Friday, 21 December 2018

A Ride With The Wild Hunt

This is a Mind Witching exercise which is particularly appropriate around the times when the Wild Hunt is said to be chasing across the sky, and Mid-Winter is one of those.
     There are many figures who are said to lead the Wild Hunt, and as this is a personal journey, you can decide which version suits you, your beliefs or your personality. So here are some examples:
     Herne the Hunter. Some say that Herne was a mortal hunter, a servant of the king, who hunted around Windsor Great Forest. Others believe he is a personification of the spirit of the hunt, the Horned God who can be both the hunter or take on the form of a great stag which all pursue.
     Diana, known as the Queen of the Witches is said to lead her band of Witches through the midnight skies. Or it could be the Queen of Faerie who leads the Seelie Court in a wild carouse across the skies, picking up mortals who take their fancy.
     Or is could be Odin, leading the riders through thick and thin, between the worlds on his grey, eight-legged horse, Sleipnir.
     Sometimes the leader is unknown, and instead it is a great shrieking mass of ghosts and spirits who sweep past. Or they could be lead by Arawn, the Celtic Lord of the Underworld, or even Death himself.
      Of course, with the Wild Hunt one can never be sure, and the reality may turn out far different than you had prepared for. There is also the old belief that if the Wild Hunt is called, they cannot leave without adding a member to their ranks....

     For this working it is traditional to start by lieing on your bed. Old accounts tell of people who appeared to be asleep in their beds yet afterwards told tales of fantastical flights to magical meetings, so this working will emulate those accounts.
     For a start you can light a candle or two and some incense (I like Frankincense for this), but these are optional, and (of course) if you have any candles lit, make sure they are safe and can cause no harm.
     Lie down and close your eyes. Create your magic circle around yourself. You can use a ritual you are familiar with, or simply imagine yourself within a blue bubble.
     When you are ready you will call the Wild Hunt.
     As a Witch, I shall describe this in a Witchy way, but your experience might be quite different.
Diana, Queen of Witches All
Hear, tonight, my spirit call,
Catch me up and take me high
On your wild ride through the sky!
    You can say this out loud, or in your head. You can repeat the incantation three times, then be ready!
     You may feel a breeze growing around you, a wind whipping up. Or you might feel a strange trembling or shaking, almost like an earthquake. Or you might simply suddenly find yourself whizzing through the air, like a leaf caught on the wind.
     Enjoy the sensation, look around you. You might see faces, you might see Witches, male and female, some flying, some riding animals, goats, horses, donkeys, geese or swans. You might see some on broomsticks, and others just dancing on the thin air.
     Below you there might be the bright, twinkling lights of a town or city, or you might be flying over dark countryside, with just the odd light to mark the sparce houses.
     You might be above or below the clouds. Perhaps you can see the Moon and stars, brighter than they have ever seemed before.
     You can tell from the way the clouds and the scenery whips past you, that you are travelling fast. You might recognise the landscape below you, the shape of a river or the turning of a road, or you might find that you are flying over wild moorland and heading for a rocky mountain ahead.
     At the head of this wild ride is a chariot or wagon drawn by two marvellous creatures which seem to change shape as you try to focus on them. Are they cats, or goats, or perhaps even unicorns?
     The woman in the chariot has long, dark hair and wears a cloak which streams out behind her. She directs the horde, raising an arm and pointing to the mountains before you.
     Suddenly you see a bonfire leap into life and all around are points of light, candles or torches.
     The whole crowd of Witches heads for the bonfire, dropping lightly to the ground like leaves or feathers and begin an intricate, twirling dance on the hillside. They hold hands in a long snaking line and you feel your hands caught as you are drawn into the dance.
     It feels so free and joyful. You can dance as wildly as you fancy, you will not get out of breath.
     Now the dancers wind around the bonfire, forming a circle which swirls around the fire,
    Then suddenly they stop.
     You find a goblet in your hand. Look into it, what magical wine does it hold? Will you taste it?
     As you gaze into the liquid, you realise the face of the Goddess is looking up at you. You glance up and find that She is standing right beside you.
     'My child, what do you need?' she asks
     Now is the time to make your petition. What magic help do you need? What would you like the Goddess to provide? What would you like to know?
     Make your wish known to the Goddess.
    She smiles. You have been heard.
     And as quietly as She came, the Goddess is gone.
     Do you wish to stay and talk to others at the meeting? Some will teach you magical skills, others may tell you stories, or show you visions. There may well be spirits of loved ones here, people you have missed, or who you would like to tell your news to.
     Eventually the meeting will fade. You may fall asleep, or you may simply realise that you are back in your own bed, safe and warm, content and relaxed.
     Remember to thank the Goddess for including you in Her wils ride and magical meeting. You can ask also that you be allowed to participate again.

    Merry Solstice!

Friday, 7 December 2018

Why Mind Witching?

This is actually something I have done since I was a little child.
     I have always been fascinated by dreams, lucid dreaming and astral travel. My dreams have always been vivid, colourful and interesting - sometimes scary - but I have always remembered my dreams. It was a natural part of our family routine to talk about our dreams and look up the symbols in the Big Blue Dream Book.
     My dad encouraged me to write my dreams down and I have been keeping a dream diary for over fifty years now.
     As I got more into the occult and Witchcraft, I was fascinated by the stories of people taking magical journeys when they were supposed to be asleep in bed, in order to get up to mischief or attend magical meetings.
     Also as I have got less physically able as I've got older, I have found that it is possible to work more of my rituals using the power of my imagination.
     Many people have restrictions in their abilities to perform rituals and magic. It might be that you do not have the privacy, or restricted movement, or little spare space. We may live in the city with little access to wild open spaces and countryside.
     And these days even if you do live in the country it can still be surprisingly difficult to find a private, natural place to work a full ritual. I remember one time we ventured out into the woods, to a place we had picked during the day, only to find that night the same place was being used as a Scout camp!
     Mind Witching is very adaptable, so you can incorporate as much or as little into your rituals as is necessary or you want to.
      All magic involves mind power, because all magic works through the sub-conscious, our link to both primeval and universal energies and principles. Whether we realise it or not.
     So, if you have the room, capacity, tools and desire to set up your magic circle in a physical way, then go ahead. But if, for whatever reason, you are unable to do this then Mind Witching will still allow you to create rituals and spells and go on magical journeys.
     Personally, I love candles and incense. So even if I am not working a ritual, I may still have a candle or two burning and some incense on the go. So to do this as part of a spell or ritual I find no trouble at all, in fact quite the opposite. Candles and incense are to me two of the keys which start to unlock the magic and get the atmosphere and energy growing. Once these are in place, then how much of the rest of the ritual involves physical objects, words and movement will depend on how I am feeling.
    So never feel that you can't do a spell because you haven't got the right 'stuff' or the right place, or the right words even, the main element in any magical working is you.
     You are the magic!

Friday, 23 November 2018

Mind Witch Full Moon Ritual

The idea of Mind Witching is the dynamic use of the imagination to work rituals and magic. You can of course use magical tools, candles and incense to enhance these rituals, as pleases you, but this is a working created to show how any magic or ritual can be carried through using just the powers of the mind.
     For this ritual you can sit in a chair or lie down, or sit on the floor. It can even be done in bed if you are totally immobile.
     I would say that you are less likely to fall asleep if you are sitting up - but I know that I can fall asleep sitting up, so that is no guarantee. Don't worry if you find that you have fallen asleep, this usually means that knowing what your aims were, your spirit has completed the working on the astral planes.
     First cast your circle.
     There are many ways of doing this and if you have a ritual that you are happy with, then use that.
     If not, then the simplest and easiest way to cast a circle is simply to imagine yourself sitting or lieing within a blue bubble. I always use a blue bubble because to me blue represents the colour of Witch Power. Blue is also a calming and protective colour.
     Take a little time to think about being surrounded by your magical bubble, this is your magic circle in three dimensions.
     Now think about the Full Moon, the bright shining disc floating in a deep blue sky.
     Imagine that the disc of the Moon becomes the face of a beautiful woman, with dark hair streaming over the sky. Now say, or think:
Lovely Goddess of the Moon,
fill me with your magical light.
     Try to imagine your blue bubble filling with the silver glow of moonlight.
     Take your time.
     You might 'see' the energy like a bright moonbeam flowing from the Goddess and into your circle, filling it with glowing energy. Know that with every breath that you take you are breathing in that energy and taking it deep within yourself. Feel it filling you and making your whole body glow with moonlight and magic.
     When you are ready, use that energy to create a magic spell.
     You could send healing to a friend.
     You could turn the energy into a shower of golden coins which rains over you, bringing wealth and optimism.
     You could use the energy to send erotic thoughts to someone you desire, and make them think longingly of you.
     You could radiate the light, making yourself a beacon to draw friends and magical companions.
     Or you could use the energy to move your magic circle, like a spacecraft, to a different dimension or realm, such as the Land of Faery. Or to the woods where spirit animals wait to become your familiar.
     What magic do you want to do?
     Do it now!

     When you have finished you can then say or think:
Thank you, Lady of the Moon, 
for lending me your power, to work my magic.
     Then imagine the Moon glow fading until your circle returns to its calm blue colour.
     At this point you could have a little something to eat and drink. This both celebrates your successful magical operation and also helps to 'ground' you and make sure that you are fully back in this world.
     However if you have fallen asleep that is fine, as sleeping within the blue bubble does mean that you will have a good sleep, and be magically protected at the same time.

     Incidentally, if you ever suffer from nightmares, put the blue bubble around yourself, and they will be banished.

(the book 'Mind Witch' by Chris Sempers is available from Raven at £8.95 plus p&p)

Friday, 12 October 2018

The Dark Half

Here is an extract from our latest October Raven Newsletter, which goes out to folks on our Mailing List:

     The two Equinoxes mark the two points in the year when the length of day and night are equal.This only happens on two days each year, the rest of the year there is more light than dark, or more darkness than light.
     The Equinoxes also mark the transition points for the Goddess. The Spring Equinox celebrates the return of the Maiden, bursting with life and fertility.
     The Autumn Equinox marks the Goddess turning from fecund Mother to barren yet wise Crone.
     The Autumn Equinox is also the start of the Dark Half of the year.
     As soon as you say that, doesn't it make you feel spooky, sinister and magical? And yet all it means is that from now onwards there will be more hours of darkness than of light.
     The further North you go, the more dramatic this change is, until you cross into those latitudes where there is no light at all, the sun never making it above the horizon for days even weeks at a time.
     As the darkness grows, the night enfolds us and the stars and moon, and the Northern Lights too, are more easily visible.
     The sun loses its Summer ferocity and, although there can still be many sunny and even warm days, there is a distinct cooling, and a proper nip in the air.
     In the UK, we have a temporate climate, less harsh and extreme than places on the same latitude on the continents of Europe and North America. Yet we still see changes all around us.
     The leaves of the trees change colours, losing their Summer vitality and becoming the warm colours of Autumn, gold, russet and brown. In the fields the Winter crops are coming to ripeness, root crops, turnips, swede and parsnips, cabbages and brussels and apples too and the bright orange pumpkins. All food for warming stews, pies and pastries.
     At the beginning of October in Hull, every year for a week the Fair arrives. Loud, noisy and colourful, and only waking properly after darkness falls. With its Gypsy caravans and fortune tellers, stalls selling typical 'fair' goods, candy floss, nougat and brandy snaps, side shows, guess your weight and travelling rides which will be set up and taken down again, to vanish like magic after a week.
     And every year the weather seems to change with the arrival of the Fair, so that when you see your breath and the twinkle of frost on the pavement, people will say to each other, 'It's Hull Fair weather!'
     And as the darkness grows and encroaches on the firelight, so the magic grows.
     The power of the Winter Crone growing, encouraging us to light candles and cast spells. To seek out those who also feel the energies of the Old Ways.
     To become one with the magic.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Diary of a Small Dog

Tallulah aged 15 weeks:

Today has been an exciting day!
     Mind you all days are exciting. There is so much to do, to explore, to stick your nose into, to scrabble at, or to try out with your teeth.
     This morning so far I have played with Bridie, taken some socks outside and eaten many marrowbone biscuits.
     The humans had burgers with their breakfast, so I had to remind them that I was hungry by jumping up and down and yipping as loud and shrilly as I could.
     I don't know why they put me out of the room and shut the door.
     I chewed the carpet at the bottom of the stairs while I waited.
     Then I was let in and Bridie and me both had a piece of burger each. Bridie ate all of hers! I made sure she hadn't dropped any.
     After that we went in the kitchen and I practised 'Sit!' with Bridie and we were given pieces of dried meat strip. Bridie ate all of hers! I did check thoroughly that she hadn't dropped any.
     Daddy put his boots on.
     Well, after bringing in the one that was in the garden, and the clog. And several toys. And the dog brush. And the dog comb with the chewy wooden handle.
     Then me and Bridie had our leads put on and we went for a walk.
     There was nothing to eat in the underpass today (yesterday there was some bread I managed to eat before daddy caught up). When we got onto the track at the side of the field, Bridie and me ran and ran and ran.
     Sometimes I think Bridie is trying to get away from me. I jumped at her and yipped in her face to let her know that I was happy, then we ran some more.
     On the way home I met two of the neighbours, they are black pug dogs. When I lunged and yipped at them, they lunged and barked at me! They were very noisy and a bit scary.
     Then we came home and I went to sleep.

Sunday, 9 September 2018


Well, a lot can happen in a week.
     It has been a steep learning curve for all of us - including our other collie, Bridie.

Tallulah has learnt:
     After 2 days - to go upstairs
     After 3 days - to go downstairs (going downstairs is much more scary for a small dog whose legs are the same length as the height of a stair)
     After 4 days - she decided that she was sleeping upstairs in our bedroom
     She also learnt to follow Bridie out of the dog flap
    After 5 days - she learnt how to pop in and out through the dog flap on her own
    After 6 days - she had learnt that outside is where dogs do their toilet, and had house-trained herself

     Tallulah is as bright as a button. (she may even be more intelligent than our Lupin was, and that would be going some), she watches everything and is interested in everything, and wants to know everything that everyone is doing!
     This can sometimes be difficult as she wants to follow me, Graham and Bridie all going in different directions.
     She has decided that Bridie is her friend.
     Bridie has no say in this matter, Tallulah is determined to follow Bridie wherever she goes, copy Bridie and play with Bridie too. Bridie is not sure about the 'playing' thing and has tried to discourage Tallulah when she gets too boisterous by snapping at her.
     Tallulah barks at Bridie, then 'accidentally' falls on her, she is a determined little thing and not easily put off even by a dog four times her size.
      One thing that Bridie does like to do from time to time is dig large holes in the garden.
     On Wednesday night Bridie came in looking sheepish, followed by a very happy, enthusiastically wagging Tallulah covered in wet earth. Graham had to go and find the large hole and fill it in again.
    Tallulah likes to play, and to chew things. Alan, one of the dog walkers Graham chats with while out with Bridie, found it hilarious that we were getting a puppy, imagining all the trouble/disruption she would cause. And as soon as he heard Tallulah had arrived, he went straight home and presented Graham with two Disney toys for her to play with. 'You want to get Disney toys from boot sales,' he explained, 'They are good quality and the eyes are embroidered on, no loose bits to come off and be eaten.'
     Tallulah has also found a wooden child's brick, the vine from a bunch of tomatoes, the inside of a toilet roll, learnt how to take the laces out of Graham's heavy work boots, and was only stopped from burying one of Graham's slippers in the garden because she couldn't get it through the dog flap.

     One week on and we already have her lodged in our hearts.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

A Lot Can Happen in a Week

Sometimes you can go along, week after week, nothing much changing, then sometimes it seems like the fates have to shove everything into one week!
     As you know (if you read my blog) it was only on Monday that our sweet China died.
     I was so upset that I couldn't ring our friend Angela (Wicani Collies) to let her know, so Graham rang her up. Of course once Angela was on the phone, then I could talk to her, and straight away Angela said, 'This might be a bit soon, but I have a bitch who is just recovering from having a litter, and when she is ready, I will be looking for a home for her, so would you consider taking her on?'
    It always means a lot to us that Angela considers us a good retirement home for her dogs, and so it was not difficult to say 'Yes.' to that idea, knowing it might be a few months before we would have another dog.
     The next day we had a message from Angela 'Would you consider having a puppy instead?'
     Now Angela's puppies are like rocking horse droppings, they are precious and there is a waiting list for them, so we thought there must be a story about why she had one to offer us.
    We worried that it might be a health problem, as we know of Angela's heart condition and that she has had several major operations over the years, the latest being earlier this year. We also were not sure whether taking on a puppy would be something we could/should do at our ages.
     So we rang Angela and she told us that this puppy was supposed to have gone to a family member. But this lady had recently had a baby, and when Angela dropped the puppy off, decided it was too much to cope with as well as the baby. So Angela had to almost immediately go and pick up the puppy and take it home.
    Graham and I had a discussion and decided we would like the puppy, so rang Angela back again and asked when it would be ready. 'It's ready now,' she said 'You can pick it up any time.'
    So yesterday afternoon off we went to Langtoft to pick up Wicani Larks Rise - or as she will be known, Tallulah.

Angela and Tallulah at the top, and Graham and Tallulah.

When we agreed to have Tallulah, we could hear the spirits laughing.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Wicani China Doll

It doesn't get any easier.

     Today we have had to take our beautiful Wicani China Doll on her final visit to the vet. China was thirteen and a half, a very elderly lady in collie terms, and suddenly over the past few days she started to leave us.
     Yesterday she went on her usual morning walk with Graham and Bridie (our other collie), even if it was a slow walk, but she had eaten little on Saturday, and she ate nothing and drank little on Sunday. And after coming home from her walk, moved very little, and during the day became doubly incontinent.
     Her body had decided it was time to shut down, and so we had to take that final little journey together.
      The pain of losing a loved companion never diminishes, but that is the price we pay for having that love over the years.
     That and a felt covered house.
     Every dog we have had, is always different, always has their own personality. No two are ever the same no matter how much alike they look. All dogs are individuals in the same way that humans are.
    No dog will ever be as intelligent as Lupin, our first collie.
     No dog will ever be as loving as Raven, who wrapped herself around you.
     No dog will ever have such powerful body odour as Snag, our Yorkshire terrier.
     No dog will be as missed as Maeve who loved to be in contact with me at all times.
     No dog will ever be as fluffy as China! Or as beautiful, or make you feel so privileged to be having a cuddle with her.
    And no dog will ever have such big feet as Bridie!

Go safely through the field of reeds
With Anubis by your side
Enjoy chasing over the Elysian Fields
And meeting friends who have gone before.
Know that you are loved, and always will be.


Monday, 13 August 2018

Let There Be Rain!

I have just been sitting in our front hall, with the door wide open watching it rain.
     This does sound strange, even to me. But this is the first decent rain we have had for the best part of two months.
     We have had a couple of little sprinkles over the past couple of weeks, but not enough to wet the ground properly. We had a brief shower three weeks ago, which was just enough to revive the grass, and when it got the chance, it certainly made on (as they say in these parts).
     We have been watching the weather forecast, and watching the weather radar, to try and see if any of the rain other parts of the country have had, would make it to us.
     Torrential rain has passed above us and below us, or tipped itself all over the west of the Pennines and left none to roll over to the east. But today, we have proper rain (yay!).
     And not only rain, but thunder and lightning too!
    So I decided to enjoy this novelty, and positioned my desk chair by the open door, and just enjoyed watching it tipping it down.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Of Fly Paper and Shaving Foam

As it continues hot and dry, we have had an influx of flies.
     We have dealt with this in two ways:
     First we have invested in some old-fashioned fly-papers. Now I haven't seen these for years. In fact, I didn't know anyone still made them, but Graham came home with some from the shops and we have been amazed at how effective they are (and how many flies we have caught with them). Also as they contain no chemicals, just sticky stuff, they are environmentally friendly and we don't have to worry about any fumes/chemical affecting dogs or humans.
     Secondly I have been using some of the Citronella Room Spray that we sell, as Citronella is a natural fly repellent.
     Now, my eyesight isn't as sharp as it was when I was younger, and spotting the squirty hole proved dangerous. Yes, I did squirt myself in the chest. But I take comfort from the thought that I am also now fly repellent!

     It also reminded me of the Christmas when my dad was first given a can of squirty shaving foam.
     Now, back in the 1970's this was a new thing to us in the countryside, so my mum thought this was a very special gift to give to my dad (and relatively expensive, compared to the shaving soap he usually used).
     My dad couldn't wait to try this out, and hurried off to the bathroom to give it a go.
     We only had a small bathroom, well shower room really, but there were mirrors on opposite walls, to make it feel larger.
     Anyway after some time my dad stormed out of the bathroom and emphatically dumped the can of shaving foam in the rubbish bin.
     'That was a load of rubbish!' he fumed, 'I shook the thing and squirted and squirted and NOTHING came out!'
     We were all a bit dumbfounded, and my mum was rather surprised by the outcome.
     A couple of minutes later, while my dad was still harumphing and reading the newspaper with much angry shaking of the pages in front of him, mum popped her head round the living room door and silently beckoned me to go with her. She pointed to the open bathroom door so I went in to see what the matter was, and there, high up on the bathroom walls was a frothy mass of shaving foam. In fact not just in one place, but all around the bathroom, high up on the walls, and even on the ceiling.
      Dad had obviously been holding the can the wrong way round, and it had squirted with such force that it had shot out and plastered the bathroom above his line of sight.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Rain, Rain Come Again!

Sunshine is all very well, but you really can have too much of a good thing.
     Besides which you need a bit of rain to help you look forward to, and really appreciate a beautiful sunny day.
     Unfortunately where we live on the Eastern side of the UK, it has been several weeks since we had any rain. We had a brief shower last Tuesday, but in the main our garden has been surviving on our re-cycled bath water, which we have been using to water the garden rather than just letting it go down the drain.
     In the main I tend not to go in for weather spells as often you find that once the weather changes, it sticks with its new format. That is, if it starts raining, it will carry on doing so!
     However, enough is enough when even satellite pictures of the British Isles are showing us not as a green and pleasant land, but as a brown and crispy one!
     So here are a couple of rain spells from my own spell book:

Sympathetic Rain Spell
     Sympathetic magic means doing something which encourages the environment to follow suit and act in sympathy with your actions.
     A medieval spell for rain is very simple:
     Take a bowl or bucket of water outside, dip the bristles of a brooom in the water and flick it heavenwards. The drops falling from the broom imitate or mimic raindrops and hopefully encourage the sky to follow suit.
     As you do this, you can chant:
Come, Rain, Come!
Fall, Rain, Fall!
Drop, Rain, Drop!

Another Rain Spell
     Take a bowl or tub of water outside and stir it deosil (clockwise) with your broom, creating a vortex in your bowl.
     As you do this, know that you are stirring the sky, which is reflected in the water, encouraging the clouds to condense and accumulate, growing in the sky above. Imagine them like candyfloss, growing bigger and bigger, accumulating over your location.
     You can also chant:
I stir the sky, I stir the clouds
They grow and fill with rain!
I stir the sky, I call the clouds
To rain, and rain again!

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Walking Dead

This is the modern age where people are all connected via their computers or phone.
     So how do I find out what my son is up to? Well, of course, I read about it on his blog.
     Of course sometimes even that doesn't work.
     We have known that he was going to be doing the Three Peaks walk for a couple of months now. And his blog told us that it would be 'next week' (two weeks ago) and that he had been having a practise walk (from Beverley to Driffield ), which sounded pretty gruelling to me, and had ended up with a blistered foot - not a good start.
     So last Friday I forgot that he was going up to the Peak District, camping overnight so they could set off in the cool of the dawn the next day. And messaged him that I was having a foot long sausage for my tea (see how modern I am, sending a message about food!).
     There was no response - you would think a foot long sausage (30cm for youngsters) would get some sort of response. Then I remembered about the walk, camping, overnight etc and realised he must be driving, and obviously would have his phone turned off (yes folks there really is an 'off' button).
     So, as he had blogged about going for his walk, and we all knew he was going. I thought that I would keep an eye on his blog to find out how things went.
     (....Interlude while tumbleweed blows across the screen)
     Not a word.
     Some time during the week we spotted his wife was playing WoW, there is a facility which lets you know when friends are online, and Graham wisped (whisper is a way of sending a private message to a single player rather than broadcasting to all and sundry) her to say hello, only to find out it was our son playing his wife's account.
   I immediately wisped him: 'So you aren't dead then?'
     'There was I picturing you lying dead all exposed on a barren hillside!'
    'Lol' came the considered response.
    We found out that he had done very well. He is not an athlete, unless couch potatoe was an olympic sport, but he had managed to walk two of the three peaks, when he had only hoped to complete one. And was determined to go back later and do the third.
   So a win win situation.
    Grats (as we gamers say) to Mike for completing two of the three peaks.
     Grats also for not being dead.
     Even more grats would be available for a son who remembered to ring his mother occasionally just to let her know he is still breathing.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Birds!

It must be one of those times of year when lots of young birds are leaving the nest for the first time.
They don't have the fine flying control of the adults, which is a polite way of saying they don't always seem to know which way they are going.
     So we have the sight of a young starling flapping wildly and hanging upside down from the washing line, while a parent sits upright on top of the washing line, with a sort of 'sigh' expression in its shoulders.
     Then there are the sparrows which nest each year high up in the eaves, in a hole which was originally where the overflow from the loft water tank stuck out. Each year the little ones are 'encouraged' out by appearing to be shoved off the edge by a parent, while the other parent watches from the nearby hawthorn as the chick does a zooming nosedive, then learns to fly about six feet from the ground.
    We assume it was one of these novice flyers which managed to fall in through the tiny light we leave open in the bedroom and was put out again after flapping and squawking around the bedroom yesterday.
    This morning we had a young swallow swooped into the bathroom and out again (thank goodness) while I was in the bath.
    Then later there was the crash of crockery from the kitchen.
     'I hear the spin cycle has kicked in.' I remarked to Graham. The sink drying basket is positioned above the washer and the drying crockery 'settles' when the washer goes into its spin cycle.
     'The washer isn't on.....' said Graham.
     We both remained silent and hoped that the other would volunteer to go and find out what was going on downstairs (we were up in the spare bedroom, playing WoW). I cracked first: 'Well, are you going to look?' I said to Graham.
     It was a young blackbird this time, in the favourite place, the window above the sink. There was much squawking again as it was captured and released back into the garden.
     So far though the toads have stayed outside.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Midsummer Magic

There can be a bit of confusion or even arguments about when Pagans should hold their Midsummer or Litha celebration. I prefer to think that this means we have some flexibility, allowing us to choose a date which is more suitable or significant to our own beliefs.
     The Summer Solstice is as astronomical event which happens around the 20-22nd of June in the Northern hemisphere. It varies a little from year to year because of the way the Earth wobbles on its axis. Some groups stick to the astronomical date and their celebration will also vary to follow this.
    The Druids always use the astronomical date to time their celebrations at Stonehenge.
     This will mean that midsummer's eve will be the night before the Solstice.
     However in the UK Midsummer's Day has been celebrated on the 24th of June for centuries, and this is also the case in other countries too. This means that the evening of the 23rd of June is Midsummer's Eve, and the night that traditional folklore relates to.
     Although if you take the UK calendar reform into account*, when William Shakespeare wrote his play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', then Midsummer's eve would fall on the equivalent of the 5th of July, and there are traditional groups who adhere to the Old Calendar.
     This year the next Full Moon is on the 28th of June, and there are yet other groups who use the Full Moon nearest to celebrate their festivals.
     I know some people do find this confusing. I call it 'being given a choice'. It also means that you can pick one date for your private Witchy celebration, and another one for a more inclusive ask-the-neighbours-round party.
     It is said the on midsummer's eve the doors to the Fairy Mounds open, and the Fairy Queen and her court ride the land. In Witchdom we say that around the times of the festivals the doors between the world grow thin. In other words it is easier at these times for spirits to cross from their worlds into ours and vice versa. This is not a single day happening, it is a time of around a fortnight or so during which it is easier to access these alternate worlds.
     Around the Solstice the magical fern flower is said to appear and glow in the darkened woodlands. If you can find it and catch the fern seed in a pewter dish, it can grant you the power of invisibility.
     Litha is a fire festival, and is celebrated by having an outdoor bonfire. Barbecues can be the modern equivalent of this, so why not have a midsummer barbecue party!

* In 1752 the English parliament decreed that we should move from the old Julian calendar to the new Gregorian calendar, simply by missing out eleven days in the year, which did cause rioting in the streets by people thinking they had somehow been robbed of eleven days..

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


We were sitting in the front garden at the weekend. It was lovely and warm underfoot, and I was seated on a Graham-made bench, under the overhanging cotoneaster.
     This is a shrub we got from a cutting, years ago, from Graham's mum. It doesn't really look a lot, it is mainly green and branchy, but it is covered with tiny pink, spherical flowers. So tiny they really aren't worth mentioning, except that the bees love them!
     It was lovely seeing the bees, and there were a lot of them, flitting from flower to flower, and it is nice to think that we have a garden which is good for all sorts of wild life.
     Mind you the wild life does seem to like the house too. The other night there was a thud from the kitchen, it was the sound of a young starling trying to nut its way out of the front window. Graham managed to get it to flutter upwards to the open small light, and out it flew.
     Today Graham was cutting the lawn, and round the back, under the shade of the Belladonna, he noticed a hole in the dry earth. It looked like the entrance to a vole's hole, but as he watched, a bumblebee emerged and flew off. He called me out to look just as another bumblebee flew in, and while I watched, yet another little bee flew into the hole. So they definitely have a nest under there, and they do look like some of the bees which were on the cotoneaster.
     We do get a lot of different kinds of bees in the garden, lots of different sizes and colours. It isn't until you start looking closely that you realise that bees come in quite a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are like a hairy honey colour, others are stripy and can have a red, white or a black bum. Some are tiny things the size of a baby's fingernail, others are great flying fluffy zepelins, with the directional control of a balloon. Those seem to be mainly the ones that blunder into the house and make rumbly farting noises in the window, until we get them in a glass and take them outside again.
     We had a lovely teasel grew in the garden one year and early one morning we got up to find a large bumblebee asleep on the teasel. It looked so fluffy that I very gently stroked it, and in its sleepy state the bee lifted a back leg and waved it around as if to say, 'Gerroff!'
     In ancient Greece the souls of the dead were sometimes believed to take the form of bees, and bees are believed to be very magical creatures, probably because they produced the first sweet stuff humans ever came across, honey.
    It is said that bees should be told of any death on the house, or they will leave their hive and fly away. It used to be believed that you should never sell or buy bees for money, but should offer goods of the equivalent amount. In the 18th century the price of a hive of bees was a small pig.
    Bees are also only supposed to stay in a place where there is peace and harmony - and one should especially avoid having a row anywhere near a bee hive, or the bees will go and find a home elsewhere.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Gypsy Gemstone Sellers

Anyone who has seen our full catalogue knows that we sell a HUGE variety of items.
     Including a wide selection of Gem Stones and Crystals. Our main source of supply used to be a fab gemstone fair which was held once a year in York, at the racecourse, but unfortunately that stopped a few years back now.
     Happily one of the companies that we used to buy from at the Gem Fair also did mail order, and then branched out into travelling around with a van full of goodies.
     Now, you can book them to call in and see you - but as the minimum spend was outside our price range, that was not an option for us. However, if they are passing us on the way to a booked call, they give us a ring and ask if we would be interested in them stopping by. The answer to this is usually, 'Yes, please!'
     This means that they get an extra call in, and extra sales, and we don't have to worry about spending too much.
     Although the down side of this is that we never have much notice of when they might be coming.
     Sometimes we might see them quite regularly, at other times several months might pass between visits.
     As our last Mail Shot was an update of our Gemstones list, and it was January when they last called, we were hoping that the Gypsy Gemstone Van would turn up before we finalised the list.
     But as sod's law would have it, it was the week after we sent out the flyer that we got the phone call.
     So we now have a beautiful box full of Gemstones Treasures, and will have to write another Mail Shot.
     And one of our great beautiful buys, was a pair of really HUGE Selenite spheres (over 100mm diam). Which as you can see from the photo, are beautiful.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Earth Day

Earth Day is a day to celebrate our beautiful world.
     Some Witches have an invocation which begins all rituals which goes 'The Earth is my Mother, I know no other.' This is not dismissing our human mothers at all, it is acknowledging that all of our component elements come from the Earth, and to the Earth they return, only to be reborn as new creatures.
     Everything on this Earth owes its very existence and continuing life, to the wonderful bounteous and generous nature of Mother Earth.
     The weather this weekend has been glorious, and the Earth Goddess seems to have really decided to go for it in a big way. The orange pompom flowered plant by our front door seems to have more flowers this year than ever before*.

 Yesterday was large, stupid bumble bee day. Graham rescued four from various places around the house. One was trying to nest in the clean washing basket, two were in windows buzzing amongst the glass ornaments, and one was in the bathroom, apparently deciding that flying was too difficult and had settled for the bathmat instead.
     This morning he has rescued a blue tit from the kitchen - at least it wasn't another pigeon, although I have heard them cooing in the elder tree at the back of the garden, it is covered in ivy and is a favourite nesting place for them. I expect the toads will be next to appear.

*Just looked this up on the internet, it is apparently a Kerria Japonica or Japanese Rose. I never knew what it was, but my mum gave it to us when we moved in here, and it looks better than ever this year.

Oh and this is a picture of my new shoes which I got for my birthday in March, and have worn for the first time today!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Return of the Native

Well Graham is home from foreign parts and had a lovely time, by all accounts.
     He and Mike spent the first afternoon in Mulligan's the Dublin pub recommended by the chap who Graham saw when getting his passport (and having to prove he was who he said he was). They sampled the Guinness and also hot whiskey (several times each) and got back to the hotel at around 4 pm. And spent the next 16 hours in bed.
     The next day they visited the Guinness Experience, which has a huge trek through a large building with floors labelled for the ingredients of Guinness such as 'Water', which, if you have never seen water before might have been exciting. The best part for Graham was the floor telling you about Arthur Guinness the founder of the factory and the museum of Guinness memorabilia. But after the long trek through airless rooms filled with crowds of people, Graham was longing to get outside so they missed the top floor, and did not even claim their FREE pint of Guinness.
     The third and last day they visited National Gallery of Ireland, Trinity College Library (to see the Book of Kells) the Museum of Natural History (and saw a skeleton of an ENORMOUS extinct deer) and the Museum of Archaeology which had fab exhibitions of cauldrons and Celtic artifacts such as golden torcs. All of these were free, except for Trinity College which cost them 14 euros each, and Graham reckons if you have ever seen photos of the Book of Kells you will have had a better look at it than they saw.
     Graham says that all the Irish people he met or spoke to, Taxi drivers, waiting staff, even the security people at the airport, were all lovely and friendly, and he had a smashing time. On the way through the body scanner, whereas in Leeds he had had to stand with his arms over his head while he was checked to see if he was carrying anything offensive about his person, in Ireland the security guard told him to hurry through the scanner 'Otherwise the damn thing will go off!'

     He brought me a couple of little gifts, a Lucky Black Bog Cat (made from '5,000 year old black turf from Ireland's deepest boglands' - I am of course quoting from the header card it came with) and a magnetic Frida Kahlo! Well of course, what else would you buy for your loved one?
     And in the great tradition of family gift giving, he forgot to take the prices off, so I took great joy in the telling him that the Bog Cat was 8.95 euros and Frida 4.95 euros.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Home Alone

It is 9 am on Sunday morning.
     At 6.30 Graham and our son Mike set off on a great adventure. They have gone to Ireland for a mini break. This has been planned for a long time.
     Do you remember last year when Graham had to have a hernia operation? I wonder if that sort of gave Mike the sudden shock that his dad might not be around for ever, and suddenly he came up with the idea of them going on a boys hol to Eire. And particularly to Dublin - and even more particularly to visit the Guinness factory!
     Well, what with one thing and another, the trip was delayed, until suddenly this year Mike decided to put all the bits and pieces into motion.
     Graham already had his passport, Mike had sorted that last year, so it was just the travel arrangements that needed .... arranging. Today they fly from Leeds to Dublin, so they should be there by lunch time. Mike was already planning his first hot whisky after breakfast this morning.
     I must admit I do hope there will be a little more than just drinking going on, but this will be a complete break for the pair of them, so whatever they get up to, I hope they have fun.
     Graham is not good with things that are 'new', so the last few days he has been worrying about the trip. He has also been giving me instructions on what I must do while he is away. We are not talking about work here, these are instructions such as 'Can you manage to light the fire?, you won't just sit being cold will you?'. Yes I can light the fire. No I won't starve. Yes I can make a hot drink for myself.
     Mind you, I have threatened to use every piece of crockery in the house and leave all the washing up for him when he gets home.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Primroses? Primulas?

We have just been out in the garden planting fifteen primroses or possibly primula's - the chap on the Farmer's Market didn't seem to want to commit himself on this.
      Seeing as they are a variety of colours, not the pale yellow of wild primroses, I think I'd go with 'primulas'. Although primroses and primulas
are really all varieties of the same plant - primroses are primula vulgaris. Also I've just looked at pictures on the internet for 'primrose' and there are multi-coloured ones on there.
     Right, so we have been planting plants of the kind of primrose like types.
     I was going to say that it is a beautiful Spring day. But it isn't. It is one of those grey days when it looks like it might rain any time. And the reason we didn't plant them yesterday was because it tipped it down all day - resulting in two very soggy dogs whenever they ventured out into the garden.
   When I say 'we' have been planting, what actually happens is I point and Graham digs. And try to keep him from walking on the plants already there, which he can't see as to him everything is merely 'green' (and therefore potential weed) at the moment.
     For a couple of years we have been trying to bring a bit of colour and interest into our side garden. This is difficult for several reasons:
1) There is a canopy of hawthorn tree over the whole of it.
2) The gap between our house and next door seems to act as a wind tunnel and it is the coldest, windiest and shadiest part of the garden.

     So we have to try and find plants which can stand these conditions - woodland canopy, is how the gardening guru's describe it. At the moment there are some ransoms, wild garlic, showing their leaves. They seem to love this bit, so that is one triumph (yay!) especially as they spread (even more yay!) and have pretty white pom pom heads of flowers.
     Another success is foxgloves. They love woodland conditions, so we shall be putting some more of them in later in the year.
     These primulas were a bit of a bargain - fifteen plants for a fiver. They are in flower, but also have buds to come, and are making a very cheerful show at the moment.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Eostre Eggs

At this time of year the shops are full of chocolate easter eggs and bunnies.
    Around this time, the Spring Equinox, is the feast of the Spring Goddess known as Eostre or Ostara. The christian Easter festival takes both its name and its timing by the moon from this ancient Goddess.
     In many cultures the egg is the obvious symbol of new life. At this season the birds are nesting and laying eggs, and there are many ancient legends which say that the Universe first appeared in the form of an egg, which then cracks open to reveal and release the stars and planets.
     In ancient Greek myth it was Cronos, Old Father Time, who was originally a giant serpent, who wrapped his coils around the cosmic egg, together with his wife the equally serpentine Ananke (Inevitability). Their movements cracked open the egg, giving birth to the Universe and it is said that it is their undulations which keep the planets rotating and spinning about the sun.
     This is a very similar tale to one of the ancient Egyptian myths which says that the Great Cackler, a giant goose, laid the cosmic egg on the only piece of dry land which had risen from the waters of chaos.
     In Voodoo the serpents are Damballah and his wife Aida-Wedo, the Rainbow Serpent. The pictograph or veve for Damballah is an egg with a serpent wrapped around it.
     So why do we have eggs and rabbits in our shops? From all the foregoing it would seem that we should have chocolate serpents to go with our eggs.
     The rabbit or hare is another creature associated with Spring time. If you are very lucky, at this time of year you may come across pairs of hares boxing in the fields, these were known as Mad March Hares. It was thought that these were male hares, competing for the right to mate, but we now know that these are pairs of male and female hares. The female is fending off the amorous male by boxing him until she is ready to mate.
     The hare or rabbit is also associated with the Moon and the Moon Goddess. In China it is the shape of the Moon Hare that people can pick out on the surface of the Moon. The rabbit/hare is said to be the messenger of the Moon Goddess - although he is not altogether a reliable one.
     One story I heard is that the Goddess was awake in early Spring and walking through the forest came across a little bird which had died from the cold.The Goddess felt that at this time of new life, no creature should die, so she breathed into the bird and brought it back to life. But then she thought to herself, that as it was still liable to be cold and frosty, to give the creature a better chance of survival perhaps it ought to have a fur coat rather than feathers. So she turned it into a rabbit.
     But the little creature was now rather confused, and every year around the festival of Eostre, the rabbit of the Goddess lays a nest of eggs, and anyone who finds them is especially blessed.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Equinoxing About

Although it is often said that the Equinoxes are a time of 'balance', we often find that there is a lot of messing about and disruption around this time.
    For example:
    We are at the moment preparing our next Mail Shot - this one will be mainly on Tarot packs, incidentally - orders are thinning out, so it is time we reminded our customers that we are here.
     So today I have dealt with five orders, none of which was straight forward, and it is surprising how much time sorting them out can take. We always get order completed before we take the money from Credit/Debit cards, just in case there is something out of stock or unavailable for one reason or another and can therefore amend the total value, so today:
     We had two who were trying to pay by Credit Card and for one reason or another the card machine rejected them. One person has obviously written down the wrong card number - probably just one digit wrong - and that was rejected as an 'invalid card', so they had to have a letter written to explain that we would not be sending their order until we received payment. The second was rejected as out of date, even though the date given to us was September this year, so that needed another letter.
    A third was an order for something we don't stock - this is not unusual - and, you guessed it, needed another letter writing.
    A fourth said they had enclosed a cheque - there was no cheque, so guess what, yes that needed another letter writing.
    The fifth one was all wrapped up and ready to go, when the customer rang and asked if she could add something to her order. I agreed, then found it was not just one item but several, including three oils which needed me to hand make them.
     Happily her credit card did go through the machine (yay!) so that saved me having to write another letter!

    Today is only the 15th of March - still 6 days to go before the Equinox!



Sunday, 4 March 2018

Old News

I am currently working on a couple of new books. These will be compilations of spells which have appeared over the years in the Raven Newsletters. This has meant trying to find as many old editions of the Newsletter as possible.
     Luckily I believe in keeping hard copies of everything I do on the computer - the 'paperless office' is a myth as far as I am concerned. Especially as I use a pc until it becomes:
a) obsolete
or b) gives up the ghost - usually with a puff of smoke.

     But even I am amazed at how far back I have kept copies of Newsletters and Catalogue masters - 1994 was the earliest I found !
     Those were the days when we were using a state of the art Amstrad pcw and dot matrix printer!
     Actually I think the Amstrad was probably on its last legs by then, the dot matrix printer certainly was! The quality of printing was bloody awful, especially as we printed on green (yes bright green) re-cycled paper, which was not the same quality as these days.
    These days our Raven Newsletters are a proper, mini magazine booklet with a sort of set format, with an editorial/newsy bit on the front pages and dates for your diary on the back, with poems, spells and articles laid out inside.
    Back in 1994 it was a single A4 sheet but with mini versions of all the parts we now have proper space for, just as an introduction to a mail shot, which were all stapled together in one corner.
     Those were the days when I couldn't put any pictures in, so I would draw illustrations around the edges, and occasionally managed to create illustrations using the regular typewriter keys - this was before you could even have multiple fonts (and maybe explains my fondness for Times New Roman).
     It is nice looking back to see what I have written about over the years.
     And it is also giving me ideas about other stuff I want to write about now!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Chocolate ... ahem Valentine's Day

Sometimes you just fancy a chocolate.
     We actually didn't have any at christmas. Usually we buy some for ourselves, and get a box as a gift too. This year we ended up not buying ourselves any, and sod's law says 'In that case, you won't get any as gifts either!'
     So I was sitting fancying a chocolate when I suddenly realised that the ideal opportunity for giving and receiving of chocolate was rapidly approaching: Valentine's Day!
     Now to be honest, I am not too happy about the very commercial nature of the modern celebration: you WILL buy chocolates, you WILL buy flowers and they must be roses, red roses! you Will buy a card (how much?!)
     So Graham and I usually make each other a card.
     But when you just fancy a chocolate and a traditional chocolate buying date is handy, why not take advantage of the fact?
     However, I have another problem: Graham is not good at taking hints. I may have mentioned this before. So my saying 'It will be Valentine's day on Wednesday.' would simply elicit an agreement, this would not lead male brain to creak into any kind of action along the lines of : Valentine's Day mention = buy wife something, maybe chocolates?
     So a bit more drastic and direct action was called for and today's shopping list went:
Black Pepper
Chilli Sauce
Milk etc

     However I may now have a slightly different problem: because I have emphasised 'chocolates' today's shopping may well be distinctly chocolate heavy.
     But as a friend of mind said when I mentioned my concerns:
     'And where's the problem?'

Friday, 2 February 2018

Welcoming the Goddess

'Twas the Eve of Imbolc and the night after the Full Blue Blood Super Moon.
     I opened the front door to welcome the Goddess in, and there was the beautiful Moon, full and clear in the starry sky. I called Graham to come and have a look, as the previous night although we could see the Moon, it was through a gauzy veil of thin cloud.
     And as I called Graham, Bridie shot past me through the door, down the path and out through the open garden gate.
     'Oh no!' I thought, hoping we weren't in for a repeat of the previous day's slow motion chase (which really should have the theme to 'Dick Barton - secret agent.' dubbed over it)* But luckily Bridie hadn't gone far and was merely on the path outside the garden and kept peeping back though the gate at us to see if she was in trouble.
     I casually went down the garden path calling, 'Here Bridie! Come on, Bridie!' as I went and as she danced back into the garden again, I quickly shut the gate.
     I went back to the door to continue our welcome to the Goddess, so this year the call was:
     'Bride is come! Bridie, come on!
     Bride is welcome! Come on, Bridie, come on!'

     And happily our Bridie and the Goddess both came in.

* I looked up the theme tune to this classic radio show on Google, and found that the tune is actually called 'Devil's Gallop' which is appropriate - do have a look for yourself

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Case of the Disappearing Dog

Lo the Photocopier cometh!
     Our old photocopier had reached the end of its life. It had had to have major surgery last year and was making a strange clicking sound when it copied. Not to mention its tendency to fade out copies, jam regularly and become strangely incontinent.
     So when George came to see us and persuade us that it was time to swap machines, to be honest we did not put up much of a fight. (Plus the new machine is actually going to cost us less per quarter than the old one) So brand new machine, less cost - win win!
     Today we were told we had the 10am delivery slot, and the engineer would be along in the afternoon to install the new photocopier on my PC.
      At 11am the engineer arrived.
     'Have you brought the copier?' I asked
     'Isn't it here yet?' he replied
    He retired to his car to deal with emails and try and find out where our photocopier was.
     At 1pm two burly gentlemen arrived with the new photocopier.
     As they had to take the old copier away, then position the new one at the top of the stairs, the front door had to be left open.
     At 1.05 a neighbour popped round to tell us he had seen one of our dogs legging it down the street. So I was left to see to delivery men and the engineer while Graham set off in hot pursuit.
     As both our dogs are blue merle rough collies, it was no good asking the neighbour which dog it was, so we both assumed the escapee was Bridie who has a tendency to bolt, and is fast ....
     Happily when I went up to talk to the engineer, I saw that Bridie was being as good as gold, sitting quietly in her special place under the spare bed, so I knew it was our elderly China who had gone walk-about.
     When Graham got home he told me he had been involved in a slow motion chase, which would have graced Spike Milligan. Neither he nor China is in the first flush of youth, and despite being a sprinter when he was young (or maybe because of it) Graham's knees will not allow him to run.
     China had apparently got bored with the comings and goings and had decided to take herself on their normal morning walk route. So she was wandering along in a stately fashion (her leggs don't allow her to run very far either) but she is also going both blind and deaf, so Graham shouting after her was being ignored, or not heard.
     Graham was gaining gradually, but not quickly, until they entered the underpass, where Graham's shout magnified and echoed off the walls and China stopped and looked behind her. This allowed Graham to stride manfully up to her and get her on a lead to bring home again.
    So all is well.
     We have a new photocopier, installed by a very nice young man, and China and Graham have had an invigorating walk.


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Candle Novena

Because today (17th January) is sacred to the goddess Felicitas, goddess of Good Luck and today is also New Moon, I suggested on Facebook that today would be a good day to start a candle Novena to Felicitas for Good Luck in the coming year.
     One of our readers sent me a message asking how to do this, so here is how you do it:

     A Novena means a series of prayers, spells or magical workings, done over a certain period and as Novena comes from the Latin word meaning 'nine', then the traditional number of repetitions would be nine.
    This is a very simple but effective way of doing a spell, because each repetition builds up the energy in the spell. Also nine is three times three, or a triple triple, which is a special magical number, especially to Witches as we call our Moon Goddess, the Triple Goddess - Maiden, Mother and Crone.
    So all you have to do is light a candle each evening for nine consecutive evenings. Each time you light the candle say something like:
     I light this candle for Felicitas,
     To bring me good luck in the coming year.

     Each night let the candle burn down completely and light a new one the next day.
    Alternately you can divide your candle into nine sections, and burn a section each night (much like the Advent candles you can buy, which you burn a section for each day of Advent).
     You can use white candles for any purpose, or you could use green for good luck, or orange which is sacred to Mercury who is also the God of Good Luck.
     If you are feeling up to it you could use a different coloured candle each night to symbolise Good Luck in a special area of your life.
For example, White for the Moon and Good Luck in divination, Yellow for the Sun Good Luck in your career, Red for good luck in sexual matters or to increase your energy and vitality, Purple for Jupiter and Good Luck in finance, Brown for Saturn and Good Luck in your home and family.
     Always include a sentence when you light the candle to emphasise what kind of luck you are wanting. So you might say:
     I light this Red candle for Felicitas,
     And ask for Good Luck with my physical training.

    I light this Purple candle for Felicitas
    And ask for Good Luck with my investments

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Dog Flapping

Last year, you might remember, we gained a new member of the family.
     Of course I am referring to Bridie, who came, as usual, from our friend Angela at Wicani Collies.
     All of the dogs we have had, all have their own personalities, and Bridie is no exception. She is a large and energetic dog who likes to keep on the move, but can be surprisingly nervous about the oddest of things.She will turn over in her sleep, knock against something waking herself up and vanishes in a crash of flailing limbs. She appears to be able to go from a standing start to light speed in less than a second, so you have to be ready for her to bolt if there is an unknown squeak, creak or snap. Having an open fire, this leads to some energetic evenings, with Bridie in and out of the room sometimes every few seconds.
     She is both intelligent and stubborn. If she has decided she will not do something, or doesn't like something, she is difficult to persuade otherwise.
      And now we come to the dog flap.
      Many years ago we had a cat and a Yorkshire Terrier. They both learnt to use the cat flap and popped in and out happily.
     Then we gained out first rough collie puppy, who also quickly learnt to use the cat flap. As we realised she was going to end up a lot larger than both the cat and the Yorkie and could possibly end up stuck in the cat flap, we bought and installed a larger dog flap.
     The dog flap has proved popular with every dog we have had since.
     Except Bridie.
     Bridie prefers to have the door opened for her and is quite prepared to wait hours until one of us gives in and does it.
    We have shown her the dog flap. She has seen China trundling happily in and out through the dog flap. She has even been 'helped' through the dog flap. But she really does not want to use it.
     Through the summer this hasn't been a problem, as we usually have the back door wide open most of the day. But as it has got colder, the door is only opened when necessary, and one of us (usually me) has ended up standing by the open back door, freezing, shivering and waiting for Bridie to decide she has finished inspecting the garden and is ready to come in again.
    Until the other day.
     Graham was out in the shed doing his exercises, and Bridie wanted to go out. I stood by the back door as usual, waiting for Bridie, who was doing a major inspection of the back garden, here, there and everywhere, trotting beautifully from place to place, and galloping past the door.
     I called her a couple of times, she looked at me, then headed off to the far reaches of the garden again. I thought 'Well sod you then.' and shut the back door, knowing that Graham was outside, and if all else failed he would let Bridie in when he came in.
     I stomped upstairs feeling annoyed with Bridie and got on with my computer work - well I say 'work', WoW may have been involved.
    All of a sudden I heard a crash as the dog flap bust open and the unmistakable sounds of Bridie thundering upstairs. 'Have you come in on your own?' I wondered aloud, 'Or has Graham 'helped' you?' I listened to try and hear if Graham was downstairs but there was nothing.
     Then a couple of minutes later Graham did come in and asked 'Has Bridie come in?'
     For the first time, Bridie had used the dog flap, on her own, with no help.

     Now we only have to get her used to the idea that she can use it to go out as well.