Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Beannachtaí Na Féile Bríde Oraibh!

There is no denying that there has been a lot of tension, pain and anger for many around the last few months, to the point of being palpable. Unfortunately I don't think that this is going away quite yet. 

For those of us who are exhausted, ragged, and raw, Imbolc is a great time to do some purification and remedial work. Brigid can help heal our wounded hearts and grant us strength, and her day is one of hope and renewal.

Here are a few previous posts that might be of interest to give you some more information and ideas:

Should you wish to participate in something that is more ongoing, there is a lovely project that recently started called Tending the Flame of Hope, which will be ongoing over the next four years. It is promoting the act of daily flame keeping and devotionals:
"Every day, until (at least) January 20, 2021, we'll be lighting up a candle to keep the flame of hope alive, physically and in our hearts. We kindle it with the intention to bring hope to all, and we encourage you to share the pictures we take of the candles. There may be additional intentions: Liberty, Joy, Unity... but always, "Hope" is where the kindling begins."
~Tending the Flame of Hope 

If you are a devotee to Brigid {or wish to be} and are not already a flamekeeper, there are many groups dedicated to tending to her flame. Two such groups Nigheanan Brìghde {a sisterhood that I belong to} and Ord Brighideach International {cells that are mixed, brotherhoods and sisterhoods}.

I have found support and a sense of community in the group that I belong to and I am glad that I joined. 

Finally, I leave you with a lovely video about some of the Irish lore and traditions of Imbolc.

No matter how you may {or may not} observe this time, may Brigid's fire bring you comfort and may her waters be a balm to you. Beannachtaí na Féile Bríde agus Imbolc oraibh/ Brigid's Day & Imbolc blessings to you all!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lustral Bath Melts

This was my first time making bath melts, and the recipe I used is pretty simple. If you have ever made candles before, you should find making bath melts quite easy. The recipe I used can be found over at DIY Natural, for which I doubled the measurements to get four large bath melts {one could probably be broken up for three baths each}.

I made these bath melts with purification in mind, and just in time for Imbolc. The plants I used are often associated with purification and I added a few extra for overall blessings: birch bark, dandelion leaf, heather flowers, juniper berries, lavender flowers, lemon verbena, rose petals, thyme, vervain and yarrow. I also added peppermint essential oil, for both purification and is great for relaxation.

Really though, there are all sorts of combinations of herbs and essential oils that you could use, whether for magical or mundane purposes. Experimenting is half the fun! 

I ended up using metal candy molds, and I had a bit of trouble getting them out. Next time I think I will use silicone molds. After removing them I stored them in a mason jar in the fridge, just to be sure that they don't get all melty.



Thursday, December 22, 2016

All the Best of the Season to You!

As the Old Woman of winter shakes her cloak and blasts us with snow and winds, may you all have merriment to keep your spirits bright and be blessed with all the comforts the body needs on these long cold winter nights! 

I leave you with a lovely poem and reading that I thought was suitable for this time of year by Adam Christianson: 

"When harpers once in wooden hall
A shining chord would strike
Their songs like arrows pierced the soul
Of great and low alike
Aglow by hearth and candle flame
From burning branch ot ember
The mist of all their music sang
As if to ask in wonder
Is there a moment quite as keen
Or memory as bright
As light and fire and music (sweet)
To warm the winter's night?"

Warm Hearts & Hearths!


Friday, December 16, 2016

Homemade for the Holidays Part 2

I have recently been getting my Pinterest-inspired Yuletide craftiness on, so I thought that I would share some ideas for thrifty gifts and decorations. Enjoy and happy crafting!

Bottle Brush Tree in a Teacup

This little pretty cost almost nothing to make. The teacup and saucer were about 50 cents and the bottle brush tree is from the dollar store. The little decorations are faux pearls found in a thrift store craft bag and the hearts are from a card making kit from the dollar store. 

Framed Wrapping Paper

This is an idea I got from some friends which I used a couple of years back for some pretty vintage wrapping paper I had found. This is something that you could also do with gift bags or greeting cards that you like. You may have a framed already on hand that you can use or find one at your local thrift shop. 

Saucer Dioramas

I have seen some people use old ornament boxes, spools or ribbon and other items as their launching point for their diorama. I found a batch various Christmas saucers so I decided to use some of those. The figurines are both thrifted finds and I used items that I had around such as pine cones, holiday greeting cards, and old bits of kitschy greenery and garland. 

Yuletide Recipe Book 

For a while now I have been on a mission to find the right box or photo album to hoard my holiday recipes in. I found this one in a bargain bin for $3.00 at a local gift store. It has sleeves that will fit recipe cards and dividers and pockets as well. So far I have only decorated the outside but I intend on doing the inside as well and making snazzy recipe cards. 

Festive Plant Markers

These are actually "paper wands" that I thought would look cute in house plants. I used paper straws, cupcake liners, doilies, stickers and bits from a card making kit all from the dollar store. In the bottom I stuffed a piper cleaner up the straw to stick in the plants. I think that these would be a nice touch to add to a plant that you are giving as a gift!

Bottle Brush Trees in Retro Santa Mugs 

This is pretty much the same idea as the bottle brush tree in a teacup, but this time I used vintage Santa mugs. The bottle brush trees are again from the dollar store, and some of the bits I used are from card making kits {again from the dollar store}, faux pearls and little ornaments. I think that turned out pretty nifty. 

Wrapping Paper Candles

The idea for this easy project came from this blog, which also has match books that you can dress up as well. I used some wrapping paper that I had around and sparkles and slapped them in some candles with some Modge Podge. Next time I will definitely give the match books a try as well!




Sunday, October 30, 2016

I Am Going Home With Thee...

"I am going home with thee.
To thine eternal bed, 
To thy perpetual sleep."

May your Samhain be filled with joy and memories surrounded by loved ones here and past! 

Warm Hearts & Hearths,


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A New Haunt

Yesterday the better half and I went exploring a lovely woodland and wetland area that is delightfully close to our new home.

Upon arrival we were immediately greeted by oak, linden, ash, maple and other deciduous pretties, along with various songs of birds. I was surprised that this place is tucked right in the city.

After walking for a half a km or so, we came out to an expanse of wetland, that we could cross using a bridge. While crossing I found myself being reminded of the ancient trackways found in Irish bogs. It's definitely not like any route I take on a regular basis.

On the other side of the wetland we were met by path that was flanked by a hedgerow on one side and a wood on the other. Eventually the wood turned into a mix with more coniferous trees, along with some ferny and mossy fixins'.  

The trail led us right down to Lake Ontario, but we decided to turn around and head back the way we came.

I have a feeling that I will be frequenting this stretch for both ritual and wildcrafting. I am looking forward to getting to know the local flora and fauna, as well as the local spirits.

This city is starting to feel like home.