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Uncoven Issue #13

Welcome to Hex Rated…

where four witches living and practicing deep in the heart of the Lone Star State will take you on a journey through homegrown witchcraft, foul language, hilarious judgement, and – the dirtiest of all- FEMINISM. #hexratedwitches

Episode #19 Show Notes

In the latest episode we talk very candidly about our thoughts on death, and we have lots of links to share with you!

Blackbird mentions a letter you can write before you die to your loved ones.  Read more about the Stanford Letter Project here.
Jaye talks about body farms – you can read more about the one in Texas here.
Blackbird follows this organization and will hopefully work toward her goal of becoming a death doula.  Read about INELDA here.
Read about Caitlin Doughty and The Order of the Good Death – her YouTube links are also available on the website.  You can get her book From Here to Eternity:  Traveling the World to Find the Good Death on Amazonhere.
Watch the fantastic PBS special on thoughts from really interesting people on death – it is a long one but 100% worth it.
Get your ashes pressed into vinyl!
There are a ton of links to visit regarding having your ashes pressed into a diamond.  Here’s one. 
Have your ashes shot into SPACE!!

Follow Blackbird’s poetry here (@blackbirdwyrd)
Follow Jaye’s writings and amazing natural photography here (@lady_jaye_of_the_wild)
Follow Lily’s gorgeous artwork here (@my_blue_veins)

Don’t forget to check out our web-o-net pages at Hex Rated Podcast!

Lineage 

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My roots have not been forming since I was
born.
They do not reach back through time,
long, rough ropes of belonging.
My roots are my creation
I have nurtured them
Sung to them
Given them rich soil
And now, just now, are they starting to grow
longer.
Tangled with the breath of loss and sadness.
Entwined with webs of devotion and loyalty.
Full of promise, awaiting the dawn.–Blackbird

Cooking up a Storm – The Power of Water

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 Soooo, if you are like me and really detest REGULAR water, I’ve got some news for you:  If you don’t drink enough water, shit will not be good inside your body.  Last Saturday, I was running around doing all kinds of errands, and had maybe 12 oz of water the entire day.  I was kind of lightheaded all day, but thought “NBD, gotta power through all this shit, gimme more coffee!!!”  So like, I had maybe 12 oz of water to 32 oz of coffee.  Strong, dark, beautiful and life-giving coffee.  But WAIT.  I went to dinner, drank some iced tea and another 24 or so oz of water with dinner.  By the time I got home, I was DIZZY AS FUUUUUUUCK.  I could not look at the TV, I could not look at the ceiling fan – and then of course, I started panicking that I was having a heart attack.  ALL THAT WAS PROBABLY HAPPENING WAS DEHYDRATION.  Anyway, I am at the age now where I start thinking everything is a heart attack, so after I calmed down a little, I went to bed.  I felt fine the next morning, but what I am saying is:  DRINK YOUR WATER.  I drink a lot of LaCroix (I know, basic) but I am starting to add more plain old water to the regimen just in case.

And while this has not yet been cooking advice, here is something that is:  BISCOTTI.

I have loved biscotti for forever, and have made it myself for the last 20 years.  I don’t make it all the time, but at least 2 or 3 times a year.  Nothing goes better with coffee.  There are tons of fancy versions of biscotti out there, but I like regular traditional biscotti.  Hope you make it,  it is easy – and enjoy!!!

TRADITIONAL ITALIAN BISCOTTI
*Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable shortening
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp anise seed, ground
Dash of lemon extract (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups blanched almonds or hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl midway through.
Beat in the vanilla, anise, lemon, baking powder and salt.
Mix in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until you have a cohesive, well-blended dough. Add the nuts, mixing until they’re well-distributed throughout the dough.
Transfer the dough to an unfloured work surface (the dough is sticky, but is easily scraped up with a bench knife or dough scraper).
Divide it into three fairly equal pieces, and shape each piece into a rough 10″ log.
Transfer each log to the baking sheet, leaving about 3″ between each log.
Wet your fingers, and pat the logs into smooth-topped rectangles 10″ long x 2 1/2″ wide x 7/8″ thick.
Bake the logs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they feel firm and they’re beginning to brown around the edges.
Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
Gently transfer the logs to a cutting surface, and use a serrated knife to cut them on the diagonal into 1/2″ wide slices. Because of the nuts and the nature of the dough, the biscotti at this point are prone to crumbling; just be sure to use a slow, gentle sawing motion, and accept the fact that some bits and pieces will break off.
Carefully transfer the slices, cut sides flat, to a parchment-lined or ungreased baking sheet. You can crowd them together, as they won’t expand further; about 1/4″ breathing space is all that’s required.
Return the biscotti to the 300°F oven, and bake them for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, quickly turn them over, and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until they’re very dry and beginning to brown.
Remove them from the oven, cool completely, and store in an airtight container for several weeks.

Wash down with WATER.  Hahahahahahaha!!!

–Blackbird

How to Haunt a Graveyard

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In keeping with our death podcast episode here are some of Scarlet’s favorite tips and uses for graveyard magic, in no particular order.
Let us know your favorite haunts, traditions, rituals, and recipes!
Offerings
Everyone loves presents! Here are my go-to gifts:
milk, honey, tobacco (loose leaf or cigarette/cigar smoke), candy for children’s graves (sans wrappers, don’t litter!), dimes, flowers

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Things to Do
Bury something!  Inter a rosary, crystal, witch bottle, cask of wine, or anything else that would benefit from a connection to the underworld after you retrieve it.Dowse for unmarked graves.  Full disclosure, I have never tried this, but it sounds awesome.  I had never even heard of it until my neighbor told me she uses copper dowsing rods to help the local archaeological society locate unmarked graves.  Some people even dowse to divine the gender, age, and more about the deceased.  Grab some rods or a pendulum and give it a whirl.

Ask for help.  If you’re in need of advice or expertise, you might find a willing partner.  I’m a misanthrope, so I prefer the company of non-humans spirits to human ghosts, but your mileage may vary.  Some people have a knack for fostering productive partnerships with the formerly alive.

Push your limits. It’s very traditional to hold a vigil in a cemetery as an initiation rite.  Some are as strict as instructing the acolyte to lay motionless until dawn, others merely require circling the grounds backwards and leaving without looking back.  Research or invent your own rite of passage that tests your limits of fear and anxiety.Have sex.  Just saying.

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Be of service
Clear away litter as your find it.  Brighten up an unattended stone with flowers.  Get a bucket and brush and clean headstones.  I actually did the latter with a preservation society one afternoon and it was a blast.  Pour diluted Simple Green cleaner over the stone, let it soak in for a few minutes (mildew and mold actually grow deep down in the pores of the stone), then scrub away dirt, lichen, and mildew and rinse!  The free wooden paint stirrers from the hardware store make great scrapers and takeout chopsticks are useful for getting in crannies. 

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Graveyard dirt in either the form of dust collected from atop a stone or soil from the ground.  Ask permission of the deceased spirit.  Graveyard dirt is a key ingredient in warding powders, curses, gris gris bags, incense, witch bottles and more.

Keep your eyes peeled for other natural items! I’ve brought home very potent feathers, peach pits, glass shards, thorns, and even a ripe Solanum carolinense which is a poisonous tomato that is cousin to more famous baneful plants like mandrake, datura, and belladonna!

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Open Source Witchcraft: Ostara

Our rituals are Frankensteined and Mad-Libbed together and they are free for you to share!  Keep what you like, ditch what you don’t.  Cut, paste, curse, and cure. Tell us what happens.

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This year we didn’t have a ritual planned, but we knew we wanted to be outside.  With that in mind, we scribbled up some witchy offerings and treasures for passers-by to find and rolled out, determined to make it up as we went.

Our thinking was to inject some magic in the world by sparking curiosity and wonder.  I know that if I were a kid and found some witch rock I would LOSE MY DAMN MIND.  And even if our treasures found their way into fearful or judgmental hands, the seed is still planted!  Witches are in town and occult deeds are happening! Mwahaha!

We used round stones found in the yard painted with Sharpie brand oil paint pens.  Egg shells left over from dinner were an impromptu but obvious choice for an Ostara offering.

Now I’m constantly brainstorming weird shit to leave in unexpected places for spooky children and wise grannies!

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Politi-Craft

An on-going list of political and social action items to keep you aware in these rage inducing times. 

-Take a deep dive into the weird with the  Occult Voices – Paranormal Music, Recordings of Unseen Intelligences 1905-2007 archive.

– Call or write your senators and House rep to say you support the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) that would protect LGBTQ students from discrimination in schools

-Lambda Legal is spearheading the legal challenge to Trump’s new ban excluding transgender people from the military.  If you are trans, Lambda Legal invites you to anonymously contribute to arguments being presented in court with your story.  If you are an ally, you can donate or volunteer here.

-Not cool: Health Department removes breast cancer and Obamacare info from website.

– Extremely cool!  An unnamed donor has promised $9 million to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas to construct two new centers in West Texas. Planned Parenthood has had no clinics in the region since 2013.

– Argentinean artist transforms victims of gender violence’s scar wounds into beautiful and haunting sculptures.

– States that are making voting easier.  Good work!
-In Georgia, voters who move within their county now remain on the “active” list.
 Virginia ballot instructions clarify what voters should do if they incorrectly mark the ballot.
 Washington to automatically register citizens when obtaining a driver‘s license or ID.
– Maryland to allow automatic voter registration once the governor signs the bill.
-In Indiana, voters can now send a text message to register to vote
-Hopefully more good news to come: 14 states and Guam introduced voter registration                       bills in 2018!

– There are decent people who do good things!  Cheer yourself up with the latest stories from What Went Right.

Below you will find items from previous newsletters that are still relevant:

-A Texan’s Political Guide to Resisting Trump.  Not just for Texans!

-These Women Made a Database of Black Women Running for Office in 2018.  Links to the list and info about the rad-ass women behind it.

– Check out Jen Hoffman’s new year activism challenge with her activism plan worksheet and a bonus self care worksheet.    Sign up for her weekly newsletter which is so ridiculous more thorough than ours!

– Join the Handmaid’s Resistance!  Get updates about events, resources, organizing your own event and more.

– fire up that cellular device and oppose the rollback of birth control coveragedefend childhood immigrants and DREAMersdenounce Trump’s ban on transgender troops, tell DeVos to maintain title IX protections for campus assault victims.  Or pick any other five issues from 5 Calls, there are 31 active issues!  Bonus points: follow up with emails and faxes through an app (see below) or good ole snail mail.

– Try the  Stance app. Record a voice message and will send it directly to your representative’s phone.

– Head to the  House of Representatives website to find your rep in congress and contact them! Emails are great, phone calls are better, but do something. Contact them until the poor, unpaid interns who have to answer the phones all day know you by name. Contact them until everyone cries because you will not stop until your rep knows exactly where you stand on all the issues.

– Follow your congress(wo)man on Twitter or periodically check-in (if clouding your social media feed with their trash is too repulsive), representatives will often tweet about upcoming town halls. Attend town halls.

– If you are in a time crunch and want to contact your senators or representatives but can’t get to a town hall, check out this genius texting bot called  Resistbot.  You will have to come up with a short message, but the bot will fax your legislators DAILY if you so desire.

– The  Women’s March is a goldmine of resources and suggested actions to combat the growing voice of racism, bigotry, and sexism. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well!

– Check out  The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) handy-dandy doc  Know Your Rights for when you’re out there on the street peacefully protesting and expressing your motherfuckin’ right to civil disobedience. In fact, while you’re at it,  donate some cash monies if you can. Here in ‘Merica we vote with our dollars.

– One of the handiest resistance guides out right now is the  Indivisible Guide.  A wealth of information and actions.

-If you are a Texas resident, you can go to the Texas Legislature Online and sign-up for an account, allowing you to view legislative content and add bills to an alert list. Whenever a bill you’ve put on your list is updated, you’ll receive an alert. Also, feel free to check out our list of Texas legislative bills that we are monitoring and updating. Stay woke, witches.

-Check out Planned Parenthood Texas Vote‘s guide on attending legislative committee hearings where the public is given the opportunity to provide input and feedback on proposed laws.

– Don’t over extend yourself! Yes, we’d all like to fix all the problems right the fuck now, but that’s not practical. You will burn yourself out if you try to keep up with everything in this country (and world for that matter) that needs fixing, so we recommend you come up with a short list of the most important social issues to you. This does not mean you don’t care about everything! We know you do! But we can’t all be doing everything all the time.

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Hocus Pocus, bitches.

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