Goodbye Crossroads House!

We sold our house!

Around late August of 2015  I started mentioning “Secret Future Plan” (SFP) on my personal twitter. SFP actually started a month earlier when, while kayaking with my mother, she mentioned that we could probably sell our house and get something more suitable to us.

When we moved into the Crossroads House 17 years ago, we had a lot of requirements (school districts, handicapped accessibility for my grandmother, spaces for everyone to keep out of each other’s way with our very busy lives). It’s a great house, but it no longer suited us so we decided to sell.

In order for us to sell the Crossroads House, we had to do some patch up. You know that to-do list of stuff you’ve been meaning to get to but never do? We had to actually go through that list and do it, plus have all of our financial ducks in a row. We took two years to get the house ready to sell. Painting and updating and so on takes both time and money, so we didn’t rush it.

Over the last three years, the Crossroad House has been on the market. We’ve gotten lots of offers, but usually they weren’t the right kinds of offers. We even had the house sold at one point, but something fell through in the final weeks of the sale. We took it off during the holidays too, since we didn’t want to fuss with that. Why it took so long to sell is easy – it’s a weird house. It has four bedrooms, but they’re all in different parts of the house. One bedroom is the whole second floor, what was once an attic. My bedroom and a second kitchen is in the basement. The other two bedrooms are on the main (first) floor, but are on opposite ends of the house, connected by the double parlor. The doors to the basement, that floor’s bathroom, the attic bedroom, and the backyard all connected in the small main level’s kitchen. All within walking distance to an elementary school, middle school, and the town’s high school. It’s a great house and way more spacious that it looked from the outside, but it’s not great for a family with little kids. It’s definitely more suited to teenagers or adults.

In 2019, as mentioned, we had the house sold. Then two weeks from closing, the sale fell through. We were absolutely crushed. We had already rented a new house to move into and had started packing. Literally the only thing that cheered us up was that Halloween was around the corner and I could go all out with decorating like I usually do.

We knew the next year, this year, was going to be it. Tons of little signs, included the tragic death of one of our Halloween decoration dragons, told us as much.

Then spring 2020 hit. We put it back on the market in early February, but the COVID-19 pandemic started soon after. About a week and a half after everything started to shut down in my area, we get a call. The buyer had been watching for a while and wanted to see the house. We had stipulations, of course. Masks, gloves, don’t touch anything, etc. Then the state shut own and no one could travel in from another state. We had several other buyers after that, some even with offers, but none were really serious.

Then the new owners came in. They saw the newly uploaded 3D model of the house and wanted it before they even saw it in person. They love it that much! The closing was the end of July and we’re all so happy that the couple that bought it love the house and are looking forward to putting their own spin on the house.

Of course, moving isn’t just signing over a house. We had to pack 17 years worth of stuff – including thousands of books. We were already partially packed, honestly. We had decluttered for house showings. But there was still a ton of stuff to do. The week before closing my Mom and I WORKED. We put in fourteen hour days for an entire week during a heat wave carting out box after box after tote after boxe. We got rid of a lot of stuff and threw a spur-of-the-moment yard sale on two separate days. The day before last it was a hundred degrees with nearly matching humidity and we ran around donating various things and making an unplanned trip across the state to Connecticut where someone was willing to host our ladder and kayaks for a while. We’d carry boxes over to fill our condo’s living room only to come home and put it all away after a long day of working in the heat and sun, so the landscape of the condo was constantly changing. My brother and uncle were amazed. My cat Kiki was angry and spent much of the time I was home ignoring me. (She likes the new place, she just didn’t like that I wasn’t there.)

I’ll certainly miss the old house. It was spiritually quite wonderful and it had a ton of room for everybody to spread out in. There’s a lot of memories and a lot of things we’ll miss.

So what’s next?

Well, we’re taking a month or so off to just relax and unpack. We still have some boxes that need putting away or to be put into storage, Tetris style. After that, we’re onto new horizons. Our condo is a temporary location only. We have plans for after this, but I don’t want to talk too much about that right now.

How does this affect This Crooked Crown? Well, I think it’ll actually help. Having to be constantly cleaning or having my work routine interrupted to do house showings was a pain in the ass. I can mark, to the day, where my beautiful and productive work routine crashed into the house selling nonsense and shattered. I’ve spent three years working with half the energy I’d normally have. Now I don’t have to worry about that. I can go back to doing my own thing without needing to make the house look like a magazine shoot.

I’m going to take it slow and build up This Crooked Crown again. We were doing well and helping people before. I’d like to do so again. I have a lot of projects that I can get back to now and now I’ve the mental space and emotional energy to dedicate to thoughtful posts once again.

If you’d like to support the cause, you can drop a coin in the tip jar or become a patron. I’m slowly by surely moving my Etsy and Storenvy shops here, so if you bought something in those places and want to see it here, shoot me a message (form below) and I’ll see what I can do. Otherwise, wander around the shop section and see what I’ve got for sale. Readings, spells, and more. Physical items, like charms, will be added as I make them since I had to cut back on my creating while we were selling.

Anyway, it’s good to be back! Thanks for your patience and let’s try and make 2020 a little bit better, hm?


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7 Tips to Get Your Life Under Control So You Can Get Back to the Magic

We’re all busy, right? We’ve all got a ton of things on our minds and it gets to be so hard to keep track of stuff. It’s even harder to fit in spiritual practices and make time for witchcraft.

I recently experienced this myself. I took on a lot of projects for This Crooked Crown on top of some personal projects for my own practice. Then Life reared its head. Family needed medical procedures or were sick (everyone’s OK! No worries), birthdays kept on coming, and the upcoming spring’s always a busy time with the ongoing Secret Future Plan project we’ve got going. Plus there’s the regular stuff to do too – readings, writing posts, taking photos, answering questions, and so on. There’s just a lot of stuff happening. I couldn’t keep up. It happens. Who’s got energy to cast a spell when you’ve been go-go-go all day?

I started going to bed with stress headaches and woke up with them too. That’s when I decided enough was enough and I was going to start managing my shit better. Here’s what I did.

7 Tips to Get Your Life Under Control So You Can Get Back to the Magic

01 Write down everything you’ve got going on 

This is absolutely the number one thing I recommend. It really drives home how busy you are and lets you see what’s happening so you can start prioritizing better. You may even decide to put something on hold for a while until some other project or situation can be finalized before taking up the reins again.

I wrote down everything I was thinking, doing, and feeling. It included little stuff like a mobile game I super enjoy playing daily to big years long projects that move slowly but surely. I also included stuff like stress about politics, birthdays, and personal worries or frustrations.

Then I numbered them three times. The first time, I numbered how important they were to me. This is kind of eye opening. You’ll really begin to see what’s important to you right now. Then I numbered them according to due dates – what needs to be done when – so bills or shop orders. The final time, I numbered them in order of priority to me or others I actually care about – a friend’s birthday, for example, might be more important to me than some due date for a thing I don’t really want to do.

Now do a comparison of the numbers. You can get as mathy as you’d like with this and figure out averages or whatever. I kind of just looked for similar numbers. If I listed a lack of spiritual connectivity as personal importance to as five but on the priority/due dates they were eleven or twelve, then that’s an area I need to focus on temporarily to feel personally satisfied but not dive into a major project for. So I might do a longer meditation session to help balance that out and get some more immediate results.

Make sure you look at how important stuff is to you and how you rate it as a priority. It might be that you’re ignoring your health or self-care in order to get shit done. it could also be that you want to accomplish something because you’re excited about it but it’s not actually all that important. Could your attention and energy be spent elsewhere or do you want to follow that excitement and allocate whatever time and energy you have left after you do that?

Also look at what numbers keep coming up or coincide with those items, especially if you’re into numerology. See if there’s a correlation with your divination readings in what cards keep coming up or if there’s some numerical importance attached to those numbers. Look at numbers that have huge discrepancies – or items you forgot to number. Those things may need some attention.

Now go through that list one last time and number how you want to proceed, taking in all that data. Using those numbers, write out a to do list with at least one actionable step you can take to start on that immediately. So if a birthday is your number one concern, write something like “research birthday gift” or “go out on Tuesday and buy present”.

It’s kind of a pain but this process can be really eye opening, especially if you remember to include things that aren’t just your daily to do or mundane but spiritual stuff as well. Maybe replacing that broken altar bowl doesn’t seem important but it might be weighing on your mind more than you know.

How to make this magic: Honestly, this technique is pretty eye-opening. I would use magical ink or paper or a language to write the list one last time in order of how you want to proceed, like a to do list, to ensure that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish.

 

02 Turned off the electronics early

I’ll be honest. I’m definitely one of those “turn off tablet/phone/computer/TV, roll over, go to sleep” kind of people. I don’t necessarily want to be. In a dream world and life, I wouldn’t even have a TV or computer in my bedroom. But since this isn’t a dream world, I have a ton of electronics in my sleeping area. And it’s a bummer.

Once I started going to bed with stress headaches – and waking up with them, I immediately stopped using electronics actively before going to sleep. Instead, I turned everything off but my tablet and read an fiction-based e-book until I found a physical book I wanted to read. I still woke up with stress headaches but I felt immediately less stressed and slept better.

There’s some scientific data to back this up but I know personally that turning my brain off from TV and instead letting my brain imagine stories before going to bed is better for me personally. Also look into blue light filters. I noticed my eyes hurt far less when I use blue light filters at nighttime.

It’s hard, I know. But give turning off your electronics ten minutes before you go to sleep a try.

How to make this magic: Putting sigils on your phone case for energy boosting is a great idea during the day to give both you and the phone a helping hand. Removing that phone from your hand at night allows you to have less energy and, thus, sleep much easier.

Aroma stimulation may also be useful. For example, I know it’s “no electronics time” and/or bedtime when I use lavender scented products. For me, lavender is used for quiet time. You might have a different scent that triggers this so do a little research to figure your own “shut off” scent.

 

03 Changed your rooms’ atmosphere and energy

Our rooms have their own atmospheres and energy. Right now, I’ve stacks and stacks of books everywhere for research projects. It reminds me of my college days where I was super stressed and sick all the time. Once I identified that as a contributing factor, I swapped out some things to shift the room’s energy – and my associations – to something else.

I picked fire, wind, and light as an energy to focus on. I used citrus scents, made sure to work in brightly lite rooms, and put on wind and bell soundscapes. My stressful associations shifted away and I felt far more productive and accomplished.

I also changed out my bedding, picked up lightly about the room, and rotated some decorative pillows and throw blankets to give a subtle change. I also throw open a window for a little while to air the place out.

As a bonus, changing up the lighting, scents, and sounds can immediately affect your mood.

How to make this magic: Color symbolism helps here, but so do scents and so on. Magical correspondences are your friend here. Ringing a bell can also dissipate clustered energies.

 

04 Dressed to boost your mood

Ten years ago, I scoffed at wearing sweats and casual tees on a daily basis. Now it’s my go-to when I’m in a time crunch and spending the day typing on a computer.

It makes sense. Ten years ago I was super active and busy – places to go, things to do, out before the sun rises and home at the witching hour. So I had to dress appropriately for those things. Since I work from home and my only co-worker is a cat, wearing sweats and a worn tee isn’t going to make a difference in what I do.

Except it kind of does. I started to put on non-lounge clothes in the mornings. It helped, most of the time, and kept me from glancing longingly at my video game consoles. Did it make me more productive? I don’t think so, but I felt more productive and put together. I felt more of a person and less like a cat pretending to be a person, so it has to count for something.

How to make this magic: Color symbolism and recognizing what outfits make you feel good about yourself is a huge bonus here so keep an eye on that. You can also individually enchant your clothing or other items for magical boosts as well.

 

05 Started work before you’re actually awake

The first thing I usually do in the morning depends on whether or not I woke up with or without an alarm. If I work up with an alarm, the first thing I’m doing is turning off that alarm on my phone which inevitably means I’ll check my notifications. If I woke up without an alarm, I’ll meditation for a few minutes, do some light yoga, and grab some breakfast.

But when I’m in a crunch, the first thing I do is crawl over to my desk and start typing. Usually, this happens when I have a reading queue a mile long and a post needing to be published in three hours. If I start working the moment I’m conscious but not yet awake, then I’m less likely to get distracted before half finishing whatever I needed to do.

When I do get distracted, I’m way more likely to want to finish whatever I was doing because, well, it’s probably almost done anyway.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a terrible thing to do routinely to yourself. It may start you associating work with lack of sleep (even if it’s true) and get you thinking bitter, dark thoughts against your work. It also doesn’t guarantee good work, especially with less intuitive projects. Remember to edit and review before you hit that send button if you work in this state. A metaphor that made sense at five a.m. might not make sense at eleven a.m.

How to make this magic: Cast a magnetic-style charm to one of your desk items, like your computer mouse or a sticker on your laptop. This allows you to feel “drawn” to use an item, even subconsciously.

 

06 White noise generators or instrumental music

I love white noise generators. I use them ALL. THE. TIME. Literally, all the time.

White noise is a great way to get your brain to productive mode without dealing with silence or hearing too much conversation and becoming distracted. I found that if I changed out what kind of sounds I listened to, I could get shit down. When I want to work, I put on video game instrumental soundtracks (no joke! Try the Skyrim soundtrack next time you’re knocking out a boring typing project).

White noise is not a one-size fits all kind of thing. Once you get into it you realize different people find different white noise better than others. For example “brown noise” rather than “white noise” is more comforting to me – think thunder rolling over the roaring ocean rather than rain. So if you’ve tried white noise generators before, try it again but try different tones and pitches to see what works best for you.

I highly recommend the free website mynoise.net. I’m not an affiliate of the website. I just really, really love it. I also use a playlist on Spotify (I have a premium membership I share with other folks so no ads) and the app Insight Timer which is a meditation app with a community who offer white noise meditation tracks for free.

How to make this magic: Use the sounds to your advantage. I’m spiritually attached to the ocean and water in general. So my go-to sounds are all water based. If you’re attracted to the wind, they have generators and soundscapes like that too. Fire? Done.  Earth? Yup, that can be handled too (forest sounds, cave sounds, farmland sounds, etc). More urban? Crowded cafe sounds are really popular. Use what makes you feel rooted and at home.

 

07 Meditation

When I was younger, I never meditated. It just wasn’t me and not something I wanted or needed to do. I knew what I wanted to do and I usually had a schedule of things to do in my head. As an adult, I have a ton of stuff going on too but now I’m often pulled in so many directions I can fail to prioritize what’s actually important to me. Meditation helps me ease that.

Meditation is also my go to when I have a super long to do list and I want to figure out what I actually want to do that day. My to do list might be twenty items long but meditation gives me a moment to breath and think “OK. What’s actually important here? What can I do now for others, now that I’ve done something for myself?”

Guided meditation can be really helpful for folks who have brains that don’t like to shut up or want to achieve a particular goal. Others may do better with simple quiet meditation. It’s a personal taste sort of thing. Even a few minutes helps.

How to make this magic: Meditation is often used in magical practices but there’s a lot of guided meditations out there that can be used to achieve particular goals or help you release a lot of negative emotions. Try out some and see what proves to be helpful to you.

 

So that’s what I did to get my to do list down to a minimal amount. They’re simple techniques, to be sure, and you’ve probably heard them all before. That’s kind of the point. They’re stuff you’ve heard before because they work. Don’t knock them until you try them.

I know January was really hard for a lot of people. I saw a lot of people struggling with some drama and nonsense during all of that time. It can be really difficult to dig yourself out of a hole spiritually in order to really get back on track so early on in the year. Just remember that each day is a chance to start fresh. Each month is a new beginning. You can always start again. Don’t give up and remember to give yourself a chance to breathe!

5 Things I’m Currently in Love With

Life has been kicking my ass. Last month (and the month before that) was filled with stuttering posts due to a variety of reasons. Long story short: Life got in the way of… life? Weird sentence is weird.

Anyway, here’s five things I’m totally in love with right now.

 

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🌸

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01 Cherry Blossoms

I mean, I love flowers any day of the week but right now I am constantly staring at my flowering trees and blooming garden. Right now I’m very lucky because I have two cherry trees in my front yard – the Yoshino white and the Kwanzan pink. The Kwanzan always flowers after the Yoshino (and lasts at least two weeks longer???) but there’s this sweet spot where both still have flowers and everything is awesome forever.

I always love cherry blossoms so I’m super happy at this time to just stare at them all the time. Like, all the time.

Also, little known fact, for my 21st birthday I asked for a cat and a cherry tree. I got Kiki and my Yoshino tree. One of my better birthday requests, to be honest.

 

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Enjoying the sun

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 02 Aromatherapy

I’m not actually all that well-read when it comes to aromatherapy. I mean, I could probably blab about it for an an hour or more but a lot of that comes from my herbal knowledge rather than aromatherapy knowledge.

A couple of weeks ago I scored an aromatherapy mister for a song and have been using it nightly. It’s really been helping me sleep when I’m suppose to be asleep and even helped clear up my lungs a bit (which is good because they’re kind of rubbish after an infection years ago).

I’m looking forward to diving into more research on aromatherapy in the coming days. Yay for new stuff to read about!

 

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More cherry blossoms

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03 Cooking

This is a weird one. I do a lot of baking but not a lot of cooking. However, last week my mother went away and that meant that I could use my brother as a taste tester without feeling guilty that I was making something my mother didn’t want to eat.

So far, every recipe I tried came out a complete success. Most of the recipes I tried came from the World of Warcraft Cookbook but I also tried my hand at making stuff that I love but no one in my house has ever tasted before (like curry!). It was fun and encouraging. I guess I’ll be stepping outside of my normal baking and trying to make something more than cupcakes or cookies more often.

 

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Close up ♡

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04 Backbends

I don’t talk about my exercise regiment very much because I’m either all for it or being a slacker. (I’m not super consistent and that’s something I’m trying to work on). Anyway, the other day I accomplished a backbend that I haven’t been able to do in years.

Actually, let me rephrase that. I’ve always been able to do a wheel style backbend with some warm up but I use to be flexible enough to do a wheel backbend without any warm up at all. (I’m naturally that flexible in that direction) but years of computer sitting and driving without consistent practice made that go away. I know I can recapture that original flexibility if I keep working on it.

Also, don’t be me. Warm up before you try complicated physical moves. I’m a bad example of what to do with your body. Seriously. Don’t be me.

 

 

05 May Day

May Day is a thing for me. But it’s a weird thing. Many pagans and practitioners practice May Day or Beltaine celebrations. Mine are far more low-key and not based on the Wheel of the Year. I think I celebrate May Day because the first of May is when you can finally start seeing a lot of flowers blooming and it really starts to feel like spring in my area.

I’ll spend much of this May Day cooking, put out some offerings, and put away some winter clothes and blankets. Simple things but they make a difference on an individual and household level.

I hope when I get enough land sometime in the future that I can set up a May Day pole. That’s a “someday” goal I have.

 

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So many spring blooms!

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So that’s the five things that I’m totally loving right now. What about you all? What have you been staring at in awe and love? What have you been occupying your time with?

Getting Back to Your Spiritual Roots

Ever stop and take a look at who you were once or what you once believed and cringed? Who hasn’t? But many practitioners tend to develop their practice over a long time – and lose the foundation of their practice in the process.

I’m an animist. More than anything else, I’m an animist. I grew up believing that things had spirits. There has never been a time in my life where I haven’t believed this. For me, knowing that things have or could have spirits is a fact. It’s the same thing as air – I cannot see it but I know it’s there.

My spiritual practice has taken me to some weird places. Some of those places I miss deeply but do not (or cannot) reclaim. Other places I don’t miss at all. When I first started witchcraft I tried Wicca… for about five weeks when I was nine. I couldn’t get my mind around the whole witchcraft religion thing so they’ve pretty much been separated my whole life.

Recently I was binge watching some TV while working on a project for this site when I realized that what I was watching had a pattern. Not just genre related but each thing had a distinct callback to certain aspects to each other. Anyone else would have said, “well, yeah, they’re all based in the same setting or theme” but for me, each invoked a feeling of looking back at my past – and I missed it. I suddenly realized that those aspects and feelings weren’t a major part of my practice or life anymore. They’ve been put on the back-burner and in the background. I was missing them and I didn’t even know it.

Honestly, that realization struck me as a bit weird because I hadn’t even realized that I was missing something until then. I didn’t realize that I was feeling a bit lost. Or, even worse, that I was going through the motions without connecting to it all.

I decided that I needed to get back to my roots. Here’s what I did.

 

Getting Back to Your Spiritual Roots by This Crooked Crown

 

Re-read books that served as inspiration and foundations for my spiritual practice.

There’s a reason that people reread their religious books often. Even if you study the material closely, sometimes you just need to stop studying and instead read it. Just read the material and see what you get through that.

Books have always served as the basis for which I’ve developed my life around. I was always as a child and I’m always reading something today. Even if it’s not a book, there isn’t a day that goes by where I haven’t read something for the express purpose of reading and enjoying that information.

I don’t have a set spirituality and my practice actually developed twice- once as a child, once in my late teens and early twenties. That’s two sets of information to reacquaint myself with. Much of my inspiration also comes from fairy tales, mythology, and fairy tales. None of it actually comes from new age sources so it can be a lot to sort though. I’m relishing the opportunity to dive into some of my favorite classics though.

 

Follow social media accounts involving those foundations

I didn’t have internet until I was in middle school and we didn’t have a home computer until 2000. It seems weird now because so much of my life involves technology but back then, it was expensive and not really necessarily. So my knowledge developed according to what books I could find in the library.

The internet, my college library, and access to new and different people caused that second evolution in my practice. But facebook was just starting out. In fact, it was still restricted to just college students at that time. (Yeah, seriously) So while I had a huge library to play in, people to talk to, and the internet to explore, I didn’t have social media accounts to follow and interact with. This means when my social network drifted off and I left that university, I lost access to those connections.

These days we have social media so we can talk to people all over the world without have to slough through our emails to have a conversation. But while I interact on a daily basis with fellow witchcraft practitioners and people of other faiths, my own spirituality isn’t so easily defined so I don’t really interact with people on a spiritual level. That’s OK with me. My spirituality is actually meant to be solitary and intimately personal – it’s the Hermit tarot card. Solitary but full of wisdom and guidance.

Recently I’ve taken to following practitioners or researchers that follow similar beliefs on various social media platforms. I might not be talking to these people but that’s not as important to be as being around their knowledge and reading it.

 

Write down what you believe

This might be a long journaling process and you may need to goggle some questionnaires to really get to the heart of things if you’re at a loss for words. When you do get some words down, look to see which ones are repeating and which themes are continuous.

For me, personal freedom is incredibly important. I need it and crave it. I cannot stand being trapped. My belief in animism is absolute. These are things that are non-negotiable to me and form my foundation as a spiritual person.

Sometimes we just need to write things down to figure out exactly what we’re feeling and thinking. Getting those thoughts out there can really reaffirm what your roots are and why they’re important.

 

Change up your routine

Going with the motions without thinking about the motions is often the sign that people are disconnected. Switching out your day to day with something new and different can help you shake the dust off your soul and reconnect.

For me, I spent several days wandering about nature during the day and came back at night to read heavy tomes of fairy tales. This is what I grew up doing and where my roots developed. Going back to that old routine and getting lost in my own world allowed me to reconnect to who I was and what I really feel and believe.

 

Examine your ah-ha moments

I don’t really have an ah-ha moment. I remember reading a book and suddenly coming to a complete understanding about the concept of animism while standing outside of my high school’s pool. The humidity was an intense wall but I stood with my heavy backpack weighing me down and read my book while waiting for the bell to ring. I remember staring at the blue tiles as I sorted through the information I had just read. I have no idea what book I was reading but something about the way animism had been explained in that book made me realize that I was an animist.

That being said, I don’t really have a click moment where I suddenly realized what I believe. I don’t have a come-to-Jesus moment or a spiritual epiphany. Spirits have always been around so I never really lived without knowing of their presence.

That being said, looking back at the several poignant experiences I’ve had over the years that are so, so important to me reminds me of what I find precious in my spirituality.

 

Keep learning

People who have been doing their spiritual thing for a while now sometimes forget to keep learning. Never stop learning. Read a new book, skim through a new article, find some new source of inspiration. You don’t have to be reading deep academic tomes or personal accounts. I’ve found great spiritual attachments in fiction novels and manga. Don’t forget that you can always find inspiration in unlikely places.

 

Do I feel like I’ve really reconnected with myself spiritually? Yes and no. I know I’m on the right track because it feels right again. The sensations are so there. But I’m not quite there yet. I need to keep rereading old foundation books to see how they connect to me now. Some of those books aren’t accessible right now but once I get my hands on them, it’ll be like coming home. I know it’s coming, that experience that tells me I’m back. I can’t wait for it.

My spirituality is deeply intrinsic to who I am. It’s a cool night overlooking a seaside forest. It’s the Hermit. It’s the creature in the night that’s not quite human but not quite monster. Getting back to my roots is like coming home to a place you’ve never been to before. If you’ve been feeling lost or just  out of sorts, consider going back to your roots for a little while. Things tend to sort themselves out from there.

 

5 Things I’m Obsessed with Right Now

Wow. What a week. Actually, the last two weeks have been absolutely non-stop here at the Crossroads House. Now that the worst of my obligations are out of the way, we can get back to the witchcraft. I’ve got a lot of work to do this weekend but in the mean time, let me talk to you about my current obsessions.

I’m an ADHD and OCD Gemini soI have the attention span of a hummingbird, the obsessiveness of an impatient child wanting to go somewhere, and the chaotic adventure that is being a Gemini. This means my obsessions tend to be all-consuming… for about three days to a week. Then it’s something entirely new. In fact, I stated this post at the beginning of February and had to update one thing and entirely change another by the time I published it in early March. Haha. It can be hard to keep up with my own whims!

Anyway, here’s what I’m obsessing and researching about right now…

 

01 Wind Knots

Capturing a strong wind by tying a piece of rope in a knot is an age-old spell. Sailors would unknot the rope once, twice, or thrice depending on the amount of wind they wanted.

The theory behind it is super simple and doesn’t have a great many variations to it considering it’s fairly widespread. So what’s there to obsess over? The knot. I study knot-making as a hobby (are any of you surprised?) and trying to find a knot that aligns with my goal has caused many late night internet searches.

While any ol’ knot will do, I want to create a wind knot that can be “snapped” open. You pull both ends and the knot comes loose. There’s a few contenders that can make this happen but getting it to work without tangling with the other knots is a challenge that I keep coming back to.

 

02 Beeswax

I live in Rhode Island and, for some reason, I have the hardest time ever finding local beeswax. I usually have to pick mine up when traveling through New Hampshire or Vermont. I’ve even ordered it from Oregon. Finding beeswax with a solid source behind it is my ever-continuing odyssey.

The dream is to find a local supplier within the Rhode Island-Massachusetts-Connecticut area with a solid beekeeping record. I want happy bees for my beeswax. Once I get that I can start regularly keeping salves in my inventory!

If any of you know a beekeeper with lots of beeswax to spare in the New England area, drop me a line, will you?

 

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Quartz

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03 Crystals

My mother likes to tell stories of when I was a toddler, coming home with pockets full of rocks and dirt. Or as a teen, moving house was a pain because I had a few boxes of rocks. I’m smarter about packing my rock collection now and I do my own laundry so no one but me knows what rocks are in my pockets but I’m coming back around to the usages of my collection.

As a kid, I wanted to know what the rocks all did. What did this crystal do? What did that mineral mean? But I fell away from it. I think that I partially got away from it because a) collecting crystals is expensive, especially if you’re looking for ethical sources and b) I had spirits knocking on my door every night and damn, if that didn’t get annoying.

But I’m coming back around. It started with a piece of quartz I’d picked up that felt great for healing. I tucked it among my blankets at night and to my surprise my body didn’t ache the next day, even after an intense workout. And that was only the beginning. Another piece of quartz, an amethyst point, and a bit of rose quartz joined it. Re-learning crystals is on my “to research” list and something I’m excited to dive into again.

 

04 Fairy tales

I’m a researcher at heart. I’m always willing to do research on something. I really love research. I was definitely that quiet eight year old reading Latin encyclopedias and adult novels in between fairy tales. I’m that person. I just want to know things.

The other day I was reminded of a book I wanted to read on Japanese fairy tales. I couldn’t find the book in the library system but I accidentally ended up requested something like fifteen books on fairy tales. None of them Japanese fairy tales, mind you. Oops.

Rereading some classic fairy tales is always good for both my spirit and my witchcraft. It reminds me to slow down and really appreciate magic. Plus, it’s just been nice to go back and reread some of my favorite stories from childhood once again.

 

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Scored a new teapot and bowl. Suits me, doesn't it?

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05 Tea

While I’ve always appreciated a cup of tea, I’ve always been the only tea drinker in my house. But recently, my brother’s gotten into the habit of drinking tea, then my Dad, then my Mom. We don’t even all live together and they started all at the same time!

This has us trying all sorts of new tea. They’re sticking with what they know but I’m happy for the chance to slip in some less-than-ordinary teas for me to try while they sip their usual.

Not that I’d ever say no to a cup of earl grey. Yum.

 

That’s what I’m obsessing over right now. What about you all? What have you been into recently?

Stipulations

I barely give permission before I am pulled over.  Al shows me around a glen not too far from the sea and I sense people beyond it. I manifest a more appropriate outfit for meeting folks than a simple shift and move with Al, hand in hand.

Before me the entire family is laid out, working on various spells for this and that.

“We want to make you as strong on That Side as you are on This Side. Someone worth following.”

I express my appreciation and after a while pull back. Al asks if there’s anything else I want, anything else they can do for me.

“You do know,” I said, casually but seriously, “that I will cull your entire family, everyone you ever will or have loved, everyone your family relies on if you attempt to usurp me, right? I don’t mind you trying to rise up amongst the people and become my second. I don’t mind that you intend to gain power and prestige for your entire family through me. I don’t mind any of that. I don’t even mind if you claim a nearby kingdom with the power I’ll give you. I don’t care about that. But I will destroy everything your family holds dear if you try to take my throne from me. You understand that right?”

Al hesitates for only a minute. There is a moment of gravity where Al considers my words and realizes that I may not be the fool they assume me to be. That I am just as dangerous as rumored and to tread carefully in case my ire is set upon them. Al answers as confidently as before,  “I will ensure that the entire family is aware of these stipulations.”

“See that you do. Now when will these spells go into effect?”

A Day In the Life

I was asked by a student to give a general summary of my day. Well, I’m not exactly good with the brief and succinct posts so I rambled. Here’s what I wrote:

Hello!

Well, my day in the life might not be like others’ because, frankly, this is all I do.

 

I’m a witch professionally (trying to finish a novel to become a writer professionally too). But I’ll give you a rundown.

I usually wake up between eight and ten in the morning. I open up my home to clients at ten, so I’m definitely up by then but I don’t tend to bother with alarm clocks unless I have to. The first thing I do is check my cellphone while I boot up my laptop. Since I run my business and life from my cellphone, I spend the first five minutes making tea, brushing my teeth, that sort of thing one handed while checking my email, calendar, texts, and asks on tumblr. Then I’ll turn on the music, hop in the shower, and dress.

While I’m doing these mundane things, I’ve also done little witchy things too. I’ll check any sigils, protections, and wards I’ve set up and pass. I’ll flip or shake jars of infusing oils. I’ll pet the cats and send my servitor on any assignments I need xe to attend to. I take the first random song of the day I hear as a possible divination and I’ll bath with some sort of enchanted or herbal bath products. Even dressing is somewhat witchy. If I have plans for the day, I’ll dress in colors that suit my needs – red for power, blue for healing or truth, gray for invisibility. Jewelry added is never just for decoration, as each has been bewitched with various purposes. If I intend to go out of the house and meet clinics, I’ll swipe on some makeup which I also enchant for witchcraft – lip balm might be for sweeten word, eyeshadow or liner for protection, perfume to mask intent, that sort of thing.

Depending on how early I wake up, I’ll spent the next few minutes or hours writing until ten in the morning. The writing might be fictional or might be a witchy post for one of my blogs, fine-tuning an essay or workshop. It’s writing of some kind.

Then I’ll open up the “shop”. It should be noted that by “shop” I mean I open up my home for potential clients. It’s never a flood of people. Some days I don’t get a client at all – not in person or online. But once I flip the “I’m open” sign on the front door, I’ll start my day. Any orders that need to be sent out will be packaged up, enchanted for a quick and safe journey, and set out for the mailperson. I’m pretty restless, so I tend to do a lot of things at the same time throughout the day.  I’ll bake if I had nothing in the house to snack on (as I offer these to clients) and then I’ll start some new project that needs doing. It might be making a clay charm, writing a sigil, casting a spell, sewing, embroidering, making new witchy products for the shop, whatever. I’ll check on experiments I’ve running or clean and sanitize equipment from past experiments. I’ll go ahead and record spells or herbal concoctions in lab books and grimoires. I might head out into the garden or plunk down for a video game to pass the time. I’m almost always reading some book – every room has at least one book I’m actively reading – but I might watch a TV show too while tumblring or writing.  A lot of the time I’ll sprinkle in everyday tasks too – set the laundry to go, sweep the floors, put dishes away, eat, etc. These might have a little witchcraft in them too – I might toss a pinch of herbs in the wash to help protect or bring money and prosperity. Sweeping might be done alongside a cleansing or straightening and checking other household protections. Often, I stop to do a tarot or oracle reading or to throw together a charm bag for a client, or answer ask, emails, texts, and phone calls from friends and clients alike. I keep an ear open for the door during all of this. The day is pretty varied, depending on my mood, the weather and current season, and any plans made.

If I have errands to run, friends visiting, or just need some time to do something less easily put aside, I’ll turn my sign saying I’m not taking clients and for any potential clients to call the shop’s number. Some afternoons I’ll spend with friends chatting over religion, spirituality, and witchcraft but it’ll be sprinkled with gossip and shenanigans too. Errands might be as simple as running to the corner store for milk and bread but it might also be popping into the city to purchase rarer herbs from a witch shop. I might swing by to tend to family grave sites or wild harvest plants.

I run my shop until 10 p.m. and I’ll wrap up the evening writing and debating on tumblr before bed.

I don’t have an altar space or work space and I’m very folk magic more than ceremonial, so my witchcraft tends to be easily meshed into everyday life. I’m just as likely to cast a spell on my kitchen counter as I am in the garden or my bedroom.

Sorry. That was probably pretty specific but I don’t tend to have a really typical day. Does that help you some?

So that’s how a normal day runs for me. I’ll give an example by giving you a rundown of today so far (it’s not noon yet but shh)

I woke up about eight thirty, check my cell, turned the laptop on for music, and put tea on. Then I wrote that response until my uncle texted me about quarter to nine. His car broke down so I quick dressed and ran to the next state over (three towns away) to give him a jump. Once done I scampered home just in time to open up the shop. I flipped my sign, swept the porch and communal living and dining room (as a favor for my mother more than anything) before heading down to my flat. I left some bread dough out to rise overnight and make them into some really fabulous buns. While they baked, I tumblred a bit, listened to Welcome to Night Vale, pet the cat, and think about my day.

Tomorrow’s my shop’s one year anniversary so today I’m going to be REALLY busy making sure everything set for the BIG sale at midnight. I’ve new items to make, package, and set up. I’ve a few emails from Witchvox to answer as well. The rest of the day will be spent doing a lot of witchy stuff rather than by reading, playing video games, or hanging out with friends. If I’ve the time, I’ll work on the workshop outline for RIPPD.

So that’s how I spend my day as a pro witch and struggling writer.

Mental Reorganization – Shadow Work?

This morning I woke at an unreasonable hour – five a.m. Now that’s not actually unreasonable but I had only gotten to sleep two hours before. I was definitely wide awake and very annoyed that I was. I knew I needed more sleep and I knew that getting up to putz about the flat at that hour would only lead to me napping much later in the afternoon. So I did the next best thing to sleep and traveled.

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The setting sky tonight

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Let me get into a little explanation right now. I travel all the time but recently I’ve been having trouble getting over there and staying over there. I know it’s because I have a lot of things on my mind right now, most of them stressful, and many of them actually out of my control. My mental state directly affects my condition to travel. And I’m absolutely terrible at understanding my physical needs. I don’t take the time to sit back and think “You know what? This is unusual. I should do something about it.” An example would be the times I was hospitalized for stress in college – I wasn’t even aware that I was stressed out. I just don’t acknowledge that sort of thing until I know and can recognize the personal tale-tell signs of it in myself.

A+B = C

I knew I was stressed. The issue with that is, besides inconvenience, there wasn’t anything I could directly do to solve the issue. Take steps to solve the problems, yes; but nothing direct. It was a weight on my mind. Doing little physical things help. Cleaning the kitchen, clearing off counters, sweeping the floor. All that helps. (No! really it does! That’s stuff that gets pushed aside in stressful situations. Taking care of it while trying to work out the more serious issues really helps. Trust me on this one.) But it wasn’t enough.

As the sun began to rise this morning I fetched a small jar of my mugwort salve and a bottle of water. I usually go light when applying the salve to myself as I don’t usually need the push – I do it so I can stay there longer or fall asleep afterwards. But today I applied about a teaspoon (which, again, for me is a lot) to my wrists, inside elbows, collarbone, throat, and forehead. Thus applied, I laid back, pulled the blankets up on myself, and dove into my own head.

Anyone seen the BBC’s Sherlock? In the show Sherlock speaks about forgetting things not important to him and at other times about his ‘Mind Palace’. When I heard those lines I didn’t think anything of it. I only later found out that his methods of organizing his thoughts and forgetting things that seem important to others but weren’t to himself as unusual. (I think this is about the time where some of my readers begin to understand just how strangely my brain works.)

The year 2000 was an important year for me. The summer was excellent, full of friends, exploring of powers, and just plain good times. It was the year I entered high school and lived in an huge and extremely haunted and paranormally active condo community. It had it’s terrible times too. That year was the year I was attacked by a spirit that ended with me at home nursing a broken finger and permanently stunted fingernail growth. I fell in love that year, only to have it unrequited. It was a setup for some of the best and worst times in my life after all.

It was also the year I started doing mental organization. I had just turned fifteen, woke each morning at dawn to have ham and cheese grilled sandwiches, then threw myself into the world to wander about the condo community’s grounds. Some of those mornings found me sitting on the small bridge near the acres of unused wildland, lost in my own brain, reorganizing it.

Shadow work is, as the community currently uses it, the mental exploration of the darker sides of yourself. It comes from Jung and the psychological field of study. It’s been adopted into the New Age world and spread from there.

What I do is similar but not the same. I’m not talking to my darker side. I’m not even airing out those dark cupboards. I, instead, go into my brain where those to-do lists reside and reorganize my thoughts.  Things That Need Doing are organized into groups. I’ll line them up in order of importance and pin down the ones that keep wiggling away. Really Important Thoughts get their own area and are starred to remind me just how bloody important they are. Shit I Want To Do But Not Right Now gets tossed in a bottomless box and those thoughts will be released once I finish the Things That Need Doing. A mental cleaning is done. I’ll scrub down the inside of this Mind Room as I do so the darkness of the room and the gray of the walls shift and change. Light begins to fill up inside and the walls are a flux of colors, gently undulating.

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Pretty pink roses!

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I found the trap door that leads to the Other Side and dusted it off. It’s almost always open, with a big ring pull that’s polish has been worn away by time and usage. The windows in the Mind Room show me different aspects of the Other Side. I can access the Other Side through these windows as well and most of the time I just simply defenestrate myself than go for the trapdoor. Faster that way, for sure. Much of the time I leave these windows half open so I can be on the Other Side and not as I wish. But not all the windows show my Forest and Seaside from There. Some of those windows have memories playing out beyond the glass. If I open those windows I can remember that event as clear as day (the latches on these windows are faulty though and memories always leak in unbidden, huge and clear as the time I first experienced them to the point where I can be physically shocked motionless at Sudden Memories flooding me, getting me lost in FEELS.  (I’m under the assumption that many people remember things at random but aren’t as deeply affected as me. This may be due to how little memories I actually have of the past. Memory loss is a bitch.) Other windows show the future. I don’t look at them often but I leave the mottled glass windows open a crack. Once I clear out the Things That Need Doing and the Shit I Want To Do But Not Right Now piles I’ll open it up a bit more.

Next it’s time to shake up and reassess some other things. There’s another trap door that leads to my Heart. Inside there is tall and huge but very dark. My Heart’s mental image is the size of my Mind-Self, maybe a little smaller but I talk to it. We clear out some of the darkness and connect the String of Courage to it. This should give me the courage to talk to someone I like and to use my heart a little more freely. With the Heart a little bigger, brighter, and happier, I climbed back up to open the trap door in the ceiling where my Imagination lives. Imagination has no form but I berate the air enough so Imagination flows down into the main Mind Room. It attached to the wall, a living thing, golden and glowing. To keep it from running away, I attach Strings of Courage to it too. My final act is to find Motivation. Motivation is a very tiny thing in my head, often curled into a ball and hides under boxes and piles of Things That Need Doing. I kick it out, dust it off, shake it a few times, tell Imagination to watch over it, and put it in the center of the room with a few of the Strings of Courage tied to it. As I stand there admiring my work, Curiosity peaks in. Curiosity lives in a ceiling trap door like Imagination but is less lazy. I shoo it away for now but Curiosity will come back all on its own.

There’s still more work to do, of course. I haven’t touched any of the other aspects of myself but that’s for another day and another time. The Mind Room is always in movement, nothing rigidly defined. I could make it so, if I wanted, use shelves instead of boxes and index things so I don’t get lost but I like the chaos of it all. Pleased, I fling open the trap door to the Other Side and drop in.

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Tulips!

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I personally find mentally reorganizing my brain incredibly useful, especially in relation to witchcraft. Much of my thoughts can be linked to witchcraft and if the lines of communication between the heart, brain, and courage are working correctly, then any love or attraction spells I’d do for myself will work better. Because I link my thoughts through Courage and not through some other thing like Morality, Decency, or Doubt, I tend to do brave but sometimes stupid things first and worry about the  Doubts, Morality, or Decency afterwards.

Again, that’s just how I wire my brain up. Loosely described. There’s a ton more to it. Logic, for example, didn’t make a showing and Logic is always there. Skepticism too.  It can be a scary place in your own mind and a lot of work. Very complication. I tend to face scary things head on, so I don’t mind it. After I organized everything I slept for something like ten hours. Crashed very hard and didn’t wake up until after five in the evening. My brain’s less buzzing now but it gently reminds me to do Things That Need To Be Done every so often. Pleasant. My Heart’s ready to be brave and check for messages from potential dates and Imagination is ready to go (I think that’s obvious from the showy language but it’s as close as I can describe to the inside of my brain.)

My mental reorganization of my Mind Room (really, a series of chambers from one great room) is similar in the aspect to Shadow Work in that it’s the diving into my own mind to clear out the rubbish or get the mind organized in a fashion that’s better for my current needs. Does anyone else attempt something similar? Or would you consider this shadow work? Is anyone curious to try it themselves?

How My Youngest Brother Learned I’m A Witch

[A repost from tumblr: How My Youngest Brother Learned I’m A Witch. Early May, 2013]

Today I went over to see my father the Warlord and returned some of the books I borrowed. He decided he needed to feed me and served up some lasagna while I visited. As he’s setting up to make dinner (which I wouldn’t be around for) he asks me what the rest of my plans for the day were.

“I’ve a shit-ton of asks to answer on my blog.”

“Asks?”

I shifted how my head laid on my upturned hand. “Yeah. People send me asks about things. Witchy things usually but all sorts of shit sometimes.”

“Like what?”

I tap open the tumblr app and summarize a few public ones. We get to talking a bit about one of them before he turns from cutting potatoes and said, “There’s a lot of spirit ones there.”

“Well, yeah. It’s something I specialize in, I suppose.”

“Have you ever tried talking to your great grandmother?”

I shake my head without moving it from my hand. “I don’t tend to work with ghosts. Non-human spirits. I already don’t like people. Why would I hang out with dead ones?”

He turned and points the knife at me. I don’t bother to take offense. We tend to direct each other with pointy objects on a daily basis. “Your great grandmother’s a ghost. Your great grandfather said that if anyone would come back, it would be her. She haunted the [house both he and I grew up in]. Your uncle and aunt saw her too. She’d come out from the door as if there was still a wall there, go around the table, and come down the hallway to stare into the kid’s rooms.”

I only nod. I’ve heard this story before many times. “I remember you telling the story. I saw her too. Or, well, I saw something. It was when I was in that front bedroom. I saw something huge – taller than you Dad – and white block out the light in front of that door. You know how that light always emitted a yellow color right? Whatever it was was brighter than that.”

“It couldn’t have been your great grandmother. She was a tiny thing. Smaller than you. Could have been my grandfather though.”

“Ah. Well, I don’t know what it was, but it block out the light. I was so surprised I just pulled the sheets up over my head.” I laugh. I remember being no more than eight when the sighting took place and being more startled than scared. It was always something I believed had happened and could never disprove. I never bothered telling anyone about it usually. It was a ghost. It happened. I saw it. End of story.

B.A.D, my little five year old brother comes in, holding a worn, dilapidated checkers box. “You saw a ghost?”

“Yes. At least I think it was a ghost.”

“Oh. You should ask brother. He’ll be able to tell you whether or not it’s still there.”

I hide it well but I’m surprised as fuck and impressed. Yes, my brother the Necromancer could very well tell whether or not the rumored ghosts are still there. I could too, if I bothered to. However, no one in the family owns the house any longer and thus there was no point. But how the fuck did a five year old know about my brother? He rarely ever speaks of it. I don’t even think my father knows about my brother’s abilities.

B.A.D however continuous as if he didn’t just drop a fucking bomb of information on me. “I’m not afraid of ghosts!”

I laughed. “You’re afraid of dogs, bees, and wary of girls but not of ghosts?” (When the Redhead disowned herself it caused emotional trauma for my youngest brother, already there from my step mother’s less-than-stellar parenting. The boy just didn’t understand that not all of his sisters or girls will abandon him.)

“Nope!” He said quite loudly, proud of himself. He flashes a smile. “I see them all the time.”

I’m not sure whether he meant on the TV or in real life. Either way, it doesn’t matter. He babbles on for a few more minutes and has me laughing.

“How about witches?” I ask him. I keep my smile easy, not teasing but friendly. While the question seems innocent, I don’t want to scare him off.

He blinks slowly, processing the question and for a moment I worry he didn’t hear me. He has hearing issues sometimes and I am about to voice the question again when he shakes his head. “No, I’m not afraid of witches.”

“Oh good. Because I’m a witch.”

I watch his eyes grow fearful for a moment then doubtful. I know I don’t look like any witch shown on Scooby-Doo.

I continue, “I really am. It’s my job. It’s what I do.”

My father comes around to the table and readies the chicken and rice for my brother’s dinner. He doesn’t look at me but instead makes eye contact with my brother. “She is.” He confirms.

That’s enough for my brother. He thinks on it for a few more moments before nodding, “I’m not scared of you either.”

I smile. “Good. I’m nothing to be scared of.”