Monday, August 20, 2018

House Emergency Fundraiser



I wish I were coming to you with happier news today.  Shortly after my last personal update here on Witchy Words, we had a small flood in our laundry room.  Just a little backup, so no big deal, right?  Turns out, very big deal.  After having 8 plumbers come out and check our sewer line for second opinions, we've determined we need it replaced pretty much right now.  I had no idea this was coming.  It didn't show up on our home inspection two years ago and we haven't had any major issues with it before.  It smacked me right in the face.


This disgusting looking image is part of the camera they snaked through the line.  Here, you can see where a large root has shot through the joint of the line, nearly breaking it apart.  This happens at every joint, along with two unstable cracks.

The best quote for the most comprehensive replacement was $9100-11800 USD.  That will replace all the cast iron drainage in the laundry room, all of the clay pipe entirely out to the main, the joint at the main if that's our responsibility, and replace the cement and dirt dug up in the process.  It also comes with a 10 year warranty, which is the length of time we plan to stay here at Rhoeas Hearth.


This hit at the strangest time.  We were just stable enough that I rescued Iris, our new parrot, though she's had a multitude of health issues.  After a large sum of medical testing, my husband just found out that he's missing a spinal drainage tube which is causing his chronic migraines.  I was just put on an immunosupressant injection a few months ago, which is costly.  While we have a savings, I'm desperately trying not to touch it in lieu of all the medical issues we're running against.  Plus, we finally have a savings.  That's never happened in our 10 years of marriage.  That savings is allowing us to host a vow renewal next year, of which non-refundable deposits have long been made.  There's no going back there.  Basically, I'd like to keep the stability we've found and the savings we have in case either mine, my husband's or Iris's medical issues blow up in our face in the process.

My husband's parents have graciously offered to cover $7000 of the cost, which... I'm speechless about.  That leaves us liable for the remaining $2100-4800, depending on what they find when they start digging.  We're looking into obtaining a loan from either our bank our mortgage company for the remainder but, with all of these medical emergencies and the fact that we're already pretty well in debt between the house and my husband's student loans, we'd like to minimize that amount as much as possible.

The bottom line is that we're suddenly looking at about $4800 for the sewer line replacement and that replacement is happening in two weeks.

I'm currently taking on extra work, as is my husband, and we're attempting to whittle at that cost as much as we can.  That being said, my passion project is this blog.  I haven't had a Patreon since 2016, only a Ko-Fi "tip jar."  All funds, be it from Patreon before, Ko-Fi now or any ads on the site go directly to managing the costs of the site itself.  I make nothing off of Witchy Words.

I'm totally okay with that.  I enjoy blogging here and I love offering up what I've learned over my journey for others to read for free!

However, if you have enjoyed my work and want to give back, please either share the GoFundMe campaign or, if you have a few dollars to spare, help us out.  Both are incredibly appreciated and help us cushion the blow of this sudden emergency repair.

Thank you so much for everything, everyone!  Bear with me as I work hard the next few weeks to make this happen!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

How to Create a Tea Light Spell Candle


Candles are a common tool of the Craft.  As witches, we use them in spells, rituals, divination and more.  We can dress them up in all sorts of ways to better focus the energy towards our intended purpose.  From salting candles to charging, a vast array of methods exist to create spell candles.  Today, by popular request, we're going to discuss just one of many techniques based on the candles I made for my 10k Giveaway box a while back.  This method, while producing an elaborate appearance, is surprisingly simple and creates a completed spell candle in just a few minutes!  Here's how!

TOOLS NEEDED


Heat Gun or Hair Dryer:  A craft heat gun with low airflow would probably work best for this but, if you don't have one, don't worry! Nor do I.  I use my hair dryer and get a similar effect.  Be warned: Depending on the speed of your hair dryer and the wax in the candle, you may get some wax splatters!

A Tea Light Candle in an ALUMINUM Holder: I cannot stress this enough.  Some tea lights, particularly ones made of soy, come in plastic holders.  Unfortunately, this plastic has a low melting point and is prone to catching fire.  I strongly suggest using a tea light in a simple aluminum base.  The candle itself should be whatever color you need for your purpose or, if you don't have a specific color, white will do in a pinch.  You can even color the candle yourself with crayons or food coloring, though that's a tutorial for another time.

AT LEAST ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

Herbs: Any dried herbs that fit your purpose and are safe to burn will work perfectly.  If you're working with whole dried herbs, crunch or grind them up in advance.

Essential Oil and Dropper: Again, any essential oil that's safe to burn and fits your goal will work.  Having a dropper makes it easier to add your favorite essential oil to the candle.

Semi-Precious Gemstone Shards: It's important that you're working with small pieces of gemstones rather than large ones as you don't want to smother your candle!

Carving Tool: If you want to inscribe a sigil into the wax of your candle, a carving tool is handy.  While many people use a kitchen knife, X-Acto knife or other sharp object, I find a bottle opener seems to work best - and is far safer!


THE PROCESS

Your first step is to select the candle you're going to use.  Any tealight with an aluminum base will work.  I tend to pick tea lights that have flaws, such as the large chunk missing out of the brown one below.  These tea lights may not look pretty now but they can be fixed with this process!

Next, if you're going to carve a sigil into the wax, you should do that now.  This is entirely optional but can be an effective way of charging your candle.  The sigil will be activated by the heat and merge its energy into the wax as it melts.


If you make a mistake with your sigil, don't worry!  You can heat the candle up using the hair dryer and it'll be good as new, ready for a fresh start!


Make sure the wick is standing up.  You'll want to repeat this step every time before you heat the candle to ensure you don't lose the wick in the process.


Now comes the first time you'll heat up the candle using your hair dryer or heat gun.  You will do this between each step.  Watch your fingers as this can get very hot!  Have your candle resting on a heat-resistant surface, such as a stove top, skillet or hot plate with any precautions nearby for hot wax or burns.


Once the top layer of the wax is melted to a liquid state, you're ready to add a few drops of essential oil if you like.  I start with the essential oil because it's already liquid and easy to mix with the wax.  You also won't be overheating and losing any other components in the process. Keep in mind that you'll need to move quickly between each step as the wax will harden fast!


After standing the wick back up and heating it with your heat gun or dryer again, you'll be ready to add any herbs to your spell candle.  Again, make sure you reach a liquid state - not just soft wax - before adding your herbs.  I choose herbs as my second addition because I still have plenty of space and little direction over exactly where the flakes of the herb land.


You'll also want to press your herbs into the wax gently with your nail or heat-resistant tool such as a butter knife or spoon.  This secures the herbs so that, when you use the blow dryer again, they won't fly out.


Finally, after ensuring the wick is standing and hitting the candle with the heat gun or hair dryer again until the wax is at least soft, you can add any gemstone shards you like.  Here, you have more control over where the gemstones land.  Press them firmly into the wax to ensure they won't blow out.

Heat your candle for the last time with the blow dryer or heat gun and allow it to cool completely.  In the end, from the first heat to the last, this whole process takes just a few minutes!


Once you are done, you should have a spell candle infused with sigils, essential oils, herbs and/or gemstones that won't fall out when held upside down!  You're now ready to use your spell candle in any way you see fit!


SOME TIPS

Once again, it's important that you use a tea light candle in an aluminum holder and perform this craft on a heat-resistant surface with all the safety precautions needed nearby.

Gather everything you need to create your candle before you begin.  Trust me, that wax will harden way faster than you anticipate.  The process is so fast and it's much easier if each component is within arm's reach.

If you're working with a hair dryer, be prepared for it to blow everywhere unintentionally.  I like to place a sturdy cup over my components - any herbs, gemstones, etc - that I'm working with while I'm heating the candle to avoid these items flying off the table.

Heat the candle with a heat gun or blow dryer from the top instead of using a hot surface like a candle warmer or the stove on a low setting.  If you heat the candle from below, you will lose the wick.  It will slide to the side, drop into the wax and generally be impossible to stand back upright.

Be sure to lift the wick and hit the candle with heat between every step and at the very end.  This secures each component, ensuring that they cannot fall out of the candle.

Don't feel like you have to carve a sigil into the wax and add essential oil and add herbs and use gemstones.  I like to pick three or four components (ie two herbs and an essential oil) and keep it simple.

Don't add too many herbs and gemstones that you smother the wick.  It shouldn't take much to create a solid spell candle.  Here's some proof that these can and do burn all the way down when given the appropriate amount of space for the wick to breathe:


RECIPES

My favorite part of creating these spell candles is that I can use whatever I have on hand.  I personally believe that spells we create ourselves hold the most power and intent.  That being said, if you'd like some inspiration or recipes, here's what I created for this article:






Happy spell candle making!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

[Part Eight] Hermetic Spellcraft: The Principle of Gender


"Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes." 

The Conflicting Clause?

When we see the word gender in this principle, we immediately associate it with the social and cultural concept of personal identity.  This becomes immediately problematic for a variety of reasons, the first being the obvious polarity presented.  We're aware that gender, as we understand it in humans, is anything but binary.  In fact, the Principle of Polarity tells us that every dichotomy we can think of exists on a spectrum.  This also includes gender.  That's right: Hermeticism teaches us that gender identity is a spectrum.  So why, then, does a latter principle seem to conflict a former?

The reality is that this clause isn't speaking about gender in terms of identity or even biological sex, which would also be a polarity and a misnomer.  Instead, the word gender is going back to the Latin root of the word meaning to "birth" or "create."  We see this creation on every level of each plane, from the tugging of the electrons and protons that form the atom to the XX and XY combination that creates human life.  All planes focus on creation, thus updating the axiom to:

"Creation is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Creation manifests on all planes." 


But That's Still Not Quite Right.

The Kybalion was written in 1908, at a time where men were masculine and women were feminine.  When the Three Initiates use the words "masculine" and "feminine" in this line, they're talking about a type of creation energy.  Masculine is seen as powerful, forceful and outward-bound, a term synonymous with will, direction and expression, whereas feminine is inward, gestative and open, the epitome of ideas, creativity and and imagination.  Keep in mind that these are associations I don't necessarily agree with in our modern definitions of gender traits but rather what the Three Initiates would have inferred from their societal definitions at the time of writing The Kybalion.  So, in this case, is projective and feminine is receptive.

"Creation is in everything; everything has its Projective and Receptive Principles; Creation manifests on all planes." 

Maintaining Balance

Now that we have updated this principle's language to modern terminology, we can strive to better understand it.  The Principle of Gender states that everything has power to create.  If everything has projective and receptive principles, then that means we too have both within our mental framework.  We are able to generate new thoughts and ideas through imagination and creativity.  We do this by being receptive to the world around us.  We receive information and process it internally, gestating it, bringing it to new life.  Likewise, we also have the power of will and direction, the ability to express those ideas we've gestated into a physical form.  We do this by projecting our energy outward.

Imperative to this principle is a need for balance between the two.  It's important that we listen as much as we talk, learn as much as we teach and, in terms of magic, utilize projective and receptive energy in equal measures.  By creating this balance within ourselves, we encourage the world around us to seek the same balance.  We avoid creating too much out of emptiness or receiving too much that we cannot handle.  We avoid chaos and stagnation.  Balance is essential.


The Visualization:  The Catcher's Glove and the Pitcher's Hand


In the previous principle, we defined that we are responsible for the cause and effect of our planes.  For the first time, we placed ourselves within the visualization framework.





Today, we add a simple baseball glove.  In our Hermetic visualization, we can now see that we're not the only one casting our energy, or "pitching our ball."  Around us are all the spells, intents, wishes, hopes and dreams flying in near-chaos.  We cannot control those - we can only control ourselves.  We can choose to cast our own energy outward or receive what we need in the form of another energy cast towards us.  We can either project or receive.  We are both the pitcher and the catcher.


In Magic

The Principle of Gender requires us to balance the receptive with the projective.  When formulating your spell, think about whether you need to be projective or receptive to achieve your goals.  In fact, consider utilizing both: Gestate, listen, learn - then will, direct and teach.  This is often why witches are encouraged to use divination before casting a spell to ensure their spell will work as intended.  Divination is a way of listening and learning, then gestating and formulating an idea.  Other options include speaking with deities or spirits, dream work, trance, astral travel and hedge crossing.  You can also utilize a spell building worksheet as a guide for creating your spell down to the most minute detail before casting.  Then, given that your receptive phase encourages you to move forward, do the spell.  Doing a spell without any prep or planning can lead to chaos.  Getting stuck in the planning phase can lead to stagnation.  A balance of both is the best way to cast a spell!


Part Nine: Putting it All Together