It has been a busy start to spring as the weather vacillates from cool to warm and back again, but finally some of the early varieties of daffodils have started blooming with many more on the way. I’m looking forward to the days ahead when we can gather outdoors at night once again which is a love that most members of our coven strongly enjoy and look forward to. Witches can’t keep away from a good bonfire – it attracts them quicker than anything else. If any of us say we are having a little bonfire, you will pull witches out of the woodwork from all over!
Until then, we have done some other things that can be accomplished indoors. One of the easiest things is saving old newspaper to use in the garden to keep the weeds down. Some folks like to put plastic, rubber and spray harsh chemicals down to keep the weeds down; but I have found it works extremely well to save your old newspapers and weekly sales flyers to place down on the ground around plants and then add a nice layer of mulch on top. The paper will easily and slowly biodegrade and keep the volunteer weeds from coming up. (I have some friends that told me they use old cardboard for this too. When you have packages delivered, you can save the cardboard and cut it to size to use just the same.)
Cleaning up our online coven blog here has been a nice task too – and we have updated our page on the Sacred Pentagraph, which is one of the traditions that our coven operates. (Sacred Pentagraph is a Wicca tradition focused on classical witchcraft founded by Charmaine Day and Tarostar with Sybil Leek’s guidance. More can be found by clicking on our Sacred Pentagraph banner here.) Recently, a new coven has just hived from our coven here in PA in another state. We are mighty proud of them and you will hear much more about them and from them at a later time.
Other than that, sorting through the various drawers, nooks and crannies of the house is fun. Sometimes we tuck things away in spaces and forget they are there. This can be a shame indeed, as just letting items sit around is a terrible waste of space when other people can use them, be recycled or up-cycled or donated to charity. This is a never-ending process that I know we all go through, but one that is an important activity for the witch. An important Precept of Cosmic Order in our coven is to simplify your life. It is said that the wise always work toward simplicity in all things. Our day to day world is complicated enough, so what good does it do to come home to a complicated home life?
But one activity stands out above them all that is great fun (until the late nights are warm enough for bonfires and time spent in the garden) is antiquing!
My favorite antique market that is not too far from me is called “Old Sled Works” located in Duncannon, PA. It is called that because the very large building it is located in used to be an old sled factory.
I can’t even begin to tell you about all the fascinating finds and cool little treasures that I have found in antique shops and marketplaces such as this. I remember when I wanted to make a spirit box I even traveled here to find a suitable box that could be used for this magical endeavor. Beautiful jars and vases can be used to hold magical items and beautiful dishes used to hold water for sprinkling, asperging or even to hold magical items.
Some folks may cringe at the idea of antique shopping – sometimes calling it just a storage place for people’s junk they no longer want. While I am sure there are many things that are complete junk, many items can be used or up-cycled by folks with a lot of imagination and creativity to make something fascinating and new – such as when I up-cycled an antique rectangular box many years ago to make a spirit box.
On a personal level, I can’t help but think on the thoughts of the people who originally purchased these items many years ago and the journey they have been on since. Old tables and chairs that once graced kitchens and breakfast rooms, old trunks that once held delicate treasures that the lady of the house may have sequestered away out of the sight of prying eyes, dishes and depression ware glass that once graced homes or were given to someone as a gift of love – and after they have passed on, left neglected until someone decided to go through the items and needed to clean them out – but thought that someone else may have a use for them. Each and every item has a story to tell. It may even be quite fun to make a story about a particular item and pass it on to others, to give a Bardic tale like an old Druid-Bard; passing down pieces of lore through the art of poetry and creative story telling meant to impart an important life lesson or magical axom.
Sybil Leek even wrote two entertaining books on the antique business that are quite fascinating, such as her “Shop in High Street” and “Have Mania, Will Collect.” For those interested in selling and trading in the antique business they may be valuable reads that can give you quite helpful hints! For folks like myself that like to antique as a hobby, it gives me some interesting insight into the mind of the successful hunt for old and delicate treasures. (Sybil once operated antique shops in the New Forest)
If we think of antiques and witchcraft, they seem to go hand in hand. This may come as a surprise to many of you who may have cut your teeth learning witchcraft from reading the old medieval grimoires/grammars of magic because of the instance of everything being “virgin items” and having not been used for anything whatsoever before their employment in a particular magical operation. While this is valuable advice for things such as candles that have the great ability to absorb and hold the magnetic thoughts and emotions of those who are around them, it is not the same thing when we think of antique brass candlesticks!
As a side thought – you should be certain to ALWAYS wrap up your virgin candles that you either make or purchase for witchcraft practice and sequester them away. Never leave them sitting out in a common area or exposed to the wondering thoughts of people in your home. They should be stored away in a dark space in a drawer until you need to make use of them. Then, you would take them out and carve them and dress them with the appropriate oils. Even when it comes to candles you buy off the shelf at an occult shop or candle store, we have little ceremonies that we do to make them virgin by impressing blessings of our will to overpower any will that may have collected in it – as long as they haven’t been sitting out on the shelf collecting dust and thoughts for years and years and years! The most picky and selective practitioners will even wrap their colored candles in the correct color of tissue paper as an added layer of chromo-therapy (color therapy).
There is a reason that when we think of witchcraft that we think of old books, antique candlesticks and almost rust covered items that need a little bit of cleaning. The mystique, the mystical and the hidden call unto witches (occult) and attract us like the positive and negative ends of magnets! One of the altars our coven uses is a very old antique vanity. Our salt and water dishes are old as is our coven sword.
Does this make the item any better? Not necessarily in the least!
Not only do the old, mystical and mysterious looking items draw the attention of our primal minds, but -typically most antique items owned by old-school witches have been in use for many, many years. As we know, these items then tend to build up an “aura” about them and begin to retain a little bit of that power that has been running through them. This may be best described like a pipe in which water has run through. You can turn off the faucet, but the inside of it will still be wet!
For witches that are very sensitive to psychic impressions that are picked up through touch, an antique mall such as the one I visit can be a wonderful practice ground. The difficult task of places like this is you also have another layer of thought impressed onto items such from the people that are visiting, picking up and inspecting these items with the difficult task if ferreting out that information that you seek. It may be a good idea to take members of your coven with you – make it a magical adventure!
As you walk through the antique marketplace, you and members of your coven could walk slowly and allow the magnetized energy to reach out to you in this place. You may then find yourself picking up the item and telling each other a story about what you have found. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Alas, but so few witches today around the country are up for the challenge. My hope is that someday they will reach back and try to cultivate these old ways of doing things once again. (It is not always about pedigree, nor is it always about the exact words parroted from your old coven rituals – it is about the abilities in the Craft that you learn to develop with what you are given.)
Many times when I go antiquing it is a spontaneous trip. This morning while I was in the shower using a fantastic homemade sugar scrub that a friend made, it reminded me of one of the important teachings of Wicca that I was taught. “Clean the body, for THAT is your temple.” It surprises me today with how some witches today are carefree about the items and things they put on and in their body. No matter what your budget, whether on a limited budget or one more expansive one, you can carefully select the items that you use to clean your temple (body) and also what you adorn your temple with. (The clothes you wear) What you scent or sweeten the body with is also part of that process. The entire process from cleaning the body, to sweetening the body with scrubs/lotions/potions, the manner of dress, makeup and products all assist the witch to weave a particular aura that helps to impress your will on the world around you. What we adorn our temple-bodies with can in fact be a very old technique of spellcasting. (Possibly the oldest indeed – that of magical assumption of a certain form, god or spirit!) If you think about it, everyone’s modern idea of a stereotypical witch has them set apart looking different than the everyday person, even though most of the time we look no different than anyone else. So why does this image always creep up in the mind? Well, because there is some type of universal truth going on here. A Priesthood of times gone by – whether Druid, whether Egyptian, Sumerian or Persian; were set apart by their vestments. Take a look at the photos of the Siberian Shamans – they will dress very different than those who are non-Shamans and this is done for very specific reasons to them.
The simplicity of our home lives – from that of simple cleaning of our bodies, to going through items that are just taking up space and haven’t been looked at for a year or more, to the up-cycling of antiques; this can all be part of simplifying our life. The contemplative-meditation on an old antique piece is a cultivated magical action.
A last thought on antiquing – you may want to be selective on where you antique. If you antique in tourist-towns, you will find the prices are typically much higher than when you go antique shopping in places that you least expect. Neither is better or worse than the other, it is just something to be aware of.
So to end this article, you may wonder what treats I found today one my antique shopping adventure. Here is today’s find!