Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Patreon Exclusive Grimoire Artwork for June!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Circle of Fountains Midsummer Ritual and Celebration 2017

This post will cover the Midsummer / Litha ritual and celebration held by the Circle of Fountains.

This year's equinox ritual was held by Laura!

Laura identifies as a Northern Traditions pagan with both kitchen and cosmic witch tendencies.  During her time with Circle of Fountains, she's worked on finding her craft's voice through her rituals.  Because of our diverse beliefs and practices, our circle is a fantastic way to find your path and hone skills.  This is exactly what Laura has been doing!

The evening began with Laura giving us bottles to use to collect solstice rain water.

It then followed with a craft!

Using simple supplies like Elmer's glue, glitter and warm water, Laura had us create sensory bottles to alleviate stress!

They turned out quite well!

We then sat down to a Midsummer potluck consisting of pork ribs sous vide, summer succotash, a summer salad and corn on the cob.  To drink, Abby made us strawberry margaritas and, for dessert, we had lemon cake and apple cobbler!

We then moved to the circle room for ritual.

Instead of lighting candles, Laura had us call the elements by walking in a clockwise fashion and using a chant:

Earth my body,
Fire my spirit,
Air my breath,
Water my blood.

Laura explained that Midsummer is typically a time where all plans are accomplished.  As the longest day, it's the longest working day - the day where we work the most towards our goals.  It's a day of strength and vitality, of light and empowerment.

Because of this, Laura wanted the ritual to become a pause, a moment to catch our breath among the hectic stress of working on the longest day.

Borrowing from Mindfulness Exercises, Laura walked us though a guided meditation for reducing anxiety and stress in our lives.

Set to Breeze, Laura led us away from the cluttered, overflowing boxes of our stressed minds and towards the expansive universe above to reconnect us with our starlit selves.  We climbed the stairs away from the mess and chaos of life to sit in a marble chair, looking up at the night sky.  We then lost all sense of physical being, becoming weightless among the stars.  She then brought us gently back to the circle and grounded us back to our bodies.

Once everyone had grounded back in reality, she bought our attention to the altar.  On it sat a large vase.  This was our jar of priorities.  The jar itself, she said, represents ourselves.

The stones represent family, work, school, children, familiars and friends.  Passions, enjoyments and activities were the beads that floated down between the stones and filled the space.  The sand then represented everything else - all the small things, the daily chaos, the unimportant.  Though it seemed as though the jar couldn't be filled any more, Laura added mead - a reminder that there is always time to have a drink with friends.

To that, we toasted!

After drinking the mead, Laura asked us to walk counterclockwise and envision the elements being released, closing our circle and ending our ritual.

From my circle to yours, we hope you have a wonderful Midsummer!

A special thank you to Kaiulani, Jocelyn and Lauren as my top Patreon supporters this month!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Plum Deluxe: Serenity Tea Altar

We're back with another tea altar inspired by Plum Deluxe!  Based in Portland, Oregon, Plum Deluxe offers organic, hand-blended loose leaf teas that are GMO-, chemical- and sulfite-free.  Andy, the founder, created the company as a tribute to his late mother who lost a six-year battle with breast cancer but "never forgot to enjoy the little things in life."  Because of this, Plum Deluxe encourages you to enjoy a "mindful moment" in a cup of tea, whether it be by yourself or with friends and family.

The teas at Plum Deluxe come well packaged, featuring all of the ingredients and instructions on how to make the tea.  Reasonably priced, Plum Deluxe even offers a monthly tea club starting at just $10 per month where you'll receive an ounce of specialty tea and a sample tea alongside.  It was rather serendipitous that a friend of mine linked me to the tea club just days before Andy contacted me to see if I'd like to review some of their teas!

Today's spotlight tea?  Easy to Be Green Tea!  This tea was a special tea offered through the Tea of the Month club.  If you'd like to check that out, click here!

The Easy To Be Green Tea from Plum Deluxe is a gorgeous deep green, characterized by its green and green rooibos leaves, and accented by gorgeous blue cornflower petals.  Upon opening the package, you can immediately smell the sweet blueberry aroma.  Blueberries tend to carry stabilizing and protective earth energy, perfect for a calming blend.

With this in mind, the Hivemind and I built our altar while the kettle heated.

 Take a moment to say farewell to my trusty orange kettle of seven years.  This poor thing was starting to rust out.  It's served me well but it's time for a new one!  I look forward to showing it to you in the next tea altar.

Our altar started with stones, specifically a green aventurine appropriately inscribed with the word "peace," selected by Andrea. One need not search far to find the correspondences here as the stone is aptly labeled.  In the background, you can see small pieces of red jasper selected by Phaedra.  Red jasper is also an earthy stone that alleviates stress and encourages grounding.  Together, I feel these stones play directly to the correspondences of the tea we were about to brew.

In the candle holders, I placed light blue candles evoking tranquility and peace and Phaedra and Andrea selected chamomile as a calming herb to be heated by said candles.

On either side of the teapot, I placed lotus candle holders - one white and one green.  The lotus is a symbol of peace within the spirit, the white invoking purity and the green the earth.

Finally, once the tea was ready, I added a blue-green necklace to the teapot, utilizing the heat from the tea to charge one of my favorite necklaces with serenity and peace.  With as stressful as the past few months have been, I could certainly use it!

Once the tea altar was complete and the tea had been brewed and properly charged on said altar, the Hivemind and I sat to a simple tea ritual.  Tea rituals in my house are rarely elaborate: We sit, we drink tea, we chat about whatever comes to mind in order to clear our minds and we walk away with a renewed sense of self once complete.

During the ritual, we often talk about the tea itself.  Green teas tend to be very mild on flavor and this one is no different.  The addition of the rooibos along with the cranberries, raspberry leaves, blueberries and blueberry essence give this tea a sweet, fruity flavor that's just enough.  The tea is just sweet enough that we didn't feel it merited sugar and addition were concerned that sugar might overwhelm the flavors present.  In addition, this tea was incredibly smooth.  I often find that green teas tend to dry my mouth out but this one certainly did not have that effect.

In addition to the tea and samples, if you're a member of the Tea of the Month club, you'll receive a Plum Deluxe Playbook.  A perfect companion for solitary tea drinking, the book comes with a list of all their available teas, journal prompts and articles!  Overall, I highly recommend the Tea of the Month club for quality teas and special surprises!

Want to try
Plum Deluxe's
Tea of the Month Club
for yourself?