6 ways to take your spiritual practice on the go

6 ways to take your spiritual practice on the go

If you travel a lot, you might have realized that it can be really hard to stay in touch with your spiritual side when you’re on vacation. Especially if you’re traveling with family or friends – while it’s usually nonstop fun, the key word there is “nonstop.” Everyone wants to hang out and do things and you feel bad saying no, even if you’re starting to feel a little disconnected from your spiritual practice. Have you ever felt that way before?

I travel kind of a lot, mostly because my parents live ten hours away in a different state and I like to go visit them. I’ve had to come up with a few ways to keep up with my spiritual practice even though I can’t exactly bring my whole altar with me when I go. Here are 6 ways I like to take my spirituality “on the go!”

6 ways to take your spiritual practice on the go

1. take a book

I love taking books wherever I go – the back seat of my car looks like a (very disorganized) traveling library. I’ve found it’s really helpful for me to take books that are relevant to my spiritual practice with me on trips, because while it’s often hard to carve out time to actually practice my spirituality on vacation (doing a moon ritual while my family members look on in horror? no thank you) it’s often much easier and less conspicuous to find time to read.

Having a book about my spiritual practice on hand helps me stay connected to that part of me even when the rest of my routine might be disrupted. I especially like bringing books about tarot, since I usually have a deck with me as well. Some of my favorites (these are affiliate links) are:

2. create a travel altar

I’ve seen these all over Tumblr and while I haven’t officially made one yet, I think they’re a great idea! Take an empty Altoids tin or other small container and fill it with some tiny versions of your essentials – a tea light candle, a tiny stick of palo santo, some little crystals, a sigil drawn on the tin itself, a picture of your deity, etc. This way if you DID want to do a ritual while you’re away from home, you have all the components you need right with you!

If you don’t want to go all-out and create a little kit, you can still bring a few small items with you just in case you’d like to use them. I have a little pouch that I keep some crystals in while traveling so they don’t get damaged, and I always have a tarot deck and my favorite essential oils on hand as well! I know that in a pinch, I could use those items to craft a spell or ritual if I really had to (like if I needed a spell to help me find something, or for safe travels.)

6 ways to take your spiritual practice on the go

3. collect new items from your destination

Vacation is a great opportunity to connect with a different environment than the one you’re used to. Maybe you live in a landlocked area but are visiting the sea, or vice versa. It’s a fun idea to collect natural items from your destination that you can use in your spiritual practice in the future. For example, collecting seawater or seashells to use in a future spell or ritual (I did this over the summer when I went to North Carolina!) or maybe finding a nice-looking stick that you could use to make a wand.

Even if you don’t come away with anything, spending time experiencing a new area will give you a chance to observe how nature looks and feels in a new place. This can help you deepen your appreciation for this beautiful planet, which to me is a spiritual act in and of itself!

4. bring a deck

As I mentioned above, I always like to have a tarot deck with me. Tarot and oracle decks are amazing spiritual tools that also happen to be really portable. It’s easy to spend a few moments each morning drawing a card for your day, which gives you practice and keeps you rooted in your spiritual routine even while you’re away.

It’s also good to have them on hand just in case you end up needing them! It can be fun to read for new friends you meet during your travels, or to consult them if you’re having a personal crisis of some kind. It can never hurt to have a deck you love and understand on hand.

6 ways to take your spiritual practice on the go

5. carve out some alone time

With all the hustle and bustle that goes on during vacations, it’s a good idea to find some alone time to help you center yourself and do some of the things you like to do every day back home. I think the biggest problem (at least for me) is that I feel like if I can’t have a whole hour to myself at least, it’s not even worth it. But that’s not true! Fifteen minutes is enough time for you to meditate if you wanted, draw some cards, do some yoga, or just sit there in thought without distraction.

You might not get to do all of the things you’d normally do as part of your routine, but something is better than nothing. Keeping those habits alive for just a few minutes a day will make it easier for you to get back into the swing of things at home.

6. journal

Finally, journaling is something you can do from anywhere! Write about how the trip makes you feel. Do you feel disconnected in your new surroundings, or do they make you feel alive? Is this trip making you realize anything about yourself? Often I find that trips make me feel REALLY inspired in one way or another, but if I don’t write that down then it ends up being totally lost! A trip can disrupt your everyday routine just enough for you to realize what’s working and what’s not. Use that to your advantage and take note of every little detail – you can sort through it all when you come back.

So those are my tips for keeping up with your spiritual practice when you’re on the go! While it might not look the same as your everyday spiritual practice, it’s a good opportunity to try new things and gather a new perspective.

What are your favorite ways to stay in touch with your spirituality when you’re on the go? I’d love to hear all about it! <3

a mabon itinerary

a mabon itinerary

Hey friends! As you may or may not know, Mabon is my favorite Sabbat of all time. It’s the first one I ever celebrated, and even though I didn’t have many resources at the time, I still have fond memories of lighting an apple-scented candle and drinking hard cider in the spirit of the season.

Mabon is also known as “witch’s Thanksgiving,” and as the name suggests it’s a great day to gather with your loved ones and give thanks for all the abundance in your life. It’s a celebration of the harvest, so it’s basically the quintessential celebration of fall in all its glory!

Today I wanted to give you a little ~itinerary~ for a few different ways to celebrate Mabon, if you’re short on ideas! I’m going to break it up into things to do in the morning, afternoon, and evening/night along with a few options for each. Hopefully you can mix and match a few of these things to have a happy little Mabon celebration of your own 🙂 Let’s get started!

a mabon itinerary

morning

  • Start the day with a meditation.
  • Make a cup of tea and infuse it with your intentions for the day.
  • Do some light yoga.
  • Spend some time learning about a spiritual topic that interests you.
  • Thank your guides, the Universe, your deities, or any other entity that plays a role in your spiritual practice for all they do for you.
  • Arrange your altar for the day, using crystals or other items that are significant to Mabon (think fall colors!)
  • Draw a few tarot cards for yourself.

afternoon

  • Go apple picking at an orchard.
  • Take a walk through the woods. Observe the signs that the seasons are changing.
  • Pack a picnic lunch and eat it outside somewhere, taking the time to be fully present.
  • Bake an apple pie (to eat later!)
  • Gather canned foods to donate to charity, or volunteer at a food bank if you can
  • Journal about things you’re grateful for
  • Do something kind for a stranger

a mabon itinerary

evening

  • Prepare an autumnal feast with seasonal foods
  • Gather with friends and drink hard cider
  • Have a bonfire and invite people over
  • Perform a ritual (this is a good time for a gratitude ritual!)
  • Make preserves with some of the produce of the season
  • Make some seasonal arts and crafts, preferable using natural materials like dried leaves
  • Light some candles and read up on the history and traditions of Mabon.

Do any of these ideas appeal to you? How will you be celebrating Mabon? I personally am going apple picking and then cooking a seasonal dinner for myself and my partner – something simple but still sweet. Let me know how you’re celebrating in the comments, I’d love to hear all about it! 🙂

my magickal morning routine

my magickal morning routine

As I’m still living the full-time work-from-home life for the moment, I thought it might be good to share my morning routine now that I’ve made an effort to incorporate a few more spiritual components to it! This is still not my dream routine, but I just can’t make myself wake up early enough to do all the things I want to do before I start working, so this is what we’ve got.

The whole process only takes about a half hour to an hour, depending on what I have time for, so I think parts of it are pretty doable even if you have a job to get to first thing in the AM (those hours-long morning routines alway kill me – who can possibly wake up that early?! I would consider myself a morning person, but above all I’m a BED person, and once I’m in there I’m not coming out until I have to.)

I will throw in the disclaimer that this is what my routine looks like on a good day. Let’s not kid ourselves, I don’t do all of this every single day. Sometimes I oversleep and the only routine I have is the internal screaming going through my head as I frantically respond to the emails that have already piled up. So like, take this with a grain of salt.

As much of my morning routine takes place in my office/workspace, I have this idea of getting a “morning routine candle” to light as I’m going through my process and blow out afterwards as a special little extra touch. I haven’t done this yet – I want a REALLY big, nice-smelling candle so it’ll last a while and be super calming – but I figured I’d share that idea with you in case you wanna do that, too. You’re welcome.

So let’s jump into my magickal morning routine!

my magickal morning routine

1. coffee or tea

The first thing I do in the morning is get some caffeine into my system. I prefer tea but sometimes it’s just a coffee kind of day, you know? I usually brush my teeth and feed the cat and all that stuff while my beverage is brewing, and then I take it into my office to drink/use as a photo prop for Instagram pics (no shame!)

2. essential oils

Since I don’t currently have a nice-smelling candle, I like to pop an essential oil blend into my diffuser to invigorate my nostrils first thing in the morning. (Essential oils obviously have a whole lot of other benefits aside from just smelling nice, too!) I’ll either use one of the blends I already have (I use Young Living oils) or make my own by mixing and matching single oils, which is always fun!

My current favorite blend is 2 drops each of Thieves, Orange, Ginger, and Cinnamon Bark. Seriously smells like a craft store around fall-time. So good! Let me know if you have a blend you’re loving right now, I want to try them all!

my magickal morning routine

3. gratitude

I have an adorable little gratitude journal from Kikki K that makes it really easy to make time for being grateful. I’ll write down three things I’m thankful for that day and take a minute to think about them. Starting the day with a mini gratitude ritual, as cheesy as it sounds, really does help me get int he right headspace and focus on what I have rather than stressing about what I don’t.

4. daily draw

I draw a few tarot cards for myself almost every day! I don’t always write them down (I should) and I don’t even always do this as a personal reading – sometimes I just use it as an opportunity to study the cards and spend some time with them. I use oracle cards a lot, too, especially if I just want some quick wisdom to carry throughout my day. I love this part of my routine because even when things are chaotic, it gives me a chance to connect with a tool that’s important to me and my practice. (And it feels witchy AF.)

my magickal morning routine

5. journaling/planning

This is where things start to go off the rails if I’m in a rush. In a perfect world, I’d have all the time I want to journal. I have a little art journal that I make collages in, which I find super calming and also fun. (Planning a post on it later this month, woo!)

However, sometimes by the time I’m done with all the other stuff it’s getting close to noon and I’ve done diddly squat for my freelance work, which doesn’t really leave me a lot of time to get crafty. Luckily, I also have a planner that’s near and dear to my heart and covering it in stickers provides enough of a therapeutic benefit for me to be able to get on with my day. I like to decorate my planner with washi tape because it’s super easy and quick but looks like you put a lot of time and effort into making it cute.

My planner is this Frank Garcia for Prima one, which is ridiculously expensive but super cute! I’m okay with investing in planners since I use mine every single day of my life. I bought it when I still had a full-time job and would probably never spend this much on a planner again, but I’ve no regrets about having it now!

6. guided meditation

I really love guided meditations! Sadly, this is one of the first things to go out the window if I’m in a rush. Sometimes I come back and do it in the afternoon instead, but more often than not I just totally forget. I’m working on it though, because meditation is honestly, truly so calming (and so good for you!)

So that’s my morning routine! After that I’m ready to kick some butt and get things done.

Do you have a morning routine? What do you like to do? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know! <3

5 tarot and oracle decks to lust over

5 tarot and oracle decks to lust over

As you might have gathered from my “Things I Wasted My Money on while Trying to Figure out My Spirituality” post, I’ve always been a spend now, ask questions later kind of gal. That had to change this summer when I quit my full-time job and suddenly found myself in need of a budget more than ever before. That’s been good for my spending habits but also I’ve been dying of decklust ALL SUMMER. Not buying frivolous things is super boring, guys.

It has, however, really made me realize which decks I REALLY need in my collection and which were just passing fancies. So here are 5 decks that I’ll be slowly adding to my collection over the next few months! If you’re looking to add to yours too, you might want to check these babies out.

(I’m embedding images from the artists’ Instagrams to show you the cards when I can – I really encourage you to go follow them! ♥)

A post shared by Tony DiMauro (@darknesstarot) on

The Darkness of Light Tarot

If you follow me on Instagram, you’re probably like “… really?” because this deck is very different than my usual pastel aesthetic, but I’m completely in love with it. (And I do have a lot of non-pastel decks that I love!) This deck is a bit gloomy but with some subtle pops of color that work so well together. Each suit is in a different shade family, such as pink for the suit of Wands, and the cards are just so lovely. I think this would be a great deck for a wide variety of people, as the imagery is dark but not in a “scary” or foreboding way!

The Universal Mind Oracle

I was so out of the loop on this deck that I didn’t even hear about it until all of a sudden everyone I follow on Instagram was receiving their pre-orders! I absolutely adore the vibe I’m getting from this deck from afar. The imagery is very nature-inspired but with dreamy, otherworldly effects that really make the cards come alive.

The Rider-Waite Smith Centennial Edition

I’ve really warmed up to the artwork on the Rider-Waite Smith deck over the years, but the copy I have has the most garish color scheme that I never want to read with it. The Centennial Edition has much more muted coloring and I think I’ll like it much better. I feel like a RWS deck is a staple in any tarot reader’s collection even if you never read with it just for the sake of being able to consult the original artwork every once in a while, and this is a lovely copy to have if you don’t own one already!

Compendium of Constellations

This is the latest oracle deck by Claire of Black and the Moon and holy wow, it’s gorgeous! (Okay, I love everything Claire has ever done ever so this isn’t a surprise.) I have her second edition Arcana of Astrology deck and I absolutely adore it – the beautiful colors and uncluttered cards are exactly my style. This deck looks to be a different size which is fun, and I love love LOVE the artwork, like, so much. I think I’m going to pop this one on the ol’ birthday wishlist, so fingers crossed it doesn’t go out of stock before November!

Legend of the Wizard Laird Lenormand

I love everything from Malpertuis and have known for quite some time that I wanted my first Lenormand deck to be one of Neil’s. I had been lusting over the Malpertuis Lenormand for quite some time, but as soon as I saw the Legend of the Wizard Laird deck I fell head over heels. I love the gloomy aesthetic and the folk tale behind it. It’s still in-progress right now, but if you’re interested in ordering it when it’s released, you can reserve a copy on the deck’s page!

So those are the five decks on my wishlist right now! What decks are you lusting over? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know!

some honest thoughts on full-time freelancing

some honest thoughts on full-time freelancing

Hey there! It’s been a while. This blog sadly tends to be the thing that falls by the wayside when things get busy, although I feel like now I’m doing a better job of juggling so I hopefully won’t go another whole month without posting (whoops.)

Today’s post has been a long time coming and I don’t have a snappy SEO-friendly title to use for it. As you probably know, I quit my full-time corporate job back in April to pursue freelancing full-time. What you might not know is that I’m currently applying for part-time jobs. That’s right, I’m giving up ~the dream~ to dive back into the working world, at least partially.

Why? Well, to be honest the freelancing thing was never meant to be permanent (although I certainly wouldn’t have said no if it turned out to be super profitable.) I needed to freelance over the summer because I had a lot of fun travel planned and no vacation time left at my old job with which to do it. Not to mention it was time to move on from that job anyway, so it seemed like the best idea to quit, freelance for a while, then see where we stood once the travel was over.

In this community, there’s SO much pressure to quit your day job and follow your passion/travel the world/embrace true freedom/whatever. I’ve always been against this idea because, as someone who’s had to struggle to get by, it’s frankly irresponsible to suggest that everyone’s goal should be to quit their main source of income for a big fat unknown. It’s not a trust fall into the Universe, it’s giving up your paycheck on a lark, and if you have a family or debt or even just bills to pay, I promise you the Universe is not just going to suddenly start footing the bill because it sees how much you hate your day job.

Freelancing for the past five months was so incredibly rewarding and also so, so incredibly hard. I wanted to share my candid thoughts on my summer of freelancing as it comes to a close. Note that this is just my experience – it obviously looks different for everyone! I’ll be talking a lot about money because I’m keeping it real here, so sorry if that’s uncomfortable for you – I really want to be as honest as possible. This is going to be a LONG post, so let’s jump right in!

some honest thoughts on full-time freelancing

it takes privilege to be able to leave your job.

I can’t stress this enough. What so many blog posts about how to “live the dream” fail to realize is that many people CANNOT just up and quit their jobs. I was in a situation where I could save up an emergency fund, I had no children or dependents to care for, and I had supportive parents and a partner to help me pay the bills, and I STILL struggled after losing my main source of income. It’s not a matter of keeping an “abundance mindset.” This is real life and some problems can’t be wished away by positive thinking alone.

It’s so frustrating to me to see blog posts that preach “don’t do anything you don’t want to do! you only have one life! the Universe will lead you to something better!” That might be true, but if I’ve learned anything it’s that the Universe rewards those who work for what they want, and it’s awfully hard work on your dream when you’re stressing about paying the rent. If you’re not in a position to quit your day job, don’t let those blogs make you feel like you’re not “living your best life.” I promise that your best life does NOT look like going into credit card debt over buying the cheapest groceries available.

If you do want to quit your job someday, I 100% believe you can do it. But don’t just up and leave without a backup plan because the Internet says that’s the way to higher vibes. Do it on YOUR terms, when it’s right for YOU.

you don’t need to do what everyone else is doing

If I had a nickel for every blog/website/whatever I’ve read that says freelancers HAVE to have their own website and HAVE to blog regularly and HAVE to be on every social media site ever, I’d have more money than actual freelancing ever made me.

The truth? Thinking about having ANOTHER blog/social media presence makes me wanna vom, so I didn’t do it. I went out to the job boards with nothing but a few writing samples and it was never a dealbreaker. Given, I was not applying for the types of writing jobs that would nab me a byline on a prestigious website (or even a byline at all), but I was still able to land paying jobs without a website or any social media dedicated to my freelancing at all. If the thought of making a website makes you panic, don’t do it. If you can’t decide on one niche, don’t do it. You can always figure it out later if you want to.

some honest thoughts on full-time freelancing

it’s a constant struggle

As a freelancer, you can’t take anything for granted. You might have more work than you can finish one week and crickets the next. There’s probably a better way to balance all of that and it’s easier if you have regular clients, but you still can’t take that for granted. I was making a consistent $400 a week from one writing job… for four weeks, and it’s been about $150 for the two months since then. Even a regular client can suddenly drop you with no warning or reason.

You’ve got to constantly be seeking out new jobs in order to find enough work to get by and hopefully get paid enough for it. It can be exhausting, but I recommend coming up with a solid cover letter template so you can get through a lot of applications quickly. It’s never comfortable, but that’s also part of the fun!

that said, finding jobs isn’t as hard as people make it sound

As mentioned above, the Internet really makes it sound like you’ll never make it as a freelancer unless you do X, Y, and Z (usually blogging, networking, and social media.) I honestly found that it was super easy to get started finding freelance jobs. NOW, these were not the high-paying, $1000 an article jobs that some people making a living off of, but there ARE jobs out there that pay a decent amount that don’t require you to have years of experience or a million social media followers. Once you have a few jobs under your belt, you can use those to apply for better jobs.

You don’t need to stick to one niche, especially not at first, and you don’t even have to have published writing samples in many cases. Just see what tickles your fancy and use any existing writing samples to apply, or write one especially for the job application! Honestly, I had 0 freelancing experience and I managed to find LOTS of work this summer (not enough to pay the bills, but way more than I expected!) You can do it, too!

I feel like so many people dream about freelancing but never try because they’re intimidated. Just jump in! A lot of jobs are either one-offs or not very demanding, so you can totally start building your portfolio while working your day job. Give it a shot and see what works for you!

some honest thoughts on full-time freelancing

not having a routine is not always good

Part of the appeal of freelancing for me was breaking out of the 9-5 grind and being able to do WHATEVER I wanted, WHENEVER I wanted! Yeah!! Well… it didn’t really turn out that way. It turns out having more time doesn’t mean you’re going to get more done, and having a routine is surprisingly essential for me to stay on track and be productive. My freelancing routine looks a lot different than my corporate job routine, but it’s still a routine and it still involves working for at least 8 hours a day (honestly closer to 10).

There were still hobbies I didn’t get to, my mornings weren’t full of sunshine and yoga (more like coffee and forgetting to shower until 2 pm), and not having a full-time job to “keep me down” didn’t magically transform my circumstances into my dream life. You still have to work to make that for yourself.

you really need multiple sources of income

Honestly. My freelancing alone probably only managed to nab me about $600-700 a month, and there were plenty of dry spells where I didn’t make any money for a while week. I’d sort of planned on doing an income report but it made me depressed, so instead I’ll just list my sources of income, in order of what supports me most to least:

  1. Freelance writing
  2. Course sales from the Lavender and Lupine School of Magick
  3. Young Living (you can view their income disclosure statement here! and if you have any questions about how I’m building my Young Living business, feel free to shoot me an email.)
  4. Tarot Readings
  5. Residual income from Amazon Affiliates

So it’s a good idea of branch out if you can and not rely 100% on freelancing to pay the bills, at least not at first. It took me a long time to navigate the freelance world and find a level of work that I could accomplish while still having time to do other things, and I’m grateful I had these other sources of income to support me while I did.

some honest thoughts on full-time freelancing

you might end up being super broke

I realize that this is a very privileged realization to have this late in my life and I’m very grateful that I grew up without ever having to struggle to keep a roof over my head or food in my stomach. The last thing I would ever want is to come off as a spoiled white girl who never fell on hard times before – that’s truly not it, and I’m not whining about my current financial situation. I just want to communicate to anyone dreaming of quitting their day job to travel the world or whatever that poverty could very easily become a part of your freelancing world.

Like, so easily. I went from making $40k a year to less than $1000 a month in an instant. I thought I’d saved up enough of a nest egg to hold me over until I had more jobs, but the REALLY profitable jobs never came and some weeks I couldn’t find any work at all. I had to put off paying the electric so I could buy groceries. I’m three payments behind on my already-massive credit card bill. I’m taking the necessary steps to get out of this situation and I’m very fortunate that I have the experience and opportunity necessary to find a new job now that I need one, but many people aren’t that lucky, and that’s something to consider before you quit your job. If it happened to me, it could happen to anyone.

Now, my situation is completely on me. I’m not blaming freelancing for making me poor. I knew it would be tough, but I really didn’t take enough precautions before I left my job and I probably could have tried harder to find higher-paying freelancing work. But I promise you that I did the manifestation meditations and burned the green candle and made gratitude lists and did the abundance rituals and while that all helped, the Universe did not magically grant me a check to get me out of debt.

Some people will probably say that my fault for not thinking enough good thoughts to attract all the abundance I need, but I’m honestly not on that bandwagon. Life is hard and bad things happen to everyone, even people who live on green smoothies and high vibes. It’s important that you don’t go into freelancing thinking that all your problems will be solved just because you’re “on the right path.” (Note: I didn’t think that. I just want to make sure YOU don’t think that.)

but all in all, the freedom is really, really nice.

Was it amazing to stay up at late as I wanted and wake up whenever I wasn’t tired anymore? HECK yes. It was refreshing to drop everything to go camping in the middle of the week. I felt super posh doing my assignments from the beaches of North Carolina on vacation. I didn’t have to ask for time off to go to the doctor, I got to the grocery store before the dinner rush, I could take a four-hour break in the middle of the day to watch the North and South BBC miniseries if I wanted to (it happened once.) As hard as freelancing was and still is, as much as I sometimes missed having a regular paycheck, it was also everything I wanted it to be and more.

Would I freelance again? In a heartbeat, and I probably will once my partner and I move on to the next stage of our lives (exciting changes to come in 2018, stay tuned! it’s not a baby though, sorry.) But this time I’ll be sure I take all of the necessary precautions before I do it, and hopefully – hopefully! – I’ll pay off my credit card before then. Because yikes.

Do you have any questions about freelancing? I’m obviously not an expert, but I might do a post in the future about how I got started because that’s something people ask me a lot. Do you have any advice for freelancers? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear it!

affordable witchcraft: 7 inexpensive essentials

affordable witchcraft: 7 inexpensive essentials

Hey friends! So a lovely commenter mentioned on my Witchcraft Tips for Newbies post that it might be a good idea to write a post about simple and inexpensive rituals that would be accessible for beginner witches (thanks Delfin!). I thought that was an awesome idea, but I’m actually going to break it up into two posts! This first post is going to be about inexpensive materials you either already have or can find at the dollar store/in your backyard to use in your practice, and the next post will be two simple rituals you can use them for (one for the new moon and one for the full moon!)

As much as I love posting Instagram pics of my deck and crystal collections, the honest truth is you don’t need any materials at all to be a witch. None! Just you and your intentions. The other truth is that inexpensive or handmade materials are just as good as expensive store-bought ones, and sometimes even better if you’ve poured your love into making them. So while I think these materials are relatively cheap and easy to come by, don’t think you need all of them or even any of them to get started in your craft.

This post might make some traditional witches mad because I talk about digital resources towards the bottom, but I believe witchcraft should be accessible to everyone who wants it and I don’t believe in gatekeeping. Learning how to be a witch from the Internet doesn’t make you any less of a witch than someone who was raised by witches and joined a coven as a fetus (or whatever.) It’s okay if your journey doesn’t look like someone else’s, and it’s not okay to poo-poo someone’s practice because they took a different path than you. Every witch is a real witch so let’s just get along!

Without further ado, let’s get started!

affordable witchcraft: 7 inexpensive essentials

1. Candles

Candles are my #1 witchcraft essential. I love burning candles not only for the energy and power they lend to a spell or ritual, but because they look really witchy and cool. That’s probably not the most important reason to have them, but the mood is important in witchcraft! However, you don’t need any of those giant drippy taper candles or whatever that you see on Instagram (even if they’re gorgeous). My favorite candles to use in spells and rituals are tea lights from the dollar store. It was literally $1 for a pack of them and I use them ALL the time. Tea lights are great because you can let the candle completely burn down as part of your spell or ritual if necessary without having to worry about guarding it 24/7 for days until it’s done so you don’t burn your house down. It gives you a couple hours of burn time which is more than enough in most cases!

2. Sticks and stones and nature stuff

Witchcraft is essentially a nature spirituality, so what better way to decorate your altar or sacred space than with nature? Crystals are pretty, but they can be expensive. A pretty stone from the backyard – or even better, from a natural place that has meaning to you – can serve as an equally powerful representation of earth on your altar (although they won’t necessarily have the same vibrational qualities as crystals, but tbh there are some pretty cheap smaller stones on Etsy if you’re desperate for crystals in your life.) You can make your own wand out of a stick and use pebbles to shape out a pentacle on your altar (or whatever shape you want!) You can use fresh flowers as offerings to your deities or just for decoration. Tools don’t have to be expensive – the original pagans couldn’t exactly hop on Etsy and order a custom-made altar cloth. If you want to buy fancy things for your practice, that’s totally fine and you should do it, but know that you don’t NEED those things in order for your magick to work.

affordable witchcraft: 7 inexpensive essentials

3. A notebook and a pen or pencil

This is super important. You’re going to want to keep some sort of record of your witchy journey – what spells worked, what didn’t, what rituals you did and when. But the thing is, you don’t need a fancy grimoire to make this happen. The cheapest notebook from Walgreens will work just fine. If you’re a perfectionist like I am, you can always use the cheap notebook to take all your messy notes and transfer the important ones to a fancy book later when you can afford one that you like, but don’t let the lack of a fancy notebook keep you from writing things down. No one ever has to see it but you!

4. Water

Water is a super versatile tool and it’s free from your sink! Although purified water is ~best~, who has time for that? You can make “purified” water on your own by adding salt to it. You can use this as a cleansing spray (adding essential oils if you want to make it smell nice) or leave it to charge under the full moon to make moon water. You can collect rain during a storm if you want stormwater, or collect it from a lake or ocean if that has meaning to you. You can put some water on your altar as a representation of the element or sprinkle it around your space when you’re casting a circle (if you’re into that.) Basically water can be used for as many things as your imagination allows, so don’t underestimate what you can do with it!

affordable witchcraft: 7 inexpensive essentials

5. A picture frame

One of the easiest ways to decorate your altar or sacred space is by framing an image of something that’s important to you. This could be a depiction of a deity that you work with (since statues and other representations can be expensive!), a picture of a place in nature that makes you feel serene, a picture of the ocean if you’re a sea witch… the possibilities are endless! I personally keep a framed print of my favorite tarot card in my workspace just because it makes me happy to look at it. There are no rules, but a simple picture frame can easily become a lovely centerpiece for your sacred space.

6. Pinterest

I LOVE Pinterest for witchcraft because it makes everything so easy. Not only is it a great resource for hacks and spells to do on the cheap, but I use it to make vision boards all. the. time. As much as I wish I could be a crafty person, I’m just not, so I prefer digital vision boards to the IRL variety. You can also use Pinterest to make boards dedicated to your deities or to keep a virtual Book of Shadows of a sorts. You can make the boards private on Pinterest so only you can see them and you can have as many as you want! It’s a great source of information and an awesome manifestation tool.

7. Tumblr

Who needs books when you have Tumblr? (My book-loving heart just died a little, but hear me out.) Books about witchcraft and Wicca can be hard to find in physical stores and potentially expensive if you order them online. While there’s a lot of great wisdom to be found in books, there’s also a lot of wisdom on the Internet for free. I really recommend Tumblr as a good place to learn about witchcraft – while of course there’s misinformation out there, there’s also a lot of really great tips, links to resources that people use and love, recipes, examples of grimoires and altars, etc, etc. You can also use your Tumblr blog as a little virtual record of your practice, which is nice. Basically Tumblr lets you see what real people are doing, which can be helpful as you sort through all the mess of resources that are out there. Also, while sometimes people go overboard, Tumblr witches are a lot more woke to the issues of racism, sexism, and cultural appropriation that unfortunately crop up in the witch community pretty often. It’s good to learn early on that these things aren’t okay rather than having to un-learn them after they’ve unwittingly become a part of your practice.

So there you have it! Like I said, you don’t need any of these things to be a witch but if you want them, they’re not very expensive. I hope this post was helpful! Part 2 will be a new moon ritual and a full moon ritual using some of the items at hand, and if you have any other inexpensive tools or recommendations, be sure to leave them in the comments! <3

my top 5 essential oils for camping

my top 5 essential oils for camping

I never thought I’d be a camping person. I hate sweating and bugs and have a 14985-step skincare routine. But when you’re dating an outdoorsy man, sometimes you have to suck it up and put the face cream aside for a day or two in the name of love. Because he never complains when you make him watch stupid YouTube videos or drag him to the mall so you kind of owe him one.

Thank goodness I tried it, because it turns out I really, really like camping. I like the nature sounds and the stress-free environment and the part where we drink beer around the campfire and have deep conversations. (An ice-cold beer will get me to do almost anything in the summertime, to be honest.)

The past few times we’ve gone camping, I’ve jumped at the chance to use my essential oils. I made an after-sun spray and an annoyance-away spray and I was kind of shocked when they worked even better than the ones I’ve bought at the store in the past. (Especially because store-bought bug spray makes me gag. No wonder they keep the bugs away, I don’t want to smell that either!)

If any of you are planning on camping this summer, I thought I’d round up the oils that have worked for me so far and share them with you today! Obviously you can use any brand you have on hand, but Young Living is the one I use and love <3 I’ll have some info about how to sign up with Young Living at the bottom of the post if you’re interested! Let’s get started!

my top 5 essential oils for camping

1. Lavender

Lavender is a great oil to keep on hand at all times. It can be used to support skin’s natural healing process after bug bites or sunburn and can help soothe itchy or painful skin. It’s also very relaxing, which can help you unwind if you get a little anxious in the outdoors

2. Citronella

We all know that citronella candles keep mosquitos away, and citronella oil allows you so many opportunities to DIY. You can make your own citronella candle or wristband with this oil, or combine it with a few other oils in an annoyance-away spray like I did to make sure my camping experience was bite-free!

3. Peppermint

Peppermint is great for so many things! It’s cooling, which feels really great on your skin after a sunburn, and can also help soothe areas that might be sore after a hike. It’s great for head support, too! I even added a few drops of Peppermint to my annoyance-away spray after seeing how it keeps bugs away from the house. (Plus the scent is really strong, so it masked the smell of citronella which I’m not a huge fan of.)

my top 5 essential oils for camping
the oils in my annoyance-away spray

4. Purification

Purification is a Young Living blend that’s great for camping. I watched a video on Facebook where someone had a tick in their arm, and when they put a drop of Purification on it the tick scurried right out! So that’s obviously great to have on hand in the woods. It also contains lemongrass and citronella, both plants that mosquitos tend to avoid, so I used this in my annoyance-away spray to keep myself bite-free. It also has a very bright, clean smell, so it’s great to make a little sachet and keep it with your dirty clothes to keep things fresh!

5. Tea Tree

Tea tree is similar to citronella in that mosquitos tend to dislike it. It also comes from a plant that has amazing antiseptic qualities, so the oil can be used to help support the body’s healing process for things like breakouts. I, for one, always break out whenever I stray from my normal skincare routine, so this oil is a must for me to keep on hand!

So these are my top five essential oils for camping! As I mentioned, I use Young Living for all of my essential oils. You can read a bit about why I chose that brand over others here, if you’re interested. If you’d like to sign up with Young Living, you can do so through my link here! But obviously you should do your own research and use whatever brand feels right for you <3

Do you use essential oils when you camp? What are some of your favorites? I’d love to hear all about it!

the ostara tarot: a review

the ostara tarot: a review

Today I’m coming atcha with a review of the Ostara Tarot! I don’t usually do reviews of tarot decks because I feel like it really all comes down to personal preference, maybe even moreso than with oracle decks. People have SUCH different tastes on everything from the thickness of the cardstock to the type of artwork on the deck, so there’s really no right or wrong when it comes to tarot decks – unless the cards literally fall apart in your hands or are terribly misprinted, Ithink it’s pretty hard to find a deck that would universally be considered bad. But there are a lot of interesting things about the Ostara Tarot that I think could make or break it for some people, so I thought I’d throw this post out there so you can see for yourself if it would be your jam!

The Ostara Tarot is a deck I’ve been in love with from afar for a LONG time and only just got my hands on. I’ve heard a lot of stories about people getting their preorders canceled or pushed back which is a huge bummer, but they’re available in some Barnes and Noble stores if you want to snag one for yourself. They’re also back in stock on Amazon!

Okay, let’s get into the review!

the ostara tarot: a review

The first thing I noticed was that the box is really nice. It’s sturdy and pretty and has a magnetic closure so it stays closed. The cards are in two piles inside but there’s room for them to move around, which irks me a little – I like when the cards fit snugly so I don’t have to worry about them getting banged up. You can see how there’s a gap between the bottoms of the cards and the edge of the box. The divider between the two piles isn’t connected to the box, which makes it kind of hard to get them back in. It’s kind of a downside but not a huge deal – I can always glue it in myself.

the ostara tarot: a review

There were two unfortunate things I noticed about the cards right away. First, they were completely stuck together in huge chunks from the gilding. I was able to unstick them all with no damage to the cards, but the gilding flaked glitter all over my hands and workspace. I like glitter so I was fine with it, but I’ve had plenty of decks with gilded edges that never gave me this problem (the Fountain Tarot, the Starchild Tarot, the Faerie Enchantments Oracle, and the Sacred Creators Oracle, to name a few.) That tells me there’s a better quality gilding out there that just wasn’t used in this case. Like I said, it was pretty easy (if time-consuming) to unstick them. Just not a great first impression.

My second issue is that all four corners of every single card are bent upward. I think it probably happened when the cards were being cut. I’ve literally NEVER seen this in a deck before and I’m actually pretty bummed about it. From pictures I’ve seen on Instagram, I don’t think this is just a one-off problem, either – it seems like every copy I’ve seen out there has this problem, and I’ve heard for some people it’s not all four corners which would bug me even more. I guess I’m glad that it’s every card because at least it’s uniform, but still, it’s kind of crappy when your cards arrive bent. It’s subtle, but you can see it in the picture below:

the ostara tarot: a review

The negatives end there, though. The artwork on these cards is beautiful and the gilding still looks intact despite flaking all over the place. I personally like the cardstock – it’s thin but it feels laminated, which does make the cards slippery but makes me worry less about bending or scuffing them while shuffling. I love that four female artists worked to create this deck and even though their styles are very different, I think all the cards work wonderfully together. (And I’m in no way faulting the artists for the production issues. I’m pretty sure that was 100% on the publisher.)

the ostara tarot: a review

The guidebook is really nice, too. It’s full color! That doesn’t usually happen. Each page has some keywords for the card, a picture of the card, and a description of both the meaning and the reversed meaning.

Looking at the cards themselves, it’s interesting to note that the minor arcana cards don’t say which suit they are. It’s pretty easy to tell in most cases just by looking for wands or pentacles or whatever in the image, but in some of them it’s actually kind of tough to tell from first glance. I don’t think this is a bad thing – if anything, I think it could be a cool way to work with your intuition, and it might be good practice for a tarot newbie to try and figure it out on their own. (But if you’re really stumped for some reason, they’re all in the guidebook.)

the ostara tarot: a review

Overall, I really love this deck despite the bent corners. It’s a little thicker than your standard tarot deck but my boyfriend Dave from Gear Box Leather made a custom case for it so I don’t have to worry about keeping it in the box. (You can get your own tarot case in his shop and take 15% off with the code “LAVENDERMOON”, because he’s a nice guy!) I can tell I’m going to use this one a lot and have been carrying it around pretty much everywhere since it arrived so I can bond with it a little better. The cards are rich with imagery and I’m so excited to do some readings for myself with it before I use it with clients!

So those are my thoughts! Have you ordered the Ostara Tarot? What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear!

international tarot day blog hop: the knight of cups

international tarot day blog hop: the knight of cups

Happy International Tarot Day, everyone! If you’re new to my blog, welcome! I’m writing this post today as part of the big International Tarot Day Blog Hop organized by Nym’s Divination, where a bunch of tarot bloggers are each writing about one of the 78 tarot cards. The lovely Starr preceded me with the Page of Cups, and Kriss is right after with the Queen of Cups! Be sure to check out their posts if you haven’t already (when you’re done reading mine, that is! 😉 ) You can view a master list of posts here!

My card is the Knight of Cups! This Knight is a sensitive soul who’s in touch with their emotions. They are charming, sensitive, and a true romantic. This Knight is an artist – a poet’s soul, a dreamer, someone who understands others and attracts them whether they intend to or not. The flip side of this is that they can be overly emotional, maybe even tending on the dramatic side of things. Still, the Knight of Cups is actually my favorite Knight of the tarot, so I’m excited to be working with this card’s energy today!

In the spirit of the natural charm of the Knight of Cups, I’ve put together this Knight of Cups Charm Potion to make the user more attractive in the eyes of others. Note that by attractive, I don’t mean that any sort of physical change will come over you; rather, it will cause others to be drawn to your natural charm. Whether you’re looking for a new friendship or a romantic encounter, this could bring more opportunities your way!

Knight of Cups Charm Potion

You will need:

  • 1 teaspoon loose black tea, or 1 teabag
  • 1/2 tsp rose water (you can buy this at the store or make it yourself!)
  • 1/3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp honey (or more to taste)
  • Small, clean rose quartz crystal

international tarot day blog hop: the knight of cups

What to Do

1. Prepare for this little ritual however you’d like. I personally recommend cleansing your altar or sacred space with whatever method you prefer. I also like to take a bath before I do a spell or ritual and envision any negative energy dissolving and flowing down the drain. A shower works, too! If you do that for this potion, focus particularly on dissolving any limiting beliefs you have about yourself. This potion is all about boosting confidence and revealing your natural charm!

2. Brew the tea as you would normally, making it as strong as you’d like. While the tea is brewing, gather the other ingredients at your altar or sacred space. Place the rose quartz in the center of the altar and make room to put your cup of tea once it’s finished brewing.

3. Bring the tea over to your workspace. You’re going to add the ingredients one by one, saying the following as you do:

“As roses draw bees, I draw others to me
As honey’s a treat, my words will be sweet
As vanilla blooms, I do too.”

Be intentional as you add the ingredients and picture your desired outcome in your mind. Is it you surrounded by new friends? Flirting with the cute barista? Try to picture it in your mind as you say the words.

4. Let the tea cool off enough for you to drink it (but not until it’s cold! Blowing on it a bit should help.) Before you drink the tea, dip the rose quartz crystal in it. As you hold the crystal in the tea, envision that positive energy you’ve channeled for the potion flowing into the quartz. Then drink the tea, feeling yourself filling with confidence and charm as you do so.

5. Carry the rose quartz in your purse or pocket as a little boost the next time you go out into a social situation. You’ll find that others are naturally attracted to your personality!

And that’s it! I hope you enjoy this lovely little pick-me-up potion. Once again, don’t forget to continue on to Kriss with the Queen of Cups, and head back to read Starr’s post on the Page of Cups if you haven’t already! Happy International Tarot Day! <3

how to become a witch: 10 tips for newbies!

how to become a witch: 10 tips for newbies!

Hi there, friends! This post is based on a question I get asked a lot – “how do you become a witch?” There’s a really simple answer to that question, but I think the underlying question within it is really, “where do I start if I want to become a witch?” So today I’m going to be sharing with you some advice to those who may just be starting down this path.

Shameless plug, but if you REALLY want to know how to incorporate witchcraft into your daily life, The Witch of Lupine Hollow and I made a whole school of courses about it ;D But it’s also cool if you just want to read this post instead. Affiliate links are marked with a *, because your girl’s gotta pay the bills somehow.

This is a bit of a long one, so strap in, folks!

how to become a witch: 10 tips for newbies!

1. you don’t need someone else to make you a witch

How do you become a witch? The simple answer is really that you decide to become a witch, and bam! There you are. Although some covens or paths of witchcraft or Wicca might require formal initiation or have specific rules about who can or can’t join, in general anyone can be a Wiccan or a witch. There’s a tradition of studying for a year and a day before dedicating yourself to the Craft, but it’s really not necessary. I initially decided I would do this, but found myself identifying as a witch long before the year and the day were over. Still, once the time was up, I just did a little self-dedication ritual more for myself than anything else and that was it! No one else’s approval required.

2. read selectively at first

Usually I would say “read ALL the things!” but unfortunately there’s a lot of cultural appropriation and just plain misinformation out there about witchcraft, Wicca, and their history. I do think there can be a lot of good things in a problematic text, but when you’re first starting out it can be hard to tell what’s truth and what’s not. One of the best resources I’ve found is Drawing Down the Moon* by Margot Adler. Adler was Wiccan herself, and she manages to debunk some of the main myths about Wicca and witchcraft without putting down the craft itself. It’s also a fascinating look at the way witchcraft and Wicca have been practiced in the United States over the years. It was written a while ago so it’s a bit dated, but not OUTdated, if you know what I mean.

Another great intro to witchcraft is The Inner Temple of Witchcraft* by Chris Penczak. My memory of reading this is that he does cross into some iffy cultural territory and sort of perpetuates some witch myths, but overall I thought his approach was a great way for someone to learn the basics of witchcraft, especially if they’re kind of skeptical (like I tend to be!)

Also, take all books with a grain of salt. If one talks about a practice you don’t like, need, or feel comfortable with, leave it. Not every witch astral travels or does blood magick, and not all witches think curses are bad. It’s okay to make your own rules.

how to become a witch: 10 tips for newbies!

3. start small

There’s so much information out there and it’s seriously overwhelming to start with, but you don’t need to be a big bad experienced witch in order to work an effective spell. Start small with materials you already have on hand, or learn the meaning of one new herb at a time and use that. Some of the most effective spells and rituals I’ve done have just been me, a candle, and the moon. Don’t let a lack of experience or things stop you from working your magic(k).

4. find your community

I don’t necessarily mean finding a coven – in fact, I would suggest not looking for a coven until you’ve been practicing long enough to be sure of your path. I thought at first that I would LOVE to be in a coven, but now I realize that while it would be nice to have an IRL community to chat with, I do my best practicing on my own. Also, you run the risk of pledging yourself to a coven dedicated to a certain deity only to find out later on that you don’t want to work with that deity after all. Awkward.

But I do think it’s important to have other witches you can learn from and ask questions of while you’re learning. I haven’t found any good forums (if you know of one, PLEASE tell me) but Tumblr has proved to be an amazing resource for all things witchery. Browse the “witchcraft” and “witches of Tumblr” tags for blogs to follow. Most people I’ve met there have been super nice! (I’m a-lavender-moon if you’d like to follow!)

how to become a witch: 10 tips for newbies!

5. you don’t need a lot of stuff

I know that Tumblr and Instagram make it seem like you need a huge crystal collection and an entire pantry full of herbs, but really, REALLY all you need to do magick is yourself. That’s it. You don’t need anything else but you and your intentions. It’s fun to collect witchy bits and bobs and I’m the last person to talk about minimalism because I buy everything, but you don’t need those things. You can make spell jars from recycled bottles or decorate your altar with rocks from your garden. Don’t give in to the pressure to LOOK witchy. It’s more important that you ARE witchy.

(Side note, I wrote an entire post about spiritual sh*t I wasted money on here, so you don’t have to.)

6. write it down

You’re probably going to want to keep either a grimoire or a Book of Shadows, but I think it’s important that you keep a spiritual journal, as well. This can be something you carry around with you everywhere and that no one will ever see but you. Put in all your messy, disorganized thoughts, write down any time your intuition is spot on, scribble about your struggles with meditation, whatever. It’s really great to have a record of where you’re at and what you’re doing with your spiritual practice. For one, it’s therapeutic, but for another, it helps you figure out the way forward!

how to become a witch: 10 tips for newbies!

7. it’s okay if your beliefs change

In fact, they absolutely will. My views about working with deities change all the time. My thoughts on reincarnation have evolved the more I’ve thought about it. My personal set of rules has shifted as I’ve grown more comfortable in my craft. Changing your views on one thing or another doesn’t necessarily mean you were wrong before, it just means you’ve got more information now and can make a better decision for the current you. It doesn’t invalidate your past.

8. your book of shadows doesn’t have to be perfect

I need someone to wake me up every morning by yelling this at me through a megaphone. I think we all fall into perfectionism when it comes to our grimoire or Book of Shadows because we want them to be the cool witch books we see on TV. Honestly, though, a grimoire is just for you, no one else, and since all of us are imperfect it’s totally okay for your book to be imperfect too. The most gorgeous grimoire in the world is totally pointless if you never actually use it for fear of screwing it up! If you’re really concerned, though, do what I do and have a million different grimoires that you use for different things and one big main one that you only put the pretty stuff in.

how to become a witch: 10 tips for newbies!

9. don’t appropriate closed cultures

Seriously, y’all. This is a HUGE problem in the witch community, partially because as I mentioned above, cultural appropriation is passed off as a normal part of witchcraft by some of the major authors in the community.

It can be really, really hard to tell at first what’s cultural appropriation and what’s not, but use your common sense and if it’s taken from a culture that’s been systematically victimized over the years, it’s probably not okay to use. I think that Native American spiritualities in particular tend to be appropriated, but you can find a way to incorporate basic beliefs into your practice without outright taking from a closed culture – for example, you can say “smoke cleansing” instead of “smudging” or “animal guides” instead of “spirit animals.”

Like I said, it can be hard to know what you can and can’t use because so much of witchcraft is a blend of things taken from historical cultures. If you don’t know if something is cultural appropriation or not, look it up. Especially if you’re a white person. We’ve stolen enough from other cultures already.

10. you don’t need to know everything

If I could tell you one thing, it’s this. No one knows anything. If they say they do (or make you feel bad for asking questions) they’re probably a jerk. There’s no bonus points for being able to recite every poisonous plant by heart when pretty much anyone can do a Google search to find the same information. I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly you DO learn, and in no time you’ll be able to rattle off all the things rose quartz is good for or what herbs can help an upset stomach. But there’s no pressure to memorize this stuff. In fact, some of the best knowledge comes from DOING the thing. That’s the stuff you end up remembering. You never stop learning in witchcraft, and that’s the beauty of it. The trick is to be comfortable with not knowing, so you can invite more knowledge in.

So those are my 10 tips for the beginner witch! I might end up doing a part two of this post in the future because I could talk about this for days probably.

Do you have any tips or resources you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to check them out!