2016 Yule Survival Guide

The Yule season is, officially, upon us. And, like many of you, I am SO not ready. 2016 has been a tumultuous year but hopefully this survival guide will lend a hand in making it through the holidays safe and sound.

2016yulesurvivalguidebythiscrookedcrown

Money, Money, Money

Many winter holidays have gift exchange in the center of it. For gift-buying, you’ll need money, right? Here’s some spells for some extra cash.

Cleansing & Cleaning Your Home &  Altar

So you’ve got the gifts but now you’ve got to get your home ready to receive guests. Decorating and cleaning can be such a chore, right? And you’ll want some spells on hand for cleaning up after those guests leave.

View this post on Instagram

Our holiday tree with the hint of the Necromancer. Woo.

A post shared by Samantha Davidson (@thiscrookedcrown) on

Gossips, nastiness, and the elephant in the room

We all have unpleasant relatives, neighbors, and co-workers. And some of us are definitely not looking forward to sitting down with the family. This will help you deal with them and make things better for you.

Restorative Spells Because You’ll Need ‘Em

Man, oh, man. The holidays can be exhausting. Not just physically but spiritually and emotionally. Sometimes all that rushing about can ruin the holidays. Here’s a few spells to help you get back on your feet and restore your holiday cheer. Also, grab a cup of something tasty. You’ve earned it.

https://www.instagram.com/p/_uHOBnBVie/

This collection of spells should magically help get you through the holiday season with minimal fuss. Here’s hoping, right? Good luck everyone and have happy holidays!

Bewitch Even More of Your Holiday Shopping

Bewitch Your Holiday Shopping is definitely one of those posts I’m proud of. It’s short and sweet but can make a difference in your holiday season.

But there’s so much more you can do! Here’s a whole new second set of charms to bewitch your holiday shopping with.

bemoyhs

 

Enchant your vehicle

If you’re driving around to get your holiday shopping done, enchant your vehicle. Add a little charm bag to the dash board or a cup holder filled with herbs like rue, basil, orange zest, pine needles, holly, shiny coin, sea salt, mint, and clover. I use this combination to make sure my vehicle stays safe, I save money, and stay cheerful during the holiday spirit.

Not driving? The charm bag can be tucked into a bag or pocket to ensure that you stay safe on public transport.

Get your packages fast

Making sure your packages get to you safely and quickly is always a concern, especially with the holidays. But here’s something you can do. Get an envelope and write “fast” and “safe” or “whole” on the inside in red. Now put instant coffee and rue inside the envelope. Seal it up and tape it to the underside of your mail box. If you can’t do that, stick it under your monitor or computer.

Save yourself from exhaustion

I don’t know about you but fatigue from the excitement of the holiday (or all the walking around) totally exhausts me. I’m an introverted hermit so crowds + me = not good. Enchanting your shoes can make things so much easier. I just splash a bit of enchanted water on the bottom of my heel and stomp my foot three times on the doorstep of my home as I leave.

I found when I use this spell I can go much longer before my feet get tired or my knee acts up.  My enchanted water recipe for this is holly, pine needles, orange zest, purified water, melted snow, clover, and coffee.

Find what you’re looking for

It can be hard to find the perfect gift for someone or get that gift in a price you can afford. Here’s what you can do to help with this. Write down exactly what you’re looking for before you go to bed. Put it under your pillow or under your car keys, or under your keyboard. Go to sleep while thinking of that perfect gift.

In the morning you should have some new inspiration for that gift. Maybe someone will mention a store you haven’t searched or you find a website with the item still in stock. Or you just thought of the most amazing thing ever for that person.

https://www.instagram.com/p/_uHOBnBVie/

Emoji spells

I keep my shopping lists on my phone so I can look at them on the go. I’ve taken to adding emoji to my shopping lists to help with it. I might still a less than sign (>) with a price attached to it. Or I might add a gift emoji to something I really want to find as a gift. It’s small. If you’re really good with your emoji, you can chain them into complex spells.

Holiday jar

On December 1st I created a jar spell for the holiday. I write down things I want to happen on white paper. As the month progresses I’ll write down things that did happen but I didn’t expect on green paper and things that happened that I wanted to happen and actually did happen in red. I also add fun things or things I want to do again or make a tradition on gold paper. Then I review it at the end of the month as a final goodbye to the season and year.

Magical practitioners could easily turn this into spells by writing with magical ink or enchanted paper. Or just enchanting the jar or paper as you go.

This could be super fun with roommates or a close family. It’s a good way to share things like what you wanted to happen and remininence on what did happen. I know someone who does somthing similar to this for a Friendsgiving – at the beginning of the night they write out a few things and add it to a jar that’s part of the centerpiece. At the end of the night when they’re all sloshed up from drinking and good times, they read them out to each other. It’s super cute.

Cookies!

Holiday cookies are a personal tradition for me. I make cookies and give them as gifts to friends and family. But I also make a small batch of enchanted cookies throughout the season as “power cookies”. These are usually shortbread cookies with a slight energy boosting magic of ingredients that I can grab as I head out the door. Like an edible char bag. Make sure to taste-test your recipes in small batches.

This idea could easily be swapped out with healthier energy balls or smoothies. Or even coffee or tea in on-the-go cups. The key of this is to have this ready to grab-and-go.

That’s it for this year. Make sure to check out the first set of tips in Bewitch Your Holiday Shopping. And remember be kind to yourself, store employees, and other shoppers while you’re out and about. Be safe and happy holidays!

Divination Tool Review: Halloween Oracle

Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco & Blue Angel Publishing

Status: Currently reading with it

Best for: Halloween and autumn but it offers the truth in an interesting and unique way. Great for all questions all year around.

Favorite cards: The Veil, Invisibility, Scrying

05

I’ll admit it: I love Halloween and when I saw this Halloween Oracle it shot up on my “must have” list to #1. No regrets at all.

It’s a beautifully vivid deck with some quirks that gets you into the Halloween mood nicely. It’s also great to use during the autumn season because of the more autumnal feel to the cards. That being said, I use this deck all year around in my personal readings, especially when I’m doing readings to spark creative writing. It just has that kind of fun but serious feel to it.

 

I’ll be honest, this Halloween Oracle is a bit strange. There are some cards that don’t read as Halloween at all to me. I think some of that comes from the artist being Australian rather than American. It doesn’t have the same kind of American Halloween kind of feel. That’s not a bad thing but it’s something to keep in mind.

The deck also feels somewhat disconnected. The skull set, for example, is lovely but I think they might have been better served as a separate oracle all by themselves. The Lady De Los Muertos is kind of a surprise as it’s the only truly culturally specific addition to the deck and I’m not sure it’s appropriate given the rest of the cards. I think it would have been more appropriate in an entirely Mexican deck or a deck with traditions from all over the world.

And then there’s cards that don’t wholly seem to fit the Halloween them at all. Like Forgiveness and Hearth. I can see the connect, especially if you think of the rituals performed around the holiday. I don’t look at the Hearth card and go “Halloween!” It’s something of a logical leap.

There is a definite witchy feel to most, if not all, of the cards which balances out the deck for me, personally. A less witchcraft-oriented reader might not get that same feel.

Weirdly, the back of the deck has a very Halloween less serious feel which kind of seems like the artist was phoning it in for the deck backs.  It doesn’t really mesh well with the deck’s painted sketch style. If you saw the deck backs without knowing what the cards were suppose to look like, you’d probably be surprised.

 

The art, as you can see, has a almost painted sketch quality to it. They’re not sketches, exactly but they’re not fully cleaned up art either – and that’s the point. The art is finished but it has a washed or scraped feeling to the art. It’s kind of like someone drew it then scraped a broom over the surface of the art. The images are clear but there’s a lot of background noise.

Speaking of backgrounds, outside of a few select images like The Lamp, there isn’t a lot of background to the image. There’s a lot of the scraped colored and light filter kind of backgrounds. Which I kind of like as it focuses the main image more. It doesn’t lend any additional meanings, really, but rather serves as an assistant to the mood of the card.

The art varying somewhat in another unique way. There’s the natural styling like in The Lamp or Nightsong where it’s clearly a complete picture. And then there’s singular focuses where there’s nothing but the card’s focus seen, such as with The Pumpkin or Invisibility. And other times there’s this surreal thing happening. The Underworld, Midnight, or Ghost shows off what I mean where there’s kind of a main image and some hue background and some other elements going on all together. The Apple, Joy, and Black Cat show this a bit too. It’s like a scene but without the coherency of the scene – and yet it’s still coherent as an image. Almost like a collage except it’s all one image. It strikes me as odd and I’m not sure if that’s just me not fully liking that as a style choice or something else.

The borders are black with a color second border around the image.  The color is the most prevalent color in the image but that sometimes means the border stands out a lot and other times it melts into the image. I think I’d like to see this borderless or without the second border at least. If you’re into trimming cards, this is a definite candidate. Especially since when trimmed these cards would be so much easier to handle.

I know from looking about the internet that the art style in general is the same for all of the artist’s cards but I’m not sure about the backgrounds. That might be unique to this deck. The large and secondary border thing is definitely a Blue Angel Publishing trait as my Sacred Rebels Oracle has a similar style.

View this post on Instagram

Reading ♡ Halloween Oracle

A post shared by Samantha Davidson (@thiscrookedcrown) on

 

Personally, I tend to use this deck for when I need a push in the right direction without any sass. I also use it for daily draws a lot. One of my favorite usages is to pull a card to help build original characters for writing (oh hai NaNoWriMo participants!)

I sometimes find myself pulling the deck apart and putting the decks into groups and then fanning that particular group to get a reading. For example, I might pull all of the skulls and pull a card from that. I don’t really do that with other decks so I’m thinking it’s because this one’s kind of disjointed. But I also do it because it’s easier to pull out cards that are useful to character creation.

That being said, I totally do use this for your regular ol’ readings. It’s not great for large readings as it only has 36 cards but unlike the Lenormand or Tarot, it’s sometimes hard to pull a full and complete story or reading from it. Or, rather, you could create a whole story from all the cards but it would take some clever talking to cover yourself. Might be a fun experiment.

I don’t find that this deck specializes in any particular way. It covers all the questions equally but does slightly better with personal questions. For example, I’d probably pick another deck for a financial based reading but if this one was within reach, it would handle the question well enough. It’s not designed to cover a lot of the more practical questions but it can still handle them.

All of this being said, there’s not an overwhelming spirit to this deck for me. I get a sense of purpose and of mischievousness and just the right amount of shadowy darkness to really mark it as Halloween but not a spirit that jumps out and says “hi!”. This is n’t even remotely as  vocal as the Heart of the Faerie Oracle, for example. I consider the Heart of the Faerie Oracle an extremely vocal and personality driven deck. This one’s more low-key in personality.

 

hocollage

 

That being said, the deck reads extremely well despite the size. Blue Angel cards tend to be larger in size and this one is no exception. The size makes it rather hard to shuffle. Those folks with smaller hands (like me!) will find themselves struggling to shuffle these cards. My tip? Rotate the cards so you’re shuffling not on the side but on the top. If that doesn’t work, try the fan method or a stacking method.

The deck box and book are all nice and study. The book isn’t your average LWB. It’s 73 pages and nicely written with the meanings. It also has the images of the cards alongside the meanings. It’s set up in alphabetical order which is good because the cards aren’t numbered. Some oracle decks don’t have that and it’s frustrating.

The cards are solid. They bend nicely like cards should but can take damage. I’ve even spilled coffee on the cards and just wiped it clean (in a panic, because liquid + paper = enemies). The cards have a plastic (?) coating to them which means they can take the aforementioned damaged. But it comes with a cost – they’re highly reflective. Like “I can send signals and see myself” reflective. Their shininess makes photography a challenge, especially with strong light. It even reflects in candlelight!

Even worse, the shininess makes all sorts of damage appear obvious on the card. Bent corners, scratches, and even dust are very noticeable. Even fingerprint smudges. This isn’t a problem if you photograph in low light or use filters to correct the problem but on-the-go photography can be a challenge. It also doesn’t really show on the face of the card when you’re doing a reading unless a serious scratch. It shows more on the back of the cards.

View this post on Instagram

*neck cranes* The accuracy!

A post shared by Samantha Davidson (@thiscrookedcrown) on

 

While I seem to bash the deck a lot in this reading, I actually really love the deck. It had a lot of witchyness to it which means I can use it all year around. I always have fun reading with it. I find the written meanings are just vague enough to allow a greater range of usage.

I really like this deck, I do. I’m not sure I’d love it more if some of the above things were different. I wouldn’t love it less either. It’s one of those decks I love despite what I see as flaws.

 

Would I recommend it? Yes. Would I consider this the ultimate Halloween divination deck? No. There’s just enough quirks against this deck to have me continue my search for the best Halloween deck in the land. But I do love this deck!


 

Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco © Blue Angel Publishing

How to Design Your Own Spiritual Calendar

The Wheel of the Year is one of the most popular new age systems of calendars but it’s not the only one out there. Hellenics and Heathens, for example, often follow a calendar of festival and holidays of historical relevance and reverence to their practice.

But what about everyone else?

585px-wheel_of_the_year-svg

Source: Wikipedia.com

The Wheel of the Year is a fairly modern creation cobbled from historical (and in some cases still practiced) festivals and holidays, notably with Western European origins. But the world is not comprised with entirely Western European practices. Even if you don’t have a specific culture you work within, the Wheel of the Year might not appeal to you for many reasons. It feels weird to me to have a harvest festival when I don’t have a crop to harvest and it feels odd to celebrate the coming of spring when winter will go on for another six weeks in my neck of the woods. The Wheel of the Year works well for a select group of people and in a select climate and everything else is somewhat forced.

If you love the Wheel of the Year and want to use it, for whatever reason, that’s totally up to you. But if you want something different, stick around.

The first thing you really have to consider is selecting what days are important to you and how you’re going to incorporating your calendar with everyone else’s. Your family and fellow practitioners probably has certain holidays they consider important so that’s worth tracking as well. But what’s key is to pick out the events that you want to be most important to you.

calendar 1

You might start off with just a single day for now but give it time and thought and often you’ll find that the calendar fills up. Maybe you need a day of rest and meditation after each college semester or you want to hold a ritual to pray for family and friends on the third of every month. Do you want to mark down the times with the best waves as an ocean witch? Maybe gardening practitioners want to hold their spring festivals on the days the frost is over for the year. There’s so many places you can go with this!

Don’t forget to look at historical holidays too. Are there special holidays or days associated with deities, gods, or spirits you worship or work with? Are there heroes you want to honor? Is there some pop culture being you wish to emulate? Dates and seasons relevant to these entities can all be marked on your calendar. Maybe you just raise a glass in their name or maybe you devise a ritual for them. How you denote what to do on those days is up to you.

You may also want to consider what’s a cornerstone festival and what’s more secondary. Do you need to add something to your calendar as an obligation? Or maybe something holds a more personal significance to you. It may not be spiritual or religious but it’s still time you want to spend doing something personally important to you. Figuring this out can save your sanity and let you focus on what’s really important and what’s nice to do when you have the time.

For example, the first week of September I spend rereading the entire Harry Potter series. It’s not spiritually important but it has personal importance to me. For another example, I hold seer’s vigils for spirits and the dead to clear the crossroads every couple of months. This isn’t a witchcraft or spiritual thing. It’s more of being a friendly neighbor duty to me. If I ever moved away from the Crossroads house, I probably wouldn’t need to hold those vigils anymore. Both these events aren’t nearly as important as my Demon Festivals however so if it came down to only paying attention to one holiday, the Demon Festivals would win out for me.

calendar 2

 

You can have as many or as few holidays and festivals as you like and they can serve whatever purpose you want. Do you want a three day event where you spend as much time as possible having sex and conducting fertility rites with a consenting lover? Have fun! Do you want to dedicate five days of rituals and rites to an honored goddess? Go for it. Want to include birthdays, a cleaning schedule, or your family TV shows schedules? You can add that too. It might not be religious but it’s still important to mark down and is good for mental health. Plus, having everything in one place is usually a good idea.

Start with days and events that are important to you and go from there. My calendar is a mix of religious and spiritual events with practical events (like the vigils) and personal events like Harry Potter Week. They all have some sort of significance to me but they serve different purposes.

201604_010-1024x767

You can physically design your calendar any way you want. I have my calendar copied in full on Google Calendar (as shown above) but I also write down major events in my business planner. I don’t bother copying it, however, on a hanging calendar as I feel like it’s not necessary. I really adore using a calendar like Moon Planner which is set up by the phases of the moon. (The English version is available under “For Foreigners” and only as a PDF right now.) This could be a great option if you’re very into moon-based rituals.

And that’s how you design a holiday calendar personalized to your practice and you! A calendar is meant to keep track of days and events that you consider important. You can add or subtract to that calendar at any given time so there’s no reason to not give it a try. It’ll take time so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for you. You can always add days in addition to the Wheel of the Year as well, so you can be as flexible as you want.

 

Blessing & Ensorcelling Your Plants

Earth day is here. Some practitioners will even have rituals to renew the environment, praise mother nature, or volunteer to help clean up pollution. Others will spend their day adding or tending their garden or houseplants. And then there’s some who don’t care or have “oh shit!” moments ten minutes to midnight and light a candle and dust off their cactus. To each their own.

 

Nature tends to be a very large portion of a great many people’s practices and growing the plants used in your practice is kind of assumed at times. But gardening isn’t easy. Some plants are notoriously difficult to grow like mandrake and others like mint can go wildly out of control if caution isn’t taken. You have to decide what’s better for you to grow versus what’s better for you to buy when needed. Then you add in your climate, local laws, and just how much space you even need to grow plants. Gardening is a huge endeavor and can get expensive very quickly.

I’m no green thumb. I kill plants all the time. I blame this largely because of space issues – I have too much space in the Crossroads House. House plants are far-flung so it becomes a hassle to care for them in a timely manner and when conveniently or aesthetically placed, there’s little sun for the plants to grow. Outside, the soil’s not great but it’s the layout of the property itself that makes it a gardening challenge. And let me tell you: It is a major annoyance of mine. My neighbors have this palatial garden next door and it irks me so much.

My number one gardening tip is to take it slow. Pick two or three plants a growing season and focus on them. Read up about their care and see how that does. Then pick up another few the next year. Over time you’ll have all the plants you want and you’ll know how to care for them without sinking a big chunk of cash into it. Plus, you’ll develop gardening habits so six weeks in you don’t slack off and kill hundreds of dollars worth of plants.

But what do you do with them? Outside of caring for them and using the bits in your practice, how do you work magic with living plants? There’s numerous ways to do it.

 

Plant with a blessing. For my 21st birthday I asked for a tree and a cat. I got Kiki and a cherry blossom tree. My tree is now huge and beautiful but it didn’t grow that way without help. When I planted my tree, I layered clean water on blessed herbal water on clean water, then murmured numerous beneficial inspiration and motivation as I planted it. I layered in spells for protection and health. Make the entire act of planting a spell and ritual.

Add enchanted decoration. Hanging a crystal from a tree branch or adding quartz to a flower pot not only adds an aesthetic beauty but also can add energy to the plant itself. Crystals aren’t the only thing you can use though! I enchant a very large number of wind chimes to my purposes and hang them up.  I’ve also used pinwheels, tiny statues, and wooden signs.

 

Placement and pots. Adding a fun or funny pot can make or break a “boring” plant. Planting flowers with interesting color combinations can really make your garden stunning. Enchant those things. When you add soil to your garden or water the grow before planting, mutter your spells and send energy towards it. I write in chalk or water sigils or spells inside and outside the pot to encourage growth, strength, and health.

Work with what you got. Look to see what already grows naturally around you. The Crossroads House came with grapevines so I had a crash course in how to care for them. To my delight, poke weed and bittersweet nightshade all grow naturally in my yard (but so does poison ivy and poison sumac. Oops.) But don’t be afraid to ditch what you got. I’m not a fan of hostas but there were over a dozen of them when we bought the house. I ended up re-homing a bunch of them to friends back in college and I’m still finding more of them half a decade later. Just because you have plants you didn’t super want doesn’t mean you can’t enchant them too. When I cut back or rearrange the creeping jenny and grapevines, I put spells on them.

Ask the plant! If you’re an animist, then you’re probably of the school of thought that plants have spirits. So simply ask the plant what spells they should be used in. I tend to plop down somewhere sunny and meditate with the plant for a little while until I get a sense of what I should do. Sometimes it follows along with folklore and sometimes it’s out of left field. For example, I have a climbing rose bush that I only use for curses or vengeful bindings because the plant is mean and vindictive. I never come away working with that rose bush without several new wounds. No other rose bush gives me that trouble. My bittersweet nightshade is a sweetie though and super laid back. My hydrangeas are perfectly happy to protect, encourage, or connect to the spiritual world – in exchange for a a gallon or so of water. Maybe I’m projecting but my spells work and the plants are alive still so I give it the benefit of a doubt.

 

But what kind of spells can you use? Anything. Growth, protection, and health spells are the easiest to pull off. But money or job spells? Sure. I grow basil as a money spell. Curses? Yup. My creeping jenny will stop any enemy or thief in their tracks. It’ll take care of curses too. And that’s just from telling it what I want it to do while taking care of it. I find plants to be a really great alternative to positive jar spells. Plant some sunflowers or marigolds in soil mixed with a few pinches of other herbs can really boost household happiness.

Heads up though. Unless killing the plant is the purpose, be careful with what you add to your plant. You might want to toss in a bunch of ingredients to have a living spell but the weird additions to the soil ends up killing your plant – and your spell.

 

As for myself, this Earth Day I’ll spend my day picking up one of the local beaches, painting a few clever sayings on some pots, and getting to know my new plant friends.

Silence That Tongue (Spell Saturday #12)

Has someone gotten into the habit of running their mouth? Is everything out of their mouth repulsive? And you can’t get away. You just sit there, angry and frustrated, and can’t leave without them turning it around on you.

Silence their tongues.

This is an easy enchantment that you can do just about anywhere, even in front of your target. Be sure to check the notes for suggestions.

What you’ll need:

  • Their drinking glass, eating utensil, plate, or bowl. A toothbrush may also work. Food or drink may also be an excellent option.
  • Your anger and hatred
  • A picture of them or your target themselves
  1. Select your vessel to enchant. It must be something they will put in or to their mouth.
  2. Get your picture or be within sight of your target.
  3. Look straight at your target while holding the vessel or hold the vessel over a picture of them. Make an X with your finger on the vessel’s surface. While doing this, pour in your anger and frustration. Optionally, you may wish to mutter or say in your head something like this: “Your tongue wags too much. It grows thick and leaden and silence fills where your voice would have been.”
  4. Now give or leave the vessel to your target to use. Anytime the spell needs a boost, look at them and make an X in the air with a finger or foot.

Notes:

Selecting your vessel will depend on your target and what you can get your hands on that they will also be assuredly putting to their mouth.

  • A drinking glass would be very easy but a fork, spoon, or knife is also optional.
  • A bowl or plate may be trickier because there’s little guarantee their mouths will make direct contact and instead the spell would have to pass from the plate/bowl to the eating utensil and then mouth.
  • A toothbrush is a fine choice as well and has a bonus of being taken with them. This also means that the spell can be done quickly when taking a moment in the bathroom.
  • Food and drink will also be a truly excellent choice (and would allow for herbal additions) but be wary of food/drink being ignore, shared, or enchanting more than your target. Plus, allergies are a thing you need to keep in mind.

Happy casting! Be safe this holiday season!

An original spell by This Crooked Crown

50 Tips and Suggestions for Magic Practitioners’ Events This Summer

Summer is here and many of us have events like Pagan Pride and local coven parties to attend. Or, you’re thinking of maybe throwing together a witchy cookout or get together. But events can go wrong very quickly when there’s a lot of people involved. Here’s some things to consider.

2013-08-10 11.06.23

Rhode Island Pagan Pride 2013

17 tips and suggestions for planning, setting up, packing for the event, or getting to the event

  1. Be really clear on on the dates, locations, and directions. Ask a five year old if they can understand it if you’re unsure. Also be clear where to buy tickets, if tickets are necessary, what, where, and to whom donations can be made (whether food or money).
  2. Arrive early vendors and make sure your paperwork is covered. Bring extra water, food, and a spare chair in case something tragic happens to yours or a friend stops by. Be very clear on whether you are cash only, card only, or both. Have cash on hand just in case. And don’t forget to set online shops to vacation or whatever/watch the inventory so you don’t oversell and disappoint customers.
  3. Carpooling is a great as parking is usually a mess. However, be super cautious when carpooling with strangers.
  4. Double and triple check public transportation routes and fares. You might want to even consider emailing, calling, facebooking, or tweeting your public transportation folks to ensure that the area is being serviced.
  5. If you’re going somewhere alone, let someone know where you’re going to be. Even if it’s just your internet friends.
  6. Park in well-lit areas if possible and lock up your car’s windows, trunk, and doors. Keep valuables out of view of windows. Yes, anti-thief spells are nice. But so are locks.
  7. Bring a device charger. Solar chargers are getting better and better now and they’re priced just about as much as a regular charger. If not, at least bring one to plug into a wall. Even if the event is at a campground there’s bound to be someone with something you can plug into to charge your device with.
  8. For the love of the gods and spirits, wear sun protection like sunblock, hat, sunglasses, and so on. And hey, bug spray usually won’t go amiss either.
  9. Bring cash in small bills. Many shops do take cards now but cash is often appreciated.
  10. Biodegradable serviceware! I’m not just talking about cups. Everything from plates, bowls, forks, knives, spoons, straws, take-home boxes, delivery boxes, and yes cups are made with biodegradable plastics or materials now. Some are better than others so do your research. But this is HUGE and I’m SUPER disappointed I don’t see this more at events. Like, do you know how easy it is for a practitioner to pick up your used cup and use it as object in a spell? Having a biodegradable cup can really muddy the waters when trying to do a spell (especially if the cup is made with seeds). Plus it helps the environment! Yup, it’s more expensive (usually) but then you don’t have a plastic cup sitting out there for years if you missed it during clean-up.
  11. Do not put non-edible things in community shared food. It’s one thing to do it at a private dinner where it’s expected but it’s entirely another where it’s a community event and you can’t be sure you’ve told every single person not everything is edible.
  12. Write down ALL ingredients included in a recipe. Also write down if you enchanted it or if those ingredients used have been enchanted (like if you grew the plants in your garden and poured fertility magic into it… uh, mention that?) This isn’t just for magical needs but also for things like allergies, medical disorders, or religious observances.
  13. Wear sensible shoes. Actually, just wear shoes. I personally love/hate shoes and yet they stay on my feet at events. Amazing concept.
  14. While first aid kits, safety kits, and properly trained attendants of first aid centers essential for community events, this leaves aside the whole aspect of magical needs. What if someone can’t find a lighter for a ritual to be performed in five minutes in front of the whole community? What if someone is super negative and you need to cleanse yourself right there and then? What if you need a spell, stat? What if your special event garb rips? Build an emergency kit to cover your needs. It can be as small as an Altoid’s tin or as large as a whole bag.
  15. Note keeping is rarely mentioned in these lists and it’s a shame. A lot of fun ideas and information is thrown around at these events. Keep a small notebook and pen on you to write down information like website names, emails, phone numbers, or terms to research later. You can also use your smartphone by texting yourself or a note keeping app.
  16. Casting some spells to find your things, look more attractive, be confident, or draw customers? Don’t go overboard. If your spells are super forceful, people will feel that and either ignore you (because rude to do that) or can even become ill.
  17. Bring drinks. Yes, you can usually buy something there but BRING DRINKS. And if you bring your vendor friends’ coffee they will probably thank you immensely.

Food and magical practitioners have a long, long history. Many of us love food and drink and often incorporate it in our magic. Some even work solely in the kitchen. But there’s a downside to this: we don’t know if anyone’s enchanting our food or drink without permission. Many practitioners are somewhat wary about dining with other practitioners, especially when food is being brought in or privately made. Here’s some more magic related tips to consider when planning an event.

2013-08-10 13.21.35

Rhode Island Pagan Pride 2013

18 tips and suggestions for how to act while at the event

  1. Never, ever leave your drink or food unattended. If you can’t take it with you, leave it. If you leave for some reason and plan on coming back, as a trusted friend to watch it. And even then that should be avoided.
  2. This community, like all communities, has our assholes and predators. Call them out on it as needed and ensure the safety of everyone around you. If you feel creeped out, tell them to go away. And don’t be afraid to call or scream for help if you need to. If they insist on contact information, give them a fake. You are NEVER obliged to give out your information or anything. Not even the damn time. Never.
  3. Do not feed the wildlife. Do not litter. Do not spray the environment with chemical sprays unless explicitly told you can. And watch for poison ivy, oak, and sumac.
  4. Help each other out. Seriously, if someone is uncomfortable looking talking to someone, go over and join into the conversation. At worst you’ll be considered rude and told to butt out. At best you saved someone from a harmful situation. This is especially true with minors.
  5. Remember not everyone has perfect physical mobility and just because someone looks healthy doesn’t mean they are. Ask if they would like help and don’t help if they say no.
  6. Do NOT touch someone’s clothing, hair, body, animals, or things without their explicit permission. This is basic common courtesy.
  7. Community elder does NOT mean they are entitled to anything, least of all special treatment, discounts, or even your respect. Treat them as everyone else and let them earn your respect with their actions and wisdom rather than be expected to comply because they’re a pillar of the community.
  8. Keep an eye on your weaponry. Yes, that athame is very pretty. Yes, it’s very much part of the ritual you plan on performing as a part of the event. No, it should not be swung around like you’re in a hack and slash game and it should not be handed to children.
  9. You are not at home. Don’t treat it that way. Please shower and by hygienic when you arrive. Please remember your manners. No, not everyone is family and you shouldn’t treat strangers with familiarity like that unless they say it’s OK.
  10. Tip your fortune tellers. This depends on the event and reader. Often times if you’re paying the reader individually, then it’s not often expected. If they’re being paid by the event, the event takes a cut, they squeeze you in, or they’re doing it for donations/fun then tip them. Even a dollar or pocket changes goes a long way.
  11. Do not ask someone to do a psychic reading or perform for you. It’s ridiculously rude unless that person offers or are selling their services. Furthermore, why would they open themselves up at an event where there’s so much energy being thrown around? Why would they do that to themselves. Don’t be afraid to say no, if you’re the person being asked. You also don’t have to agree to have such a service performed if you don’t want it.
  12. Be mindful of minors when holding discussions that involve graphic sex or violence descriptions. And yes, some of them probably do need to be there. If your parent is working the event and can’t find a babysitter for a Saturday, guess who’s tagging along at said event? I’m not saying don’t talk. I’m saying don’t tell someone in graphic detail about your sexcapde the night before in a public forum unless that forum is specifically for adults and/or a community catering to that.
  13. Not everyone is an extrovert. Some people really do just prefer sitting back and watch than participating in an event. They like it even. Do NOT pull someone into an event if they don’t want to be.
  14. Be nice to the beginners, children, teenagers, and newbies; they’re learning. That being said, you don’t have to correct them, you don’t have to be nice, and you don’t have to teach them, especially if they’re toxic to you. Some people need a hard truth to learn. Also, not all beginners are young. Some people come into this much later in life.
  15. Remember, some people simply do not want to learn or change. You might as well be arguing with a wall. Learn when to disengage and walk away. Let them win. Fools never recognize when they’re wrong.
  16. Remember not everyone practices the way you do. While your religion may say you can only practice one way and there’s only one truth, that does NOT mean you get to degrade, bully, insult, or be an asshat to anyone else. Also, bashing other religions like Christianity is petty, unnecessarily, and absolutely spreading the same toxic behavior you’re claiming they’re giving you.
  17. Burning incense or candles at an event? Be kind and post a little sign on what you’re burning! Not only is it great for businesses to advertise that you sell it but you can also popularize the smell. Scent and smoke sensitive folks will especially thank you.
  18. You are not entitled to ANY information from anyone. You are not entitled.
2013-08-10 11.06.19

Rhode Island Pagan Pride 2013

15 tips and suggestions for after the event and clean up

  1. Clean up the grounds after your event. Even the trash that isn’t yours. This includes your animal’s deficantions.
  2. Check for all your stuff and money before you leave the event. Often times if you lose something you won’t have access to that site to even look for it later.
  3. Just because you met someone at an event doesn’t mean you’re entitled to talk to them again, have their time, or their attention.
  4. Update websites after the event is over, community organizers. Apologize for things that went wrong, list any shops that made an appearance, and consider a missed connections forum of some kind so people can reconnect after the event.
  5. Take down any photos of people who request them taken down and ask give names to people and events so others know what was happening when and who was there.
  6. Do not include people in your prayers or workings if you met them at the event. Ask them again in private outside of the event if they want to be included.
  7. Ground and cleanse yourself after the event as needed. Some amazing energy can be raised there and some really crappy energy can be as well. Do it to your tools and things too.
  8. Do not be a creep and try to excessively hit on, stalk, or harass someone you saw at the event. Especially do not do this to minors. It’s one thing to contact someone and follow their social media but it’s wholly another to continually contact them when they don’t respond or ask you to go away.
  9. Shop owners, do an inventory. Yes, right away. That night or the next day. If you don’t and find out you’re missing a whole box of stuff two weeks later there is incredibly little that can be done about it.
  10. Reconnect with people that interest you or groups. Maybe group work isn’t your thing or their style isn’t what you thought it would be but supporting your local community is often the best way to connect with them.
  11. Supporting your local community is a strong ideal. However, you do not have to support a local community if it won’t support you or has toxic behavior.
  12. Didn’t see a shop or person at an event and think that’s weird? Check out why. It could be some personal drama or that person could have a real serious reason why they didn’t attend right down to what the event supports or the event excluding someone for some reason. Knowing your community politics is a good way of avoiding being dragged into them.
  13. Give feedback! Make suggestions on what you’d like to see next year and what events you really enjoyed.
  14. Some traditions or covens are specific on who can join in. Just because they did an event doesn’t mean that they’re looking for new members or you’re eligible to join in.
  15. Just because someone’s culturally appropriating something doesn’t mean that you can do that too. Nor does it mean you should instantly berate them. Inform them after the event is done so you can provide insight from the cultures involved and links for additional information. Starting an argument onsite it not the way to go about it and puts someone immediately on the defensive. The exception to this is if they’re being racist or extremely toxic in some way.

There you have it! 50 tips and suggestions for magic practitioners to keep in mind this summer. Some of these are super general and can be applied to any event and others are more specific. So followers, what tips, tricks, suggestions, and secrets do you have to share about event going?

Happy New Year!

May your 2015 be better than the last years, may you be given the wealth you want and need, may you remain safe in adversity and hale in health, may you have the courage and strength to do what you want, need, and must, and may the best of your wishes and dreams come true.

Enough of that solemn nonsense. Have your hangovers abated yet? Considering some hair of the dog perhaps? Or maybe you mocked up your new year resolutions and considering to maybe even stick to them this year. Did you have someone to kiss (yes! Your pet totally counts!) Or perhaps you just spent ringing in the new year on a Netflix marathon and didn’t realize it was 2015 until 3 a.m. Hey, it’s all good.

There’s something of a tradition that you should spend your first day of the New Year doing what you want to do for the rest of the year. Make that first day the pattern and what to hold the rest of the year to. That’s great and all but I prefer to make it a week-long event. This primarily comes from not everything I want to the year to be can’t fit into one day. So I spend the week stretching out the things I want to do. This is actually really useful if your new year resolutions are more life-changing than just “I’m going to read more books this year.” This is especially useful if health or dietary concerns were part of your focus for the new year.

For those of you a little lost on those new year resolutions or what direction you want 2015 to go in, you might want to consider some divination and soul-searcher. Write a list of what you want to do and draw cards to see how feasible they are. Divination not your thing? Find a reader! Here’s my three recommendations from my own shop for those who want to use divination to plan 2015.

On This Crooked Crown’s front, I’m focusing more on my writing than last year as well as planning a few big changes and travel plans this year. (That includes getting those rumored witchcraft lessons off the ground.) In fact, watch this space for a big announcement next week!

That’s it from me! I hope the year is kind to you!

Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day 2014

Sunday August 16th, was Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day (RIPPD). For those of you who don’t know, last year I presented a workshop on secular witchcraft at RIPPD. This year I didn’t present or vend because I didn’t have time to get something together before the event given the severe resurgence of my sleeping disorder beforehand.

Anyway, a friend of mine was vending his spa products so I had a definite reason to make an appearance. More than that, I believe in supporting my local community – not just for the vendors but also the local pagan community.

For those who visited RIPPD last year, know it was far smaller this year. Which saddens me. It’s really hard to support the local community when the community is so disorganized that major vendors don’t want to participate.

I happened to visit a major new age store the day before RIPPD to pick up herbal supplies. The owner of the store was manning the counter and when asked if she was going, she told us that she has issues with RIPPD and one of them was the location. RIPPD isn’t held in Providence but an out-of-the-way place in East Providence. Previously to that it was held in Bristol. Not only is the location a problem but RIPPD is, apparently notoriously disorganized.

Snippet from the Demon Feast

I slip my arm through his and nudged him through the grand doors and into the moonlight balcony gardens. The roar of the sea under us was great and the wind whipped across my flesh, instantly cold and utterly satisfying. I sigh with contentment, abandon him, and step up to the very edge of the balcony, the pressed sand wall pushing into my knees. Annoyed, I concentrate for a moment and the sand parts at my will. I take a final step closer, toes curling over the edge as close to the ocean as I could get without being in the water. I take a cool, deep breath and suck in the sharp salt air. Distantly through the roaring of the sea, I hear the dock hands and sailors on the ships that have anchored on the newly built docks, still mostly under construction and barely heard of. Soon, they will be bustling but for now they are empty, dreams that have been birthed but not yet started to live.

He is silent, as always, but watching me. I spin and smile at him. “I miss the sea.”

He waves with his non-sword hand, barely a gesture before the hand returns to a fighting post. Always ready to fight, my warrior. “We’re right here.”

I shake my head and step closer to him. “I miss the sea in my physical form. It’s too far. I need to bring it closer.”

He tilts his head. “You have a plan then.”

My grin is wicked and razor sharp. “Don’t I always?”