stepford witchcraft

5

After welcoming the Ancestors to cohabit with us for 48 hours until the wee hours last night, I slept late today and put a cramp in my plans for the traditional Samhain feast day. As such, I resolved to swap things around. The first day I would spend in the garden, burying the dead and generally tidying up, followed by the watching of Horror movies, the eating of popcorn and candy.

This pictures are from the burial part of the day. 

I had four charges to bury today. Two of the three Trout fingerlings that we lost in the first 48 hours of receiving our new school (one has been lost to the lawn sadly); a badly deteriorated pig’s skull I had originally planned to use in Kitchen based practice; and the beloved canary that my boyfriend and I lost in December of 2012, capping off what was truly a horrific year.

Each of the deceased was given their own pot as a mausoleum, offered foods that would have appealed to them in life, and sent on their way with shiny gold coins for the Ferryman. Furthermore, their tombs were planted with Jonquil bulbs, Hollyhock seeds or Tree Onion fruit - so that they will be remembered with the blooming in Spring.

Prayers were offered with delicious smoke, libations were poured and sigils painted on the inside of the pot to guard and house their spirits.

Xx The Witch of Stepford.

Late to the party, I know, but I have started reading Paul Huson’s exceptionally well recommended (by Jack Faust, Scylla, The Veles to name a few) Mastering Witchcraft.

I’m not even a full chapter in yet and my head is swimming with ideas. Like Scylla I do wish that my hands had first fallen on this book, instead of my actual introduction to Witchcraft, Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for Solitary Practitioners.

I don’t say this because I feel that there is anything intrinsically wrong with Cunningham, or because I feel as passionately about Huson’s work. To be perfectly frank I am finding Huson’s style of writing a little on the preachy authoritative side. However, I also feel that there is a big difference in the approaches of the two authors, and this is something I have unknowingly railed against in Cunningham, until I started reading Huson. Because while Huson feels a little preachy, what he is preaching is essentially “Do what ever the fuck you want; just do it this way”, while conversely Cunningham has felt, I now realise, like a loving but incredibly controlling father.

I guess, ultimately, the problem that I have with Cunningham and a lot of what it touted as being Wicca (which I’m obviously in no position to comment on, being that I am not Wiccan), is that it tells you not to be bad, not to harm others, or you will be punished. 

I don’t even want to be bad or to hurt anyone – but I want the freedom to be able to if I do want to! I don’t want to live in fear of the fucking Wiccan Rede or the law of three! (Sidenote - I know Cunningham didn’t invent either of these - he’s just how I first learned of them).

So, I’m going through the motions with Huson for my own personal development and enjoyment more than anything else, and when it comes to saying the Lord’s Prayer backwards, I am making a change. I’m going to recite the Wiccan Rede backwards, and the law of three backwards, and if I am feeling supder-duper pious and really fucked off about spending ten-plus years feeling guilty about wanting to be the proverbial wicked witch if I feel the need; I might even recite the Thirteen goals of a witch backwards too!

edeR nacciW ehT

,tsum ey wal s’hctiW eht ediB

.Tsurt tcefrep ni ,evol tcefrep nI

:llifluf edeR nacciW eth sdrow thgiE

.lliw ey thaw od ,enon mrah ey nA

,eeht ot kcab semoc htrof sdnes ey tahW

.eerhT fo eluR dnim reve ,oS

,tareh dna dnim htiw siht wolloF

!trap ey yrrem dna ,teem ey yrrem dnA

 

eerhT fo eluR ehT

eerhT fo eluR eht dnim revE

.eeht ot snruter tsevig uoht tahw semit eerhT

.nrael tsum uoht ,llew nossel sihT


.nrae tsod uoht tahw steg ylno eehT

Xx The Witch of Stepford

5

Working with the Saints is a relatively new addition to my spiritual practice, mostly born out of a long-held deep curiosity with the Saints and Saintly imagery. I have always loved the powdery, ethereal artwork adorning Saint Cards and other such Catholic iconography, and the practice of petitioning a particular saint in a particular way for a particular favour appeals to my anal retentive nature in a very real way.

At present, my best friend is traveling in South America, and the Boyfriend and I are about to head off to Japan for our trip too. South America is a notoriously dangerous place to travel, and while Japan is usually very safe, the current unrest with North Korea is making me nervous. So, naturally, I busted out my already dressed candle to Saint Christopher and petitioned his saintly-self for safe travel.

What you’re looking at is the focal point of my petition: The candle I have used previously to petition Saint Christopher and it is dressed with Florida Water, protection powder and sweat from my brow. Literally. Using red string I have tied a Holy Card of Saint Christopher around the candle, on which I have hand-written my petition, and three Saint Christopher medals which symbolise the three travelers. After our trips, when we have all returned safely, the medals will left as offerings in a tree on the grounds of Saint Christopher’s Church. Around the base of the candle I have arranged carnations and sprigs of rosemary, dusted with protection powder and cinnamon.

I started this petition on a Sunday, which is conveniently the day we are leaving on our trips, and also the day most auspicious to ask the favour of Saint Christopher. I will continue to light the candle nightly and request the favour of Saint Christopher until the day that we leave – which is two weeks exactly.

When we return from our trips I will take the petition apart. The dried flowers will be crumbled and scattered on the grounds of the Church, the medals will be tied to branches of a tree or forced between the brickwork of the Church, and offerings of sweets, Florida Water and prayer will be offered in thanks to the Saint for his special favour. The written petition and the red string will be stored inside my jar of used spell detritus until next year’s Lammastide, when they will be ceremonially burned and added to the body of the Grain God’s bread body.

Xx The Witch of Stepford

5

Stepford and the Bucolic Idyll that isn’t:

 

It’s very easy for me to waft through life in a happy haze of home grown vegetables, farmer’s market local produce, and loosely-agrarian Catholicism-influenced harvest worship; thinking that I am getting to a point where I am self sufficient and reaching a point of enlightenment where I evolve Pokemon-style into a composite of Bear Grylls, Nigella Lawson and Kirsty Alley from that movie where she and that idiot from Home Improvement become Amish…

But the truth of the matter is I am anything but self sufficient.

I don’t really live off the land at all, I live in a two-bedroom suburban town house on the outskirts of my Nations’ Capital City. The block on which the house sits is 198 square meters. 186 of that is literally taken up by the house itself, leaving at best a meager 12 square meters on which to grow food. Now, I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but let’s be fucking clear- two grown men can not get adequate sustenance and nutrition, humanely and organically, from what they can rear in that space. You just can’t.

As it stands we currently have quite a bit crammed in to this space. We have a 1500 liter Aquaponics system which houses 50 rainbow trout comfortably and provides two square meters of growing space for plant matter – currently kale, leeks, kohl rabi and radishes. I have fennel, spinach, garlic, leeks and brussle sprouts in the main garden bed right now, as well as a wayward (immortal) tobacco plant and two very sick looking hellebores. We have a grape vine and an olive tree in the maybe three square meters of lawn we have in the back yard. On the concrete paving we have a huge variety of potted plants, including maybe eight blueberry bushes, two pots of raspberry canes, a mandarin orange tree, strawberries, and all the herbs I’m growing (culinary and for Witchcraft). There are also pots with just flowers – so purely aesthetic. The waste-space I converted to a planter for tomatoes in the summer is currently fallow, allowing the soil to replenish. And, as far as foraging is concerned, Vipers Bugloss and St John’s Wort have sprung up, both of which are useful in witchcraft, and there is Common Plantain and Sheep Sorrel for medicinal and culinary purposes respectively. There is also an ornamental plum tree out the front that I am not entirely convinced is actually edible. That’s it.

This is what has been growing in the garden since Autumn, and most of these plants, and all of the Trout, are nowhere near ready to be eaten.

So, if it came to it, and we couldn’t leave the property at all for 12 months, like, lets go with the idea of a forcefield keeping us in there and not letting anything besides oxygen, sunlight and rain in – I’d hazard a guess that we’d be dead within a month.

We have solar electricity and hot water, so at least we’d be able to cook and wash without too much of a problem; but really this just means we’d die clean in well-lit rooms.

Now, this is not me complaining in the slightest. I fucking love the lifestyle that the boyfriend and I are building for ourselves. I love being able to pick almost an entire meal from our garden, and having produce to trade with friends and colleagues who share a similar passion for the home-grown. I love that I have reached a point in my life where the appeal of Witchcraft as a Faith and as a daily practice are no longer solely centered around the desire to manipulate the world around me or punish those who have wronged me. BUT, at the end of the day I am just not self sufficient.

But I’d like to be as much as possible, and so I keep striving to be more and more so. I’ve started making my own preserves, and trading produce with friends. I’m looking into making more available growing space by having suspended growing beds. And eventually both the boyfriend and I would love to move to a larger block of land outside if the city center.

But for now I remain a suburban agrarian witch, doing my best to observe the seasons and grow what I can, working with the spirits of this over-developed land.

Xx The Witch of Stepford

As I’ve mentioned here before, my personal practice of Witchcraft is particularly vanilla. I’m pretty much the poster child for 90’s witches who came to practice by way of The Craft and Charmed, who have Llewellyn books coming out their ears.

I do not practice trance work, and I do not see or speak to spirits.

So, when something remotely ‘woo-ish’, to paraphrase Scylla, happens; I fucking pay attention.

This Monday past between 3:00 and 4:00 AM, I woke suddenly and with perfect clarity. This wasn’t the stereotypical movie-scene, sitting bolt upright in bed, awakening. I was just suddenly very awake. And then, in my head a voice like my own but not said “Someone is trying to get into the house.” It may have said 'something’. I don’t remember feeling panicked or allarmed, but I do remember asking “What should I do?" 

I also remember getting an answer.

The voice told me to tie iron nails with black thread in groups of three and to bury these in the corners of our land. And as such, on Monday afternoon when I arrived home from work, I made four sets of mini, psychic caltrops. I didn’t bury these in the corners of our property, because I already have protective Witches Bottles full of spiky shit buried there, and the corners of a Suburban townhouse are actually difficult to reach. As such, I have suspended one each above the four major doors of our home.

I wrote this post up on Monday but accidentally deleted it. I just wanted to share my little dream freak-out with y'all. Anyone who wants to weigh-in on the generally WHAT THE FUCK-itude of this should absolutely feel free to do so.

Xx The Witch of Stepford

3

So, I’m not dead or anything…

I’ve been busily busy trying to make a thorough go of my Personal Style blog, working at my 9-5 job, and generally fucking about and having a fairly woo-lite existence.

I also went to Finland, Sweden and Estonia for three weeks in there somewhere. These photos are of me at the Helsinki Botanic Gardens, and I’m fairly certain are me posed with some genus of Monkshood/Wolfsbane or similar. They were gorgeous, buzzing with bumble bees and bad-intent.

The gardens of Stepford Manor have been left to their own devices for much of the year, and as a result they’re a bit feral and hostile. There are poisonous spiders under every leaf, there are hated snails and slugs clustering under pot rims, and the plants are growing as they please, which is to say to propagate without really providing anything to eat.

Strangely enough, the soil has never looked healthier and is teeming with worms, my most hated of household familiars.

Spring is, however, upon us. I have planted out some 40 bulbs of my dad’s garlic, which he bought off a monk at a medieval fair. My fingers are itching to bake bread. Soon the seasonal beers from the USA will be available here in Australia, and I will begin my 31 Nights of Horror: Werewolves.

Do I miss the woo? Yes and no. It felt forced towards the time that I left it earlier this year, and disingenuous. What I truly miss, more than anything, is the voices of my beloved ones: Veles, Graveyard Dirt, Scylla, Master Cole…

I still stalk you all, obviously, so more than just those names above. I’ve just got my feet planted in another world right now.

That said’, I always have a hand thoroughly entwined with the weed-choked, gingerbread brick path upon which all my favourite dark souls walk, and I’m always just a stones throw away.

Hoping to post some travel and garden porn for you all over the rest of this month.

All my love and malicious thoughts,

Xx

The Witch of Stepford

Yesterday was Ostara here in the Southern Hemisphere. I celebrated the return of my ram-horned god of grain to the sickle-wielding harvest goddess as consort and lover by…

…doing absolutely fucking nothing.

Well, that isn’t entirely true. I did things. I pulled weeds from my garden bed, I went out for sushi with my boyfriend and did groceries afterwards, I cleaned out the birds cage, and I bought a Fitbit on-line. I did things, but I didn’t really do a single thing of sacred consequence or value.

I didn’t, for example, rise at dawn and walk into the garden to spend time offering sacred libations and smoke to my plants. I didn’t exhume the dismembered phallus of the grain god, or his sacred seed, for germination of the Holy crop. I didn’t dye eggs a bloody red, bake sweetened bread, roast lamb shanks with a sticky glaze or fill my Paschal mold with salty-sweet cheese curds mixed with glacé fruits. I didn’t leave a plate out for the Ancestors or passing spirits.

Instead, overcome with some sort of morose petulance, I sat at the computer half the day looking at Finnish glassware on eBay and cocks on Tumblr.

I even broke one of the two Lenten sacrifices I planned to make, not even 24 hours in. KUDOS!

My Ostara was disappointing on many levels. I’m currently trying to regroup, and to crawl out from under the embarrassing funk I was evidentially under yesterday, made even more so by the fact that I have literally nothing to be funk-riddled over. Spring is here and life is fucking good. So, this coming weekend is a long weekend here in Australia, and I’ll have three whole days to sow seeds, bake break, ply the plants of my garden with offerings and revel in the grain god’s return. I want to kick the bountiful season off with the sort of revelry and fanfare that it deserves, even if that is a week late in getting off the ground.

After all, it’s the though and the energy expended that counts in the end, right?

Xx The Witch of Stepford

4

Cabbage, meat and Graveyard Dirt: 

Recently the delectable Mrs. Graveyard Dirt made a batch of ‘Holubsti’, a dish which is popular throughout many different Slavic regions including Finland, my Ancestral home. I can’t even recall the last time that I would have had kaalikääryleet (the Finnish name for Cabbage Rolls), but after seeing Dirty’s post, a hunger was ignited within me. As such, I decided to make a batch on Sunday evening last.

What I wound up making were not the Cabbage Rolls of my ancestor’s by any stretch of the imagination. I trawled the interwebs for traditional Finnish recipes, and while I found quite a few, with many variations between them, none of them really spoke to me. In the end I decided to cobble together my own recipe based on several that I had found, and to just follow the most common sense method.

I used a mix of beef and pork mince, heavily flavoured with white pepper and onions, allspice and dill. I added bread crumbs and eggs to bind the mix together, and that was it. Simple flavours but the best quality ingredients used. I was annoyed to not find  a Savoy Cabbage at the store when I was shopping, but instead of settling for one of those leathery white affairs, I picked up a Chinese Cabbage and used that instead. This meant that there was less cabbage and less colour involved over-all; however the shape of the leaves was perfect for assemblage.

I served the rolls with a home-made pan gravy and some baby kale sautéed in caramelised vinegar.

I have a candle that I bought a little while ago which is described as being Mead scented, and I have taken to lighting this and having it in the kitchen when I am cooking anything for a Feast Day or anything Ancestral. The honey-sweet scent intermingling with the smells of the kitchen is truly delectable.

I am a huge fan of meals that look like they were very difficult and time consuming to put together, but realistically were not altogether that difficult. These little rolls exemplify that.

Thanks so much to my darling friend Mrs. Graveyard Dirt for the inspiration.

 

 Xx The Witch of Stepford

3

Scent and Perfume in Witchcraft

 

From a very young age perfume has held a sway over my heart. From the misrepresentation from a Scripture teacher that Frankincense and Myrrh were provided to the baby Jesus as perfumes, to the bottle of Maroussia my mother was given when I was a child, right through to my discovery of Gucci Envy and adoption of this as my first signature scent. The world of bottled perfumes has always seemed to be an apothecary of wonder and delight to me.

There is something very alchemical and transformative about the act of donning perfume.

I have something akin to a wine cellar of different colognes and perfumes (I wear both men’s and women’s scents), and I have preferred ‘vintages’ for different occasions and situations, including times I want to feel a specific way. I wear Gucci by Gucci almost daily, as it is my current signature. I wear Anglomania by Vivienne Westwood on really special occasions and to feel rare and expensive. I wear Eau de Hermés when I want to feel hyper masculine. And until recently, I’ve worn Hypnotic Poison by when I want to feel sensual and commanding.

A friend of mine once described the smell of Hypnotic Poison as being ‘like sex and lollies’.

Hypnotic Poison is an Oriental Vanilla fragrance, marketed for women. True to its name, the fragrance hypnotizes the audience with a combination of dominating notes: bitter almond and caraway spice, essence of sambac jasmine and Damascena Rose. Residual notes of orange blossom and musk are also noted.

I have decided recently to make Hypnotic Poison my signature scent for working Witchcraft.

With the powdered sugar doughnuts and bouquets of lilies smell of Hypnotic Poison at my wrists, my bone-handled blade in one hand and a bouquet of freshly cut weeds and herbs spilling out of the other in a cascade of greenery; right now I can’t imagine a more perfect ‘scentrack’ to my practice.

Xx The Witch of Stepford

Presenting the Holy Trinity of Finnish cooking: White Pepper, Allspice, Cardamon.

Well, the Holy Trinity of my bastardised, immigrant Finnish cooking handed down to me from my evil grand mother and beloved father and mother (my mother is in no way Finnish, but she does a lot of Finnish cooking for my dad).

Every Finnish recipe that I have learned requires one or more of these three spices. They’re not really strong spices (you know, unless like a total moron you eat a tablespoon of one); but they always stand out to me and I feel so comforted by their presence in my own cooking.

I had to dig these puppies out for the batch of Finnish cabbage rolls I made on Sunday evening after being inspired by Mrs. Dirty’s Ukrainian version.

Xx The Witch of Stepford

4

Autumn and Winter are my favourite seasons: I love the slap of cold winds howling and shaking up the leaves, the fragile and devastating blankets of frost, the stasis of life that descends upon the world around us. Now that my feet are firmly back on Stepford soil I am slowly sketching out the list of upcoming Winter chores. 

The Blueberries produced more fruit than ever before this past Summer, and will be thanked with trimmed branches, larger pots, and a bedding of Pine needles to add acidity to their soil.

The herbs will have the deadwood trimmed back once they have shed their leaves, and will be tucked away to sleep for the winter with new soil and mulch.

Seeds from native (and introduced) species will be collected and stored over the winter with hopes of germinating new plants in the Spring.

The Kitchen Garden and the school of Trout will continue to be tended with love and respect, both of which should fatten and ripen over the darker month with gentle care.

A million other tasks and chores come to mind, and I write them down in a list in a book, my fingers itching with the urge to get out into the streets of the Urban Territory I keep and to start the work.

Xx The Witch of Stepford

4

While visiting my parents recently for Easter, I was gifted a braid of organically grown bulbs of garlic, several different species, which my father had not only grown, but had braided himself.

Being that we are heading straight into cold and flu season here in Australia, and the boyfriend and I both work Public Service jobs where we are exposed daily to workplaces full of other Public Servants who seem to feel that the country will stop if they take a day or two off to treat their illness, and instead show up to share their legions of germs with colleagues; well, let’s just say that that much garlic is a very welcome gift.

My father explained that he had grown the garlic himself on our Familial farm, that there were in fact several different varieties in each braid, and that he had woven the stems of the braids together himself.

They make for a very rustic and touching gift.

My dad also suggested that as well as cooking with the garlic (which, really, can we think of a more fitting image of “a little piece of home in every dish”?), that I could take a couple of bulbs of the garlic and break them apart and grow more garlic for myself.

And so I have. I’ve broken up and planted at least two full bulbs of garlic in my Autumn/Winter crops, and I’m amazed to say that they have already started sprouting! As long as nothing rips them out or eats them, I’ll likely have my own bumper crop of familial garlic to braid and then cook with in the months to come.

Xx The Witch of Stepford