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?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Midsummer Altar 2017

For all altars, click here!

Midsummer celebrates the longest day of the year, focusing on the sun as a source of projective energy.  As the longest day of the year, it's a time where we focus on working hard, seeing our goals become reality and bringing that which is in the shadow to light.  This solstice is a day of courage and strength, a day where we examine our constitution and do away with that which does not serve us so that we can move forward towards our future, our hopes, our dreams.

Because the sun is a key focus on this holiday, I chose to decorate my altar in hues of gold.  Gold is a fiery color, representing strength, success and, of course, solar energy.  I chose white as an accent color because it represents the clear light the sun projects, giving purity, protection, peace and life.

Along the back of the altar, I placed five candles.  You'll notice that they vary in size, ranging from a thin and gold to large and polka-doted.  Each candle represents a time of day: Dawn, morning, afternoon, evening and dusk.  You'll notice that night or midnight is not represented here.  That's because these candles are lit ablaze with fire and colored in gold and white; in other words, these candles represent the sun itself and its travel across our sky.

In front of the afternoon candle, representing the peak power of the sun, is an offering bowl filled with quartz pieces.  Quartz is an amplifier, representing protection and purification.

On top of the quartz are two golden flowers, representing summer life and abundance, as well as as a white feather tipped with gold paint and glitter.  White feathers represent transformation, purity, peace and intelligence along with the element air.

Two other offering bowls adorn the altar on either side, honoring the dawn and morning as well as the evening and dusk.  These offering bowls are filled with white sand, something I find representative of the summer and the beach.  In the sand, a feather, a flower and a tiger's eye are placed.  Tiger's eye is a solar stone representing strength and protection.  Because it's a stone also tied with the earth, it's a fantastic grounding stone.

Midsummer is often closely tied to the Fae and what better way to honor them than to offer up fairy lights on the altar?  That being said, these lights are contained, presenting the protective nature of the house.  As much as I love fairies, they're mischievous little spirits.  I'd much rather be able to find my keys tonight when I need them!

You'll notice that all of the elements are properly represented on the altar: Fire for fire of course, but feathers for air, flowers and tiger's eye for earth and the fairies for water (I associate any spirit-like entity with the west, as that's where the veil is located in my frame of reference).

The altar itself is a beacon in the house, a glowing hub of gold welcoming the longest day of the year and the projective energy of the sun for success, growth and forward movement.

Here's wishing everyone a fantastic Summer Solstice!

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Center Spiral: A Kansas City Witches Meetup Online Magazine

Part of the reason I've fallen behind on Witchy Words this month has been my participation on staff with The Center Spiral.  It was a lot of late nights and early mornings, but here it finally is!

Click here to read the first issue.
Find The Center Spiral on Facebook here.