Uncoven Issue #7
Episode #15 – Show Notes
Okay, we covered a LOT in this latest episode, but we promised you some linky action so here it is!
Check out Four Thieves Vinegar here – the mission is to DIY some medicine, and the message is brilliant – MEDICINE IS FOR EVERYONE. We totally agree. Outlines for the EpiPencil and Daraprim are on the site.
A company called testcard will be launching the postcard that we discussed that you will actually be able to pee on to detect UTI’s. Fascinating and functional! Check them out.
Ugandan students that create an app for detecting vaginal bacteria – so fucking cool. Read the article here.
Scarlet discusses Planned Parenthood’s totally awesome gender neutral period tracker – you can get it here.
Read a first hand abortion experience from a member of the Satanic Temple at Unmother Project. Seriously profound stuff.
Check out our web-o-net pages at Hex Rated Podcast!
Hey, my fellow lovers of food and all things cooking-related! For this issue of the newsletter, I was really excited when we decided we were going to put together a bunch of our own Samhain and Halloween traditions. I wanted to share with you something I think I have mentioned before (and will no doubt mention again) – the Celtic tradition of the Dumb Supper. While the origins can be argued, in almost any ancient culture there is evidence of food rituals to honor ancestors or the deceased, and that is my intention for this dinner that is hosted for the living and the dead. It is not a meal for less than intelligent people, but a dinner that is served and eaten in silence, with a place setting reserved for deceased loved ones or ancestors, or both. Many choose to serve the dinner in reverse order, with the dessert course being served first, etc. Some even set the place settings in reverse order, with knives and forks, glassware and the like being set in opposite-than-usual places. I started this tradition last year and can’t wait to host one with my three witch sisters this year.
I think my favorite part of this ritual is that you can incorporate so much meaning and symbolism into the action of reversing the order of things and doing everything you would normally do in silence. I find it a beautiful way to take a moment out of the usual Halloween festive-mode and really focus on what significance your departed loved ones or ancestors have now in your practice and your life. While I am as fond as anyone else is of carving jack-o’-lanterns and entertaining trick-or-treaters, I like to recharge with a symbolic, meaningful, and almost reverent act that signifies my appreciation for those who have gone before me. It enhances the act of remembering how thin the veil can be during this time of year.
Celebrate life and honor the dead,
Growing up in my hometown you would hear tales passed around of the haunted mayor’s mansion out in the country. Kids at school would whisper of how it fell into grim disrepair and why no one would occupy it.
The weekend of my 17th birthday I had the urge to do something brave and adventurous (and looking back ill planned). In my teenage mind, wandering out to an abandoned haunted house in the middle of nowhere seemed like a great idea that would be a cool story to share at school.
My best friend and I hunted for the location and once we found the road we turned the lights off and pushed the car the rest of the way. Fearful of the rumored farmer nearby that walks his land with a shotgun in hand to scare off curious children like us.
The iron gate at the entrance was an angry mangled mouth waiting to devour us. We continued down the path past the barren trees hovering overhead as we approached the ominous structure. If you listened close you could hear the yipping of the coyotes in the distance. I held my friend’s hand as I walked ahead through the doorway.
There was no turning back now.
Glass crunched underfoot. The walls creaked. Every sound sending shivers up our spines. Slowly we tiptoed down the hallway as if we were scared to wake up the house itself.
The moonlight illuminated the living room through the broken windows. Red graffiti was sprayed over every wall warning us to get out of this hell hole. We heard a loud metal screech and we scrambled through the back door.
In that moment I realized that no one knew where we were. Two little girls all alone and so naïve.
I walked to the pond out back to calm down my mind and sat at the edge of the dock. The full moon lighting up the eerily still water. I heard the sound of metal creaking again.
I looked up to the top of the hill to find a child’s metal swing set. The chains swaying the seat back and forth. Why is the pond dead still? Why don’t I feel the wind that is moving that seat on the swing?
We run for the entrance when we hear car doors slam in the distance. As we hurry through the trees we see red and blue lights flash through the branches and a bright glare of a flash light close by.
We ducked behind a tree but it was too late. A sheriff walked us back to our car. By then three other sheriff cars pulled up to witness what must be the spectacle of their night. They discussed what should be done with the foolish teenage girls they found trespassing. I am sure looking back they were amused as we began trembling. I had never been in this much trouble before. They made a point to remind me that I just had a birthday and was old enough in my state to be considered an adult at 17. This blew my teenage mind. My heart raced. I didn’t want to go to jail.
They let us off with a warning to never come back. My friend and I hurried home and were so overwhelmed with adrenaline we were shaking, crying and laughing all at once.
We never looked back at that place.
It was a night of more than one type of scare.
Do your research. Explore at your own risk. But most importantly be safe out there.
Urban Exploration Resource:
This is the beginning of my story, but it’s barely even that.
When I was a kid and my hair was wild and my knees were scraped, I thought that I never wanted children and if I did, as foreign and abstract a concept as that was, I thought I’d like twins. There’s a sort of undeniable magic around twins, both ominous and auspicious; a mysterious duality inherent in them. Romulus and Remus, Apollo and Artemis, Freyr and Freyja, Helenus and Cassandra: twins have power.
As an adult I thought no children sounded perfect. I’m a teacher, I know all about children and parents and let me fucking tell you they are difficult. Economic burdens, emotional baggage, tiny monsters that deprive you of sleep, that steal your resources and for what gain? No gain. I heard in a podcast once that children are economically worthless and emotionally priceless. Fucking on point, that is.
And then three years ago something happened. Something in my brain. Something ridiculous and terrible and miraculous and suddenly I couldn’t imagine my life without children. I couldn’t imagine growing old and not being surrounded by children and grandchildren, I couldn’t imagine continuing to have a home devoid of toys and teddy bears and laughter. Suddenly the small house my husband and I share seemed unavoidably and excruciatingly empty.
Without warning I began to imagine holding my babies, dreaming of their faces; I would see mothers and fathers with infants cuddled close and my arms would ache, my heart would burn. I wanted my own babies and it was fucking bizarre.
So I said to my husband, who has always wanted to children, I’m ready, let’s do this, let’s bone for babies. He was excited. And we began a process I was pretty certain would be quick, because let’s face it, sex ed in school (especially here in Texas) basically convinces that you as SOON as he sticks his unprotected P in your unprotected V then BAM, motherfucking babies, y’all. Maybe that happens for some couples, it did not happen for us. The first few months were no big deal, I was still getting accustomed to the idea of myself pregnant anyway (being pregnant sounded waaaaay scarier than actually having a baby tbh). Then months turned into a year and I would bleed and what used to be “Oh good, no babehs!” turned into “What the fuck is wrong with me, why can’t I get pregnant?” I have cried over more negative pregnancy tests than I can count. Ugly cried. Giant sobbing, your whole chest is hurting and your eyes are burning cried.
A year turned into two years. My father died. I was sick with grief. I still was not pregnant.
I convinced myself I would never be pregnant. I convinced myself I would never have a baby. Life went on. I stopped taking tests. I stopped obsessively charting my ovulation and tracking my basal body temperature. I stopped believing.
You’ll have daughters, the Norns had whispered to me in a vision, you’ll have two daughters, maybe three. I was sure the Norns had lied.
You’ll have daughters, my ancestors had whispered to me. Daughters of your body, daughters of your soul. I was sure my ancestors were wrong.
I focused on other things. The month before my dad passed away, for my birthday my husband bought me two tattoos on my thighs: Huggin and Muninn, thought and memory, Odin’s ravens, one clutching a sprig of oregano and the other other a sprig of sage. I would blow smoke on to my ravens from my pipe, I would sprinkle them with wine, and I would send them off across the realms to devour the eyes of the dead, to gather their wisdom.
And still the spirits whispered that I would get pregnant. I began to mistrust the spirits. I began to mistrust myself, my body, and my practice.
It was a summer morning and I was cleaning one of the spare rooms in our house while my husband was at work. I was vacuuming and listening to music, moving furniture to dust when something inside me whispered, You’ll need this room for the babies soon.
My spine snapped, eyes narrowed, I turned off the vacuum. What babies? I wasn’t going to have a baby. I wasn’t pregnant. Right?
You’ll need this room for the babies soon.
I went to my bathroom and dug out a pregnancy test purchased long ago, a two pack, and ripped one open. I sat there, absolutely zero expectations beyond the dull throb of disappointment, and I watched as two tiny pink lines materialized across the screen of the test.
I sat there, face askew with confusion. I had never seen two pink lines before. Only ever one. I took the other test.
Two pink lines.
And I screamed, “SHUT UP.” to no one as all mature adults do, and then I cried.
Here are my suggestions for water, fire, and especially earth signs to try out some air vibes.Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, treat yourself to what comes naturally.
We all have our stories, our image, our brand that we tell ourselves and others about us. Immersing yourself (sometimes literally) in something that is completely unrelated to that can launch you right out of those egoistic fictions into that space where real transformation takes place. At the very least, getting right up close to that which makes you feel uncomfortable, icked out, or afraid can help to get to root about why you feel that way in the first place.
Make it a sensory experience
-Try your usual meditation, trancework, or just simple grounding and centering with some movement. If you have a swing or rocking chair, play around until you find a rhythym that feels hypnotic. If you want to go completely prop-free, gently rock side to side or back and forth.
-Alternatively, meditate in stillness, but let the element of air come to you. Open a window or turn on a quiet fan. I personally HATE things blowing on me, so if you’re like that too, this may be an exercise in simply submitting to the experience or experimenting with temperature or fan speed. Try imagining the air interacting with you as a touch of affection. Let your skin actively participate in this tactile gesture, exchanging between you and the element.
Use it as a sacred object
-I read once that since sage is calming and frankincense is invigorating, you can hush up your left brain by smelling sage in you left nostril and rev up you right brain sniffing frankincense on the right. Try it and see what you think! Or try any other combo and keep what works best.
-Leave offerings of fragrant hot tea, perfume/incense, or flowers on your altar for your gods, totems, guides, or ancestors. This is a great use for those mini perfume samples! Love and beauty goddesses like Erzulie or Ishtar especially adore offerings of perfume.
Contemplate the dark side of air. Air is probably the easiest element to ignore, and ignoring anything that is literally in your face all the time usually has dire consequences.
Watch one of the zillion tornado documentaries on Netflix or devote a solid 30 minutes to reading up on climate change.
If you’re afraid of heights or speed, take a peek over a ledge or stick your head out the window next time you’re driving around with friends. Don’t give yourself a panic attack; it’s not a competition. You know your limit. The point is not to push yourself, but to contemplate the element.
Scream at the top of your lungs. Make it ugly and terrible sounding. Scream like you can shatter glass. Spend a day (or however long your job, place of residence, family, etc can allow) in silence. Don’t speak. Don’t listen to music or tv. Shut the fuck up.
Which one was worse or did one come naturally?
The veil is thinning, my little darklings. Can’t you feel it? Samhain, Hallowe’en, All Hallows Eve is one of my most favorite times of the year. I love darkness and pumpkins and nights that are growing increasingly longer as we begin our trek towards the solstice. I love when the haunts and ghouls and spooks and spirits come out of their hiding to join in our revels because- despite attempts by the Abrahamic faiths to destroy our pagan celebrations- Samhain has stood the test of time.
Samhain has evolved, to be sure, she has changed and adapted, but her essence, her core is still a revelry of the dark and the weird. This is the only time our society deems it acceptable for children and adults to don their costumes and celebrate with the dead. Admittedly the good Christian folk of Texas don’t know that’s what they’re doing, but we know better, don’t we?
I see children dressed as ghouls and adults decorating their dwellings and I smile, I smile wickedly. Carve your pumpkins, your jack-o-lanterns, and place them on your doorstep; a warding you don’t even understand. Let your children out at night, dressed in disguises so they can dance with the spirits on this most sacred night. Celebrate with us, even though you don’t understand the celebration.
Look how desperately they’re starving for their roots, how the remnants of our deepest pagan values couldn’t be destroyed even after hundreds of years.
Embrace it, good folks, if only for one night.
-How did mentruation become taboo?
As mentioned in Episode 15
-Woman in Nepal dies after snake bite in menstrual shed.
-Scarlet loves Thinx period panties! Not a paid endorsement, just bloody enthusiasm.
-Gynepunk has free diy 3-d printer instructions for speculums
– Cinnamon study, on menstrual bleeding.
-Dill study on menstrual pain.
– Fennel seed study, women 15-24.
-Study on essential oils.The group who used essential oils experienced a significant reduction in amount and duration of pain. The researchers used blend of lavender, clary sage, and marjoram oil.
Below you will find items from previous newsletters that are still relevant:
-The Women’s March will be hosting The Women’s Convention to “bring thousands of women, femmes and our allies of all backgrounds to Detroit from October 27 – 29, 2017, for a weekend of workshops, strategy sessions, inspiring forums and intersectional movement building to continue the preparation going into the 2018 midterm elections.”
– Join the Handmaid’s Resistance! Get updates about events, resources, organizing your own event and more.
-Read Deborah M. Castellano’s guide to Hexing as Social Change including some specifically Italian magic.
– fire up that cellular device and oppose the rollback of birth control coverage, defend childhood immigrants and DREAMers, denounce 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.
– 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.
Open Source Witchcraft: Mabon
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.
Google Doc- click for full text
Lily suggested that since our rituals tend to be very word heavy, this time around we try more choreography, sound, and movement instead. It was tits-out cathartic and exhilarating! We all ended up with a favorite one. Try them out and let us know if you have a fave!