself.  It's awesome (and masculine) honestly.  I'm looking forward to giving the little bit I had left over to Jow for science to see how it works for him and um science because it works for me.

This oil has a complex aroma with rich sexy notes of teak, cedar, green tea, saffron and cardamom with a hint of blood orange.  Each scent component was carefully chosen to bring prosperity, confidence and an air of attractiveness to the wearer.

Monday morning I will be putting these oils up for sale through my Etsy shop with pictures of the bottles.  Each oil will cost $15 USD.

If you would like to pre-order your oil, you may do so!

Shipping costs will be:

$3 USD - US
$5 USD - Canada
$7 USD - Europe

For pre-ordering, go to Paypal and send payment and shipping to with the subject line "Man in Black".

Goddess of the Hearth Limited Edition Oil

 Firstly, let me apologize for being a lying lying liar.  When making oils in small batches, it's still more of an art than a science for me.  There will only be seven of these oils available.  Once they're gone, they're gone.  

I made these oils on the full moon which will add fullness to your hearth.  I have consecrated this oil using traditional Hoodoo methods.  Once the oil was decanted into labeled 5 ML amber glass bottles, they have been put in my hearth with a small candle lit from my stove to "marinade".

You can use the oil for anointing candles, mojo hands, ritual use or simply as a perfume oil.

This oil has a delightfully herbaceous aroma with gorgeous floral and tea undertones.  Each scent component was carefully chosen to bring prosperity, love, happiness and protection to you and your hearth.   Expect notes of lavender, thyme, rose and parsley among others.

Monday morning I will be putting these oils up for sale through my Etsy shop with pictures of the bottles.  Because of the cost of the components and time in preparing the oil, I will need to make these oils more expensive than I had originally planned.  Each oil will cost $25 USD.

If you would like to pre-order your oil, you may do so! 

Shipping costs will be:

$3 USD - US
$5 USD - Canada
$7 USD - Europe

For pre-ordering, go to Paypal and send payment and shipping to with the subject line "Goddess of the Hearth".

Friday, March 9, 2012

Emotional Cutting, the French and Your Magical Practice

Because I'm an emotional cutter, nothing says trying to unwind from a hectic schedule of nannying and a terrible fibro flareup like reading books about French women and why everything they do is awesome including, probably, pooping. 

And of course the French seem to be unbearably smug about everything from how easy it is for them to parent to not needing close friends to never getting fat to all their food to always being fashionable and having sex all the time and work life balance?  What is that?  We don't even need to worry about that.

So as always, upon completing a French aspirational book I'm torn between equal parts frothing jealous hatred and desperate desire to be like a French woman.

I was talking to Gordon about how there doesn't seem to be much in the way of magical practice on how not to be heavier than you would prefer.  We both have theories about this, mine is a lot of blahblahblah the gods from Pagan cultures don't really understand the concept of having too much food and not enough exercise so when you're like, PLEASE YEMAYA, I DON'T WANT TO BE FAT ANYMORE, HALP HALP.  She's like . . .explain?  And I'm like, NO MORE FAT!  NOT HAPPY!  And She's like, you're unhappy because of your incredible access to any food whenever you want and your ginormous boobs and hips and ass that means that you'd be a good mate and mother?  And I'm like. . . .yes.  And she's like, girl I don't even know where to start with that.

So I've been thinking a lot about the French, living well, magic, appearance, glamour and charm/Charm. 

Naturally, the French look down their nose at what I'm doing right now (working like a psycho).  Jason wrote about how sometimes you just need to accept things are going to suck in order to get the things you want.  And I agree with that as well and it's been what I've been doing so far this year.  But I'm not good at accepting a never ending suck without end for a year.  It makes me depressed and aggreviated and irritated. 

So last night I called a meeting with all my personal pantheon and just made a tearful plea to help me figure out how to not be fat, how to be happy and how to still accomplish my goals. I woke up this morning ready to take on the world a little better.

What I'm Doing (and You Can Too):
1. Glamour correctly.   My previous glamours weren't working right because as one of my mentors told me, I'm fishing in the wrong pond.  I don't want someone in particular attracted to me, I'm not looking to get down really and I don't want anyone getting all "I must have you" and I must have mace or a restraining order.  I'm looking more for light flirtation and people  to think I'm charming and attractive.  To this end, I'm making a mojo hand for this working (and I'll make them available if I like the way mine works) and I'm getting a new TAL oil.  I'm going to contemplate new sigils as well.

2. Do you feel good about how you look on a random Tuesday?  First off, I needed to get a good hair cut, so I did that.  But I don't have time to flat iron at 6a for only a baby to see it.  But I could get really cute hair ties to jazz up my ponytail and use a few bobby pins.  I needed to figure out how to look cute while still being vomited and shat on.  I got inspired from a few place to figure out what I should be wearing and created a Pintrest board to really pull my week day look together as well as figure out some pj wear and going out clothes.   It really helped to focus me for what I was going for.  I also developed a quick make up routine as well.

3. You Are Not Alone  Besides Charmers working on their Experiments, people are working on unfucking their lives mundanely on Tumblr.  I am especially fond of Cat Valente's Girl Unlocked because she's a writer too and has similar issues to me. Also she's super funny and has a great makeup routine.

4. You Don't Have to Like It, You Just Have to Do It.  This motto has helped me start to get my ass to the gym three times last week.  It really helped me shut my brain weasels off by going straight to the gym as soon as I got up.  For me it also helped to hear that it was okay to have more pain than usual with the fibro, it was better to do it. (My current flare started on Wed due to weather changes verses gym changes.  30 degree change in a day knocks me flat on my ass every time)

5. Small Changes.  Okay so the French would probably not be into us eating the same thing practically every night as we've been doing.  So I just looked up some crockpot recipes to jazz things up on my Tues/Thurs which is my longest night.  We just got a cleaning service because with both of us working 40+ hours a week, it was becoming ridic.  A cleaning service will also keep us on top of things they don't do - decluttering, laundry, etc.  I'm tired of our tea kettles always getting gross.  I just ordered an electric kettle (and some fancy tea and okay, another French aspirational book because again, emotional cutter).  

6. Petition the right gods and spirits.  I'm working on a project that might bring me closer to the right spirit/Egregor but it's still in its baby stages.  In the interim, consider Durga.  Durga may not be overly invested in your weight loss per se, but She can relate to a person wanting to be as pretty, charming and smart as She is.  Puja and mala work works for this.

7. How Important Is This to You?  Really.  I keep crying and whining about being fat, not tending to my inner garden (the French are apparently big on this), not feeling sexy, etc., etc.  But what am I doing?  To the French, it's apparently more important to look good than to eat that donut.  So I'm going to change my eating habits and try to think more about what I'm eating and why.  Daytime eating tends to be boring anyway so I have a new plan for that.  I'm also going to cut down on snacks.  I am a huge snacker.  The French don't do that.  So . . .we'll see.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Why Do We Do This?

Well Jason, as usual we're secretly in sync with each other!  In your lastest entry on Magic and Mind and Psychology you discuss the need to not just be magically delicious but to have your shit together too.  I just sent an entry to my editor for Week 13 of the New Year, New You: An Experiment in Radical, Magical Transformation on this topic as well.  I also discussed that it's okay to have mostly mundane goals there too.  Spooooooooooooooooooky.

But it also made me contemplate why do I do magic and how do I feel about psychology and magic?  Because, as Jason said, there are easier ways to get power, prestige, money, love, etc.


From a spellwork perspective, if you are more into "low" magic over "high" magic, you may not truck much with spirits.  You may ask God/dess/es or totems or ancestors for help but you may not get into the world of angels and demons and other various spirits.  You may just say, God.  (Scandalous!)  You may . . .and this is where things get touchy . . .not have any significant meditational practice at all.  (le gasp!) You may only be minorly concerned with enlightenment or magical powers and personal growth may be something you look at from a mundane perspective primarily.

I just described myself, honestly.  But not just me, lots of kitchen witches, hearth witches and hoodoo practitioners as well.  Possibly Wiccans (almost none of my sisters have a real steady meditation/power gathering format that they use outside of circle to the best of my knowledge) and ADF Druids (. . .we're totes supposed to meditate but I have a rudimentary practice at best and I still have my card but no actual dedicants' book despite the fact that I did cycle two of the dedicants program *and* contributed data to the program but oooooh Jow joins and you just send him a book no questions asked.  I'm looking at you, KirkAhem.  Anyway it stands to reason that there are many other ADF members who attend their groves faithfully as I do and suck at meditating.  Especially since ADF is primarily celebratory, at least in my grove). 

I find if you're not trying to get super into the spirit world, your spells fall under the following categories:  love, money, protection, hexing and health.  Ta-da!  Not everyone is really fantastic at communicating with the spirit world and that's okay too.  It is one aspect of a strong magical practice, but it's not the only one.  Faith can take you a long way along with offerings (especially when you don't have your hand out).  Maybe you have a steady magical practice to get ahead and keep things running smoothly and that's all you need.  Frankly, it's all I need.  And if I never get enlightened or get infinite cosmic powers, I'm really okay with that as well.  It's not really part of my bracket of goals.  I don't need a never ending amount of people attracted to me, I don't need to be rich, I don't need a lot of things.  I've learned from my divorce, mo' money mo' problems.

I do magic to (consensually) keep my relationship good, to keep bringing in money with a day job, that I can handle minor problems like a car problem, to keep things smooth in my family, to help me keep making money as a writer and a crafter, to protect my home and occasionally when I'm irritated enough, to smack someone's ass down.  And . . .that's it. That's all I need. 

Because my magic tends to be more faith based, how it works is less important to me than having it work.  Maybe it's somewhat psychologically based, maybe it's not.  Listen, I get why it's important.  I have fibromyalgia.  The way we're treated varies a lot based on whether that person thinks it's "all in your head" (psychological) or it's actual neurological damage (hard science!).  But at the end of the day, no one knows for sure yet if fibro is psychological or science based or both and no one knows about magic.  But . . .I still have fibro and magic still works.  If you ever want to be validated because someone is scoffing at you, offer v. sincerely to do work on their behalf.  Because I've found that backs that train up real fast.  Everyone in my life who has scoffed has also refused to let me do magic on their behalf.  Obviously, some part of them believes that I have the power to change their lives in some way.  Last I checked, that's what magic is.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

[Glamour Guest Post] n Glamours: Burlesque and Witchcraft (Mama Fortune)

Want to be part of the glamour discussion?  Once a week, I have a guest post spot for people from all magic-y/gender-y/sexual orientation/personal glamour orientation walks of life to talk about what glamour means to you both mundanely and magically. Any spellwork or personal revelations are welcome! Essays should be between 500-1000 words and be sure to include a brief bio about yourself and any links (blog, Etsy shop, etc) that you would like included.

Send it to me in the body of your email with the subject "Glamour" to
corvaxgirl [at] gmail [dottie] com

About Mama Fortune: I am an artist and burlesque performer in Vancouver, British Columbia. I've been practising witchcraft for fifteen years, with a focus on the practical side of things. Recently, I've begun teaching tarot and magic.
My blog is

Twin Glamours: Burlesque and Witchcraft  Or: What glitter can do for you.

When I was in my early twenties, I had a brief affair with a Satanist. He looked remarkably like Marc Bolan, wore a leather jacket no matter the weather, and loved Conan the Barbarian. One night, over drinks in the world's ugliest faux Irish pub, he lent me a copy of Anton Szandor LaVey's The Satanic Witch.  I'm sure I was supposed to be very scandalised and maybe a bit titillated. I read the book from cover to cover, and when I was later asked for my opinion I declared, with one eyebrow arched, “That book is about my MOTHER.”

I still have the book. It's dated, and nobody could claim it's a great work of literature, but I hang onto it because it continues to hold relevance in my life despite my disagreements with it. I will return to this fact later. But first, my mom, the accidental Satanic Witch.

Growing up, my mother always stressed the importance of 'looking nice.' This is not to say she was one of those women you see on Toddlers and Tiaras forcing her kids into makeup – she was nothing of the sort. I was a teenager in the 1990s, when grunge was king, and my mother never once questioned my fashion choices, even when they veered into the unusual; black lipstick and combat boots were my uniform throughout much of highschool, and my mother simply encouraged me no matter what my style to try and look my best in my own way. To look put together, even if that included vinyl pants. My mother knew looks mattered.

Human beings are visual creatures. We judge one another by our appearance long before we utter a word. Most would agree that this is a pretty simple fact. (Whether or not it's fair is not relevant.) Another basic truth is that physical appearance, to a large degree, is easy to manipulate, So easy, in fact, that I am constantly surprised by how many witches and magicians overlook the opportunity to do so.

During the aforementioned black lipstick phase, a friend and I once conducted an experiment for a class. We stopped strangers in the park and asked them a series of bullshit questions on camera, supposedly for a class assignment. In reality we didn't care about their answers – we cared about their reaction to the interviewer, caught handily on film. My friend was clean-cut, with brown hair and a button-down blouse. If memory serves, my hair was violent red and black at the time, and my makeup was straight out of Siouxsie Sioux's liner notes. I also wore an inverted cross necklace just to make things even more entertaining.

Not surprisingly, our hypothesis was proved correct: we got very different reactions. That silly little experiment hammered home at an early age the fact that people will assume all manner of things based on how you present yourself.

I'm thirty-years old, now, and I am a burlesque performer. Burlesque is a world inhabited by people (mostly women) of all shapes, sizes, and styles. The one thing every last professional of the art has in common, however, is the understanding that looks can be manipulated... and used to manipulate. Burlesquers are natural witches in the way old Anton would have understood.

In The Satanic Witch, LaVey discusses 'the Law of the Forbidden,' “Nothing,” he states, “is so fascinating as that which is not meant to be seen.” He has an entire chapter devoted to the correct way in which a lady should 'accidentally' expose herself! Now, while his suggestions are for everyday life, reading them I am struck by how similar they are to the art of the tease. Burlesque performers are strippers, yes, but strippers who seem to intuitively grasp the ideas LaVey talks about – simply taking off your clothes is not enough. He also discusses at length a witch's mode of dress. He suggests the aspiring witch look to the cartoons in men's magazines, as these are exaggerations of a style designed to elicit a particular response. Striptease is really no different – the corsets, false eyelashes, garters, and spike heels are all part of the act.

And that's really it. It's an act. My friend Diamond Minx, when seen at an event, is a vision in rhinestones from head to toe. You would think the woman lived in a state of constant luxury, all glitter and champagne. But here's a secret... I've seen her in sweatpants. It's a glamour. A glamourous glamour, to be sure, but as changeable as all the rest.

Glamour is not just for the stage. There is just as much a need for it in the office, at the PTA, or on your online dating profile. Your appearance is a statement, and may vary depending on circumstance: a corset in a fetish club is not shocking, but the same outfit in church is. This has nothing to do with calling out certain looks, either. This is about deliberate intent, not personal taste. Glamour is powerful everyday magic, and in my experience the witch who overlooks it is doing so out of sheer stubbornness and ego. It's as though nobody wants to believe that others could possibly judge them on their appearance, because we're special, and above such trivial things.


You can charge a piece of jewellery with the intent to draw love, but your chances are going to be better if you bother to comb your hair, brush your teeth, and tailor your clothes.

2012 is a big year for many of us. And so I encourage all and sundry to not neglect your glorious meatsack. Put your best foot forward physically as well as spiritually – take a moment to examine your style critically and make sure it's 'on message' with your goals. If it isn't, tweak it with intent. Glamour is the art of pairing the physical and the energetic. Use it!

“I advocate glamour. Every day. Every minute.” - Dita Von Teese

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Experiences as a Dianic Wiccan

Because I feel like it's important to offer some personal experience as a Dianic, I dug through my archives and found two write ups for two of my rituals.  So far (and I'd love to be corrected) I haven't seen too much testimony from Dianics who aren't in agreement with Z. and also are in my general age group (early 30s) so I'd like to offer my experience to the discussion.

Our Sisters, Ourselves

We were in my tiny rabbit hole of an apartment. It was Lammas. My boyfriend had been sent out to play with his guy friends who good-naturedly decided to have a barbecue with the boys since we were doing our “girlie thing”. I made chicken tandori and everyone brought food to share. The Amethyst Circle of Sisters meets monthly on Friday nights so we always feast first to unwind from work or school. It gives us a chance to catch up from the last time we saw each other. It was my turn to priestess because I had taken up Lammas as an Amazon holiday. What better holiday to remind yourself that you have the strength to do things you did not think were possible? We sit in a circle in folding chairs, on cushions, on my couch. We cast the circle hand to hand and I sang pieces of modern songs (“Wings” by Katherine Moon [air] “The Hollow” by a Perfect Circle [fire] “Round Here” by Counting Crows [earth]“Ocean” by Dar Williams [water] and “Triple Goddess Chant” [Goddess]) to invite the elements and the Goddess into our circle. I lead everyone through a grounding meditation and then talked about the meaning of the holiday as I saw it (“I like Lammas. It's an old school kind of holiday with blood and love and redemption. It's the last huzzah before going back to work when the world is still magiksummer and anything could happen [and usually it does]. I've designated it an Amazon holiday for us because while we may individually be in different stages in our lives as maid, mother, or crone, it is the Amazon that ties us all together. When the Goddess slays the God, She does it because she knows she has to. She knows the consequence of her action if She does not. Do not think for a moment She did it because it was easy. We are all capable of doing what we have to do. We all have this kind of Goddess-strength within us. We are here tonight together in sisterhood to remind ourselves of this.”). I talk about Alix Olsen’s spoken word poem, “Daughter” where she talks about birthing herself into a homegrown daughter. I encourage everyone to write a letter to herself, as if we were our own mothers so we can take the opportunity to give ourselves whatever we need (advice, strength, courage, forgiveness) because as women we so often forget to do that. We take turns reading our letters to each other.

My letter:

“My dearest daughter,

I have waited so long for you.

It’s a harsh world out there. There is room for a lot of sadness and pain.

Never apologize for loving. Never apologize for being loved. You will grow up to be something special, something I am proud of. You have the seeds for greatness and failure.

You will do both.

People will still love you when you fail. They will love the imperfections as much as the perfections. Never apologize for living as you wanted. It’s much easier to live half asleep, apologizing for your existence.

Sisterhood is so painfully beautiful and life is too short to live without it. Tell people you love them because you won’t know when you can. Hug and kiss them and give as much as your heart wants to. Ask for more. You deserve for people to love you as much as you love them. You deserve the bright blessings bestowed on you so don’t waste them.


You are beautiful and fierce the way you and sometimes people hurt you and forget to live their lives as honestly as you. You are not lesser for that. People will try to make you feel small and worthless because they forget the dream. Don’t forget the dream.

I lay forgiveness on your head. Forgiveness for the silence, forgiveness for loving too harshly, forgiveness for forgetting the dream, forgiveness for the ugliness, forgiveness for the self doubt, forgiveness for the self hate, hating this body that the Goddess blessed you.

Love. Love as much as you can.

Don’t be afraid of the pain and the grief. It is a wheel and the wheel can only turn with both sides . . .”

I had a bowl full of rosewater and herbs (lavender. Rose petals. Star Anise. Rosemary.) so we could bless ourselves after reading our letters. I dipped my fingers into the water and said, “I bless you, Lilith Maeve Crow. Thou art woman and thou art Goddess.” While we are in the sacred space of the Goddess we each have an opportunity for personal sharing. We talk about whatever is on our minds and our hearts while we are in this space of the Goddess. We laugh with our personal triumphs and cry about our losses. We hold each other and share the “sacred tissues”. We bless the bread and the juice and feed it to each other. We give the Goddess Benediction and open the circle.

We eat half melted Godiva ice cream smeared onto strawberries and finish catching up. I look around the room to my sisters. Some who are crones and have accomplished things that I can only hope to achieve in my blessedly short life time, some who are mothers who nurture their creative sides while still caring for their loved ones, some who are maidens younger than myself who are as poised as I wish I was when I was there age. And we are all here together in this shining space where it’s our women’s voices, our women’s dreams, our women’s breath, our women’s hopes. And I think, yes, this is what Robin meant when she said, sisterhood is powerful. Yes, this has changed my life. Yes, this has taught me about taking what I need and not being sorry about it. Yes, this has taught me about trusting women and trusting myself. Yes, this has taught me that I am Priestess, too. Yes, this has taught me the joy of women weaving magic together and the sacredness of women’s magic alone. Yes, this has taught me that when we lay hands on our sisters we can heal each other’s bodies and when we listen to each other, we can heal each other’s pain and when we speak we are no longer silent. And throughout history whenever it’s been about us, it’s made us dangerous. And we should be. We should be dangerous women. Because dangerous women get things done.

Amazon Body
I gathered up my herbs, holy water, candles, Goddess statue, incense, stones, and set out the ingredients for the corn bread we would be making together as an offering to The White Buffalo Woman. I couldn’t believe it was Lammas already. Had the year gone by so fast? It always does. Lammas is always my ritual in my Dianic circle. Years ago, before the fibro I had insisted on making it an Amazon holiday. My sisters were both enthusiastic and indulgent about the idea. So every year since, I put together a ritual to celebrate our Amazon spirits. My circle believes that we each go through the women’s mysteries and become in turn maid, mother, and crone. It’s the Amazon spirit shining inside of us that binds us together.

It made sense, though, to choose Lammas as our Amazon holiday. In many Goddess myths, Lammas is when the Goddess has to slay the God in order to fertilize the land. If she didn’t, we would all starve. I always found the Greek myth easiest to relate to, personally – the strong sad mother, the willful daughter, and the bad boy Demeter would never completely like, no matter how much baklava he brought her. Lammas is all about being an Amazon – a hardcore woman who will make the right decision, no matter how much it hurts. When no one knew what was wrong with me, all I could do was sleep and cry. I was so foggy that I couldn’t think straight. Couldn’t drive most of the time. Just could swallow pills that made me foggier than I was before. A lot of it is vague fragments of memories of that time – my worried mother, my long time boyfriend who couldn’t stand the strain of not knowing what was wrong with me, the vials and vials of blood they drew and the sugary donuts I would always eat afterwards. The point where I stopped caring about what was wrong with me, as long as they could give it a name.

Circle was one of my few refuges. My sisters would lay their hands on me and it would stop hurting, at least for a while. I thought, if I was so broken, what deity would want me? I didn’t know there were deities who collected broken girls like posies until we could become strong again. I didn’t know that to become Amazon strong, oftentimes one has to die first. And I did, on that table, staring at the ceiling while they took more vials of my blood from me. I didn’t stop breathing but I came to terms with the fact that my life was never going to be the same again for me, no matter what was wrong with me, too much had changed. I had learned the depths of strength and weakness I had hidden inside of me and like Eve, I couldn’t give it back even if I wanted to, it was far too late for that. And I would become strong again. And weak again too. Strong when I held my mother and told her I would be alright even though I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia two decades earlier than most women. Strong when I found what I needed to have in my life to love and be loved. Strong when I left my stupid corporate job that was making me sicker and weaker than I ever thought I could be and never looked back. Strong when I started to make my own way. Strong when I accepted my body. Strong when I accepted the love and support that I bathe in every day. Strong when I realized that I too like Alix Olsen believed in hardship and hard shit and no matter what happened, I would do what needed to be done. Like my mother. Like Demeter. Like my circle sisters. Like all the strong women in my life. And I learned to accept my weaknesses because only accepting strength is only accepting half of myself. Weak when I couldn’t get out of bed. Weak when I pushed myself far too hard. Weak when I hated my body for betraying me. Weak when I refused to accept help. Weak when I felt hopelessness and despair that I would never have the life I thought I needed to have. Weak when I felt angry that my condition had further deteroated.

I know I am an Amazon, every day with my condition it makes me conscious of everything I’m capable of, the big battles and the little battles. Sometimes brushing my hair is an awesome accomplishment. Sometimes spinning my dreams into reality is an awesome accomplishment. I’ve learned to appreciate both. And I’ll be thinking about the strong, beautiful Amazon spirit I have inside of me this Lammas when I am singing in the kitchen with my circle sisters and we do the magic that women do every day – being strong, being together, and turning flour into bread.

[Repost]: On Roots and Sincerity: It's where we come from you know/ and sometimes I want to go back

I thought it would be particularly relevant to repost this entry on what being Dianic does for me with everything going on.
In the past few years, I've been so bogged down with getting divorced, buying a house, my sister's marriage and baby and now starting my own business, that my Dianic Wiccan circle was always the first thing to go on my schedule. Fridays would find me tired and run down, the stresses of the week culminated so that all I would want to do is order a pizza and drink wine and watch television. Besides, at this point I'm barely Wiccan anymore anyway, right?

During these years, without realizing it, I had become coated in a crisp cannoli shell. I started to prefer my own small hearth magics and became results driven and the intellectual side of magic - blogging and thinking with an occasional trip to my grove which is also filled with charming cynics like myself.

I had become cynical.

It seemed like a lifetime ago since I was that twenty year old girl who needed mentors and role models and to be accepted as she was, fuck ups and alternaness and all. I never knew the divine feminine until then and I never knew I could be take a religious leadership role. The Craft had come out, but Willow had not yet become a witch on Buffy yet and Charmed hadn't yet started. We were still taught the importance of to be silent because you could still find yourself in harm's way for being a witch.

Somewhere in my late twenties, when my marriage was falling apart, I started falling away from my Circle. I always went once or twice a year, kept in touch with my sisters and all, but what had once seemed shiny with the Divine Feminine and sister space and the Goddess is alive/ and magic is afoot started to seem . . .airy-fairy. Less serious, less scholarly. Less important. Something I had outgrown.

Yesterday there was to be a circle meeting and ritual, discussing our future. I felt obligated to go. After all, these women had had a hand in raising me, had contributed to who I became, had loved me and cared for me. But I also felt that familiar familial feeling of obligation and resentment. I didn't want to go. I wanted to stay home and drink wine and watch Gossip Girl.

But I went, grudgingly. My sisters hugged me tight, exclaiming over their prodigal daughter and I felt that all too familiar feeling I feel around my family, guilt for not being a better daughter.

We went over our circle's issues (running late has always been a big one to give an example) and I felt like we were all committed to making things more feasible for everyone and that we had refocused our group's intent.

We then did a simple handwashing ritual. And . . .I can't find the words to explain it, how it feels when we're on. When we're all focused and present and sharing sister space. How safe and calm it can feel, being protected in our little snowglobe between worlds. Womblike. Since starting the French Experiment, I've tried to focus more on appreciating simplicity, especially in daily life. There was something sacred as we went through the rites and then came to the hand washing. I've done that particular ritual before but . . .I think maybe I wasn't really able to appreciate it yet as a Maiden. I'm not sure why that is but while I thought it was pretty, it didn't resonate with me. I think as a Maiden I had a hard time sitting still and a hard time appreciating anything that didn't come in a martini glass or with an expensive price tag.

We used a beautiful silver ewer with a silver ladle with warmed rose and rain water. Each of us would wash the hands of the sister sitting to our left, thinking about what we loved about our sister and what she brought to circle. I don't know what M. was thinking when she washed my hands and dried them but it was really hard not to cry, I was just overcome by the love and the beauty of the gesture. My hands felt clean in a way that they haven't in a very long time. Clean hands, clean heart. When I washed D.'s hands, I thought about how gentle and kind she was and how she always knew the right thing to say and her music. It was just really powerful watching the other sisters' wash each others hands so carefully and kindly, a small gesture of love and care.

And I thought about how easy it is in our community to wrap ourselves in our intellect and our cynicism and talk about how the world is burning anyway, man so we should use our magic so we don't get screwed in the process and make sure we get everything we can. It's easier to make a sarcastic joke. I do it all the time.

It's hard for me to sit there with my squishy creamy insides hanging out, to be sincere and open and loving and kind without worrying about how I'll be preceived. Without turning away from it with a biting comment and a puff of a clove or sip of wine, but to just sit there and allow myself to be changed by it. It's. Really. Fucking. Hard. And I think that's why I keep turning away from it and away from my sisters because most days I'd rather be hard.

What I learned last night is that we need both, the hardness and the softness. The hardness pushes us through the difficulty of life and keeps us driving to succeed even when we've failed over and over again, the softness is what gives us a light of some kind, a grace to enjoy what we made ourselves hard for.

I need that for myself, that permission for softness, a magic that looks inside not outside and isn't always about input and output, that space to be gentle and surrounded by love. When I came back, Jow said I seemed different and he's right, I was. I came back changed, centered and softer. And I need that.  So I'm going to do that for myself more, start going to circle more often again as a gift to myself.

Ending at 10:30 instead of 12:30 though does help my enthusiam for the prospect.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

. . . .And the winner is . . . .

Katie K. pointed out that I promised a contest winner today.  Lucky for you all I'd had enough wine to comply.

I had to print a million pages with all of your entries under the harsh
taskmastership of  Angus, the Scottish Cow.  The playing card
comes from Sleep No More and the top hat is Jow's.

I had to cut each entry and ask Jow for help with the folding.  He
had the gall to imply I was done cutting before he was done folding.

I told Jow he needed to shuffle it up really good.

He pulled a name.

Congratulations to Ximera Grey!  You won the drawing!