Sunday, December 30, 2012

Making Changes for 2013

Hi Everyone!

It's been awhile...I was sick again dang flu season, plus a few other minor hiccups with my health.  But I am feeling better and able to sit at the computer and type!

I am thinking of simplifying things in my life so that I am more active in my blog.  If you want to make sure your favorite topics don't disappear, make sure to comment at the bottom of this post and make your voice heard!

For the year 2013 in general, I am hoping to streamline the topics and focus on my health more so than ever.  The number 13 has always been lucky for me, and I intend on using it to my advantage.  I hope you join me in for this next calendar year of changes to my blog.   I will still have my spiritual, witchy ways written about as topics, but will also focus on my health, battle of kidney disease and bringing Lupus under control hopefully once and for all this upcoming year with my increased Benlysta treatments!

So again if there is a specific topic you do NOT want to see go away, please either email me at crystal_cauldrons@yahoo.com or comment at the bottom of this post (which would provide a quicker response than regular email).

I hope everyone had a fantastic Yuletide, Christmas, or whatever you may have celebrated this month! 

Sincerely,
Crystal

Goals and New Page Added

I am adding a new page onto my blog dedicated to specific updates on my weight loss.


I am still considering whether or not I should post my "Before" pics. I simply don't know if I would be embarrassed by them or embarass my husband by my posting them. I am very ashamed of my body. There are many beautiful plus size women, but frankly I am not one of them. With shaving my head earlier this fall when my hair was falling out due to medical reasons, I just don't feel feminine anymore. I am hoping to bring back a better, healthier, beautiful me in 2013.

I have several goals in place for 2013.

Participate in the Crim Festival of Races.

Not be ashamed of my body.

Loose weight by nourishing my body with Gaia's bounty (aka fruits, vegetables, herbs, and grains) as the main source of food I consume. The doc has given me the green light to increase my protein intake but my body still gets sick everytime I attempt to do so. Seafood is still the primary source that does not get me sick and I stay the heck away from poultry as much as I loved it oh so long ago!

Cutting out the sugary drinks that I am so addicted too!

Using more organic products on my body (make-up, perfume, lotions, etc).

Losing enough weight so that I need a new wardrobe come this summer.

By "new" wardrobe, I mean majority of it upcycled from old clothes, remade into something new that is fitting and hopefully vintage inspired. If anything is purchased hopefully it will be vintage fashions or recycled items from an Etsy Shop, Salvation Army, or Goodwill store. I don't like today's fashions and hope that by losing weight I will be able to fit into treasures from the past. Only exception is shoes. I might invest in a new pair of shoes.















Monday, November 19, 2012

I'm Back!!!

I debated whether or not to put a photo of Jack from the Shinning here and decided against it.  Maybe later. 

I am back but on a dinosaur computer we had in our child's room.  To make Moma a happy girl, Lancer decided to share it with me.  However it has no room to save anything to the hard drive (hence why no photos right now).  At least not until we are able to do some "spring cleaning" so to speak.  His generosity will save us money in putting it towards a new computer or laptop for Moma and now sits in the living room where I am at the moment typing this.  (Not to mention makes his Christmas alot better too since we are not spending money on a new computer.  Smart boy!)

I have been sick ALOT lately.  Frankly, I have no fracking clue what is wrong with me.  Oh yeah, that would be the FLU.  To a "normal" person this would be a mild annoyance, however for a person with a compromised immune system such as mine because they have kidney disease and Lupus, I feel like death warmed over.   I just want to go back to bed and sleep like I did most of yesterday thanks to my wonderful hubby that did let me do so!

But on Monday thru Friday, Super Mom is on duty whether I want to be or not AND this week is a holiday week!  Oh Goddess what have I done to deserve this?  Now those of you that know me, I mean really know me this is how sick I am...  I do not know if I feel like going shopping on Black Friday!  That is HOW SICK I am right now.  Me, turn down shopping!  So I am trying to do as little as possible (four loads of laundry folded and mostly put away into closets and dressers plus a few more loads to go until I am caught up on laundry).

I also get to go grocery shopping tonight, because I need to pick up the items for my father in law's favorite side dish for Thanksgiving that I happen to be the one who makes it especially for him.....trying to explain what I need on a list would be too long...I have to go do it myself.  Also I have to plan what the heck I plan on eating as this shin-dig I am going to is not vegetarian.  Sure there will be a few things there that are not meat, but I am still a picky eater and have to watch out for things like salt, dang that pesky kidney disease!

So for the next few weeks, I will be doing a revamp of the site.  Trying to make it better, improve it not only for myself but for you my readers as well.  So if there is anything you want to make sure I keep, make sure to comment below.  I have tried adding so much on, that I simply haven't been able to keep up.  So I will be downsizing on the number of things I blog about or at least category wise.  If you look at my tentative schedule on the sidebar you will get a clue as to what I have been attempting to do and will be simplifying.  I do plan on finishing my entries for the Pagan Blog Project, they just won't be done in time with everyone else's for the end of the year.  I don't know if I will participate next year due to my illnesses and unability to keep up with this year's schedule.  Unless I get alot of time to pre-write about things and save them to the schedule to post at a later date.  Right now its not going to happen.

Many thanks for the well wishes I have received on the blog as well as thru emails.  They are greatly appreciated!  May the Goddess bless you with manifesting prosperity and everything you desire this coming holiday season! 

Don't forget to check out for updates on my favorite things for incredible shops to spend your money at this holiday season.  For the record, I am not being sponored or paid to endorse them.  I just believe in their products and/or services! 

Blessed Be Ya'll!
Crystal



Monday, November 5, 2012

M.I.A.

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to write a short note that I am MIA for a specific reason.
My laptop died.  So it will only be now when I can sneak onto my husband's computer in the basement for a bit of peace and quiet to attempt to write these days.  Since the computer died, this has been my first opportunity!  (about a month).

So things may be a bit slow for now until I can come up with a better resolution to my current situation.
I found out how much my benlysta infusions cost...finally seen the bill.  Each infusion is around $15,000 a pop!  Please financial assistance come through!  I don't want to lose my kidneys to Lupus!

Also many of my luxuries will also come to a halt, not that I have had many in the past.  My once a month Starbucks and shopping at Salvation Army will be put off until I have nothing left to wear.  I also just repaired my first pair of torn jeans for Lancer....good thing the "torn" look with patch underneath is in style right now at his school. 

Possibly will be selling some of my magical items in the next coming weeks, if I can will be posting them to ebay for purchase.  It will compromise of books, jewelry, and my blue velvet cloak.  I just don't know what to do anymore.  Need to find money somehow someway. 

So if I am not posting I am alive but not just having the opportunity to be on a computer like I used to be able to do.  It takes me a long time to answer emails on my ipod.

Sincerely,
Crystal

Monday, October 8, 2012

Shaunessy in Charge

So today I really needed to go get some produce for me to eat.  Otherwise it would be back to the old processed food in my pantry that the rest of the guys can't seem to live without.  I am cringing that I promised Lancer I would make him "Hamburger Helper" tonight for dinner.

Here are a few photos of what we bought that I did not realize I purchased until we got home.  The cashier was helping Shaun unload his little cart while I was unloading mine.  So really it was my fault for not paying attention.

His major score was this:


Chocolate covered bananas.  I had no clue they even existed.  He must have put this box in his cart while I was looking for my LaLoo's.  Whole Foods is no longer carrying them (at least not my store, so I got to figure out how I am going to get my LaLoo's fix!!!)


Rose Lemonade by Fentimans.  The packaging is actually what caught my eye because it looked antique/vintage in a sort of weird way.  This was my want to try it purchase.   I always try something new every time I go to Whole Foods.  This intrigued me.  


The Xochitl chips in the background were a Shaun pick me up.  He recognized the packaging and picked them up on his own when we went down the snack aisle.  I wasn't planning to purchase any but since he did choose my favorite, how could I say no? LOL  Also pictured are a big bag of red grapes (the boys favorite) as well as an avocado, big bag of oranges and a fresh pineapple for juicing and smoothies this week.  Have I posted about my Pineapple Cilantro smoothie yet?  I will have to check.  Not pictured are the bag of onions, bok choi, cilantro, and various cucumbers plus many other veggies.


This is also my big spontaneous purchase of the month.  I have been watching Forks over Knives and out of all the interviews conducted, Kris Carr really resonated with me.  Today when I seen her book on the bookshelf at Whole Foods I knew I had to have it.  It's been on my wish list to check out at my local library which is what I normally do because I don't have alot of money to spend on books and I want to know if they are "worth" my money purchasing.  The reading begins tonight when the boys are in bed.


As I am uploading photos from my Ipod, I have noticed that Shaun took over my ipod today as well.
Here are a few photos from his point of view!


Yes my dining room table is currently under fire.  It's a mess.  His block toy with the shapes is on the table but I have yet to see where he and Leia have hidden the pieces.  You can also see that batman still adorns our table after so many years (it was Lancer's first placemat he chose) and Shaun's taking a liking to it.  You can also see my Time Life Music Big Band cd in that stack tower as well.


To keep Shaun occupied while I prepped my produce, I quickly put grapes on the table.  These were the last of the previous batch we purchased last week.  They did not last long.


The proof that "someone" was using Mommy's Ipod. Well actually there are about 100+ photos similar to this one!



This must be the photo when I caught him playing with my Ipod.

video

And more physical proof he was using it....he found the record button. LOL

Now back to trying to clean my kitchen and also my dining room table.

Sincerely,
Crystal T.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Meatless Monday - Hot n Sour Soup

How about that?  TWO posts on Meatless Monday!  
Dinner tonight for me. 


This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks.  If you don't have it, you should look into adding it into your library.  It's on page 58.


Here is the final result.


For the record, I left out the scallions and the peas because I simply did not have them.

Next time I want to try it with fresh Shitake Mushroom over the dried.  I think its just a personal texture thing with fresh versus dried.  Overall still good.  Lancer said it smelled good when he got home from school but was not brave to try it.  I want to try it with other vegetables next time, just don't know which ones yet.
Maybe a bit of shredded carrot, white onion and tofu next time. Maybe a mixture of mushrooms as well.  I am not a big Seitan fan but wanted to try it out.

I love her book and if you like it as well, check out Robin's website by clicking HERE.

Sincerely,
Crystal T.



Meatless Monday - Pasta & Pesto


I found this photo from an old sd card that I took with my camera.  I can't remember if I posted this or not, so sorry if its a duplication.

One night for dinner I decided I wanted pasta.  So while I was making traditional spaghetti for the boys I decided to make myself a meatless version of pasta.  I was in the mood for a pesto.  I had a lot of the normal things that goes into a pesto...basil, olive oil, pine nuts but wanted something more than just that.  I added about a cup of spinach to the mix with extra two cloves of garlic (yes I love garlic!).  I had some marinated kale from earlier in the day that was still soaking in the lemon juice.  I put the extra lemon juice into the pesto sauce and blended it into my Vitamix.  I kept the kale out for added texture to the dish.

After the pasta was cooked, I mixed in the pesto and stirred it up until well coated.  Then added the Kale and also some Whole Foods 365 line of their Vegetarian Shredded Parmesan Cheese.  Topped with Fresh cracked black pepper and dinner was served with a side of hot crusty garlic bread.

I love it when a plan comes together.  I have made this several times as pasta is a staple with the boys and kale is one of mine!

Sincerely,
Crystal


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Menu Plan

This week's Menu Plan is as follows:

Monday:     Mom = Hot n Sour Soup (Veggie Version from my favorite Vegetarian Slow Cooker book)
                   Boys = By request, Pancakes

Tuesday:    Spaghetti and Meatballs (Sshhh, the guys ate it up last week, no clue they are Veggie Patch!)

Wednesday:     Mom = Pasta with Veggies
                        Boys = Chicken Pasta

Thursday:  Going to try to talk E into going out, no Shaun tonight.  He's going to Grandma's.

Friday:     Fish  & Chips Friday (Yes I still eat fish. It's one of the few protein's that doesn't make me sick.)


Friday, September 28, 2012

Pagan Blog Post - I want to be a Traiteur

Now did you read that right?  I spelled T-R-A-I-T-E-U-R.  not  T-R-A-I-T-O-R.

Traiteur is a Cajun word that means "treater".  Some would probably be more familiar with the word "healer".  It is a system/tradition of healing that is not highly publicized.  Maybe because most common folks would see a traiteur and instantly think about faith healers.  Some people believe and some do not.  Majority of the people I personally know (non-Pagan) do not believe in the power of healing by touch or spirit.

I have always wanted to be a healer.  Mostly I practice upon myself and those close to me.  It has mostly been simple things such as toothache, headache, muscle cramps, stomach ache, etc.  My research has expanded into what the normal world would label as "Alternative" Healing.  I am ok with being "Alternative"  when the mundane world's approach doesn't work, I do look for alternate ways to heal myself and make myself better.

As most of you who read my blog regularly know, I have kidney disease and now Lupus.  When we had no clue about the Lupus, my doctor and I were at lengths trying to keep me off of dialysis.  So far to date, with his help as well as my own, we have succeeded.  For those that know what a creatinine level is what known to be the reliable factor in measuring the kidneys function.  A normal woman would have anywhere from 0.5 to 1.1 milligrams per deciliter.  When I was first diagnosed my levels were at 12.2 Grams so in the same measurement it was at 12,200 milligrams which is high. My doctor prescribed various medications and after months of his treatment the number only lowered to around 9 grams (9,000 mg).  I began my research, there was something I could to do help heal myself.

I began my research with Crystal Healing, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, as well as began to study a form of  healing called Chios Healing Energy.  Its very similar to Reiki to me.  I am still learning about it as well as Reiki itself .  I also have been cleansing and aligning my Chakras as well.  My main focus primarily has been about Touch and Nourishment.

If you research Traiteur yourself, you will find they are a majority of Christian based healers.  To date, I have not found another Pagan (besides myself) labeling themselves as a Traiteur and I use the term very loosely as I still have a problem seeing myself as one.  My main practice has been on myself only and will most likely be that way for some time in the distant future.  I plan to create my own system based off of my spirituality of being a daughter and priestess of the Goddess.  I will include all forms of healing I can possibly learn and want to use every source I possibly can to defeat my illness.  Whether its magically supported or medically supported I believe combing the magic and the mundane in healing can yield great results.  

I can remember vaguely instances where my grandmother would heal me.  I have memories of not feeling well and she would pick me up, sit in her chair and rock me.  She would put her palm on my forehead and also sing to me in Cajun French.  The pain would always go away after a few minutes of being with her.  I think she had the gift though she probably would never fess up to it because she was very humble.  I can remember the smell of the food from her kitchen and even on my most nauseous of days, would want to get out of bed and eat what she cooked  specifically her catfish coubillion which is a spicy fish stew.  I want to utilize whatever healing traits I can find within my being to serve myself, my family, my friends and my community.  I want to be like my grandmother.

So yeah I want to be a Traiteur.  I am going to be a Goddess Traiteur.

Blessed Be,
Crystal T.


Monday, September 24, 2012

R for Remembrance

Samhain is quickly approaching.

One of the major things that happens here at the Hearth of the Hunter (aka my home) is that our family's altar turns into specifically a larger version of our Ancestral Altar which is out all year long but take primary the focus on a much larger scale.

Being sick this past year has made me focus a lot more on when my time comes how I want to be remembered.  These past few years I was blessed by the Goddess to make friends with a wonderful woman I consider a sister.  Her name is Nora Cedarwind Young.  She has been a mentor to me, a friend, and someone who has taught me many things.  One of the things she has taught me is what I am going to share with you know.

Nora Cedarwind Young, ConVocation 2010
Photograph by Crystal T.


You see, Nora is a Death Midwife.  Her business is giving those who want them the tools to learn about dying with dignity within their home.  Teaching their family members what needs to be done to preserve the body, what forms are legally necessary plus many other important and valuable tools.  For more information about what it is she does, please visit her website Thresholds of Life.

One of the main exercises that Nora taught me is how do you want to be remembered?  When I first met her I was no way sick, and never thought about what would happen if I died.  In her class I took at PSG in 2008 when I first met her transformed my life.  Every year, during Samhain, I sit at my dining room table and pull out a notebook that contains my thoughts on what I want done when I die.  This includes many information such as my wishes to be an organ donate, what items I possess to be gifted to those I love, right down to what music I want performed at my burial to whom I want to perform it (you reading this Wayland Raven???).

After I review what I have written in the past, its time to make any corrections in my wishes that may have changed since last year as well as my yearly writing ritual of writing my own Obituary.  Yep you read that right, I write my own Obituary.  Every year things happen in our lives, some good (like the possibility of more children) and some bad (being preceded in death by a loved one).  Accomplishments can happen that one might want to be recognized for should the Goddess call me back into the Earth that we might want others to acknowledge us for when we pass on into the Summerland or while we are gone until we return again.

One of the websites I like to use look at when I prepare for my yearly writing is http://www.obituaryguide.com/.  There is a section that talks about a life using only six words.
One of the phrases I like is “I coloured outside of the lines.”  There are even a few books about the subject as well on Amazon.

This year for Samhain, I hope you join me in creating a new tradition for yourself if you are not doing it already.  In addition to honoring your Ancestors, write your own Obituary and honor yourself as well.

Blessed Be from,
Crystal T.



Pagan Blog Project - R for Reality

I know I am a few weeks behind in the Pagan Blog Project.

I have been busy with everyday life, being sick, starting a new medication routine that involves a lot more trips to the hospital than I wanted.    This past year of being sick and passing my "anniversary" of being told I had Kidney Disease has been sort of life altering.

It has brought me to thinking about death more than I choose to do so, but had to come to the reality that it could possibly happen much much more sooner than I expect.  I have responsibilities that need to be taken care of should something happen to me.

Every day I wake up, I thank the Gods I am alive!  I am grateful for another day to spend with my children, my husband, my family and friends.  I try to live the best I can each and every day.

Long ago, I wished I lived in another reality, one of that of Charmed to live in a beautiful home, or that of Samantha where I could wiggle my nose and my home be suddenly spotless or dinner prepared and set upon the table.  Ok, I admit, I still want Sam's ability, especially when I am having a rough day.

My reality is that the children need to be woken up each and every morning and prepared for school.
Healthy meals need to be prepared, beds made, diapers changed, dog fed, and the list goes on and on.
Some people just don't realize how much work a SAHM (stay at home mom) does on a daily basis.

I don't have the time to always hold a formal ritual in my home.  I have a very demanding three year old that gets jealous when I pet the dog too much. LOL  (For the record, he wants to pet the dog, not that I am spending too much time with the dog.) LOL

So I have been trying to incorporate my spells into my everyday chores.  There are a number of blogs I like to read that include domestic witchcraft.  Of course one of those well known blogs is that of Mrs. B.  If you don't know who she is, her blog Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom are fantastic.  You can read them by clicking HERE.

Another one of my favorite blogs I like to read are that of Dawn Marie Howard.  She used to have the blog named Domestic Witch, and in the past year or so has changed it to her own name. If you scroll thru her entries under "Witchery" you will find wonderful information.  She is also the owner of a shop called Sightly.
One of my favorite entries is when she writes about Sigils.  I have taken that practice into my own home as well as my kitchen for an added boost to always create meals made with love.

These are but two wonderful and knowledgeable women that have taken mundane aspects of being a housewife, homemaker, and mom into something magical.  They have inspired me to bring my magic into my everyday reality.

I know do cleansing and healing spells everyday when I am taking a shower.  I imagine the illness or negativity being washed from the top of my head down my body into the the swirling whirpool of water as it leaves the tub's drain.

I make a linen spray for when I iron my DH's shirts made from Bergamot, Jasmine, and Musk for prosperity in the business place.   I also use other linen sprays made specifically for the master bedroom as well as a Monsters Be Gone spray for the boys rooms that are sprayed upon the bedding. (I also think having Princess Leia has helped with keeping the bad monsters away also!

For the life of me, I don't understand why he takes off the pillow cases every day!

These are just a few examples of how I have brought my magic into my everyday life.  Being sick I want to honor my craft and practice it daily as much as I possibly can.  Doing so, helps me to live a magical life in my everyday "Reality".

I hope everyone had a blessed Mabon!  Bring on Samhain and complete this year's Turn of the Wheel!

Sincerely,
Crystal









Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday's Supper - Dinner at the Table



So here it is Sunday and I am trying to figure out what to plan for our menu for the week.  It's been raining the past two days so I do not want to go grocery shopping in the rain.  I want to be a good Housewife!  However, I have to also deal with reality...I hate shopping in the rain!

One of the things that DH and I strive for is to always eat at the dining room table for our nightly meal.  We started it when we first moved in together back in 1996.  I was amazed to the fact that whenever we went to his mother's we always had dinner at the table as a family.  My family back home we really never ate at the table.  I can remember doing it as a child, but once I "grew" up, it was no longer a requirement.  We were always so busy that sometimes being able to just eat at the same time was a treat in itself being under the same roof.  Whenever DH and I began a family of our own, this was one of the things we both wanted to start as "our" family tradition.  Another thing I had to get used to is that I guess in the "South" people tend to say "Supper" over "Dinner".  That was something I had to get used to. LOL  So whether or not you have Sunday Dinner or Sunday Supper, I hope you have a good one!

Looking on hand in our freezer and pantry we do have enough things to get us through the entire week.

Here is my current and tentative plan:

SUN:     Boys Menu - Baked Chicken with baked potatoes (even loaded!), cucumbers
              Moma's Meal - Sauteed Mushroom Onion blend and a Baked Potato with Dayia,
              Bacos, and Earth Balance Butter, cucumber salad

MON:     Spaghetti & Meatballs (Shhh....The meatballs are vegetarian, don't tell the guys!)

TUE:      Taco Tuesday! (The boys get the meat version while Moma uses "Match" substitute for hers!
              (Goddess that brand of meat substitutes are AWESOME!)

WED:     Pork chops in the slow cooker
               Moma's Meal:  Salad with whatever items she has on hand.              

THU:     Chicken and Rice
              Moma's Meal:  I eat the rice and make a stir fry with peapods, bamboo shoots, mushrooms,
              carrot and broccoli.      

FRI:       Fish sticks and Mac n Cheese for the kids
              Tilapia for Mom and Dad (Fish is one of the few proteins that does not make me sick,
              so i still enjoy it once a week!)

SAT:     Don't know yet...Moma needs to go grocery shopping!!!


So anyways that is the plan for this week!




Monday, September 17, 2012

Sacred Birch Society - Mabon Celebration

This past weekend I was privileged to lead the Mabon Rite.  I made the focus of balance apart of this year's ceremony.  Participants were asked to wear both black and white if at all possible to give a visual effect of balance.  We also had a larger number of men join us this year which helped with the balance of the Masculine to Feminine energies.

Photo Courtesy of Etain Butterfly.

Please excuse the weird expression on my face.  I can only come up with I must have been talking when Etain took this photo.  With my current health, I chose for a simple altar compared to the amount of items I normally would haul to ritual.  For cakes and ale, it was cinnamon rolls with fresh apple cider from one of the local cider mills here in Michigan.  It was also the first time we had a "garage" sale or swap that I think went rather well and hope we can do more in the future.

Mabon definitely is one of those Sabbats that I just adore.  It's never too hot, nor too cold temperature wise.    The state will soon turn to color and the trees will look like different colors of fire from all the yellows, oranges, and reds plus all the other wonderful colors in between.

I long for the beauty of Autumn, come on crisp cool breezes, vibrant colors, the final harvests, the ability to wear long sleeve shirts without sweating your butt off, and putting the extra blanket on the bed to help stay warm at night.

I hope you have a wonderful Mabon and vibrant Fall as the wheel turns again.

Blessed Be,
Crystal T.

Mabon Bounty

A few weeks ago, my friend Tiff shared her bounty with me from her share of her CSA.  She had plenty to share and gave me all of this bounty.


She baked a few loaves of bread and gifted me with one of them as well.  That loaf did not even make it until the next day...it was devoured during that night's meal.  In the photo above we have cucumbers, cantaloupe, green onions, green beans, the bread, a lot of kale, lettuce leaves, onions, chard, dill, and basil.


Then she gave me all these tomatoes as well!


This ended up being my dinner that evening.  I made a massaged Kale salad using a honey ginger balsamic vinegar.  I then made a tomato, basil, onion with mozzarella pearl salad, cucumbers with fresh cracked pepper, and then garlic green beans finished off with a rice pilaf mix the boys love.  The first three items were of course raw.  The green beans I needed to cook.  I did not like their taste raw.

I am so grateful to have people like Tiff in my life.  She is a good friend to me and I appreciate everything she has done for me and my family.  I am definitely blessed to have met her.  Thank you Tiff if you are reading this.  Please know your friendship is cherished, even if I don't express it enough.

This Mabon I am so grateful for many things in my life, especially being ALIVE!  I hope you have a wonderful Mabon and Harvest!

Sincerely,
Crystal

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vegan MoFo Coming to the Cauldron !!!

This year I plan on participating in Vegan MoFo.  Well considering that I am still trying to keep up with the Pagan Blog Project, I will be "inspired" by Vegan MoFo.

During the month of October, I plan to post at least 20 entries devoted to Vegan Food.  Not vegetarian, but Vegan.  This means I am going to have at least 20 meals that will include nothing from animal. As of today I still currently use Honey (my major vice) and occasionally use milk and cheese.  I know my downfall will be the use of honey in my tea...so that is why I am going to be influenced by Vegan MoFo.  I won't be focusing on the drinks, just the food I eat.  I am taking little steps here....

What this means is hopefully there will be more posts about food should that be the reason you visit this blog.
Every Monday in October, I will post about the meals I eat that are not only Meatless, but now for October, also Vegan.  This is going to give me a crash course in what Vegan is and also reading more food labels!

So if anyone knows which brands are Vegan, please by all means, comment below and let me know your favorites so I can start the planning process for October meal planning!

If you want to know more about Vegan MoFo, please visit their website by clicking HERE.

If you know what Vegan MoFo is all about and wish to formally participate, you can do so by going HERE.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - Quill pens

Source:  http://www.public.asu.edu/~emyoung1/Images/QuillPen.jpg 


Many times I  have heard the phrase "The pen is mightier than the sword".
This famous phrase is coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839.

To me words hold a large amount of power.

My very first BOS that I used was written by the power of a quill.  I lost it in Hurricane Andrew back in the 90's.  Now afraid of putting all that effort into something I have these past few years gone paperless and its stored on my laptop.  The really "REALLY" important stuff I still hand write in a journal of the things I want to keep "forever".

However my quill is one of those items I have packed away that I wrote about in my previous post.  So it has not been used for a number of years. When I used it, it was a very important tool I used within my Red Tide Magic.  I want to get back to my roots of what I used to do.  Handwriting spells instead of typing them on the laptop.  Putting pen to paper and actually creating something physical for my magic to manifest.  I also used to make paper a long time ago which I want to get back into making as well.

As I go through my boxes in the basement and take inventory, whenever I find my quill one of the first things I am going to do with it is make a list of goals I wish to manifest.  I know it is packed away with a few sheets of the paper I made years ago.

Writing down my goals will help me manifest them.  I will put my list upon my altar and look at it for a daily reminder whenever I do my daily meditations.  Looking at them everyday will be a reminder of what needs to be accomplished.

Lastly, whenever I find my quill I will update this entry and post a photo of it.

Happy Friday!

Blessed Be,
Crystal T.

Quest for a Pagan Paradise

For many years, I have had this fantastic dream of owning my own "Pagan Paradise".  I wanted a home settled on a huge amount of land in the middle of nowhere.  The problem is, my husband works in Detroit and I am a stay at home mom.  With a single income, our "Paradise" will not happen anytime soon.

With my health issues I have encountered this past year, our medical bills have risen quite high.  One of my prescriptions that is necessary for my kidneys costs $847 per month.  That is for only one prescription!  I take 12 different medications.  I am also getting ready to start a new one called Benlysta and I have no clue what that one will cost.
Photo taken in my back yard few years back. This is the smaller of the two trees that need to come down.
Its not as pretty now as it was when we first moved here in 2004.

So my idea of 80+ acres secluded from most of the "world" will cease to exist.  My quest for a cabin in the woods will have to wait until probably retirement (if we can even afford it then).  Over the past few weeks I have been trying to go through boxes of my books, tools, all sorts of items I was waiting to use until we found our "dream house".  Statues of the Gods and Goddesses that I own that were packed away for safe keeping.  Totes and totes of books that were in storage because I simply don't currently have the shelf space for any of them.
One of the items I was saving was my Triple Goddess Statue my husband gave to me for my birthday in 2011.

She's too freaking beautiful to be in a box.  She will be going onto my new altar in my bedroom.
The artist for this beautiful piece is Mickie Mueller and available at Sacred Source.com 

So these next coming weeks, I will plow through my home, open every box I have put away for those "rainy days" and take inventory.  Over the course of while these treasures have been in storage, I may have an immediate need for them (like quite a number of Coventry Creation Candles I purchased last year at ConVocation) and some items I purchased in Salem over a decade ago that are still in their original wrapping that I no longer have any need.

The books will be sorted into the ones I know I want for my library, ones I want to read prior to their departure and ones I know I no longer need.  Many of these items will either be sold at the upcoming SBS "Barter, Trade, & Sell" after the Mabon Ritual.  Some will be given to friends I know want them, and the rest will be donated to the Tempest Smith Foundation for their raffle for the 2013 ConVocation.

Thanks to the help of my Coven sister Katherine, she has already helped me in the process of sorting through some of my goods.

Why am I doing all this?  It is apparent that we will not be moving into our "dream house" anytime soon.

As I look around my surroundings, yes my home may be small to some, but it is indeed my home.  I live in a neighborhood that is very close to the one I grew up in (however the neighborhood I grew up in was predominately family).   I trust my neighbors around me with my life and that of my children.  There have been many occasions where I have needed the immediate help of a neighbor and they gladly gave it.  Should I need to wake them in the middle of the night, I know they are willing to help my family should I need to be rushed to the emergency room.  It's already happened.  There are four families around me that I know my children are safe with should I have to go to the hospital as well.

Should something happen to my car, I live in a community that I am within walking distance of my family doctor, dentist, grocery store, pharmacy, and general merchandise should I need their services. I could not get more "greener" living in an urban area by being able to walk to all my necessities.

 I live in a good community.  I am happy here.  When we bough this place we thought it would be a transitional home for just a few years.  However, now as I look at everything in our current situation I can see this being our "30 year home".  Some things need to be changed like a few trees removed that might not make it through the next few years of winter for the safety of our home and our neighbors (they are really really really big trees).

I also want to start landscaping and planting roots literally and physically.  I kept a few old plant catalogs to see what kinds of plants I want to plant next year.  I want not only flowers, but herbs, vegetables, and possibly a couple of fruit trees should I be able to convince my husband.  I would also like the addition of a privacy fence.

I don't know exactly how much land we own, its quite small.  I don't think its even a 1/4 of an acre, but it is ours.  But I do know I am happy here, yes I need to be a bit less of a pack rat, I save a lot of different things for special occasions or hold onto them because someone I love gave it to me (even though I might not like it at all).  I can see I am in a different kind of Paradise.  I just need to change a few things to turn it into my "Pagan Paradise".


My besom is hanging in my kitchen that my mentor Jackie made for me many years ago.

My mini-altar on the kitchen window sill.  You can see the second tree that needs to come down in this photo too. It only shows half of its trunk that is how freaking big it is. 

My favorite stained glass pent that my friend T.s. gave to me is above my kitchen window collecting the sunlight each and every morning as it rises.   I just need to organize and make better use of my space.  I feel a house clearing coming on as well as a new blessing for our permanent home.  Time to make the switch from "temporary" to permanent.  This is not only the house we live in, this is our home.  Now to make it one (instead of looking like someone just moved in with bare walls and more unpacked boxes than what is being used).

So the Quest for a Pagan Paradise is over....I've already found it.  I just had not realized it until now!  That is what I am thankful for this coming Mabon, having a good home, great family, and appreciating the things I do have in my life!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Blessed Be,
Crystal T.

Friday, August 31, 2012

P for Pregnancy


Recently the subject of Fertility Magic has come up within our Temple and I thought I would post an excerpt from my book "A Pagan Pregnancy".   I hope you enjoy this sample reading.


Sincerely,
Crystal

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Chapter 1 – Fertility Altars


Planning a pregnancy was very viable for my husband and me.  Due to medical issues on both sides of the spectrum, we had to plan our pregnancy from the start.  Medically, we knew what was needed and required of us to conceive a child.  Spiritually, for my own being, was entirely a different matter.  I knew I had a short window of opportunity and that I needed all the help from the Goddess and God I could get!

I decided that I really wanted to set up a fertility altar for becoming pregnant.  As I began my research, I would find correspondences here and there for fertility. Two things that kept reoccurring in some Wiccan rituals symbolizing the “Great Rite” were the Chalice and the Blade.  The chalice symbolizes the Goddess’s Womb.  Then there is the male deity that the blade symbolizes the God.  I included another item upon my altar that symbolized an “end result” of the God and Goddess.  I used a single red rose with its thorns intact.  For me this is a symbol of the union of the God and Goddess. I believe it to be a material symbol of the Great Rite if you will.  The red petals of the rose symbolized the Goddess and the stem of thorns symbolized the God.  It contains both the male and the female into one being.  It holds both the light and the dark in one life force.  I then added two green candles, another symbol of fertility.   The final tool I placed upon my Fertility Altar was a baby alphabet block painted with both blue and pink.  My altar cloth was a baby receiving blanket that was neutral in gender.  I was not asking for a specific gender of a child, just the one that the Goddess knew was right for my husband and me.  My sister has always told me, that what we want and what we need in our lives are two very different things.  So I was placing my trust in the Goddess for the child’s gender.

     My altar’s construction started upon the phase of the New Moon.  I chose this phase of the moon for its symbolism of new beginnings.  Also with starting upon the New Moon, my spell and ritual practice would grow as the Moon would grow.  To gain “Luna’s” power this way, my personal name for the moon, was very important to me.  As she waxed and gained in stature making her way once again to being full, I hoped with all my heart I would also fill my womb with child.   So I placed these items upon an altar.    Every night right before going to bed, I lit the candles and meditated on my desire to become a mother.  This is the affirmation that I used:

“Mother Moon, Mother Moon
Cast your light upon to me,
Help me feel my need
Help us to grow a seed within me.”

I did this every night for the course of the moon until its next New Moon.

     I also conducted other meditations and spells along the way to conceiving with this altar setup.  One of the first spells I conducted was to call out for the future spirit of our child.  I set forth my desire into the world asking for the Goddess to answer my call.   During our lovemaking sessions, besides being focused on my husband, I would also think about the two of us and the qualities we could generate into our future child.  I would ask for our child to be a mirror image of the two of us.  Take our qualities both the good and the bad and combine them into the child that is supposed to be for us.  I asked her for a child who would challenge us and yet also remind each of us about the other.  Unfortunately for my husband, both of our sons possess my stubbornness and irritability whenever they get hungry.    They are also blessed with my sensitivity to reacting to situations.  My sons and I can become very emotional pending the situation.

     When creating an altar for your future child, it can become something that the whole family participates in doing together.  Include photos of all your family members and ancestors.  Use your own judgment when constructing your own altar.  Use items that are important to you.   There are many things you can choose from to put onto your altar.  You could include “Mother” Goddess statuary.  Include items from you or your partner’s birth.  At one point in time, bronzing baby’s shoes were quite the rage.  If you have any items that have been handed down from generation to generation, you may want to include these items as well.  My husband’s 90-something Great Aunt crocheted a hat for our first child.  Her frail hands and poor eyesight did not stop her from her mission.  Her health had been failing for many years and her newest goal in life was to hold her future great-great nephew!  She accomplished her task at hand making a beautiful baby cap made with soft white yarn with blue and pink specs because we did not know what the gender of our child would be.

     Here you will find a chart which lists baby items and what elemental properties I feel they possess.  Now not every single baby item is listed.  What is provided are the smaller items that would fit onto a dresser top to construct an altar that is in the baby’s nursery.  Please remember to have any altar high enough and out of reach of any children.   I hope these items will help you in your efforts of building a magical altar, whether it is for fertility, after conception, or a special altar to celebrate your forth coming arrival of a child.  The lists are compiled of but some of the everyday items a parent may want to use.  It is not necessarily a complete list as things are invented every single day to assist us in the care of our children.

Earth Elemental Chart of Baby’s Items:
Baby Booties or Shoes
Stuffed Animals
Baby Food
Diaper Rash Cream (especially the organic options made from plant materials.)
Diaper Bag
Rocker
Play yard
Bed Sheets
Baby Oil
Cradle / Crib, or Bassinet
Mattress
Insulated Tote

Air Elemental Chart of Baby’s Items
Rattles
Dream Catcher
Musical Toys
Nose Aspirator
Audio Visual Monitors
Stroller
Car Seat
Bottle Drying Rack
Sling or Wrap Carrier
Books, Music, DVDs
Gas Relief Drops
Mobile

Fire Elemental Chart of Baby’s Items
Night Light
Blanket
Battery operated Tea Lights
Baby Spoon
Teething Toys
Wiper Warmer
Bottle Warmer
Bottle Sterilizer
Nail Clippers
Thermometers
Pain Relief products
Outlet Covers
Safety Latches
Brush and Comb
Colic Remedies

Water Elemental Chart of Baby’s Items:
Bottle
Diapers (including Cloth)
Nursing Pillow
Mother’s Milk or Formula
Breast Milk Containers / Storage Bags
Breast Pump
Breast Pad / Breast Shields
Wipes
Burp Cloths / Lap Pads
Nursing Wrap or Cover
Bottle Brush
Dishwasher Caddy
Bath Tub
Wash Cloths / Hooded Towels
Shampoo
Potty
Humidifier/vaporizer

Spells Casting Tips


Spells in Magic can be as simple or elaborate as you choose them to be.  Some spells can manifest within a few minutes and some may take much longer growing into a few years of working them.  Please remember that when Spell Casting for Fertility there are a few things that you should keep in mind and close to your heart.

Tip One is when working a spell for fertility and pregnancy, it is best for both the spell caster and the future child that the mother be in a stable and loving relationship first.  This type of spell work should never be done in an attempt to hold onto someone in a relationship by introducing an unborn child into the mix.  It’s not fair to everyone that is concerned in the relationship, not the mother, father (or partner), and especially to the unborn child.

Tip Two is keeping in mind Tip One, a person should never use or perform fertility and pregnancy spells without their partner’s consent.  Creating life is a magical experience for all that is concerned.  It would also be better for everyone concerned that they are on the same page and have the same desire for a child with one another creating a family for themselves.

Tip Three is to never use fertility and pregnancy spells to “curse” another woman.    It not only would harm the person who it is aimed at but also would hurt the unborn child exposing it to negative energy right from the first moment of its life.  If you are Wiccan, this would surely be against the Wiccan Rede.

Tip Four is that if a spell requires specific material, make sure you understand why each item is being used.  While some people think you should always follow a spell exactly, I tend to disagree.  Two people can cast the exact spell with the same tools and have a very different outcome.  I feel the difference is because of each person’s unique energy within themselves.  Never do any spell work without doing prior research on the spell yourself.  If it’s someone else’s spell, always understand why they are using specific colors for candles, essential oils, and so forth.  I do include Correspondences in this book so you can understand what items are used for what reasons.  Please feel free to further your research and come to your own understanding for Correspondences.  For example, each person has a different reaction to colors in their spell work.  Make sure that the colors you use are the ones that you are most comfortable with if you are experienced in spell work.  If you are new to the world of spell casting, feel free to use my personal correspondence as a starting point.  As your craft grows, you will learn what colors are good for you and what is not.

Tip Five is that with any spell, patience is a virtue.  Some spells manifest easier than others.  Do not expect to become pregnant right away with the very first spell you try.  There will be a few people out there that are “Fertile Myrtle’s” such as I have been called in the past, but not every woman’s body is exact.  Get to know your body through your “Mooncycle” (menstrual cycle) and your results for spell work should manifest sooner than later.  If it ends up being over a year that you are trying, you should seek the advice of your medical professional.  It just may be a condition that medical may trump the magical that you will need their help as well.

Tip Six is going with patience, you also need to have faith that it will manifest.  Do your best to stay positive and stress free.  Negative emotions will hinder your chances of becoming with child.  The energy you put into any spell pregnancy or otherwise would still stand here.  The energy of what you put into it is the energy that you will get out of it.

 

Spells

After Encounter Spell


After an encounter of making love, take a few moments afterward to focus on some energy work.  One thing I would do afterward is I would take my pentacle necklace I wore every day and lie down holding the pentacle above my womb.  I would focus my energy in having it swing deosil.  Then I would visualize the child I wanted to grow within my womb.  Then I would chant:

“Maiden Mother Crone,
Help this child to grow up strong.
Within me bless this seed
Within me, so mote it be.”

 

Fertility Sachet Spell

1 Green Mojo bag or cloth material
1 teaspoon Red Clover Flowers (dried)
1 teaspoon Nettle (dried)
1 teaspoon Lavender (dried)
All three of these herbs are essential to the Pregnant Pagan Priestess.  Making a Fertility Sachet also uses the Herbal Allies spirits as well in their dried form apart from drinking them in teas or infusions.  Place about a teaspoon of each of the herbs in your bag.  Rub the bag between your hands to crush the herbs and release their scent.   Focus your energy into your sachet and feel the heat leaving your hands and going into your sachet.  Place your sachet into one of two places your lingerie drawer or inside of your pillow case and use it similar to a dream pillow.  Each month make a new sachet.
Option:  You may wish to include rosebuds into your sachet as well to enhance the chances of romantic interludes with your partner/spouse.

 

Cord Magic Spell


Cord magic can be a powerful tool.  What you will need for this particular spell is two pieces of string.  The strings should be long enough so that you can wear them on your person.  You will need to be able to fasten and also untie them for the next couple of days.  I suggest the length be long enough to wrap around your wrist at least two times (if you plan on wearing it as a bracelet) to ensure you have plenty of room to tie your knots needed for this spell. It can be much longer in length if you plan to wear it as a necklace or belt around the waist. The first color which the mother will wear is red.  This color symbolizes the blood of life.  The father (or partner) should wear the color green to increase fertility.  The spell will begin on the first day of the mother to be’s menstrual cycle.  On the first day, the two of you will start to wear your strings. The first week or so will be during the mother’s cycle.  During this time you are infusing your energy into your string for your desire of a child.  Approximately ten days after the mother’s cycle begins, she will be quickly approaching her most fertile time of her cycle.   From days ten to fifteen, once each day while you are thinking of your husband or partner, tie a knot in your string.  So it will look something like this:

Day 1 – Begin wearing your strings to begin the spell.
Day 2 – Infuse your energy into your string.
Day 3 – Infuse your energy into your string.
Day 4 – Infuse your energy into your string.  Think about your desire for a child.
Day 5 – Infuse your energy into your string.  Think about your desire for a child.
Day 6 – Infuse your energy into your string.  Think about your desire for a child.
Day 7 – Infuse your energy into your string.  Think about what a good parent you will be.
Day 8 – Infuse your energy into your string.  Think about what a good parent you will be.
Day 9 – Infuse your energy into your string.  Think about what a good parent you will be.
Day 10 – Both tie a knot
Day 11 – Both tie a knot
Day 12 – Both tie a knot
Day 13 – Both tie a knot
Day 14 – Both tie a knot
Day 15 – Both tie a knot
Day 16 – Take off your strings and tie the two together in the center point of your strings.

At the end of day sixteen, you will have a total of thirteen knots. The two cords are joined symbolizing two individuals creating a third. Place this finished cord upon your Fertility Altar to increase your energetic odds for a successful conception.

Another tip for fertility is that if you were hand fasted and still have the broom from your ceremony, this item should be considered a powerful tool for fertility.  Take your broom and place it under your bed.  If it will not fit under your bed, consider hanging it on the wall above your headboard or somewhere in your bedroom where space allows.  If you do not have a broom from your hand fasting, I suggest purchasing a silver broom pendant to wear during this time of wanting to conceive.

Take Charge of your Fertility Ritual


     The word “Lunaception” was created by Louise Lacey.  I received her book as a gift when I was pregnant with my first child.  I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more and take control of their own fertility.  From what I gather the term is defined being “Lunaception” is when ovulation is controlled by the light around you. To attempt this ritual you must be aware of your menstrual cycle.  What you will do is leave all the lights you can in your home on, especially in your bedroom for the three nights halfway during your cycle.  The rest of the nights, you will want your bedroom in complete darkness.  If you are performing this ritual during the summer months, you will want to add layers of darkness to your bedroom windows such as black out curtains, darker fabric on top of your curtains to add layers, or even place aluminum foil taped to your window to block out the sunlight.  No matter what you use, you will need it to be in total darkness for the specified nights.  During the three nights when the lights are left on, your body should ovulate.  You will need to have intercourse during this time if you want to improve your odds to conceive.

     You can assist this ritual by preparing the bedroom which by all purposes will be your ritual area.  Cleaning the bedroom also helps by eliminating any stress you may experience about worrying what your house looks like.  A Fertility Goddess and God Statues upon your altar, preferably near the bed.   If at all possible, place the Goddess statue on the mother-to-be’s side of the bed and the God on the spouse or partner’s side of the bed.

     Start by cleansing the area.  For this I have chosen using the element of Air, where you have a few different options.  If you want to include incense, I would suggest Rose or other delicate scent.  You do not want to have an overpowering scent that will dominate the room. You want to help accent the experience. Another method would be to sweep your bedroom.  You can do this either magically using a besom, or mundanely using your vacuum.  A third method would be to either use a bell or fan changing the energy within the bedroom.

     Now onto the element of Water, a little “bath magic” would be very useful in this ritual’s cleansing process.  A shared bath or shower can be a very positive experience!  You can use soap that is scented with an herb that is good for fertility or passion.  Just remember, so not go for one of the hot steamy shower scenes we often see in the movies or television.  Hot water kills sperm.  You do want to use warm water in this case.  Or have fun with cold water using your body heat and passion to keep warm.

     Third we will use the element of Earth. I for one always love a new set of clean sheets on the bed.  You may want to invest in sheets in the fertility colors of red and green. This also helps “set the mood” having “special” sheets for a specific purpose.  Decorations can also be included such as Roses with dark green Fern leaves.  You may also want to include any other “tools” to help set the mood such as a special wine or champagne (included in the Earth element as they are made from grapes), chocolate covered strawberries, massage oils in you and your partner’s favorite flavors, special “toys” you may want present to help increase the pleasure and magic of the evening.  The two most important tools are you and your partner!

     The two of you cast a circle around your bed.  Include in your calling and invocations symbols of fertility and the Lord and Lady you wish to have to bless and assist you with conceiving. Focus on each other as the representations of the Fertile Maiden and the potent Hunter in the Great Rite.   Meditate on each other’s body.  Focus on the two of your desire and love for one another.  Let the mood build with your increasing energy.  Become one with each other.  Make love.

     For the three days of the Lunaception, when you keep the lights on and also keeping the circle open.  Some people do not like to leave every light on, but choose to use an abundance of candles.  While this may make it more romantic, please never leave a candle burning unattended.  The use of the new small LED battery operated candles may work in their place keeping you safe.  Another thought would also be to keep bright night lights close to the mother’s side of bed.  The light being on is more for her than that of the father or partner.  Repeat this process as often as you wish.  After the third and final night, close the circle the morning after.

     Now there are several types of fertility rituals out there.  They can range from sex magic, mojo bags, candle magic, plus many other forms.  Hopefully, you will find one that works for you.

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Disclaimer:  Please note that no amount of magic can help a woman become pregnant if there is something wrong medically.  Always have a physical with your OBGYN or other medical practitioner to make sure to rule out any medical problems.   Also magic can never "guarantee" a desired outcome.  
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