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Uncoven Issue #17

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 #22 is on the way!

If you missed Episode 21, we talked about divination as a sort of therapeutic/introspection tool, and we’ve gotten so much great feedback on the music divination idea of using a random shuffle to do a reading!  Keep them coming!

Episode #22 is on the way featuring some thoughts on ritual tools and more.  Look for it to hit in about a week!

We are ALL OVER the ‘grams, folks.  Check us out.
Follow Hex Rated here (@hexratedwitches)
Follow Blackbird’s poetry (@blackbirdwyrd)
Follow Jaye’s writings and amazing natural photography (@lady_jaye_of_the_wild)
Follow Lily’s gorgeous artwork (@my_blue_veins)

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

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Description

The Uncoven is a space for the outcasts and misfits, for those seeking their own twisted path to find a community.
Current threads o’ fire:
-Herbal smoking blends, question, answers, and pictures!

-Altar show and tell: seasonal variations, triple goddess, and more!

– Hiding rocks in the woods and leaving notes for budding witches to find

You can sit with us
If that sounds like your cup of mugwort tea, sign up here.  Hex Rated Uncoven.
Thank You!
If you are already a member, THANK YOU, from the cobwebby cockles of our black hearts.  We are so excited to share this space with you.  We are blown away by the sass and smarts that is exploding on our screen and are humbled to be a part of it.

Elbow Deep with Blackbird

yd2How Important is a Space?

Hey all, it’s been a little over a month that I have been in my new digs now, and let me just tell you, I thought I would have all of this moving/transition stuff figured out by now, HAHAHAHA.  I know, you are probably thinking, are you out of your mind, Blackbird? YES, but that is beside the point. I have been feeling exhausted and run-down, and yet unable to stop trying to put things in order and get all of my proverbial shit together with a new job, new city, etc.  WELL. It is becoming more and more apparent that one measly month is not NEAR enough time to have all of my shit set to rights, and that my 48-year-old body feels about 100 and I need to rest. I have really been trying to do my best to honor that, but there was an essential thing I really needed to get done much earlier than I did it – set up my altar and my little space for witching.
When we left Texas for California, we knew we would be giving up lots of space.  I went from having a whole room to myself for meditation, witchcraft, and what-not, which I realize is a real luxury – even for me.  I’d never had that much room before. And of course, the more room I had, the more stuff I “needed” to fill that space. Did I really though?  Either way, I got rid of a ton of stuff when we left, and yet still, the limitations of our new place are pretty…limiting. I’d been putting off setting up my space just because I really didn’t know how I was going to deal with the constraints of one wall and a strip of floor about as wide as a yoga mat.
I finally did something about it yesterday, though.  After getting most of the rest of the apartment sorted, I felt comfortable enough to begin the task.  It all came together in an afternoon, and while it was a bit of work and took some creativity and imagination, it was SO WORTH IT.  After I was done, I just sat on the little rug in front of my beautiful wall and was filled with so much gratitude and peace.
So how important is a space?  I can only talk about my own experience, but I’d say it’s pretty important.  Even if all you can carve out for yourself is a corner, you might want to try and see if it helps your state of mind.  Something else I’ve learned from this exercise, too, is that I can have multiple spaces – the kitchen will forever be like an altar to me, regardless of whether or not I have a definitive location to which I direct my attention.  So whatever you’ve got, don’t be shy or afraid to make it yours in whatever way feeds your soul. If you can’t have a permanent location, think about making your altar portable, and taking it to a park or somewhere in nature. Whatever you can do to have a place that helps ground you will only make you a stronger, more powerful witch.

–blessings,
Blackbird

Witches’ Weeds: Buffalobur

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All the witches of Instagram (including me) have been posting our beautiful blooming daturas this season, but what about the less glamorous, not-so-storied sisters of the Solanaceae family?

Like most of its Nightshade family, Buffalobur is reviled as an invasive weed.  It’s also toxic.  So what is bad news for everyone else is good news for hexcasters: this stuff packs a magical punch and is easy to find.

Latin name:  Solanum rostratum

Alternate names: Spiny nightshade, Colorado bur, Kansas thistle, Mexican thistle, Texas thistle

Astrology:  Saturn.  Almost all nightshades fall under the auspice of chthonic influence. Saturn plants are suited for works of divination, banishing, uncrossing, hexing, underworld spirits, initiation, and so forth.

Habitat:  Fields, roadsides, fence lines, pastures.

Season:  Flowers accompanied by the spiny seed pods bloom throughout warm months (May-October) and die back in the winter as an annual.

Fun facts:  Form into tumbleweeds, are pollinated by bumblebees, Charles Darwin was keeping to study its unique trait of heteranthery (the property of some flowering plants to have different types of stamen within the same flower.)

My impressions:  Buffalobur has a sassy, tomboyish vibe.  Despite its reputation as invasive and poisonous– not to mention those viscous spikes– the buttery yellow blossoms are undeniably beautiful and cheery.  Buffalobur doesn’t rub people the wrong way on purpose, but gets a bit of a kick out doing so.  After all, aren’t those spiny seeds of hate enough of a warning?  Unlike other nightshades, this fruit does not in any way resemble a tasty berry or juicy tomato.

If someone is trying to tell you that you don’t belong or is otherwise trying to rain on your parade with their patriarchal bullshit, Buffalobur says, “Just try it, bro” and nonchalantly cracks her knuckles.

Because of this personality, I think Buffalobur would be a great partner for warding magic or any kind of boundary setting.  The seed pods are an obvious addition to a witch bottle or as an offering on a Hecate altar.  Some golden blooms and artfully arranged stems with seed pods tucked into a floral arrangement by the door or on the desk at the office would be a perfect hiding-in-plain-sight message for others to look but not cross this witch either.

-Scarlet

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Mother Witch: Who am I? 

yd2Motherhood is dramatic. It is life altering. It is body altering. I think all of us can agree on that in at least the most basic, abstract of ways.

Babies = change. Got it.

Nope, you don‘t got it. Let me tell you, sister, you don‘t got it. You will not get it until you are staring into the face of the child you have birthed or the child that was placed in your arms or the child that is sent to you. Then you will begin to get it.

I read an article in The Boston Globe a few weeks ago, Motherhood brings the most dramatic changes of a woman‘s life. No shit, right? But what this article points out is the acknowledgment, yet frightening lack of research, that for those of us who gave birth to our children we are changed at our core, in our brains, at the very physiological essence of who we are.

As I read I wondered, who am I? Am I the same person? It was a question for the spirits, for the ancestors, so I journeyed to them and they spoke to me.

*Below is an admittedly poetic retelling of my journey. It is deeply personal and if you‘re reading this, I appreciate you allowing me to share with you my truth.*

I am in my childhood backyard, grey sky overhead. There are lights on inside my house, but that‘s not for me right now. I turn away.

The wind blows open the gate leading out of the yard and into my mother‘s rose garden; I walk through the gate. I allow my hands to drag through the thorns of the bushes and I bleed, streams of crimson streak across my palms. This is an offering.

By the back fence I pick six blackberries from the giant bushes and eat them all at once.

Suburbia transforms into a primordial forest and I am hiking. I am met by my guides who run besides me, grey flashes through the emerald trees.

The path becomes steep and I am hiking up a mountain and when finally I reach the top, I breathe deep. Dad is there.

I cry in his arms and he comforts me, he reassures me he‘s always with me. Dad lifts me upon his shoulders and I‘m a child again. Carrying me, we hike deeper into the forest, up into the mountains until finally he brings me to a cave cut into the black stone of the mountain like a vagina.

Dad can‘t go any further.

I know that normally this cave is guarded, but I also know I‘ve already faced that guardian. I faced her when I gave birth. That journey, I’ve already made.

I enter the cave alone and am surrounded by the darkness of a moonless night. Before me there is a giant black pond that glistens like polished obsidian.

In the middle of the pond I see suddenly a figure on a stone seat – I wade into the water towards her.

“Am I myself anymore?”

No, she says, you are someone else now, the old you is gone, grieve her and move on.

Who am I now, I ask as I approach the seat, a guide swims around me in the waist deep water.

Only you know, says no one.

I strip off my clothes and throw them into the black water, I let down my hair.

I drape myself in a silver veil pulled over my head.

I wonder who I am.

And then,

I know

~Lily

Growing pains

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It is dark here.
The smell of warm dirt and decay.
Buried deep below the surface.
Unable to move.
Consumed by the heavy soil.
Wrapped up in its embrace.

My shifting bones hurt.
I let myself sink into the darkness.
Curled up like a child in an earthen womb.

Rain patters the ground above.
Dampening my surroundings.
I wait.

One day…
I break through.
I unfurl.
I bloom.
Sunlight welcomes me.

I was not lost to a tomb I created.
But patiently planted.
To take root and rise again.
I just had to let myself grow.

-Jaye

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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. 

– Berkley study with tips for how to increase and sustain political engagement. 

-Massachusetts has executed more women for witchcraft than it has elected to congress.

-How Witches and Menstruation Myths Influenced Modern Recipes.

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

-Look up your local candidates‘ backgrounds on Ballotpedia.

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

-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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