Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Making & Using Witches Black Salt

Magickal Black Salt
Black Salt for ritual has long been used in European folk & African Diaspora traditions and is also known as Witch’s Salt, Sal Negro, & Drive Away Salt.  Not to be confused with black lava salt or kala namak salts used in fine cuisine.  Ritual black salt is not for consumption!

There are a variety of ways to craft Black Salt by using black iron pot scrapings, ground charcoal, fire pit ash, black pepper, & dyes.  My Recipe includes Sicilian Sea Salt, Patchouli Essential Oil, & Natural Ink that I make with hand ground activated charcoal, gum Arabic resin, clear alcohol, chicory, iron scrapings & walnut.

Using black salt to absorb and contain negativity is not black magick.  There is a misconception that working with this substance is evil.  Other maligned ritual components include dark moons, counterclockwise (deosil) movements, & inverted pentagrams.  This is not so! Wardings, undoings, uncrossings, binding work, journeying to the afterlife, honoring the crone, and many more important workings successfully use these practices.  Black Salt is primarily Protective.  Remember, only the intention of the user makes any magick malignant.  Nullifying or returning negative energy to its source is not black magic unless you purposefully state intent to harm.  Otherwise it is just their karma & energy coming back to them.
Various Uses for Black Salt
-keep in a dish under your or in a little bag under your pillow to negate bad dreams & ward unwanted watchers or spirits.
-cast a line across your doorways & windows to keep out evil, avoid unwanted company, and reflect slander or jealousy back to the source.
-add a bit to floor washes to cleanse your home, front walkway, & ritual area of negativity.
-add to bath water when you are feeling especially depressed, angry, & negative.
-keep a bit on your person against your skin, in your desk, or taped under your chair at work or school to deflect gossips, bullies, rude coworkers, and bad bosses attention.  Keep in a bowl, a tiny cloth pouch, or sprinkle a bit.
-Add to War Water, Hot Foot Powder, Graveyard Dirt, & Rattlesnake Salt for extra potency.
-Sprinkle in an enemy’s yard, office, or footsteps so that they will want to leave or move.
-Use to symbolize the waning moon, eclipses, & new moons.  These are times for endings, binding work, trance & journeying to Under Realms, & uncrossing or removing curses.
-fire energy, chthonic or darker earthly Elementals & Deities, especially Crone or Triple Goddesses, War Gods, & darker forest beings.
-Mitigate the negative effects of Mercury Retrograde.
-For Spirit Callings & Ancestor works and Samhain rituals.
-Sprinkle liberally on items or possessions that you feel have bad memories or attachments to them.
Black Salt can be used in conjunction with White Salt, Sage, or Holy Water to both absorb evil & then purify yourself and space.  Burn a black candle to take in negativity then a white candle to bring in pure white light.

-Black Salt absorbs negative energy so it can only be used once.  Change it out or sweep it up weekly or when the air feels oppressive & mucky.  When discarding black salt, consider where the negativity will go:

1)Ground it in the earth by burying it in a hidden distant place from your living and working space.  Bury it at a crossroads of paths or streets.  Some bury it in cemeteries or even an enemy’s yard.

2)Cast in the wind in a distant place blowing away from your home-work.  Some will blow this from their hand into the four directions or at a crossroads.

3)Throw into a fire along with paper where you have written all your worries and whatever else you want to be rid off.  Do not use these ashes to make any other ritual items.

4)Cast into living water meaning running active water.  This will disperse the energies and cleanse them.  Rivers, creeks, lakes, and oceans.  Even a ditch or your toilet will do and may be very effective in ‘flushing’ junk out of your life!

I did find another interesting application for black salt at whereby a black candle was rolled in salt for purification & removal purposes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hag Stone Lore

What is a Hag Stone?

A Hag Stone is simply a stone with a natural hole through it.  In folk magic systems, these are often believed to ward off the dead, curses, witches, sickness, and nightmares. They are also used as windows or doorways to see 'otherworlds', invisible spirits, or how a being 'really' looks beyond their glamoury. I've been collecting such stones for many years now.  They have always been rare finds that I've treasured.  I've long kept a reddish sandstone piece that I found around Lake Erie when I was in my twenties.  Occasionally I think of tying it onto one of my staffs to sell but I just can't seem to part with it.  Recently, I've acquired several large hag stones however and will be offering some of these in our shop.  While helping a friend clean out an old garage I came across a window sill with a row of these.  I also found an old paint bucket full of them.  Then, not even a week later, I found 3 more laying around a grocery store parking lot.  Finally, in a trek down an old dry riverbed, I found loads of them - more than I could carry and even boulder sized hag stones!  I guess it was my time to look into the Otherworld.  On the full moon this month, I started doodling little designs and symbols on them, just working with the stone.
This is the riverbed area in McAllister Park, San Antonio TX that I found these in.

Warding Night Hags
In old Europe, this stone kept the "evil hag" spirit away in order to prevent her from stealing horses and children.  The hag stone is especially used as a favorite talisman by Cunning Folk to dispel the evil eye. Many people still hang this stone in bedrooms to prevent the succubus-hag from ridding on their chests during nightmares
The Nightmare by Johann Heinrich F├╝ssli

Seeing into the land of the Fey
In Italian Witchcraft the holed stone is associated with fairies, and often referred as the holy stone. It is considered a doorway, or key to the doorway, into the fairy kingdom. It Italian folk magic, it is believed these stones have the power to bind a fairy to one's service for a length of time.
"I have also heard it said that if one looks through the actual hole of a hex stone then it is possible to see the piskies which normally are invisible to the human eye"

Sailors & Hagstones
In the UK, Dorset fisherman also adopted the Hag Stone as protective charm against malevolent witchcraft and still use it today.  Dr. H. Colley March in his article on "Witched Fishing Boats in Dorset" in Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries, vol. X, pp .49- 50 (1906) interviewed a Abbotsbury fisherman about the custom of Hag Stones.

"Well within my remembrance, I think in the forties, certainly in the late thirties it was not uncommon for row-boats at Weymouth to have 'holy stones' tied to nails or staples in the bows, close beneath the gunwale. I once saw a man in the act of doing this at the quayside. Holy stones were beach-pebbles with a natural hole through them, such as are not uncommon among the shingle. Whether holy from having a hole through them, or from being sacred, or both, I know not.

Farmers & Hagstones
According to the Legendary Dartmoor page:  “If ever you happen to be around any old Dartmoor farm buildings you may possibly notice a small holed stone or pebble sat on a window ledge. Occasionally if the building has a lock with a key still in it there may well be a similar looking holed stone tied to the end of it. These are known as Hex, or more commonly elsewhere, as Hag Stones and their tradition dates back to the time when witches rode along the hedgerows at night. Amazingly enough, although no farmer today would admit to keeping such a stone for any superstitions reasons they will be hard pushed to part with one. In many cases the actual stone with a hole through it will be flint which means as such a stone is not naturally occurring on Dartmoor it was 'imported'. In a similar light the hex stone may well be a pebble which again had clearly been brought to the moor, probably after a visit to the seaside. Either way they were physically brought back to serve a special purpose and that was for protection from witches and witchcraft.
At one time there was a genuine fear that a local witch may cast an evil spell, or wisht on ones livestock. It may be that the spell ended up in the cows giving no milk or sour milk, possibly the result might be the hens stopped laying. If horses were on the farm there was a strong belief that witches stole them away at night and 'hag rode' them hard across the moor. When they re-appeared the next morning the poor beast would be in such a state that it was useless for any kind of work. Basically there was a whole range of 'nasties' that a witch could inflict on farm animals should her wrath be incurred. So to counteract any such witchcraft it was thought that a stone with a naturally weathered hole in it would, when placed in a byre, dairy or stable protect all the animals inside. Hence the reason that today you can still see the remnants of this tradition in some of the old farm buildings on the moor. Below is a photograph of one such stone that comes from an old farm building just outside Chagford. As can be seen this one resembles an animals skull for some strange reason, maybe this form afforded an even greater degree of protection."

When worn around the neck a hex stone acted as an amulet and protected the wearer from the 'evil eye'. The theory being that anyone who attempted to use the the evil eye would have their attention drawn to the stone and therefore be unable to work their black magic. Around the Sheepstor area it was thought that wearing the hex stone would protect against the chances of being piskie-led. If anybody suffered from repeated nightmares the simple remedy was to hang a hex stone on the bedstead, its powers would then stop any visits from the 'Night Mare'.

"Some the nightmare hath prest,
With that weight upon their brest,
No returns of the breath can passe,
But to us the tale is addle,
We can take of her saddle,
And turn the night mare out to grasse."
 As if all the above was not enough it was often thought that rheumatic pains could be eased by placing a hex stone under the mattress. So all in all a hex stone was a very useful addition to the plethora of amulets often used in and around moorland farms for protection against the black arts. The belief in holed stones predates any historic traditions and probably stretches back into prehistoric times on Dartmoor with the huge stone known as th Tolmen stone, Teign-o-ver.

Numerous superstitions have grow around the stone and its curative powers. Again it is the belief in a naturally weathered holed stone only on this occasion it is much larger and has been 'holed' by the river Teign. The similarity between the Tolmen and Hex Stones is that by passing or looking through the hole one is seeing into or being transported to another realm, maybe the hole could be described as a portal between two worlds?
 By Grimdeva Oct. 30, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Austin Pagan Pride Day

Well Kassandra & Grim made their way to Austin last weekend to vend at the Pagan Pride Day celebration in Zilker Park.  It wasn't too hot (at least for Texas), being only in the high 90's with a nice breeze.  After setting up the tents (with a little Duct Tape help), the show got under way.  Everyone saw old friends, made new ones, browsed the many awesome vendors, at some of the best dang bratwurst & sausage, met the author (and got kissed by) Ed Fitch, and generally had a great time!

While there, we were very grateful to be interviewed by Goddess Edana!  Cauldron Craft Oddities is going to be transitioning from an online shop with weekend vending roadtrips into a real brick-n-mortar shop!!!  This was a wonderful opportunity to get the word out and we appreciate everyone who took a flyer or told their friends.

Here is another video about a festival goer's experience.

Some individuals might be scratching their heads asking 'What is a Pagan?' or why would we want to be associated with something that is 'weird' or potentially 'anti-religious?'. For starters, Paganism is NOT against any form of spirituality, being in fact very inclusive of ALL paths to The Sacred. I strongly support this organization and it's efforts to build community trust, educate, and have a lot of fun in the process. 

Statement of Purpose: 

The Pagan Pride Project is a non-profit organization. The primary purposes of this corporation shall be the advancement of religion and elimination of prejudice and discrimination based on religious beliefs. Mission Statement: The mission of the Pagan Pride Project is to foster pride in Pagan identity through education, activism, charity and community. Defining the Mission Statement: We try to keep our purpose balanced through the inspirations of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth:

Air: Education We're never going to be able to practice our spiritual paths openly if we don't give the public accurate information about what we do and do not do.

Fire: Activism People aren't necessarily going to go out of their way to find out what Pagans really do. We have to have the courage to act on our convictions and do what we need to do.

Water: Charity We know that what we do returns to us. We need to demonstrate this by offering compassion to our communities where it is needed. When we share our own abundance, we show that we trust the Gods to share abundance with us in return.

Earth: Community We're never going to be able to practice openly if we don't know anyone else in our local Pagan communities. We need to weave networking webs in our cities, in our towns, in our rural areas. We need these webs to support one another. That support will also show those who would restrict our practice that we are not just a few isolated wackos, but are a growing congregation of people who adhere to a faith that, while different, is as valid as their own.


What is a Pagan? The following definition is for the purposes of the Pagan Pride Project. Others may define themselves or their group in different ways, and that's OK. Some groups that fit the categories we list may not call themselves Pagan, and that's ok too - that's why we say that first and foremost the definition of a Pagan is someone who self-identifies as a Pagan. But the following was created in order to have a functional definition to help educate the public about the spiritual paths we cover:

Definition: A Pagan or NeoPagan is someone who self-identifies as a Pagan, and whose spiritual or religious practice or belief fits into one or more of the following categories: Honoring, revering, or worshipping a Deity or Deities found in pre-Christian, classical, aboriginal, or tribal mythology; and/or Practicing religion or spirituality based upon shamanism, shamanic, or magickal practices; and/or Creating new religion based on past Pagan religions and/or futuristic views of society, community, and/or ecology; Focusing religious or spiritual attention primarily on the Divine Feminine; and/or Practicing religion that focuses on earth based spirituality.

The video below shows why education and community outreach are important.

 A very angry man from the Catholic Youth Organization was 'outraged' that he had to share a massive park with us. I really didn't think that we were that controversial but apparently we are very dangerous in some people's eyes. He repeated 3 times that we were "silly people who worship ourselves and trees" and we didn't need to be at the park near children. "They can pagan themselves to death at the Statehouse lawn; south side of the Statehouse lawn. They can do it someplace else. It is inappropriate here. It is embarrassing and I was outraged by it." I'm not sure someone would be allowed to carry on like that about say Jewish, Native American, or Hindu festivals... it sounds extremely bigoted and that's just silly.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Grimdeva's Zombie Gig

I had the opportunity and great fortune to be cast as one of the zombie hoard that attacked the 2012 Game Stop Convention in San Antonio.  A rampaging herd of 200 brain hungry undead converged on the unveiling of the Call of Duty 2: Black Ops game promo... which of course features ZOMBIES!  The whole casting process was super secret and we were lead to believe it was a fairly obscure movie or commercial being shot in the area.  Turns out it was a much higher profile and budget Gaming Con.  Awesome!!!  I love geeks, I'm a geek girl.  I volunteered my brother and my dad as well. 

I initially didn't want to go to the casting, thinking there'd be ton of people standing in a line under the blazing Texas sun.  My last attempt to get into a Comic Convention was like this and I literally got burned.  I'd always wanted to be an extra in something but it just seemed unlikely for some reason.  Anyway, through contacts I've made in a local Thelemic group and vending, my name and my blue hair popped up on the producer's radar.  I got a few calls and finally went in.  They took one look at us and said 'Wow you're hired!'.  My family is tall, large, and uhh well intimidating.  Although we are very nice actually. Compliments like big, mean, and bald were showered upon my father.  'Everything is bigger in Texas'. They were thrilled when I said yes after being asked if I had any more like him at home. 

I was speaking with Dean Karr - you probably know some of his work   He's got a many many MTV videos, fashion campaigns, commercials, etc under his belt.  Willie Nelson, Marilyn Manson, Tommy Hilfiger, bla bla...

So we got mug shots and promised not to breath a word. We weren't told what we were doing or where we'd meet or shoot at.  I luuuvv secrets!  The night before the event we met at the convention center for rehersal- or should I say boot camp.  We found out that night what the event was, the executives we were attacking, and our places in the shambling hoard.  This was extremely physical, long walking, huge flights of stairs, and repeating the actual 2 minute show over and over.  We kept it up until midnight and then had to return at 5am for makeup.  My brother was a character zombie onstage going after the keynote speaker.  My father was the 'big zombie' in aisle C and I was the lead zombie in the same aisle.  My goal was to shamble and hiss my way up to the stage, interacting with the crowd.

After about 2 hrs of restless sleep, we showed up for the makeup.  It took hrs and was an incredible experience.  A room full of 100 zombies, about 25 makeup artists, hair, wardrobe people, and security.  The costumes and some of the face peices were from the TV version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Many local special effects people from San Antonio & Austin, including that one guy that was on Faceoff (name?).  Great people, great talent, the coolest effects.  Amazing how much goes into a 2 minute zombie event.  I had a full face piece with shloads of glue, goop, powder, paint, and ky jelly for ooze.  I had my clothes shredded and dirt rubbed all over me (crushed brick powder).  My hair- omg. 
My brother Eric was a character zombie on stage- the guy who didn't make it to Prom night.

My dad was wearing one of the vampire brow pieces from the Buffy show.

I was a hideous hag zombie.  My boobs kept popping out of my costumes and guys were still hitting on me... even with that face!  Wow.

After the actual storming of the convention, we were stationed out by the buffet area for photo ops.  Anyone could be torn apart or body surfed for free by the zombies.  This was my favorite part of the day which went on from 4am to 5pm.  Dean was awesome, very down to earth and cool.  We got Dunkin Donuts and pizza through the day.  Met lots of local talent and artists.  Amazing experience- and we got paid $$$!  yay!!!

Family portrait!  Maybe this should be our holiday card this year.  I have a caption: "2012 Zombie Apocalypse? Been there, done that."