Awen, Bardic Arts, and the Ancestors

The Druid's Garden

The time between Samhain and Yule is always a time of deep reflection for me.  As a homesteader, this represents the end of the season– the first frost happened in the week I was drafting this post, making everything curl up and die. By the time late November comes around, any major outdoor projects are complete for the year. We anticipate, even embrace, the winter months when snow carpets the ground and all is frozen and still.  While in the light half of the year, I spend most of my spare time gardening, doing various permaculture projects, or just being outside in the summer. In the dark half of the year, this is when I turn to more inward-focused bardic arts, more intense practice of my magic and journeying,  and learning from books of all kinds.  So as we move into the dark half of the year, I’ll be spending…

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Ancestral Herbalism and Samhain: Working Deeply with Rosemary

The Druid's Garden

Rosemary from the Plant Spirit Oracle Rosemary Card from the Plant Spirit Oracle

As we quickly approach Samhain, it is a useful practice to spend some time with rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and build here into your Samhain practices. In this post, we look into some of the magic and medicine of Rosemary, and I share a number of ancestor and Samhain-focused practices that you can use with Rosemary.

An Ancestral Ally of Humans: History, Medicine, Magic

Before we get into what you can make or do with rosemary, let’s spend some time exploring and understanding this ancient herb. Rosemary has been with humanity almost as long as we have written records. Native to the mediterranean region, rosemary was first found referenced on cuineform tablets from Ancient Egypt that are from 5000 BCE–thus, humanity has at least an 8000 year old relationship with this herb (but I suspect it is much longer than our written history!)…

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Remembrance Potpourri

Good Witches Homestead

Memories of those we have loved and lost are always with us. With time, hopefully, we smile instead of cry when a particularly poignant memory is triggered. And sometimes we intentionally evoke memories with special objects that remind us of those who have passed on to the Summerland. This special remembrance potpourri is one such object. Made from dried flowers from the funeral of a loved one, as well as special herbs and flowers that have ages-old connections to death, bereavement, and funerals, it serves to help one not only remember the deceased but also to honor their life and hopefully ease the grief that comes with such loss.

This project came about as a special way to honor my father. As is often the case, there were plenty of beautiful flower arrangements present at the funeral, including those from us — his immediate family. In some families, like mine…

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Samhain: Honoring Ancestors of Craft and Tradition | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

Samhain, the season of the witch, is a time for us to honor the powers that underlie our Craft.  The hidden powers behinds the scenes, guiding our movements and our inspiration.  The Dead guide us; they are present when we weave our magic.  Those who have laid the foundations for our Great Arte, fertilizing our holy ground with their blood.  The Dead are always with us, but this is their time.  The mothers and fathers of our traditions, great witches, teachers, and keepers of lore make their presence known, returning to celebrate with us.  Hallowmas is the great twilight when the worlds of the living and the dead move as one.  The fires we light shine like beacons in the spirit world.  This is also the time to honor spirits of tradition, the collective familiar spirits called egregores that are the manifestation of us coming together.

Honor the Witch Within

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The Witch Reborn in Autumn: Spiritual Death and the Dance of Bones | Spirits Dance Bones

Good Witches Homestead

The Wild Witch and the Dance of Bones

The moon ascends from her primal cave,
And my feet twitch in excitement.
For this is the long-awaited call
Back to my soul’s home.
I become a wild witch once more.
Hail Autumn,
With your winds of change,
Blowing me free of what has passed,
Dancing in the delight of freedom.
Spiraling joyfully towards the darkness that is my truth.
Spinning onwards to Hekate’s Cave,
The font of magick and mystery.
The spirits of the season join me and the leaves, in our delight,
Knowing deep in our souls that we are connected,
In our pursuit of the deeper truths.
Swirling wildness embraces me,
As I proclaim
My place among them.
Our dance calls forth the spirits,
Of the departed and the mighty,
Night wandering under the pale light of the moon,
Onwards, our steps in harmony,
Towards the crossroads where we…

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Skull and Crossbones

secretsoftheserpent

Image 9-16-19 at 12.42 PM

Everyone knows the skull and crossbones symbol.  It is a symbol for pirates in every movie.  Today it is a symbol of poison or high voltage and means stay away.  This symbol is ancient.  The ancient Mayans even had skull and cross bones in their architecture and hieroglyphs.  The skull and crossbones symbol is used for royalty, fraternities, sororities, secret societies and military, so what is the true meaning of this symbol?  

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The Ways of our Ancestors: Review of the Mountaincraft and Music Gathering

The Druid's Garden

Here, in the center of our camp, the sacred fire burns. This fire is tended for the four days we are together, never being allowed to go out. This is an ancestral fire, and all of us at the Mountaincraft gathering have the responsibility of feeding it. This is where we remember that learning primitive and earth skills is the work of our ancestors. This is where we gather for a quiet moment to commune with those ancestors, and will our bodies and hearts to remember. This is where, each morning, we gather as a group to hear about the day’s classes, call to the directions, hear a word of intention, and recieve a water blessing from Nancy Basket, a tribe elder. This is where, at each meal, some of us may find ourselves, talking with each other or engaging in quiet communion with the flame. This is where, each…

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Building with Cob, Part II: Soil Tests and Mixing Cob

The Druid's Garden

Happy feet mixing cob!

In a meadow under the summer sun, a group of dancers laugh and fling mud.  Beneath their feet, clay, sand, and water become mixed together, creating a sticky earthen blend that sticks to their feet, their legs, and, after some play, faces and fingers! This is a cob mixing party, one of the best times you can have with good friends. After the cob is mixed, it is added by others to the bench and more soil is added and the dance continues.  In last week’s post we explored some reasons to consider exploring natural building as a potential way to build sustainable structures and be more attuned with the energies of earth.  In this week’s post, we will get into how to test your soil and how to make some cob!

One thing I want to share about cob–you don’t have to build big things…

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Building with Cob, Part I: Project ideas and Honoring Earth

The Druid's Garden

Making some cob!

Connecting with the earth can mean a lot of things–and today, I want to talk through how to create a simple building material that can be used for a wide variety of purposes: cob.  Cob is an ancient building material that is a combination of sand, clay, and straw (or other strengthening materials) mixed with water. Cob, the synthesis of water and earth, becomes the passive forms through which we shape anything from a small earth oven to a whole living space.  In this post, I’ll introduce cob and offer some different kinds of projects that you can do with it. This post compliments last week’s post, where I shared how to make ecobricks from waste plastic materials.  Cob is certainly one of the more sustainable and local construction materials to use in conjunction with ecobricks, so I thought it would be a nice time to…

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Ancient Shaman Artists

Elder Mountain Dreaming

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – My sacred archaic orison today…

I give great reverence, great respect and praise to all our ancestral and ancient women artists whose names were never known, or never mentioned by scribes in any sacred texts of earth the last few thousand years.

I light a candle and whisper to the wind to you, to send you the message from my heart, that your glowing love, your passion and connection to nature through the meadows and caves you once lived, still breathe and still holds its beauty. I am grateful to know you and the pure earth through your eyes again, where my soul had once lived.

The same creeks, rivers, streams, oceans, mountains and clouds are here, where you sang your honoring songs through your dreaming cultures, then your shaman cultures and much later, your goddess cultures. The culture of clan, tribe, town, village…

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