Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sabbat Box Review: Reap - Sew - Magick - Lammas / Lughnasadh Box


It's that time again!  For those not in the know, Sabbat Box is like Loot Crate for pagans, offering sabbat-related goodies from pagan-owned small businesses two weeks before each holiday.  This subscription box service would be perfect for the beginner and advanced pagan alike.  Sabbat Box has released yet another amazing compilation of sabbat-related items for Lammas / Lughnasadh and I'm here to let you know what's inside!


As always, Sabbat Box comes in a manageable size and sits just outside your door waiting for you upon arrival.  Sabbat Box actually came at the same time as our roommate's Loot Crate subscription and I can confirm for a fact that Sabbat Box is larger and has more items than its famously geeky counterpart.


And here it is opened and ready for the harvest!  Upon first glance, you can't mistake this box being for any other holiday.  The wheat stalks give it away just as much as the pamphlet.


The pamphlet is of course a three-panel sheet describing both the contents of the box and the holiday's lore and correspondences.  Not only will it help you use what they've sent you but it'll help you celebrate as well!



The very first item I noticed upon opening the box was the corn doll kit.  How perfect!  This package has everything you need to create a corn doll, including a full list of instructions.  Sabbat Box creator Hugh actually approached me to do illustrations in order to help clarify the instructions to readers but, with my husband's surgery and our move looming, I couldn't find the time.  That's okay because you totally do not need illustrations.  The instructions do a perfect job of explaining how to create one!  In fact, my circle used these instructions to create our dolls and this was the result:



I'm actually pretty terrible at being able to follow along with instructions, so if I say these are easy to follow, I promise you that they actually really are.  Want your own kit?  Sabbat Box is selling them in their store!  Click here.


The next item I quickly found was the hand painted beeswax tapers from Aloha Bay Candle Company. Beeswax is a great alternative to other kinds of wax your standard candles may be made out of: It's all natural, last longer and has prosperity and energy components that will empower spell work and ritual!


My circle used the taper for our Lammas ritual as well.  Because fellow CF member Phaedra picked up the subscription too, we've had double to offer at each event.  End goal is to have at least half of the circle, if not more, have a subscription so that it can be regularly incorporated!


If you're the kind of pagan or witch who likes to anoint candles to charge them, Sabbat Box has you covered with the Prosperity Candle Fixing Blend from The Vodou Store.  If you've never anointed or "fixed" a candle before, there are many different ways to do it.  Sabbat Box's blog suggests clockwise and upwards for invoking or manifesting while banishing is counter-clockwise and down.  You could also start at the center and anoint directly outward for sending out to the universe or start at the ends work inward for nullifying.  However, I'm pretty sure you're going to want to manifest prosperity.  Keep that in mind as you work!



When Hugh asked me bread or scones for Sabbat Box, I couldn't answer.  I have Celiac Disease, so either way is a lose for me.  But when I asked my roommate and fellow Circle of Fountains member Tony, it was scones all around.  Turns out, that must have been the majority opinion because the box contains a cinnamon apple scone mix made especially for Sabbat Box by Rabbit Creek Gourmet.  It certainly smells delicious!


And the scone mix comes with the most adorable little whisk (penny for reference).  Is it strange that I was really excited about this piece? The whisk went straight onto my altar, which you'll see in just a day or two!


Each Sabbat Box usually comes with some sort of incense and this one is no different.  This Precious Amber cone incense made by HEM is perfect for Lammas because of its prosperity and protection qualities.  Plus, as I can attest from our ritual, it smelled absolutely amazing!  If you've never lit cone incense before, the Sabbat Box blog offers a short tutorial (click here).


This box also includes a white sage bundle from AtlantaCandlesandIncense.com.  While smudging is strictly an intricate Native American tradition, smoke cleansing or saging is open for use.  If you're more familiar with the term smudging, smoke cleansing is probably what you're actually doing.  And what better way than to cleanse with a freshly dried sage bundle?  If you're a solitary, this little guy could come in handy not just for this ritual but many to come!


Last but not least, each Sabbat Box includes a copy of Llewellyn's Sabbat Essentials series for each holiday.  These are definitely more beginner guides, but they're perfect if you're not sure what direction to go when celebrating.  Each book contains lore, correspondences, recipes, spells and more for each sabbat.  CF member and fellow Sabbat Box subscriber Phaedra said one of her kids ran off with the book and won't give it back because it's a good read.  I think that speaks wonders about the usefulness of the item!


Once again, Sabbat Box has provided the perfect collection for the holiday!  While I'm always pleased with the quality and quantity of each box, this one felt particularly packed with Lammas-related goodies.  Many of the items were interactive, some of them were meant to be used together and, overall, the items formed a cohesive ritual for any subscriber.


Breakdown:
Total MSRP of items inside: $41.39
Total savings on this box: $1.44
Total shipping savings: $7.95
Total savings: $9.39
Five pagan businesses supported.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Circle of Fountains August Eve / Lammas Ritual and Celebration 2015


This post will cover the August Eve / Lammas / Lughnasadh ritual and celebration held by the Circle of Fountains.

My personal August Eve altar will be posted in the next few days!


August Eve was planned, written and led by the wonderful Phaedra!  Hosting at my house was a bit of a chore since we're in the middle of moving and my husband's health issues, but we somehow pulled it off with Tony's diligent cleaning and Phaedra showing up extremely early to help set up.  Thank you both!

Before ritual, I finally had the chance to give my circlemates something amazing!  About two months ago, we finalized the Circle of Fountains symbol (you can see it in the corner of the picture above opposite the Witchy Words logo).  The minute we finalized the symbol, I talked with someone online and had that person begin a very special project.  Because they were coming from halfway around the world, I assumed I wouldn't receive them until before Samhain, but they came in early and I simply couldn't wait.  So, for August Eve, I could finally unveil their surprise!


Circle of Fountains pendants!  We have two levels of membership in the circle.  Guest Members are members of the circle, but they don't lead any rituals, have any responsibilities and can pick and choose which rituals they RSVP to.  Primary Members are the ones who do all the hard work.  They keep the circle running, lead rituals, manage the money and more.  So each Primary Member received their very own pendant that connects us as a whole circle.  Everyone was so thrilled with them; squeals all around.

Onward to the celebration!


As with all celebrations, we began with a potluck.  I set the table with red and gold with a collection of flowers from my butterfly garden in the center.  I'm going to be so sad to leave these behind when we move!



Our potluck consisted of both chicken and beef main dishes along with corn and squash based sides.  The ratatouille was made by my husband who still made it even though he wasn't feeling well, so huge kudos to him.  In addition to everything pictured, we also had chocolate chip and raisin swirl bread provided by Tony.


Also, the blackberry wine was a homemade wine by Liithi Lushede High Priestess Gwenhwyfar Wyrdd.  I don't know what she did to the wine, but it made us all positively giddy on just half a glass!  Case and point, our group dinner photo.  Wow.


Once dinner was complete, we headed downstairs to my spiritual room!


Phaedra began by introducing the holiday before we cast the circle.


Each member of CF volunteered to call a quarter beginning with East.


Once the circle was cast, the string lights were lit and we began our ritual!  You'll notice that the taper used on the altar came from the recent Sabbat Box release for Lammas.  That's because we now have two members of the circle actively receiving the box, one of which is Phaedra!  End goal is for all members to be able to afford the box so we can use them every ritual.


After we calmed down from some giddy giggling thanks to Gwenhwyfar's wine, Phaedra discussed the Harvest sabbats.  Though Lammas is just the first, we must acknowledge the coming of the cold winter.  August Eve is specifically a time of sacred sacrifice: of giving up bad habits, negative thoughts and toxic relationships.


For ritual, Phaedra made a bread man.  For some, the bread man represents the god of Harvest who sacrifices himself for an abundant bounty.  For others, the bread man can be a metaphor of those things which we must give up in order to move forward.


By breaking the bread man up, he was sacrificed during our ritual.  Our bounty will be full!


We then consumed some of him to bring abundance to us.  Since the bread was safe for all members to eat, I fed a tiny piece to my dog, Artemis, as well.


What was left over was placed back onto  the tin.  Phaedra stated that, after ritual, you could take a piece of the bread man, fill it with any negativity within you and anything you need to sacrifice and then throw it out into a field to remove those energies from you.


We then sat down to make corn dollies!  Phaedra explained that corn dolls are meant to represent the abundance and work of the first harvest, and a way of saying thank you for the bounty.  We utilized Sabbat Box's instructions on making a corn doll.  Out of every year that I've made one, I was probably the most satisfied with this year's, so a huge thank you to Sabbat Box for that one!


She even stands up on her own!  Super proud!


The final step in Phaedra's ritual was to create spell jars.  We created Witch's Bottles filled with various intents last year but, this year, they were specifically for protection.  This was particularly relevant as we have three members of the circle moving - myself and Tony of course, but also Kolika - and one member dealing with some struggles.


We filled it with various herbs and items ranging from lavender to eggshells to coffee beans.  Some members opted to put pieces of the bread man in it.  Other members charged objects to place it in.


We're becoming much more cohesive as a circle, so many of the members opted to have all of the other attendants place their energy in the jars in some form or another.  For some, this meant having everyone charge a single object.  For others, it meant having everyone draw a symbol or write their initials on the jar.


My jar contained a ton of lavender, eggshells, fresh rosemary and coffee beans.  I had everyone charge a protective quartz crystal and placed that in there as well.  I also had everyone lick their thumbs and place their thumbprint on the portion of the lid that would be sealed under the band.  It was a way of connecting them to the jar and having them seal it with their energy.  I sealed it with lavender and dark green ribbon.  I'll be taking it to our new home when we find it!


With that, we closed the circle and completed ritual!


Some of us had to leave but the rest of us stayed behind and chatted late into the night.  I think we can all say we definitely needed this!


And that concludes the Circle of Fountains August Eve ritual and celebration for 2015!
From my circle to yours, have a fantastic Lammas!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

[TheWitchery.ca Review] Magical Flame Candles


Candle spell work is probably some of the easiest, quickest and most effective spell work in the books.  But we've all been there: That moment when the tea light ends up taking four hours to burn and you have to set it in the bathtub so you can do other things.  Or when the birthday candle, which was the perfect size, fizzles out in three seconds and you're left wondering if it was your spell or the craptacular candle you purchased.

What if you could avoid both and add an amazing visual effect plus some extra energy to your punch?

I'm going to break my standard tone for blogs for a moment.  Maybe it's because it's 4 in the morning while I'm writing this and I have ritual later today or the fact that my husband's surgery is this Friday.  I try my best to maintain an ambivalent tone about reviews - to be as honest as I possibly can be for my readers.  But it's hard to use any sort of skepticism for this product because I'm crazy excited to bring this review to you.  TheWitchery.ca's Magical Flame Candles are probably one of the coolest witchcraft products I've ever had the privilege of reviewing.  I'm saving the best feature of these candles for last, so make sure you read the whole review through!  Let's dive in.


At first glance, you'll notice that the candles are fantastically sized.  They're going to burn not too fast but not too slow, leaving you around 10 or so minutes to do your thing (times varied between 8 and 15 per candle with the red lasting the longest, but that may just have been my set).  These candles are perfect for candle spells - charge the candle, light it, say a few words, meditate into the flame and boom, you're done.  They'd also be great to pair with simple spell work, like creating small sachets or charging a single stone or rune for a purpose.  You won't have to walk away from this candle or leave it in your bathtub.  It's going to run for the perfect length of time.


While it may be difficult to run across a candle holder that will keep these little guys upright, I used a tealight holder with some sand and it worked perfectly.  Particularly at night, when the sand became cold and dry, adding a drop or two of water helped to secure the candle so it wouldn't tip during spell work.  Sand was definitely my go-to for this as it never, ever failed me, but you're welcome to use whatever you'd like.


If you do opt for sand, you'll likely have some remnants from your spell work.  That's totally normal.  Each candle I burned had the sand around it along with a tiny little nub.  Make sure you bury your leftovers after your spell to return the energy to the earth (my preferred method of spell remnant removal).  There was only one instance where I didn't immediately bury the remainder; that spell was for our future home, so I put the remnants in a jar to be buried on the property of wherever we move.


My roommate Tony and I spent two weeks or so trying out these candles to help us with current situations.  We have a lot going on, what with moving, my husband's surgery and Tony's job change. We certainly weren't frivolously throwing around spells just to burn the candles.  That would be quite disrespectful, so I ensure you that every candle here was burned for a much needed reason.


TheWitchery.ca offers up a list of color correspondences for each of their six colors.  While my color correspondences differ, I stuck with those listed because I'm certain that each candle was made with those intents.  To stray would likely be a conflict in energy.  With the way our life is right now, that's the last thing we needed.

So what's the most amazing thing about TheWitchery.ca's Magical Flame Candles?
The flames are literally magical.


Each candle's flame burns the same color as its wax.  The pictures I offer here in this blog entry, aside from aesthetics, are unedited for the color of the flame.  I will present to you exactly what I saw!


The blue was probably one of the most obvious flame colors.  Blue is used for spirituality, health and a peaceful home according to the correspondences on TheWitchery.ca, so my roommate and I lit this candle together, both charged it with the intent of finding a place to live where we will stay for a long while because we truly enjoy living there and where we might see some stability in our lives, and to heal my husband.  This is the candle whose remnants I jarred to bury at the new place when we find it.


The orange candle also offered full-flame color.  It was so much more impressively orange than the picture might lead you to believe.  Because orange is for road opening and changes and we're experiencing so many changes right now, Tony and I both lit this one, charged it with a need for positive changes and stability, and buried it out back.


The red candle was also incredibly impressive.  While it didn't offer a full flame effect, most of the flame was the most brilliant ruby red I'd ever seen.


Likely, the intensity and how much of the flame was colored depended what was used in the wax.  Red corresponds with sexual love and passion according to the website, so I used this one for me and my husband and buried it out back.


The purple showed the brightest at the tip of the flame and appeared almost more of a pink.  The website corresponds this color with conquering, mastery and success.  Tony charged it with finding a job, making sure to leave no detail out on location, pay, hours and duration.  Since he needs to find one before we move, he buried this one out back.


The one that had the least obvious coloration was the white.  However, you could still clearly see that it burned white!  TheWitchery.ca lists this one for spiritual practices, prayer and marriage, so I burned this one specifically to help my husband with his surgery and recovery.  I buried this out back as, hopefully, whatever's going on with his health will be solved by the time we move.


And last, but certainly not least, the green candle offered a partial burn of a brilliant neon green.  The Magical Flame Candles' green is used for drawing money and good harvest, so I burned this one for a harvest-based money drawing sachet.  In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to review the candles first is because I also utilized a loose incense powder for the spell as well and would like that review to focus on the incense. While I made the sachet for August Eve/Lammas/Lughnasadh, it's technically geared more towards the equinox.  I'll be posting a tutorial for the sachet combined with a review of the incense in a couple of weeks!


I want to push two things before I close out this review: First, my pictures do not do the colors justice.  You really have to see them for yourself.  Second, they're incredibly inexpensive, so you totally can see them for yourself without breaking the bank!  They're $6.50 CAD for a set of six in any color you choose or you can opt for an assortment.  That's just $5 USD.  The site even offers an easy currency converter so that you can check the price in your own currency before having to add the item to your cart.  The shipping is a little on the steeper side, but items come properly packed and with an abundance of protection, both physical and magickal, which makes the shipping more than worth the price.  Not to mention, if you're international (eg not in Canada), the shipping is actually pretty gosh darn cheap.

I mean, guys, candles that burn the same color as the wax?  I cannot convey my excitement enough.  Go on over to TheWitchery.ca and get your set now!