Friday, December 13, 2019

Creating Natural Altars: Sacred Platforms in the Living World


Altars can be a fantastic tool in your craft.  A sacred space erected to channel certain energy, an altar is an anchor for a wide array of purposes, from meditation and divination to ritual and spell work.  Creating one taps into your intuition and helps you develop your practice through the purposeful arrangement of corresponding elements.

A natural altar is the same concept applied to the outdoors.  With a natural altar, you collect your items from the living world and create a display that not only works for your practice but honors nature in the process.  Let's explore how to create one of these altars step by step!



STEP ONE
Become familiar with the laws of your area.

Your first step in creating a natural altar is to be acutely aware of your local laws.  You want to avoid trespassing on private land or taking things that aren't yours to take.  These concepts cannot be overstated though they may seem obvious at first.  What may be less obvious, however, are laws in reference to what you can and cannot collect.  Endangered species are highly protected.  Picking up feathers, eggs, skins, bones, and other such items may not just be a local crime, but a federal one.  In addition, you may find plucking endangered plants to be against the law as well.  Even if it's not against the law, you'll want to refrain from removing anything that might disturb the local ecosystem in the process or anything that puts you or others in danger.


STEP TWO
Research what might be harmful to your local wildlife - or you.

Speaking of your local ecosystem, you might note that, just because something is natural doesn't mean that it won't hurt animals or plants.  Salt, for example, will kill plants and grass, so sprinkling it on the ground or keeping a bowl of it on the altar that might get knocked over would be problematic.  Likewise, certain foods can be toxic to animals who may munch on your natural altar later.  It's important to consider all of these when aiming to erect something in a space that involves other life.  And, as I mentioned before, you want to avoid anything that might put you or others in danger.  Many plants are poisonous to touch and wild berries can be harmful to ingest.  If you're not sure if what you're picking up is safe, it's best to leave it alone altogether.


STEP THREE
Develop a sense of representation and correspondence.

While it's not necessary to be an expert in correspondence and representation, it certainly helps to have a general base knowledge of what certain things represent to you when creating an altar.  This could be largely personal or you could do some research on basic color and plant correspondences before heading out.  Being able to look up what you're looking at on the fly is also helpful.  Having your mobile phone on you with a plant identifying app can go a long way in helping you understand what you're grabbing and what it means.  Being able to record your thoughts as you collect items can help develop your internal correspondence list.  You could either bring a journal with you, record the correspondences afterward, or use your phone for that as well.


STEP FOUR
Decide on the purpose of your altar.

Altars are typically erected for a purpose.  Coming to this article, you may already know exactly why you want to create this altar.  Great!  You're on your way.  That being said, you might also approach this article wanting the experience of creating a natural altar without a particular goal in mind.  If that's the case, you could research a variety of witchcraft practices that utilize altar work.  Some examples include devotional altars to gods, spirits, elements and other entities, ritual work, meditation, divination, holidays, moon phases, and daily practices, just to name a few.



STEP FIVE
Collect your items.

Now that you're aware of your local laws and dangerous plants, and you have a base correspondence knowledge and a specific purpose for your altar, it's time to go collecting!   For this part, you could collect anywhere you like, from your backyard to your local nature trail, from your neighborhood sidewalk to the wooded area nearby.  Any public space will work, as long as you're mindful of the laws associated with it.  Be sure to take with you a basket, pouch, purse, satchel or another such vessel to collect your items in, as well as your phone and/or journal.  As you walk around your selected space, consider what calls to you.  You could collect anything from rocks, sticks, and leaves to plants, flowers, berries, and animal remains (as long as you safely handle them).  If you plan on cutting off parts of trees, you may want to take a set of sheers with you.  You might also consider taking offerings of gratitude in exchange for these items.  Old coffee grounds and eggshells are great offerings because they act as nutrients for the local plant life!

After you return from gathering, you may find that you still want something more for your altar.  In this case, you could gather herbs, vegetables, fruit, and flowers from your garden or purchase them from an ethical store.  You could also cook or bake an offering.  In my altars, I often included one or two non-natural items, from vessels like bowls and cups to candles or figurines.  If you do decide to use candles, be cautious of starting a fire.  Bring a small kitchen extinguisher with you and ensure the candle is placed safely on the altar with a stable base.  If there's a red flag warning in your area, you absolutely should not include candles at all.  The candle should always return with you once you are done - never leave a lit candle unattended.

Also, keep in mind that this process doesn't have to be done all in one day or a single trip.  Make as many trips as you need.  If you find your flowers are wilting, consider drying them for the altar.  If the berries you collected begin to rot, use them as compost.


STEP SIX
Find the perfect space.

Now that you have everything you'd like to put on your altar, it's time to decide where you want to create it!  Natural altars can be placed indoors or outdoors.  If you're wanting to work indoors, any altar space will do, from bookshelves to tables, window sills to a wall shelf.  When working with a natural altar, however, you may find it's best to present it in nature itself.  If that's the case, you're looking for a flat surface.  This may be a stone or a stump, or it may even be just the ground.  You may decide you want to put down a piece of wood to help stabilize the area.  You might even want to consider the direction you're facing by bringing a compass with you.

Whatever you choose, you'll want to make sure that the area is fairly clear so you can place your items without disruption.  This means removing any brush that might be covering your surface.  This could be considered an act of cleansing, but you may find yourself wanting to do something more.  Personally, I feel natural spaces are already cleansed by the rain of the area and the sun and/or moon, and so intentional cleansing isn't necessary.  That being said, if you want to spiritually cleanse the space, please note that salt is harmful to your environment.  Instead, opt for water or smoke cleansing, again keeping in mind the laws of the area and what you may harm in the process.  


STEP SEVEN
Arrange your altar.

 How you arrange your altar is entirely up to you!  You may have a personal tradition that dictates what goes where or you may not.  If you're creating the altar for a specific working, like divination, spell work, or a ritual, you may want to set it up with that in mind.  Maybe you want certain items to correspond to the elemental directions or the rising and setting of the sun. Maybe you want to create a design with the items or work in a certain shape.  It's entirely up to you!  The best part about setting up an altar is that there's no wrong way to do it.   Use your knowledge, your personal path, your personal aesthetics, and your intuition to create what feels right to you.


STEP EIGHT
Honor it.

Once your altar is put together, you're ready to honor your space.  This may mean making your offerings to the entity or entities of the altar, doing your ritual, reading your cards, or completing your spell.  Whatever you came here to do, now's the time to do it!  Once you're done with your work, you'll want to decide what to do with the altar.  With natural altars, as long as everything on the altar is safe for your local ecosystem, you could simply leave it.  If you have items like candles or figurines, you'll want to take those with you.  Anything that might be harmful should be removed from the altar entirely, and any flame should be snuffed.  If you decide you don't want to leave the items on your altar, you could scatter them in the area as an offering or take them back with you. 

  
Tip: When in doubt, ask for help!  Above is a photo of my husband collecting wild lilies for my August Eve altar because it was far too hot for me to meander around outside.  Never put yourself under any duress to create an altar, whether it's physical danger or mental stress.  If you're not enjoying the experience, then stop!  Creating a natural altar is not a requirement to any practice.

EXAMPLES
of Natural Altars

The following are the eight natural sabbat altars I created in 2018.  I wanted to keep them consistent because it was a series, so I always used a tree stump as my base.  I would allow myself one to two types of non-natural items per altar - typically a candle or vessel.  Scroll further down for larger images and links to each individual altar!  Enjoy!

















Friday, December 6, 2019

13 Essential Gemstones Series: Citrine


In this series, I will be exploring 13 common minerals and gemstones used in the Craft, dissecting their meaning from science, history, culture, and my own experiences.  

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Citrine


Color: Yellow/clear, sometimes brown.
Appearance: Translucent, glass-like with imperfections and fractures.
Hardness: 7
Other Notable Qualities: Citrine is a variant color of quartz.




Scientific Correspondence:
The Sun - Cleansing

Citrine is a variant of quartz, its name coming from citrin - the French word for "lemon."  Most citrine found in stores area actually heat-treated amethyst.  This can be done with natural irradiation while it's still in the earth or by standard heat treatment methods.  Either way, the emphasis on a bright yellow color sometimes coming from irradiation makes this gemstone a perfect representation of the sun.

Common heat treatment of citrine brings it up to 900-1100F, depending on the desired color.  This kind of heat would cleanse any surface, making citrine itself a cleansing stone - one of the few that doesn't need to be regularly cleansed itself!




Historical Correspondence:
Creativity

Historically, citrine has been used as an ornamental stone.  From the decorative gems of Hellenistic Greece to the stones set on the handles of 17th-century Scottish daggers and swords, from the intaglio work of the Romans to its popularity in the Art Deco area between WWI and WWII, if citrine is nothing else, it is certainly a creative stone!


Cultural Correspondence (USA/Midwest):
Prosperity - Frugality 

Queen Victoria's love of colorful gems, and particularly citrine, cemented the stone's association with the rich elite.  Even today, it remains popular with modern figures such as Kate Middleton and Kate Winslet.  As such, citrine is known to bring fame, fortune, and prosperity upon the wearer.

That being said, it's also an incredibly inexpensive stone, often used as a frugal alternative to the much more costly topaz.  Those who enjoy citrine may enjoy the money-sense it seems to bring around!


Sigil to Invoke Citrine


Utilize this sigil as a way of invoking the properties of citrine if you have none available to you.  You are welcome to print this sigil, place it in a grimoire, use it on a spell or put it in your blog with proper credit.  Do not claim this sigil as your own.

References
Minerals.net: Citrine
Crystal Vaults: Citrine
International Gem Society: Citrine
Origin Stones: Citrine
GIA.edu: Citrine History and Lore
Mark Schneider Design: The History of Citrine Gemstones
Angara: A Historical Timeline of Citrine

**Images of the gemstone were found via a search labeled for reuse.
If you would like an image removed or credited, please let me know.**

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Hematite
Lapis Lazuli
Obsidian
Rose Quartz
Selenite
Tiger's Eye
Turquoise

Friday, November 29, 2019

November Personal Update: Vow Renewal, the Familiars, and the Future of Witchy Words


Well hello there, fellow Witchy Words readers! It's been quite some time since we've had a chance to just chat, hasn't it?  Back in April, I decided to take a hiatus from blogging and I honestly didn't know if I'd be coming back.  Even then, I haven't made a personal update since January, so I have essentially a whole year to talk about here.  I'm mostly going to cover major changes in this entry, but I'll also talk about where I'm taking the blog over the next few years as well.  Let's dive in!

The Vow Renewal

I may have mentioned in passing last year that my husband and I decided to host a vow renewal for our 10-years married, 15-years together anniversary.  In April of 2018, we realized that May 4th, 2019 landed on a Saturday.  We decided that our 15-years together anniversary just after our 10-year wedding anniversary in September 2018 would be a perfect date to celebrate.  Those of you who follow me on social media may have even seen some of the photos, but here's a whole slew from the day!





All the tulle you see was cut from my dress, which was originally floor-length.  I had it shortened to tea-length to make it a bit less formal.  The agate slices were actually made from resin with a friend's help.  If I ever have to work with resin again, it'll be far too soon.



We walked down the aisle with pictures of us from when we were younger.  My picture is from our first date.  His was from our wedding.



Of course, we included Artie as he brought us our new rings.


My husband's new ring is tungsten but had a rose gold plated interior.  My new ring is a rose gold vine with flowers studded with diamonds and a pearl as the main "stone."






All the flowers were the silk flowers from our original wedding hand-painted to match our vow renewal.



We had breakfast served while we took photos, then returned to cut the cake and serve donuts.  My husband and I aren't much for breakfast, so a single donut was more than enough.





The vow renewal itself was "officiated" by my old boss and dear friend who knew us since our relationship first started.  My husband's original best man and my dear friend from college gave speeches during the reception.  We had two tarot readers and a caricature artist, mimosas and wine tastings, and some gentle music provided by a DJ.  Just a mellow, lazy Saturday morning - just the way we liked it!

Our Second Honeymoon


When we got married in 2008, we definitely didn't have the money to take a major vacation.  Instead, my husband and I traveled to the next city over and spent less than three days there before returning to work.  This time, we decided to go all out.  I told my husband that I would take care of the vow renewal if he planned the vacation - and plan he did!

We spent a week in a cabin located in a sleepy little Colorado mountain town.






We walked around the Monarch Mountain area and drove through Poncha Pass, generally enjoying the springtime mountain views.


But even the view right from our cabin was incredible.


We did several wine and beer tastings, ate some incredible food, and shopped in their downtown area where I picked up my very first tarot deck ever.

 

You might be surprised to know that, after being a witch for nearly 20 years, I've never been very into tarot.  That being said, this particular deck, The Luminous Void, just called to me.  It also played a large role in helping me through my crisis of faith.  I'm very connected to this deck, though I'm still learning it.



But mostly, we just relaxed at the cabin, watched movies, caught up on some reading, and slept a whole bunch.


On our last few days there, it dumped nearly 9 inches of snow on us, which gave us the opportunity to use the hot tub in the snow.  I was all for this.



It's hard to see it in the pictures, but it's still actively snowing.  My husband's hair got frozen, which we found absolutely hilarious.  We probably spent hours going back and forth from the hot tub in sub-freezing temperatures.


It was incredibly hard to leave.  I've learned very quickly that I'm definitely a mountain/forest witch and I absolutely loved Colorado.  But we had to return to real life.


Upon returning home, we found a gift from the same friend that helped me with the resin slices on our table.



This adorable box contained pictures from every aspect of our vow renewal.  I now have it sitting on an altar to mine and my husband's marriage.

My Husband Quit His Job

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but my husband has been struggling with his job for many years.  He worked as an IT project manager at a local manufacturing company.  The only IT person for a staff of 250+, he managed not only the factory but multiple other buildings and was constantly on call.  He would regularly work 7 am - 7 pm, then spend all evening until 2-4 am on the phone, rarely getting sleep or even so much as a break.  We couldn't go to dinner together or do much of anything in the evenings because he was so busy with work. They tried to force him to go out of town right before our vow renewal during the most crucial stages of getting things rounded up.  During our vacation, they even tried to call him numerous times while we were up in the mountains with very little signal and no way to actually solve anything.  It was a pretty toxic environment.

Since January, he had been actively searching for a job but had no time to really put towards the search.  We actually speculated that there would be no way for him to go to an interview either. 

On our drive back, my husband turned to me and said, "I... I think I have to quit."

He put in his resignation when we returned from the trip and officially quit his job on May 31st.  As of June 1st, I became the sole income of the house.

Because we hoped to find him a job within the first few months, we opened up the search nationwide.  For a while, we thought we might be moving out of KC. He had several phone interviews across the nation, from California to Virginia.  We even flew out to a couple of them, but none panned out.

One month.  Two months. Three months. Four months went by.  He was applying for upwards of 20 jobs a day, interviewing nearly every day, and collaborating with numerous recruitment agencies.  His resume was solid, his skillset was great, and his asking salary was spot on according to these agencies.  They even said he interviewed very well, but the offers never came in.  

Those of you who kept up with previous personal updates know that I work as a caricature artist.  I'm an independent contractor for a number of agencies working specifically in the event entertainment industry.  


I've been incredibly lucky that I've usually had a second income to back me up (aside from a few times my husband was laid off during the recession and, even then, he found jobs pretty quickly).  Fortunately, I've never been unemployed myself but I've rarely known moments where we don't have two incomes.  I'm not going to lie: I was absolutely terrified at the prospect of my husband being unemployed for an extended period of time.  We had savings or we would've never taken the leap, but my income?  It's not a fixed thing.  It varies depending on the number of events I work a month and nothing is guaranteed.  It's a fantastic job that keeps me busy usually more than full time but I've never been forced to find out if I could support both of us, our five pets, a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, a new car, and my husband's student loans totally on my own.

And it turns out?  I totally can!


I had my suspicions.  I technically bought our house.  I paid the downpayment and the inspection.  I elected to pay a massive downpayment on my car so my loan would be smaller.  I've actually bought all of our cars.  But until you're thrown into the fire, you don't really know, right?  I'm so thrilled to know, with total certainty, that I am a successful artist.  And you know what?  I'm damn proud of myself for it.


Also, to quell any fears, my husband did, in fact, find a new job.  He started in late October.  So far, it's exactly what we've been looking for.  He works 8-5 and is only on call for one out of every seven weeks because the company has an IT staff of seven.  It's also a step in the direction he's been wanting to go.  His previous job seemed to be priming him for employee management, but he's been wanting to specialize instead.  He now works as an application support engineer with ample opportunity for specializing.

The only thing is that it is across the city and technically across the state line.  If he truly likes it and we're certain he'll be staying with it long-term, it's very likely that we'll be saving up to buy a new house in the next 3-5 years.  That's much sooner than I'd planned on moving out of Rhoeas Hearth but also, I'm not necessarily upset about that.  Moving to the other side of the city might be the kind of change I need.  Besides, most of my gigs are on that side of the city, so it'd make my drive times much shorter in the long run.

So good news on that front!

The Familiars/Pets

Many of you have asked about the familiars/pets.  I'll give you a pet-by-pet breakdown here in a second but let's start by saying that all five are happy and healthy.  We had a few health issues but no big health scares over the past year and they're all doing well, including our parrot, Iris.  Now on to the individual updates!

Artemis


Once back from the vow renewal, Artie got his own photoshoot as a partial donation to our local pet shelter.




We also took him to our local dog park a few times.


We did find a couple of extra lumps on his tail and under his front leg (armpit-ish area), but they all turned out to be benign lipomas.


I went ahead and had those removed because of his history of having a cancerous mast cell tumor.  I want to make sure that I can't confuse a new lump for an old one, so it's simply a precaution.



As usual, Artie played the pumpkin monster to my witch costume as we handed out candy for Halloween.  I think Halloween is his favorite holiday because it involves kids and attention.


Otherwise, he's had a pretty chill life.

Zeus


Zeus did have a minor constipation issue during the past year that involved him going to the emergency vet eventually, but otherwise, he's been pretty well.


Zeus is a super laid-back cat so there's rarely much to update about him.  Which is good!  I'd rather have no updates than big ones when it comes to the cats.

Hermes


Like Zeus, there's not much to update about Hermes.


I do think it's funny that he's struggling with how loud Iris is given that he was previously the loudest member of our household.  He frequently "grumbles" when she gets too loud and I have to remind him that, not too long ago, the other familiars would complain about him.


But, other than that, nothing new.

Apollo


Apollo, my lovable derp, is still my lovable derp as always.


We did have an incident with a night terror in August where he accidentally tore across my face and shoulder.  I panicked because, at the time, we didn't have health insurance and I really thought he ripped my eyelid.



Everything ended up being fine but I do feel like, eventually, we need to nail down exactly what's going on with him.  Like, yes, I love him for everything he is but why is he so derpy?  We don't really have an answer for that.


He also has no real psychological reason to have night terrors.  We've raised him since six weeks old.  The reason he sleeps on his back so frequently is that he's never known fear in our household.  So I'm not sure what caused him to tear out, full claws, from a dead sleep.


Other than that incident, though, he's been just fine!

Iris


Despite the hilarity of the above drawing which, to some extent, is still true, our Angry Avocado is becoming quite the sweet honeydew.


In January, we finally got the all-clear for all of her infections.  We finally have a healthy birb!



In February, we built her a massive playground around my desk that allows her to climb from my monitor in front of the window all the way around to the door.


In early April, we began officially molting and completed that by the end of May.


We learned that she definitely does not handle the Fourth of July very well as she spent most the night with us in the bedroom panicked (but look at how healthy her new feathers look!!  And her pants are full!).


The entire time we've had Iris, she's been deeply afraid of water.  To bathe her, we've had to burrito her and dip her in a bowl of room temperature water.  But recently (as in, just the end of October), she started showing an interest in joining me in the shower.  She even began to get excited and started flapping her wings!  


And at the beginning of this month, she officially took a bath in the shower all on her own for the very first time!  


She's still hesitant about water - she'll jump in and out of the shower even though I've put her perch only just barely touching the water - but she gets herself fully wet and groomed.  I'm so ridiculously proud of her.  This is a huge step forward in trust, not just of me, but of her environment.


She has come a very, very long way from the timid, fearful, angry parrot we adopted.  Iris has really blossomed, especially in these last few months, as an eager participant in our family.  I'm so glad we adopted her. <3

And, for your enjoyment, here are some pictures of groups of the pets:









Now that we've gotten all the personal stuff out of the way, let's talk about the blog!

Why I Returned to Witchy Words

When I put Witchy Words on hiatus in April, I did so for my mental health.  It wasn't just the crisis of faith or the harassment, either. I hadn't actively written anything for the blog since early February and every passing day that I didn't tackle writing made me feel worse.  I would constantly pull up Blogger and stare at a blinking cursor until I eventually just closed it.  I didn't even really know how to put into words what was going on in my head.

Being an avid writer who can't write is infuriating.  It took me 70 days to figure out that I had to walk away if I had any hopes of salvaging my love of writing, let alone the blog itself given that I came out the other side of my crisis of faith still a witch.  And honestly?  Those 70 days are way less than the reality.  The reality is that I'd been struggling with Witchy Words since 2018.  I had hoped that things would change if I kept pressing forward.  But, as I said in my first article back, "faking it until you make it" doesn't really work in a crisis of faith.

When I left, I truly didn't think I was going to come back.  And, to be fair, I had plenty of stuff to fill my time.  I spent most of February through May prepping for the vow renewal.  Then, my husband's unemployment meant I couldn't say no to a single gig from the end of May on.  I love my job but I am burned out, as would be expected after four and a half months of non-stop go.

In August, despite doing well since my husband's unemployment, my anxiety officially began to ramp up over finances.  I was afraid that I would need to dip into savings if my job slowed down in October as it usually does (it didn't) and my husband was still unemployed (he wasn't).  I started culling back expenses and one of the services I hadn't unsubscribed from was my P.O. box for Witchy Words.  I went to the mail office with every intention of clearing it out of junk mail and closing the box entirely.

What I didn't expect was to find actual mail in it.  Specifically, a letter about the end of my blog.  

In the letter, reader Stephanie from Texas expressed great sadness over the loss of Witchy Words.  They thanked me for my guidance over the years and wished me well. My summary does it absolutely no justice, but it was an incredibly moving letter.

Instead of closing my P.O. box that day, I just... left.  I took the letter to my local cafe and read it several more times.  I took it home and pinned it to my office board.  I read it over and over again.

Because of everything that happened since my hiatus, my crisis of faith had mostly been relegated to therapy sessions.  I hadn't had to deal with it outside of weekly hour stints and only if it was at the forefront of my mind, which it often wasn't.  Now I had to actually face it in real life.  Was I still in limbo?

Over the next week, I mulled over every aspect and found, to my surprise, that I really did want to return to Witchy Words.  I wondered whether my desire to come back was just attention-seeking.  Was I only doing it for the views?  Was I just that addicted to blogging and social media?

Because what good is facing the light if I'm not examining the shadow?

But it wasn't like my P.O. box was overflowing with letters.  It wasn't like I received mass comments every day about my leaving.  This was a single letter.  I had had a big enough impact on, at very least, this one reader that they sit down and wrote me a physical letter to my P.O. box.

What if, even if my crisis of faith, I still had something worth writing?  Something worth reading?  What if, even for just one person, my voice could be useful?

And that specifically is what my return boiled down to.  I am a Virgo decan 2, an ISTJ on the MBTI.  I am, above everything, a helper type.  I want, truly want, to help.  While I love my job, it doesn't exactly "give back."  I'm, frankly, spoiled rotten when it comes to career.  It's a selfish job choice.  I don't have many opportunities to give in the way that I want to.

That's why I started a coven.  That's why I created the novice program through that coven.   I would have been just as happy helping a teacher or aiding in a coven, but that wasn't an opportunity.  There weren't any strictly-witchcraft covens.  Most of my area covens were Wiccan, and I am most decidedly not.  If it wasn't available, I was going to create the availability, even if it failed miserably. My coven was my way of giving back, and I no longer had that.

But through Witchy Words, I can do just that.

So I'm back.

The Future of Witchy Words

When I decided to come back to Witchy Words, I wanted to do so in moderation.  In the past, I've produced two articles a week on top of leading a coven and participating in the community.  My life outside of work was devoured by witchcraft.  It could have been one of the many reasons I burned out.  So, when I looked at my calendar upon my return, I decided that writing an article a week was doable.  From here on out, you can expect a new article every Friday, as voted on in the survey by readers of the blog.  That also includes personal updates, though I'll be scaling them back to once every two months - both because I've halved the number of articles I'm producing and because I just don't think I'll have much to update on every single month.

In February, when I stopped writing, I had numerous series that were left uncompleted, from thrifty altars to essential gemstones and more.  I don't like to leave series incomplete.  For 2020, I will be writing to complete those series.  That's part of the reason I gave myself over 50 days to return to the blog.  I even participated in NaNoWriMo this month and currently have all the essential articles for 2020 down to thrifty altars and personal updates written.  I wanted to create a backlog of articles so I couldn't fall behind again.  My goal is to complete major series I started at the beginning of 2019. This includes:

A Shadow Work Series
13 Essential Gemstones
13 Essential Herbs
Retrograde Survival Guide Infographs
Sabbat Listing Posts
A Meet the Familiars Series

Because I'm writing half the articles I typically do, it's difficult to cram this many series into one year.  A few, such as the herbs and retrograde survival guides, will extend into next year.

For the next few months, I won't have to worry about writing anything beyond personal updates and thrifty altars, giving me the opportunity to simply enjoy Witchy Words as is.  Come March, I'll be returning to the grind to work on articles for 2021.  In fact, I already have March's writing calendar planned out sans five articles.  That will leave me with one big series of 12 articles and 9 more articles to tackle in November.

Something you can look forward to in 2021 is a total rebranding of Witchy Words to more closely match my current practice.  I've enjoyed the pink and purple hues, the pearls, the 1950s glitter stars, and the brushy, cursive fonts since 2014.  That being said, I think those align more closely with my previous focus on hosting sabbat celebrations, creating pretty altars, and having aesthetic cups of tea.  My practice really isn't that anymore.  I'm working with a graphic designer this round - not just myself - to create something more honed in on my practice, which I'm hoping to unveil at the start of 2021.  A new change for a new year!

As of right now, that's the sum of my plans.  I'm always open to any article suggestions you may have in comments or on social media, of course, and I'll be hosting an official giveaway for article feedback in October.  Plus, you never know when I might just host a random giveaway.  Owning a parrot means I can't use paraffin wax, incense, or essential oils, and being a prior coven coordinator/HPS thrice-over means that I have a lot of that stuff on hand.  There's no reason why any of that should go to waste, so I certainly see a few small giveaways in the future.


See you in the next personal update, witches!