Strega Jewellry's Blog

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Salem Avenue Returns


witchmoon

A few years back, I started a podcast called Salem Avenue.   It’s a mythical place where pagans live.   The podcast is about how to put a bit of magic into everyday life.  It’s a show for people curious about pagan life and how pagans live, day to day.   The hostess is Athmay la Strange.   She talks about stone, herb and animal lore, pagan holidays, and has a strange sense of humor.

witchcauldron

The neighbors:

Orra Cull, a druidic type young man who knows lots of strange and wonderful facts about animals.

Coriander, a fussy hedge witch who has a little dog named Pixie.pixie2

Boline, a kitchen witch.

The nosey neighbors, Ms. Buttinski and her fiance, Mr. Ogler who think pagans are strange folk who dance naked in the yard and do other weirdness that probably should be reported to the police.

Tonight’s episode, due to unforseen technical difficulties is raw and unedited with no sound effects, intro or outro.  It can only get better.  Learn about apple magic and get a recipe for herbal tea that will help with anxiety and depression and one for Four Thieves Vinegar.   No idea what use you would have for something called Four Thieves?   Listen and find out.   Salem Avenue Podcast

apples

juicy apples

 

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October 3, 2016 Posted by | metaphysical, New Age, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: Lammas


 

Whooo-eeee, I sure missed the Lammas post by a mile!   It’s about the busiest time of the year with all the harvest coming in.   Seems that every day I’m picking the must do up the food for storage.   Love the fresh ripe tomatoes the best but crisp green peppers and cucumbers make such great eating.   My daughter stopped by the other day and when she said she was hungry, I went to the garden and picked salad fixin’s fresh right then.  I keep grilled chicken and bacon crumbles handy for summer salads.  Add some burnet out of the herb garden, some fresh parsley and what a meal!

tomatoes

I’ve been doing a lot of other work also.  Just now opened a new shop on Etsy.  I’ve called it Studio L Jewellry, featuring my own work and that of Liam Mac Steamish.   It’s a fresh start with new things.   I hope you will check it out and “heart” it.   I’ve not too many items yet but it’s a work in progress.

Made some decisions also.   Quite a few folk have messaged me and want to know if I am ever going to do new podcasts.   It’s been years since I started Salem Avenue and I did have a lot of fun doing it.   I am going to try to do my first “new” one on October 1st.   I am, however, moving to a new host, one that has better support and more bandwidth.   I’m excited about it and have projects planned for my Facebook page and blog and for the podcast.   I do believe I’ll start my own webpage on GoDaddy called 1313 Salem Avenue.

I’ve got some fun ideas.   I want to do some “stone readings” so I can tell you what stones you need in your life, a “stone personality” event and I have plans for a mini tarot reading.  You’ll get the mini reading and the cards will tell me what stones you need to wear or carry to help in your situation.

I’ve been doing some jewelry experiments also with “living” wearable art.  My mermaid gardens are way cool.  I have a prototype made and just today made 4 more to sell.  Do not have photos of the new ones but here is the prototype.

merme

 

 

August 18, 2016 Posted by | gemstones, metaphysical, New Age, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wheel of the Year: Ostara


imbolc

Gradually warming days, usually with plenty of rain and mud.  The yard looks a mess but you can get out and work on the days without showers.  Birds have returned and fat robins are nesting.  I put out a mesh bag of yarn scraps so they can line their nests.  They are so busy.   I am sure they can use the help.

The moss in my fairy garden turns greener.   It is time to plant peas.  Peas want the cold ground for a good start and this time of year is the best time to plant them.   I got mine in today just before the rain came.   I always soak my peas overnight so they are almost ready to pop open before I put them in the ground.   Yes, it will get chillier again but the peas with thrive in the cold.   Root crops can go in the ground now.   Time to plan where you are going to plant.

My chives stay green even in the ice and snow, but in March they take on a greenier green.  My crocus have all popped out this week and their bright colors give me a lift.  It’s spring for sure.

crocus

I get excited when I spy the soft catkins of the pussy willows.  I always try to bring some branches inside.   The little grey catkins make me smile.   My spirits are uplifted with the warmth and the sun.

pussywillow

It’s a good time of year to start seeds indoors.  I plant by the moon.   Best time this year is from March 9th until the 22nd when the moon is waxing.  Today I started herbs for the herb garden my son, Mort, built for me last fall.   Horehound will grow every year now and be wonderful in teas for congestion from colds next winter.  Anise will make such great licorice flavored teas for stomach flu.  Burnet is an herbb I’ve never seen in the stores.  I love it in salads with its light cucumber taste.  Parsley, of course and basil are started and summer savory.   I’m going to try  some lemon grass and vanilla grass.  I love their wonderful smells.  And lemon grass, basil and hibiscus make a great tea to give you a mental lift!

Ostara is my second favorite “holiday”. It marks a major change in light and after the equinox, the days are truly noticeably  longer.  More light means more new growth.  Beneath the ground, plants are stirring.  Buds are beginning to form on tree branches.  In our hearts, we are ready to plant new “seeds” also.   We all have projects we look forward to starting.  We have new ideas we want to express.   We begin spring cleaning in our homes.  The windows are open and the pine smell of cleaners replaces the dust and cobwebs of winter.   In our heads and hearts, the dust and cobwebs we have collected over winter are cleared away and we sweep them away to make room for fresh starts.  Getting rid of old angers, fears and habits is the best way to mark the spring.

With increased times of light, the hens begin to lay more eggs.  Did you know that hens lay best when their retina is stimulated by 12 hours of sunlight?   It’s probably one of the reasons  why the ancients used eggs as symbols of fertility at Ostara.   The new layers would begin production when the days grew longer.

chickens

Ancient cultures drew signs and symbols on eggs to aid the sun in gaining strength.  Eggs are still decorated at the Christian Easter but no longer consciously considered fertility symbols.   Pagans drew symbols for prosperity, fertility and protection on the eggs.  Probably the most well known are Pysanky eggs.   These that are most famous are from the Ukraine.

Pysanky eggs designs are drawn on in wax, then the egg is dyed………..lightest color first.  Then the part that is to remain this color is waxed over and the egg enters another dye bath.  The process if repeated over and over.   Designs are animal, vegetable and geometric.  Most have encircling bands that represent the process of life, death and rebirth over and over.   Triangles represent the Triple Goddess, squares, the Earth, ladders represent various planes of existence while pinwheels and 8 pointed stars are ancient sun signs.   Here are some of my favorite designs.  You can understand why these eggs are considered so magical when you realize the amount of time and work that went into their creation.

pysanky1

pysanky2

pysanky3

You can find a lot more designs on Pinterest.   I think some of the designs would make beautiful beads.

 

 

 

March 10, 2016 Posted by | holidays, metaphysical, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: Imbolg


 

imbolc

February 2nd, Imbolg or Candlemas as it is sometimes called is a time of quickening.   Beneath the frozen ground, the seeds and roots of returning plants begin to stir.   They have slept through the “dark time” of the year but now begin to awaken as the first signs of the coming spring appear.  Snows melt, the rains begin and the very top of the ground becomes a muddy mess.   Birds and geese begin to return.  The yowling of cats at night marks the start of mating season.  Last night, I knew for sure that spring was on the way.  I smelled a little skunk, roused from his winter sleep.  Did you know that the males spray when they are sexually excited?   Yep.   It’s officially the mating season when you smell your first skunk of the year.

The sap begins to stir in the trees.  One of my favorite memories of this time of year when I was a girl was of my uncle making maple syrup.    He would tap the maple trees.

maple

We would ride the tractor and trailer with him the gather the sap from the trees.  We took mason jars and drank it cold from the buckets.   It tasted like sweet water.   At night, the saphouse was a haven of warmth from the fires and the smell of cooking syrup.   I found a video on YouTube if you are interested in the process.   It is an art to make really good maple syrup.

 

One of my favorite treats from this time of year was Jack Wax.  To make it, your pour the fresh syrup, boiling hot, on the last of the winter snow.  We had to go up on the mountain to find clean snow left deep in the woods. My aunt would pack the snow in dishes and we eagerly awaited the time when they syrup was just right to pour into our pans of snow.     The syrup does not totally harden to candy but becomes a soft ball of “wax” and eating it is sheer delight.   We would eat and eat.  I found a recipe for jack wax here at Mother Earth News.  

As the Earth begins to quicken in anticipation of Spring, so do our bodies and spirits.   Seed and flower catalogues arrive in the mail.  I pour over them eagerly and plan what I will plant.   I found a great website for ordering herbs and seeds this year.  Sand Mountain Herbs.   If you love unusual seeds, heirlooms seeds and herbs, check out Larry’s website.   I ordered seeds from him and he takes such care to package each group of seeds.  All instructions are written on the outside of the package, sometimes even handwritten.   He has put a lot of love into his site.   There is advice for when to plant and what different herbs are used for.   His prices are so reasonable you will want to buy a lot!

It is still the dark time of the year however and there is still “work” do be done as we go within ourselves and prepare for our own transitions.   This year, I have had a lot to think about.  After my cataract surgery, I can see perfect 20/20 at a distance, something I have not been able to do since 5th grade!  It’s amazing!  BUT, my close up vision, because of the implants, is terrible.   With simple reading glasses, I  can read and knit very well BUT, my jewelry making is very difficult.   I talked to one of my old instructors about it and she said experiment with creating by touch.  There are blind artists you know.   I fought this for a few days then decided to try it out.   I played with my polymer clay and found that I can do this without so much trouble as working with wire.   This may be the path I must take up at this time.

I have a blogger friend, Nan who does these amazing oracle readings with Goddess amulets.   We had talked, at Samhain, about an idea I had to make small Goddesses to go with her readings.   Initially, I had thought to use polymer clay and stamp designs onto it.   As I experimented with my “touch” method, I realized that my tiny figures would be small “sculptures”.   I want them to look primitive.   I played with colors, the colors of the goddess aspects themselves.   This week, I finished my prototypes.   I made them into beads at first but I think they do not want to be beads, they want to be tiny sculptures to be held in the hand.   I didn’t like the colors.  I found I liked the ones I made that looked like stone.   I have some photos here.  They are terrible of course because the sun refused to come out and  help me. The colors look too dark. Tell me what you think.   Don’t you like the stone goddesses better than the colored ones?   Well, except for the River Goddess.   I think she wants to be mostly blue.   Anyhow, this transition was not easy for me.   I spent 2 months when I could not see at all until my eyes were both done and I could see with 2 eyes then another few weeks fighting to “see” and not “feel”.   I am ready to make my 2nd batch now and have confidence that they will turn out much better.

If you are wondering about your own life and transitions, take a look at Nan’s blog and consider getting a reading for yourself with the Goddess Oracle Amulets.

Here are my awful photos of my prototypes of the amulets.

gddssdance

gddssgorgon.jpggddssinanagddssnilegddssprimalgddsssheela

gddsssleep

 

gddsswillendorf

February 5, 2016 Posted by | holidays, Jewelry, metaphysical, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wheel of the Year: Yule


wheelyule

We are here on the Wheel.  Again and yet again, it is pointed out that Yule is a lesser “holiday” for pagans and not such a huge deal as the Christian Christmas has become.   There are many websites which will explain all the ways in which pagan traditions were taken to make up the traditions that manifest at Christmas, the tree, the Holly King, the sweets, the mistletoe and more.  I’m not one to repeat all that here.

Yule is important because it marks the longest night of the year.  The days have gradually become shorter until winter arrives and while Winter is nowhere near done, Yule marks the promise that Light will reign again.  From this day forward, each day will become a bit longer, the light will last longer.  It’s  a promise of Spring and Summer that seem so far away.

These days, it’s easy to forget that.  We have electricity and furnaces and food in plenty.  At this time of year, I am always amazed that in older times, people would have such faith in the turning of the seasons that they would feast on the darkest of days. Think about it.

Their homes were drafty and cold.  Even when the harvests were good, they didn’t have the means to store food like we do.  Their lives depended on what they had stored from the harvest and what the men could hunt.  On December 21st, they still had the coldest months of January and February to depend upon their food stores then March before they saw a hint of fresh herbs growing wild.  Game was scarce.  Animals stuck close to their dens and men close to their fires.  Yet, every year, from the humblest of towns

Yulevillage

to the high halls of the lords

yulecastle

(photo from Dreamstime.com)

the lady of the house would take stock of her stores and lay out a feast for Yule.   What faith that must have taken!  To use the best of what you had to celebrate the coming of Light when you could not know if you would have enough to last through the coldest months!

yulefeast

That is the magic of Yule for me, that incredibly enduring Faith.  I am always mindful of it as this season comes.  I wonder that it does not get “lost” in our mad scramble for gifts and decorations.  I try to take time to reflect on what really matters, not what gifts I can buy but what gifts I can give, of my time, my love, stories, food and just sharing good energy.  Call  old friends, forgive someone, laugh with children, share joy and light, the riches you have and have faith that these are things you will not run out of.

Send a card:  If you are looking for pagan cards, I know the perfect place to find them.   Moondragon Cards is based in the UK and has some gorgeous cards for all seasons AND calandars!   Find them on Facebook

Celebrate the birth of the child of Light

 

December 17, 2015 Posted by | folklore, holidays, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: November


October’s brilliant foliage is but a memory, the bright leaves of autumn lie brown and damp on the ground.  The view from my window is bare tree and grey sky most days, the earth damp and brown.

baretrees

Days are long (and mostly wet here in Ohio) and nights come early.   The chill outside makes the nights perfect for curling up with a great book or snuggling with your furry friends.   Nosey loves to perch on the arm of my chair and as soon as I start petting him, Vato puts his head on my lap and wants attention given to his ears.   It’s also perfect weather for a warm fire if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace and for twinkling candles.   It’s the quiet time between wiccan festivals, a time of turning within.  It’s also perfect for fire magic.   Whether warm fireplace embers or candle burning, flames have always been powerfully magical.    Fire enhances visualizations, meditations, divination and spellwork.

candle

I like to get my candles ready after Samhain.   They need to be “dressed” (with the appropriate oil) and stored wrapped in white linen cloth until I want to use them.   I like to make house blessing candles and healing candles for winter “blahs” and negativity and maybe a money or prosperity candle just for that extra increase I need for the season.   A great gift for a friend is a tranquility candle to help with the stresses of the holiday season.   Use a light blue candle and put it on a white dish surrounded by blue chalcedony stones.

Even if you are not pagan, you can empower candles with magical energy.   Magic, after all, is simply enhancing the possibilities.   Choose the right color candle for what you want.

White = purity, truth, spirituality

Red = strength, love, energy, courage, passion

Blue = peace, tranquility, understanding, patience, health

Natural = all purpose, purification

Green = prosperity, fertility, luck

Yellow/Gold = mental clarity, success, concentration

Brown = grounding, centering, neutrality

Pink = affection, romance, friendship

Black = protection, ward off negativity

Purple = meditation, clairvoyance, power

Silver/Gray = cancellation, neutrality, stalemate

Orange = encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, attraction

To “dress” a candle, take olive oil between your thumb and forefinger and rub it on the candle from the middle to the tip, then from the middle to the bottom, visualizing the energy that you want to happen.   Pagans will certainly have natural oils or herbs to add to the olive oil to increase the energy.

When you burn it, be alone, have soft music playing if you want, visualize what you want to happen.   If you want a tranquility candle, for instance, visualize peaceful scenes, a harmonious home, serene scenes.  If you want, you can make up your own little rhyme or mantra, it does not have to be elaborate. When you have done this once, the candle is “charged” and each time you burn it, the energy radiates outward.   Oh, and don’t toss away your candle stubs into the trash.   You can reuse them to make new candles.

The end of November brings the Thanksgiving celebration.  No matter what your religion, you can take one day to gather with friends and family to celebrate the blessings in your life.   For some, this is the start of their shopping season, the mad search for gifts.  For me, it is the end of the gift search.  Mine have been set aside and are ready to be wrapped.

With luck, we may get a soft dusting of snow on Thanksgiving Day.   Where I grew up, in New York, Thanksgiving Day was considered especially blessed if we got an inch of snow.   Hunting season had started and the men would hunt until noon while the women cooked.   The snow made it easier to track.   For those of you who think hunting is but a cruel sport, you have never spent a long winter with very little food except what was brought in from the woods, the gardens and the streams we fished in summer.  There were plenty of times when that venison in the freezer made the difference between something and nothing on our plates.  Winter is sometimes the time of layoffs for people.   Back then, Food Stamps were not an option.   People made do with what they had, what they could hunt and fish and grow.

November is a good time for counting blessings, relaxing and rejuvenating as the Wheel of the Year turns.   Enjoy!

October 28, 2015 Posted by | holidays, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment