My Imbolc Incantation

Bring to me a bountiful bouquet of your sparkling golden light

Bless my withered garden, with Sage, Thyme and Eyebright

Fill my heart with heat, so that my passion knows no end

Teach to me the ways of warmth, that my love may freely bend

Set me high upon your inspiration peak

Charm my words with wonder that I may freely speak    

Mountain Witches

How could I be anything but a witch having grown up, and now, once again living within the green majesty of these beloved Mother Mountains?  Within these forested hills and deep, dark hollers are women who have never called themselves “witches.”   Women who have never entered the incense scented New Age Witch shop in town.  They have never worn a pentagram, or attended a Pagan drumming circle or danced within the sacred circle on a full moon esbat, and, yet, they know their folk medicine well, they are intimately familiar with the native herbs and roots, wild life and moon phases.  They know when to plant and when to harvest. They are wise women, keenly familiar with the streams and the rivers, they are strong and they are sweet.  Their bare feet have walked upon the earnest warm earth, soft, freshly tilled soil seeping between their grateful toes. Within the knowing hearts of these unashamedly robust mountain women lives the sweet lullaby of The Great Mother, they are proudly maternal souls.  

West Virginia is a sage mother.   Growing up between her generous breasts leaves a child with a life long sense of belonging. She fills us all with an eternal longing for home, no matter where we roam. Within our hearts and minds we remain connected to her hills, her creeks, her valleys.  The pull of the moon over her mountains, shimmering upon her exotic forests sustain us, our memories are fond and they are charged with the magick of folklore and legend. 

What rural child has not ceased their folly to rest their warm, damp backs against the lime refreshment of a cool mossy bank on a hazy, lazy, humid afternoon, or fallen fast asleep on a plush carpet of grass  beneath a Red Maple or Knotty Pine tree when the merriment of a searing Summer day has left them limp with carefree childhood exhaustion?   What Appalachian child has not plucked a fat purple grape from the arbor and savored it’s roundness before that first splendid purple blast of flavor made them smile with wonder and delight?  It is only natural to be spellbound by the beauty of our wild, wonderful, Mother.

Stones, Herbs, Flowers and Sticks

I suppose offering a magickal home to all who pass through our door is this crones little “cottage” hobby.  I have been working this past year to bring as much of nature indoors as humanly possible without starting a forest fire when I light my alter candles each dawn.  

Poppa and I don’t run a fussy home here. We share our home with a “canine coven” consisting of several elderly, set in their ways “rescue” four leggers, not to mention our very vocal wolf hybrid, husky empress, “Miss Francis.”  

Still, regardless of these hairy, smelly, elder fur kids, this crone wants to dwell within a comfortingly aromatic, reasonably orderly home.  (I said, reasonably) Clutter is chaos, if I don’t use it, I donate it or recycle it.

Chimes, bells, incense, feathers, grapevine wreaths, candles, rocks, branches, crystals, all add to a “humbly elegant and cozily magickal” dwelling.  Branches and vines make beautiful natural archways over doors and windows. Fresh Fruit and vegetables are simple and lovely, look at them in a simple white bowl for a minute, then click a photo of them, display it on the wall in a sticks and stones hand crafted frame.  Throw a clean, soft, old patchwork quilt on the kitchen table with a jar of fresh picked daisies in the center and have a friend over for coffee, all will be cozy and no big deal if there is a spill!  Any witch can entertain, with no fuss! 

Poppa and I live on a ridgetop with  other ridgetops as our only “eye level” neighbors. We keep our windows uncovered, open to light, open to the natural art of winter birds and falling snow. All day long, bright birds freely spy on us, study us, and, we do the same. 

There is calming music playing as I meander through my folksy, warm, little world. Right now, it is Gary Wright’s musical offering, “Waiting To Catch The Light” that is fluttering around me. I sigh, it is very calm and relaxing in this old house.  The fur kids are blissfully sleeping off this chilly afternoon, as I enjoy my happy solitude.

Mood setting aroma therapy is essential for creating a drama free space that is soothing to the weary soul.  I especially enjoy the rich earthen scents of pine, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger, patchouli, sandalwood, sage, bayberry and citrus.

In this witches house, the seasons dictate the decor.  When the seasons change, I change everything!

When the days lengthen, and the air softens. I get busy. I put away my incense and open the windows! Fresh mountain air is energizing, as I get to my Spring cleaning!   In the evenings, I might light a lavender or tea rose candle. Soon, fresh flowers will be tucked in vases here and there to acknowledge the simple abundance of the Great Mother. There is no thing more romantic in springtime than a bouquet of fresh mountain wild flowers with delicate sprigs of fresh lavender and baby’s breath tucked within the bright colors.  

When Poppa cuts the grass, for the first time of the season, I am entirely blissful.  Yes, I am a winter soul, but, there is nothing sweeter smelling than the first fresh-cut of new grass!  There should be a candle featuring this scent (and one for puppies breath too) 

The center of this old witches magickal home is the alter, today, on the alter,  I have lit a thick,  glittery bronze brown candle in the midst of a bed of creek stone rocks and sea shells..the sparkling brown candle has an elaborate scrolling leaf carved around its center.  At this minute, I am burning a pinch of dried white sage leaf  and earth scented incense on the rock bed. I inhale the warm, heavy spiciness of sage smoke, and instantly, I feel richly blessed.

“Salem,” the resident black cat, has fallen asleep on the back of the sofa. He is exhausted from bird watching, he is lying there in a tight little circle, he is “done all in” from plotting how to snare one especially “flitty” fat red bird.  I read that “Salem” means “peace” by the way. So far, he is a little shy of peaceful, but, he is just a kitty, six months old today, he will settle down.

Every good witch cherishes her home, and, no matter how humble her dwelling may be, or how little money she has to spend, she can decorate lavishly for less than one cent. She only has to take a long walk in the woods to come home with the very finest in decorator accents. (Watch for poison ivy though, I learned this the hard way, recently)

A sizzling pot of water with a teaspoon or two of cinnamon in it, can make a house come to life when the witch is fresh out of candles and incense. Add  sprigs of pine or a couple of pine cones and you are transported back to the fragrant forest floor, without ever leaving your house.  A few rose petals sizzling in a pot on the stove,  in the summer time, offers a softly romantic effect. (or lemon juice or orange peel or mint leaves or a blend of all of the above) I love to drop a few dozen old marigold (dead heads) in a pot with a drop or two of vanilla in the Fall. Instant pleasure!

A string of cheap white lights and a few clean branches arranged artfully in an old weathered flower-pot, can light up any dark corner for a couple of dollars.  There is no end to the natural possibilities for economical,  earth friendly decorating! 

Blessed Be!

One Witches Alter

The Caudron with floating candles, and rose petals

Salem: The Black Cat window shopping for birdies
My Alter

The Alter table came from rubbish, I freely admit

Yet, after some clever crafting, it has no less than a high priestess fit

It is round, and ever willing to bend

It holds Magick and Wonders that never end

Upon it, I cast my peaceful ways

Lit candles burn there, through the nights and days

There is a rock, a shell, driftwood and sage

Incantations written in script on a parchment page

Oh holy alter, know all of my heart

Permit me to craft my sacred magic, how wondrous, thou art.