Down the Garden Path: The Story of My Christmas Cactus.

This is my Christmas Cactus, and it has a unique backstory of how it arrived in this country.

Last summer, my husband did a side job, (he works in construction), and the owner of a house he was working on had this beautiful bushy Christmas Cactus. Hubby and I love plants of all kinds. We used to have fifty-two houseplants in our apartment when we first got married, so naturally he started talking about it to the homeowner. According to the owner, this cactus came to Canada after WW2. A male relative was fighting in Italy during WW2 and either found the plant there and brought back a piece, or was given a piece by a villager. The soldier tucked it carefully into his uniform and there it stayed. When the soldier returned, he potted up the piece and it’s been growing ever since.

The owner asked if Hubby wanted a piece, and of course he said yes! I was a little concerned at first. I’ve had Christmas Cacti before and they never seem to last, and as this little piece sat in a glass of water to root that fear came back. This little plant, part of a seventy-six year old plant had an incredible story, and I wanted to be able to tell people about it. It took a while; it’s a stubborn plant, but it rooted. Now this small cutting is thriving and I can hardly wait to see what colour the flowers will be. I’m keeping it on the kitchen table. It likes it there, so hopefully this holiday season we’ll have a beautiful centerpiece for our dinner.  

The Crystal Realm: Metaphysical Metals.

I want to take a break from crystals on this post and write about metals. As you all know, I love crystals. I, like million around the globe, believe strongly that they have an effect on the human body, but did you know that metal also has an effect? Just like crystals, metals interact with our personal energy field in much the same way. This is why jewelry can be a powerful talisman as it harnesses both the properties of the stone and the metal.

Like crystals, each type of metal has its associations with colour, positive/negative, planet, etc. One of the best books I’ve found on the subject is Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic. His book is my go-to for any information on crystals and metal; with only sixteen entries but it covers a wide range of elements. Some, I’ve never even heard of, but like a lot of his books, the information is very detailed and in-depth.

From the book, he writes;

‘Metals have been used for thousands of years as tools for hunting and cooking, and they’ve also been used for spiritual connections as well. In ancient times, metals were seen as ‘the flesh of the gods and goddesses’, the bones of the Earth.’**.  

One of the uses for crystals is in jewelry, and as all are made with metal, combining them to work with a specific stone can amplify the energy for both. There’s not a bad combination of crystal to metal that I can think of, but you would be wise to choose a metal/crystal combination that are more compatible, for example;

Silver is often the metal of choice for jewelry with a moonstone. They are connected to the moon, and many pieces of Wiccan jewelry for full moon ritual consist of both. Silver and moonstone are also receptive, which means they draw energy toward them. Wiccans wear silver/moonstone jewelry during ritual to connect or receive energy from the Goddess and the moon.

Another popular combination is gold and diamond. Both have projective energy and are ruled by the sun. It’s interesting to note that the magical lore of a diamond doesn’t list love as an attribute (rose quartz is the love stone), but it’s thought that diamonds ensure fidelity, so a man giving his love a diamond ring could signify that the wearer is the only one for them.

Below is a list of the metals Mr. Cunningham has outlined in his book.

Antimony – projective, ruled by the Sun, element of fire. (Caution; Highly toxic)

Boji Stones – projective, ruled by Mars, element of fire & Akasha

Brass – projective, ruled by the Sun, element of fire.

Copper – receptive, ruled by Venus, element of water.

Gold – projective, ruled by the Sun, element of fire.

Iron – projective, ruled by Mars, element of fire.

Lead – receptive, ruled by Saturn, element of earth.

Lodestone – receptive, ruled by Venus, element of water.

Mercury – projective & receptive, ruled by Mercury, element of water, earth, air.

Meteorite – projective, ruled by the universe, element of Akasha, fire.

Pyrite – projective, ruled by Mars, element of fire.

Silver – receptive, ruled by the Moon, element of water.

Steel – projective, ruled by Mars, element of fire.

Tin – projective, ruled by Jupitor, element of air.

I highly recommend picking up Cunningham’s book for more information on metal and the magical properties associated with each. The appendix in the back has six chapters that detail all correspondence to not only the metals but the stones as well. This book is a must have for beginners learning about crystals.

Blessed be, and stay safe.

A Wiccan Journey: Outdoor Ritual vs. Indoor Ritual.

The title is a bit misleading. I’m not going to compare to see which is better, rather the opposite. I want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and ways to overcome the disadvantages (if possible).

It only makes sense that outdoor rites be the norm, but if you live in a northern countries where there’s extreme weather during the winter, that might be easier said than done. In Canada, our cold weather (that includes snow) usually starts in December, and doesn’t really let up until April. Sometimes March if I’m lucky. That’s not too bad. It means I have seven months of possible outside rituals, weather permitting, of course.

I love outside rituals. There’s something calming about being outside at night. When we lived in the country, it was perfect. The only thing I heard were the wonderful sounds of night; leaves in the trees, the occasion animal, and maybe a stray car off in the distance. It has to be the most peaceful setting to conduct a ritual. Outdoor rites are simple to set up and require no cleansing of the space beforehand. This is the biggest advantage I can think of with outdoor rites. I have four stones that I’ve painted and have symbols of the elements on them. I place them on the ground facing the right direction, have a candle for each, some incense, earth, water, and a flame and that’s it. Once, I got really creative and gathered up sticks from around the house and placed them as the circle.

Now I live in the city, so the noise from traffic can interfere, which is why I tend to do them later on in the evening or closer to midnight. Being in the city also means your neighbours are closer. During the warmer weather, a few of our neighbours stay out longer, and more than once I’ve done ritual with them still messing around in their backyards. It’s difficult to focus when they’re playing music, laughing and talking, not to mention I’m keenly aware that they are there so it’s not as private as I’d like it to be. I had to really concentrate to keep my focus as I keep thinking they were watching me through their privacy fencing.

Indoor rites allows me to burn more candles and not have to worry about them blowing out or being knocked over. A room full of candle light sets an incredibly calm atmosphere and helps me to focus. I can also play music at a soothing level to add to the rite. It also gives me the privacy and quiet that I want. Well, until I’m visited by a cat. Once, my son came downstairs to get something to drink and interrupt. I let him know ahead of time now.

During the colder months, I go out and chant to the full moon, and then go back inside and do ritual. It’s a nice way to still connect with the outdoors without freezing. Inside, I use my altar and I set up a sacred circle. The rite takes a little longer because of the circle casting, but as I’m inside, I don’t have the elements to contend with. They’re also the task of cleansing a head of time. This can be as time consuming as you want. I’ve scrubbed down my whole work area with water that’s had vervain soaking in it. Now I just smudge.

Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor rites, the most important thing is to make it fun and personal to you. Sometimes, when I’ve had a busy day, I just stand outside with a white candle, chant for a few verses, say a prayer and that’s it. There are a lot of guides as to how you can do a ritual, and you don’t have to do exactly how they instruct. Pick and choose what you like. Make it as easy or complex as you wish.

Blessed Be, and stay safe.

Random Question.

Just because I need a filler post and can’t think of anything else to blog about, I decided to answer random questions from an online site I found. WordPress used to do them and I think they’re fun.

Do you have an app on your phone that you use, even though you hate it?

Yeah, my Fitbit app, only because I check it CONSTANTLY!

Hubby got me a Fitbit a few years back because I was right into counting steps, and all that fun stuff, not to mention I can no longer read an analog clock (seriously), so I figured this would be the whole two birds, one stone thing, but I have become obsessed with it. Checking it several times an hour; how many steps, heart-rate, resting heart-rate, logging food, calories, water, how was my sleep? Deep sleep, REM sleep, light sleep? They added a few more features too. Mind-fullness, tracking how many days I’ve exercised. Granted, it’s all for a good cause and keeping track of this stuff makes me more mind-full of what I’m doing, or not doing. Still, the fact that I’ve fallen into the habit of checking it so much is why I hate it. Is it enough to make me stop? Nope. It’s going to be one of those love/hate things for as long as it works.

Food in the time of Covid.

This last year has been interesting, to say the least, but one thing I wasn’t planning on, was all the cooking I’d be doing. I think that came as a shock to a lot of people too. Suddenly, here we are, locked in our homes for weeks at a time, trying to keep sane, and like a lot of others, I found that cooking did take some of the edge off.

We got a few weeks subscription to HelloFresh, and it was great! Twice a week they’d send us stuff and I had a blast putting it all together. Not to mention that I had my son’s extra culinary knife set so I got to play with those as well. We only did the subscription for a couple weeks. It’s nice, but it’s damn expensive, and it opened me up to doing more home cooking than I was before. I started experimenting with spices and sauces, added herbs to things I normally wouldn’t, and took the time to really prepare a meal. My mom got me the biggest bottle of Worcestershire sauce I’ve ever seen. I love it too and I put that shit on everything.

The fact everyone was making bread I find hilarious, and my own attempt at making as sourdough starter failed brilliantly, but it wasn’t just bread. I discovered that I really like to cook, and not just whip stuff together or throw a pre-made dinner into the oven, but actually spend time preparing a meal. It’s become a lost art; like knitting.

Because of this, I’ve pulled back from the prepared meals. I get a few for my son on the days that I’ll be working late, but most of the time, I’ll cook from scratch, and I can’t wait until the garden is growing. Nothing tastes better than food you’ve grown yourself.

How were your Covid meals? Did you jump on the bread bandwagon?

Stay safe.

The Crystal Realm: Crystals for Aries.

Welcome to the month of Aries bitches!

The Aries energy is powerful. We are the FIRE energy. We are the WARRIER energy. We’re feisty, independent and trailblazers. We’re full of ideas and half the time we don’t know where to begin so we try to do it all at once. Our birthstone is the diamond. Hardest natural substance on the planet, and if you’ve ever argued with an Aries, you’ll get a taste of that, but having all that energy isn’t always a good thing and with all the qualities imbued to an Aries, there is a negative side to it all, so here are a few crystals for my fellow Aries to help them navigate those erratic waves.

Aquamarine – Aries are all about fire but sometimes that’s not a good thing. Aquamarine is a WATER stone and can help calm some of those fiery impulses.

Black onyx – This is a good stone to help us find balance in our lives.

Clear quartz – this stone can be used in conjunction with other stones. Everyone should have at least one clear quartz in their collection.

Garnet – This protection stone is the ultimate stone for an Aries. It can enhance the natural energies of our sign.  

Red jasper – This stone can temper our minds and let us think clearly, especially when our natural reaction is to do now, think later.

Apart from the Aquamarine and quartz, there’s a colour pattern here-red and black. Two colours that are associated with the Root Chakra, and the primal energies of our bodies. If you’re meditating with one of these stones, use a spicy (patchouli, clove) incense or woody (pine, cedar, bamboo).

These are just a few stones that I found while researching. The link below has several more that help with other aspects of the Aries nature.

Aries Crystals

The Pandemic: One Year In.

Today is an odd sort of anniversary, but this is a date I will remember for the rest of my life.

Today is the one year anniversary of the day the pandemic officially affected my life. One year ago today, I was at work, nervously talking with co-workers about the increase in cases, and how stores in the mall were already closing down; wondering if we were going to follow. The WHO had issued a global pandemic and all this was so new, so strange. We wondered how long it would last, or if it was as bad as the news said. There was a lot of worry, and sometimes I wonder if we didn’t worry enough. There was a lot of denial and confusion; nothing like this had ever happened before, not in a hundred years, and so much had changed since that time.

A year later, and wiser, covid has become a daily thing in my life. I wear a mask when I go anywhere, vinyl gloves at work, and douse my hands with sanitizer and soap. There are new variants in the illness. Some are worse than the original, some not as much, and as I write this I wonder if life will ever get back to a place where I can say normal again, or is this the new normal?

A year ago I was dressed for St Patrick’s Day; green clothing, eye makeup and lipstick. My shift was until 9pm and we were slow. No one was out. I had the next day off and was to work a close on Thursday, but the next day, as more stores closed, I got the notice that my workplace would close too. Now it was becoming scary. I was officially laid off on April 2, but I was lucky. My workplace was honouring my scheduled hours and paying me for them. The Federal Government was already implementing special unemployment benefits (taxable) and I was able to draw on that. From March 18th until June 1st, almost ten weeks, I was in lockdown. We only went out for groceries, my husband didn’t visit (we talked on the phone), and I tried to keep myself and my mind busy, and not get too deep into ‘doomscrolling’. Some days were better than others, and I thought I had a good grasp on what was going on, but the fact I quit doing the things that I loved (writing mostly), meant that it was affecting me in ways I didn’t know.

Going back to work at the beginning of June and everything felt different. Plexiglass was up around the cash regisers, we had to wear masks for our entire shift, and we had to keep six feet from customers AND co-workers. That last one was the hard part. I played traffic cop and had to direct customers and break up groups that huddles around tables. If you were going the wrong way, I’d tell you.

#SorryNotSorry.

Now, one year later, it took a while, but we eased into a routine and learned to block out, if not ignore completely, the constant barrage of covid related news. I take a quick look when the new numbers pop up, but then go back to what I was doing. I have a dozen masks ready to go, seven cans of Lysol and I don’t know how many small bottles of hand sanitizer, not to mention my own stash of vinyl gloves. They say we’re on the verge of a third wave and a possible third lockdown. Vaccines are out and being distributed, but I’m not sure when I’ll get mine. We’re still working on the elderly, and front-line workers, and to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel safe again.

So here we are, one year in and I’m still trying to keep busy. I went from doing nothing to doing too much, so I’m still trying to find a healthy balance. I went for a nice long walk this morning, and it felt good. Maybe I’ll start doing that again. It seems to ease my mind, and these days, that’s the key to surviving all this.

Stay safe.

What’s on the eReader: [Good question]

I’m sorry, folks. No book review this month. Getting back into the swing of reading again now that I’m back to work, has been a little more difficult than I thought. I’m exhausted at the end of my shift and other than relaxing in front of the tv, I haven’t done much reading. Too much strain on the eyes.

So what’s on the ereader? A hell of a lot, to be honest.  Here’s a rundown;

10 Gothic

5 Science fiction

20 Classic

9 Zombie

5 Paranormal

1 Mystery

1 My book

4 Other

Total: 55

Most of these are just samples. I refuse to purchase a book until I’ve read a small excerpt of the author’s writing. I’m particular when it comes to the books I read, and a lot of these samples I downloaded while I was working on certain books. The Gothic and zombie ones I downloaded to get a feel for the genres. Most of the gothic are classic as well, so I suppose there’s a bit of cross-genre going on here.

The classic books I think everyone should have in their library just because, and I’ve always been a fan of scifi. I don’t normally read Paranormal but one was recommended by a friend and I enjoyed that so I downloaded more. The mystery book was written by a friend who has a whole series which I now plan on reading.

In total, I’ve finished seven.

I’ve read some of the classics; Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Frankenstein, Dracula Carmilla, and the Castle of Ontorno. You can imagine my surprise when I first read Frakenstein only to learn that it was NOHTING like the 1950’s movie.

The zombie ones came a while later after I was able to sit through a whole episode of The Walking Dead and started writing my own zombie plague novel. I must have downloaded a good two dozen of them, only to delete them after the sample. Most were self published, and no, I’m not going to get into a rant about that, because there are good self-published novels, but with the zombie genre, I just found that it was the same story over, and over, and over. I don’t know, maybe people like that sort of mindless shooting spree/survivalist story without any sort of a plot, but it’s not my cup of tea.

The crime novel was written by a friend, and to be honest, I don’t read a lot of novels by friends. What if I don’t like it and they ask me if I did? I don’t want to be stuck in that awkward situation, so I tend to avoid it all together. Having said that, the ones that I have read are good, but I’m not going to push my luck. So yeah, back to the crime novel. You might have read my review of it on my blog a while back. I did like it and I am going to read more in the series once I’m back on track. There are a few horror ones I want to check out as well, but I want to get through this lot first before I add more to my ToBeRead pile.

Oh yeah, and one of my co-workers suggested I read The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, so I’ve added that which means that if I like it, I’ll get the other books. This list just keeps getting longer and longer.

What book[s] are you currently reading? If you like them, maybe I’ll add them to my list.

Writing Update: February, 2021.

Not a lot to update anyone on. I crossed the 50k mark with my magical realism novel and extended it to 85k. I’m at 63k right now and have just finished the scenes where they make the dye. I know the first draft is meant to just get the story out (as I keep telling people), but I’m concerned that even with edits and revisions it might still be too long. I know, I hear you all saying to keep writing. Just get the story out and worry about the rest later, so I will.

The only other thing I’ve worked on are blog posts and one of my tv scripts – Scavengers. I do love this story. I write and plot as it the script has been picked up. It makes it more fun to think that I’m writing something that will actually be seen by people. I have five and a half episodes done, and I plan on writing another six. Twelve episodes per season. The first half of season one deals with a plot that will follow the crew for most of the first two seasons, BUT, I’ve made it so that if this show doesn’t get ratings or they decide to cancel for whatever reason, episode six neatly wraps up the story line. It may not bring it to a meaningful conclusion, but the viewer won’t be left wondering. At least, I hope not. It’s like writing the first book of a series. You tell the story and come to an ending that could see a second book, or could stand by itself.

Eva and Skye’s Magical Hair Solution – As I said, I’m at 63k right now. That leaves me with 22k to write out the consequences of what’s happened so far. I’m not going to skim on the plot, not at this point, as there are a few big scenes that need to be written that leads to the conclusion, and like with the script, I need it to feel like the story is complete, but could also be continued.

Word count – 63,000 of 89,000.

Scavengers – I have episode 6 done and now I’m going to re-read all six episodes and tighten them up. There are a few places I know of where the storyline sags, or the characters do things for dumb reasons. I even have a series bible written out. Once the first six are good, then I’ll move on to the second six. I have a rough outline of what those will be about, and a way to end the first season the same way I did episode six, just in case. I feel this is beneficial for all involved. It gives the network and showrunner a clear exit. Although, I don’t know if I want to be a showrunner  . . .

Episodes – 6 of 12

Blogs – Yes, as you can tell, I’m back to writing blogs. Not as many as before, just a few each month, and they’ll be written, not video. I found setting up for video too time consuming. I don’t mean the mechanical part of it, but more getting me ready. I like to put makeup on and do my hair, but with everything else that I do, honestly, it was just too much. That doesn’t mean I’m not experimenting with other mediums . . .

So that is it; all that I’ve been up to. I deleted my YouTube account so if there are posts with blank screens, you know why. It was just too much, but I don’t regret trying, because it was fun.

Until next time, stay safe.

The Crystal Realm: Healerite

I found a new stone when I went to by some new crystals. It’s called Healerite. Healerite is a soft, smooth, yellow/green stone and a form of Serpentine. A few sites I researched refered to it as ‘Nobel Serpentine’ but these sites seemed to copy and paste off the original. Some sites called it a ‘new’ stone, but there were others who claim it’s just Serpentine, but in a different colour. Most of the research I found on it either contributes the metaphysical properties of Serpentine to it, or lists it with so many attributes that it could only be described as a ‘cure-all’ for anything chakra related.

The information on this stone was gathered from Crystalpedia.

CHAKRA(s): Solar Plexus, Heart

ENERGY: Healing, Luck

PROTECTION: Protects Cellular Structure, Shields the Etheric Field, Guards Against Radiation

STIMULATION: Purification, Chakra Alignment, Chakra Energizing, Cleaning of Energy Meridians, Hope, Faith, Emotional Stability, Emotional Healing, Lucid Dreaming, Self-Love, Compassion, Self-Acceptance, Balance, Physical & Etheric Harmonization

METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES: Restructure misaligned Chakras and meridians, Reinvigorates the etheric bodies, Brings a great beneficial infusion of subtle matter-energy, Offers waves of well-being to the body, mind, and soul

HEALING PROPERTIES: Harmonizes Cellular Structure.

As you can see, there is a lot connected to this stone. Personally, I’m not too sure what it does as I’ve not had the chance to work with it yet. I bought it a short while after the first lockdown was over, to help with weight loss (cos we all ate too much during lockdown) and had to cleanse it with the full moon, but at that point, there was so much political turmoil going on, that I wasn’t in the right mindset to use it. It is worth mentioning that all the sites that offered information on this stone, was just a repeat of each other. Have you worked with this stone? What was your experience?

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