Uncoven Issue #8
Episode #16 – Show Notes
On this episode, we start out by giving many shout-outs to various witchy online stores or brick and mortar stores that we love and follow! Here are just a few:
Ritualcravt in Denver, CO
Open the Cellar Door – Etsy shop
The Wicked Griffin – Elder Futhark inspired silver jewlery
Alchemy of Avalon Tea – so delicious!
Fern and Fungi – Sarah Ann Lawless, wildcrafted awesomeness
La Diablerie – Scarlet’s own creation – also can be found on Etsy
Check out our web-o-net pages at Hex Rated Podcast!
So on the latest episode of the podcast, I talk about my personal Samhain ritual that I did which involved the baking, consuming, and burning of soul cakes, The “somber cookies” I would definitely make again! While Samhain evokes the thinnest of veils, I see no reason why you couldn’t make soul cakes and hold a ritual for those that have departed at any time of the year. Sometimes, contemplating those that we have lost to another realm is a good exercise whenever you need to do it. I would be happy to share a basic recipe that I found. My soul cakes weren’t necessarily the prettiest I have ever seen, but the texture was great and overall, I think they accomplished everything that I needed them to accomplish. Without further adieu, here it is! I adapted this somewhat from a recipe I found at The Wondersmith, a beautiful site if you have time to visit. Her soul cakes are gorgeous!
1 cup of dried mixed berries, plus extra to decorate
3/4 cup liquid to soak them in – I used Chai tea, you can also use Amaretto or orange juice
3 cups flour (gluten free works as well!)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
5 Tbs. softened butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. molasses
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. milk or almond milk
Before you begin, start soaking your dried berries. They should soak for an hour.
Whisk together the dry ingredients (except for sugar) in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and molasses until creamy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk until well combined.
Add the flour mixture in small amounts until everything is incorporated. Strain the berries and add them to the bowl, gently mixing until incorporated. Place the dough in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare your baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Drop rounded Tbs of the dough onto the cookie sheets and gently press to flatten with wet fingers. Decorate with leftover reconstituted berries. Makes about 2-3 dozen regular-sized cookies.
Celebrate life and honor the dead,
We Four Witches
Guide along the Norse Path –
Show us your strength,
Our creative, deft hand of Vigilance,
Our arrow toward the tree-heart.Dancer bathed in red,
Force of wit and measured anger –
Weave our fabric,
our spontaneous wordsmith,
Our firelight in the dark.Rebel burnished in blue silver,
Quiet power of a thousand sunsets –
Still us with love,
Our wilderness fighter,
Our initial spark of wonder.
Crone shrouded in night-black,
Mover of clouds in the greying sky –
Dig our earth,
Our shadow cipher,
Our touchstone buried in the soil.
Inside me now are two daughters; two sisters. My family is full of women. My mother has three sisters, I have a sister, my mother’s mother was one of three sisters. Sisters both powerful, like torrents.
My sister has a voice like a chainsaw and a mouth on her that cuts deeper than any sharpened steel. Amber eyed and wild haired with deep olive skin, she is not unlike the Greco-Roman Furies; Allecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera all at once. On the cusp of both Ares and Taurus, she was born with all the war-like ferocity of the former and the unmoving stubbornness of the latter. My sister is a force unto herself.
I am a Cancer in the most cardinal of senses, with emotions that flow and ebb like the ocean’s currents and an indomitable shell.
In adulthood she and I have learned to navigate the turbulent ocean of our relationship, sailing together on a ship made unbreakable by trials of squalls and hurricanes. But it was not always so.
I am older, but she was always taller and bigger and stronger and physical in a manner I was not as a child. Her weapons were on the surface: a keen mind, an unfailing sense of self, a ruthlessness I often admire. My sister forced me to forge secret weapons, to guard myself with an expertise only siblings can teach. Your siblings, if all goes well, are with you from birth to death. They know you before you are a fully realized vessel, when you are nothing more than wet clay, and they are there with you through the wedging, throwing, and firing of life and adolescence. Siblings have the experience to see through the facade you present to the world, cutting through your walls to the very foundation of your soul, because your foundation is their foundation.
No one understands my soul as intrinsically as my sister and no one knows her soul as intrinsically as I; it is a bond that cannot be replicated that brings with it a power often abused.
As children my sister and I would fight and bicker and push and pull. She would scream, her voice like a maelstrom, so I would turn away, ignoring her outbursts and refusing to acknowledge her. Thunderous yelling was her sword and my contemptuous silence my shield.
I can recall the worst fight we ever had was at Girl Scout camp in elementary school; we were living in Seattle, she was six and I was eight. I pulled her hair, wrenching her to the ground; she had said something that finally broke me, though now her words are lost in the haze of childhood remembrance. I rolled on top of her and pinned her down, but she wouldn’t stop speaking, so I grabbed the closest thing to us, a sock, and I shoved it in her mouth, hellbent on silencing her.
The Girl Scout leaders had to call my father to come pick us up early from camp, they’d never seen two scouts fight as viciously as my sister and I were capable of. We were bloodied and bruised and exhausted from the force of our violence when my father came to retrieve us.
I will never forget that car ride home. He wouldn’t look at, our father wouldn’t even say a word to us- which was jarring as my sister inherited her ability to yell from our Italian bred, Brooklyn born father.
He didn’t speak and we didn’t speak, allowing us to stew in the fearful anticipation of the punishment he’d surely deal out when once we’d made it home.
At the time it was late winter, early spring in the Pacific Northwest and it was cold and damp outside. My father demanded, barely even able to look at us such was his shame and rage, that we go into the winter-dead garden and pull weeds. In silence we did this. Tears streaming down our faces, our chests racked with sobs, our gloved hands cold and shaking: forced into camaraderie in our punishment.
I can’t tell you how long we were out there, time flows differently when you’re a child and even more so when you attempt to recall your childhood.
Finally my father came out of the house and he looked between us, disgrace painted across his stern features, and ordered us to face each other saying,
“That is your blood and if you don’t have your blood, you don’t have anything.”
And we cried.
Here are my suggestions for air, fire, and especially water signs to try out some earth vibes. Capricorn, Virgo, and Taurus, 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
-In leiu of a seated meditation, go for a walk outdoors. If temperature permits, walk barefoot on the ground or grass. Studies show that walking outdoors barefoot can book mood and immunity.
– Get dirty! Put on a facial mud mask, but rather than slather it on and check your facebook, draw sigils on your body, take note of the smell and texture, pay attention to the feeling of it drying and cracking on your skin.
Use it as a sacred object
– leave a bowl of salt on your alter or as an offering to your spirits or ancestors. Salt never goes bad, so no problem if you leave it out and forget about it!
– Put a pinch of salt on your tongue to ground after a ritual or journey or whenever you’re feeling spacey.
Contemplate the dark side of earth. It’s easy to think of the earth as passive and still, but volcanos, landslides, earthquakes, and drought can devastate in an instant. Even when the earth appears still, the soil and fungi under your feet and constantly rotting away and breaking down the remains of organic life.
Watch a documentary or research a not-so-cuddly earth diety like Pele, Coatlicue, or Ereshkigal.
Get out there and do some un-fun but necessary chores to clean up after the human race. Dedicate an afternoon to pick up roadside trash on your block, trail, park or cemetery. Keep going even if you get dusty, bored, or people look at you weird. Flower bomb a vacant lot.
image: Clytie, Louis Welden Hawkins
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!
–1,000-Year-Old Illustrated Manuscript of Herbal Remedies Available Online
– Read (or share your own!) some of the amazing stories at We Testify, a program that “seeks to build the power and leadership of abortion storytellers, particularly those of color, those from rural and conservative communities, those who are queer identified, those with varying abilities and citizenship statuses, and those who needed support when navigating barriers while accessing abortion care.”
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.