NaBloWriMo - Witchy Wednesday 5 - Samhain

For my last Witchy Wednesday I’m writing a post about one of the major Sabbaths, Samhain

Samhain  (SOW – WIN) is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter and has often been called the Celtic New Year.  Though popularized and celebrated by children around the world as a day to get scared and get candy, Samhain is a very important religious/spiritual holiday for many Pagans.

Some Samhain customs include bonfires, turnip lanterns and leaving food out for any relatives that may return to visit on the night where the veil between the living and dead is thinnest.  

The wearing of costumes and staying close to home were ways in which humans could “guise” or ward off harmful spirits. Sometimes totems or little trinkets were use to assist in this warding.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Protection Ward

Honoring those that have passed and making a fresh start are typical events for Samhain.  Including divination, spell casting and contact with the dead are popular. Putting out offerings such as soul cakes or whiskey are popular. When adding my offerings to the Goddess Hecate I set out Leeks, Garlic, Honey, mushrooms and sometimes a bit of wine.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Offerings to the Goddess Hecate

To me, Samhain holds three very important meetings.  One, celebrating new things to come and sweeping out the old year are key in my rituals.  

Photo credit - Renee Olson - Hecate Altar

Secondly, my ancestor altar is one of my prized possessions.  I have it set up on a 100 year old server that my grandmother gave me.  It’s adorned with photos of those family members whose energy I would like to pull back into my home.  

Photo credit - Renee Olson - Ancestor Altar
Finally, my husband and I had our hand fasting ceremony on Samhain.  This year is our 10 year anniversary and we plan to renew our commitment to each other. I talk about our hand fasting in the Samhain's Sirens' Blog Extravaganza which is being published today.  There will be a giveaway of a hand fasting cord.  A hand fasting cord is an elaborate or very simple rope or cord that is tied around the wrists in a sign of commitment.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Hand Fasting Cord

Not every Pagan celebrates Samhain, and some non-pagans do.  It’s a really great time of the year when Mother Earth changes her robes from the bright summer colors and bundles up in her whites and grays to watch the seeds and earth rest for the winter.  The snow and ice come in and freeze the ground welcoming Yule and slowly the wheel continues to turn.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Wheel of the Year

For me, the wheel of the year is a magical thing and showing it off in your home or office when you can is a wonderful way to remember the seasons and how much our ancestors relied on this wheel for their very survival.
Photo Credit Renee Olson - Wheel of the Year

As we sit in the aftermath of the devastation of the natural disaster, Hurricane Sandy we have to remember but we are just a tiny speck on this great big planet and we need to remember that this earth is our mother and as such we should respect and honor her throughout the entire wheel.

Namaste & Blessed Be

NaBloWriMo - Talented Tuesday 5 - My Hunny

I got so wrapped up in the dealing with the hurricane, working on getting ready for ShadowHarvest this weekend and dealing with life in general that I nearly missed today's post.

Today's post is going to be about my hunny.  Elijah, is a wonderful partner and friend.   Tomorrow is our 10 year wedding anniversary.  Over the years he's probably the most talented person I've ever met.

First he's an amazing chef.  He makes bread from scratch.  He bakes me brownies, without a box! I know right!!  I was amazed.  He even makes me Curry and Korma!

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Chef

He's a wonderful artist.  I have several tattoos from him.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Tattooist

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Tattooist
He's a wonderful tailor and often makes me corsets!

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Tailor
He built my Hecate Altar, including a triple Goddess carving at the top!

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Woodworker

After ten years you'd think I'd be out of surprises from him, but NO NO NO this last week I've learned that he has two other very special talents.

First he can make braided hemp necklaces.  WHAT?  Yes you heard me.  Look!

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Hemp Braider

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Hemp Braider

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Hemp Braider

He can also make Handfasting Cords.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Cord Maker

After all these years he still surprises and inspires me.  I adore him.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Photographer

Thanks so much for giving me ten wonderful years and for being my final Talented Tuesday.

Namaste and Blessed Be

NaBloWriMo - Monday Memories 5 - Th Th That's All Folks

For our finally Monday memories I thought I'd share with you a few things that I really loved about my childhood.  Saturday mornings sometimes we'd go over to my grandmother's house and she'd put on cartoons for us.  Much like all kids, I loved cartoons.  I also liked some of those that used to come on after school.

I'm going to share a few of my favorites.

Our course our little Yorkie Froggy woke us up with her barking.  Hubby tries to "shush" her but has trouble getting "Froggy" out.  He complains, Froggy is such a hard word to say.  I said no it's not and began to sing:  "Froggy wenta courting he did right, Crambone"   He said, what the hell are you talking about.  So I shared this:

This led to a wonderful idea to share cartoons from my childhood.

Another one of my favorites is "The Homesteader", I loved love Droopy.

Ralph and Sam

Pepe Le Pew

Bugs Bunny

Tom and Jerry

And where would we be without Mark Anthony

Well that's it... my last Monday Memories.  I hope you've enjoyed it.  If you have time, take a minute to head over and find some of your favorites.  It just might make you smile.

Namaste & Blessed Be

NaBloWriMo – Shelter Me Sunday 4 – Homeless

This week for the Shelter Me Sunday series I wanted to focus on some animals that are in need of homes.  Not everyone is able to actually adopt an animal.  If this is your situation there are so many other things you can do to help them.

Many shelters have wish lists.  Locally we have a group that even has a wish list on and has collected several of the beds they needed for the Shelter building.  Check your local area to see what their needs are.  Usually they can always use the following items.

Animal Nursing Bottles – Puppy/Kitten Formula – Food Dishes
Grooming Tools – Shampoo – Brushes- Leashes - Collars
Tennis Balls –Kong Toys – Cat Toys
Crates (Lg/Sm), Heating Pads/Lamps
Blankets – Towels – News Paper
Ponchos – Flash Lights – Gloves

Many need people to come out and spend time with the animals and cash to assist with medical care or adoption events.  So time and Money are great donations!
So now let’s see the animals!

Meet Freckles

Photo Credit - Melody Drew

Freckles is a young small female mixed breed and weighs about 35lbs.  She recently birthed a litter of puppies and was spayed on 10/22.  She has great manners in the car and loves to have a bath.  Freckles loves other dogs, people and children but does not care for cats.  If you think you might be interested in adopting her please contact Melody L. Drew or Dixie Lee Price.

Meet Buddy.


Photo Credit - Melody Drew

Buddy is a young  German Shepard Dog .  He is estimated to be about 2 years old.  Buddy knows how to sit and is high energy.  Buddy was pulled from the shelter and is being housed at a boarding kennel until he can find a home.  Buddy is up to date on his shots and has a microchip.  He’s still thin and could stand to gain about 15-20 pounds.  If you think you might be interested in adding this great dog to your home please contact Melody L. Drew.

Let’s check out some Kittens

Photo Credit - Melody Drew & Nona Hunter

This is a litter of precious little babies looking for a home.  They are black and grey and still showing their blue baby kitten eye color.  If you might be interested in these kittens please contact Melody L. Drew or Nona Hunter for the most up to date information.

This is our second litter.

 Photo Credit - Connie Whitaker

This is a second litter of kittens looking for a home.  They are on dry food and are learning how to be cats.  The foster says they are playful and mischievous and are ready for a great home.  If you think you might be interested in on of them please contact Connie Whitaker.

Finally, I want to share the story of Jake.  

Jake belonged to a 77 year old man with Parkinson’s disease who was just diagnosed with throat and lung cancer a month ago.  Jake’s owner, had one last wish.  He wanted to see his dog go to a forever home.  Jake is a 7 year old chocolate lab and springer spaniel mix.  He’s loving and faithful. On October 26th Jake's owner passed away.  Currently there are a few people interested in adopting him but if you believe that Jake may be a fit for you please reach out.

Jake would be a great in a single pet home located in or around the Myrtle Beach area.  If you think you may be able to assist this family please contact – Cindy Bright (Einstein’s Dog-Sitting Service LLC) at 843-293-0416 or 843-457-0893 or email her at

*Note the video was made prior to Mr. Neill's passing*

That’s our last entry for Sunday Shelter Me.  If you can adopt, please do.

PLEASE Remember to spay and neuter your pets.

Namaste and Blessed Be

NaBloWriMo - Saturday Craft-Tactular - 4

Today is the 27th of October.  Every Saturday this month I have sent you on a magical journey over to the Samhain's Sirens Blog to see my entries for the Amazing Craft-tactular!!  Today is my final entry for the project. It's been a amazing ride.  In just a few days the Sirens will be announcing the grand prize winner.

For today's craft I wanted to share with you a really nifty project.  A few years ago I found a  cute little poem about a Christmas spider.

I've read many different versions some use Santa and others use Jesus.  Some say the legend originated in Germany and this is a summary of my favorite.

An elderly lady who was very poor was getting her house ready for the holidays.  Each morning she cleaned her house and dusted the spider webs from her tree. The spiders would come in at night and see the lovely webs removed from the tree and spend the whole night covering the tree with the lovely glistening strands of silk.  On Christmas morning she woke early and stood by her tree and sobbed because of all the spider web on her tree.  (Some use Jesus here, or Santa) But a magical being appeared and saw her heart break, but also so the love and energy that those tiny little spiders put into making the tree beautiful.  That being changed all the spider web to tinsel  and that's why today people still put tinsel on a tree.

This little story always make me tear up.  A wonderful holiday a gift is a copy of this German folktale and one of these lovely Crystal Spider to help others see that there is beauty in all things.

So for this final Craft-Tacular head over to the Samhain's Sirens' blog and learn to make this great crystal spider and register to win the one below!    You can use fancy beads or plain ones, this is a great craft to share with kids.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson

Now through November 1st I'm offering a coupon code in my Etsy Shop for 20% off your purchase.  Please use SAMHAIN to get your discount.

Namaste & Blessed Be!!

Pagan Blog Project 2012 – V is for Values

Values are something that we are hearing a great deal about during this election year.  Generally when you hear the term you can pretty much believe that what the speaker is trying to explain is how the feel about a particular subject.  You can also get a sense of their belief in other things such as fairness, equality and personal responsibility just by the use of the word values.

For example, one of the most redundant words in my opinion is “Family Values”.  We've all heard this phase uttered by hundreds of politicians’ preachers and even fast food chains.  A quick search on Google shows us that “Family Values” are something embraced by the Conservatives and often refers to the “nuclear family” and the times associated with it.  A Mother staying at home, 3.2 children and the suburbs.

In some of the LGBT communities the term “family” means something different entirely.  Often used as slang the term “Family” here indicates someone who is in the “LGBT” family.  Usually used to maintain a since of privacy about his or her closet status.  The term is also used here in the same context as a term of endurance.  Meaning he/she is as close to me as family.  Some LGBT are disowned by their family so replacing this missing element with a Family of choice is in itself a Value.

Other type of Family value is that old adage “Blood is thicker than water.”   I've heard this term used many many times.  I've heard it from my own family and from strangers.  To me, I’m not sure I really understand this particular use.  In reading the statement and understanding the meaning of the words it seems to propose that no matter the treatment you get from your “Family” they will always be family and therefore should be free of any judgment or personal responsibility for their actions.  To me… this makes no sense at all. 

Why should my mother, brother or sister be able to get away with treating me like crap but a stranger?  Well that’s a whole different story… UMMM yeah, in my opinion you don’t get a free pass just because we shared a vagina.  Just saying.

So now I have to look at myself.  What are my values?

I value friendship and love over blood lines. 
I value actions more than words.  You can speak all day long but “SHOW ME” what you’re about. 
I value a sense of community and belonging. 
I value honesty and sincerity.
I value saying what you mean, not what you think others WANT to hear, or WANT you to say. 
I value equality; rights are not granted, but endowed.  As we live and breathe we have the right to enjoy life and pursue our dreams without being told we are not worthy by those in power positions.
I value freedom.  We are all free to be just as big a jackass as we want; we are also free to be loving compassionate people, which the world needs more of.

I believe the statement that sums up what I value best would be the following:
"I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us."

So what are your values?  What do you hold dear?

Namaste & Blessed Be

NaBloWriMo - Thursday Tirade 4 - Body Image

Over the past years I've had an amazing battle with my weight, my self esteem and my body image.  I've always felt as though I was extremely unattractive.  In the photo below I was going to my junior high school prom at Spring Creek Secondary School in Seven Springs NC.  I was horrified at the thought of attending a school with all the pretty girls.  All the rich kids from Walnut Creek and their fancy clothes and cars.  Here I was only able to go because an aunt had an old dress that I could wear.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Age 14

I’m an emotional eater.   When I get sad I want to eat.  This probably evolved from two issues.

Issue one – NO FOOD

As a young child my family was on public assistance.  After moving away from my Grandmother’s home and in with my mother and stepfather; my mother began getting monthly payments and food stamps due to the fact that my biological father was incarcerated.  Just as today, she was never much of a planner so we’d eat well the first few nights and then have nothing for the rest of the month.  I was known to go to a neighbor’s house and steal food from their freezer.  I’ve also shoplifted food from the grocery store while in middle school.  I’ve even stolen food stamps from my mother’s purse and used them to buy food which I was sit in a corn field and eat on the way home.  So my body/mind was programmed that when there was food available.  EAT IT!

Issue two – Emotional abuse

My mother and stepfather were emotionally and verbally abusive.  My stepfather was physically and sexually abusive.  I was molested from age 5 until I ran away from home at 15.  I found comfort in food.  It never yelled at me.  It was always warm, inviting and I was in control.  Or at least so I thought.  My emotional eating has taken me on a road from 110lbs up to 305lbs, back down to 150 and now back up to over 200.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

I look in the mirror and hear:
“Who would want you?”
“You’re disgusting”
“You’re worthless” 
“What a failure, you've gained it all back” 
“See I told you, you’d fail”

If I heard someone saying those things to another person, I’d be LIVID.  I would never say anything like that to another person, yet these are the words that I hear when I look in the mirror. 

Coming from me. 
From my head. 
From my voice.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - 2012

As I sit working with my clay ads come on the TV and I get to hear just how unattractive I am.  If I’m not tall enough or blonde enough or of course “Thin enough” then I just need to use their product to get there.  In 2012 an article in the NY Times showed that most of these ads just make women feel ugly.

A few years ago I shared a video series on women in the media called “Killing Us Softly” by Jean Kilbourne.  This is a study of how the image of women has changed in the media over the last 30 years.  

Had I known about this video I would have sat down and shown it to my young daughter.  I would have made sure that she knew that this was an unreal expectation and that we as woman are made up of different shapes and sizes.  We are not all cookie cutters.  We are individual and just because you’re not a size 10 it doesn't mean you’re worthless.

I would show this to the little me.  The one inside that still hears the horrible voices and picks up the bat to beat the daylights out of myself.  Maybe one day I will be able to silence the voices.  One day they will not have the power that I give them.  I’d love to look in the mirror and hear, hello gorgeous, how are you today.
Get angry and take some time to contact those advertisers you see or hear and tell them that we will not allow our young girls to be made to feel as though they are worthless.  This is really something we should be up in arms over.

That’s it… that’s my tirade.  

If you have a daughter, hug her and tell her she’s beautiful.

Namaste & Blessed Be

You can find more information on Killing Us Softly and Jean Kilbourne at the following sites:

NaBloWriMo - Witchy Wednesday 4 - The Altar

For this week’s Witchy Wednesday I've decided to focus on one of the most popular tools in the witch’s possession.  The altar can take on many forms.   From an outside space to be joined with nature to an inside private area to complete chants, the altar can be as complex or as simple as desired.

I’ll start by dissecting my own altar.  I am Hecatean, which means I am a follower of Hecate (Hekate).  I do not have a consort or a male deity that I set alongside of her.  She is my only deity. 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Above is my altar to Hecate.  I have a red candle plate that holds round dishes that my tea light candles go on.  These are for the directions. When I call the quarters I light each tea light starting in the North and circling around to the West.  In the center is a large red taper. This is my candle for Hecate.  To the left is a painting of the Goddess and incense burners which hold my sage are here as well.  To the bottom right of the photo is my chalice.  This is to represent again the feminine on an altar.  Many accompany this with a wand or a dagger/Athame.  I do not have either of these on my altar but I do have a large wooden walking stick that sits on the back behind the triple Goddess emblem. I'm still searching for the correct dagger for my altar. This is the only “phallic” type object that I keep.    To the top right there is a small tin of salt, a wooden pentacle and a ceremonial broom that I made to help “sweep” the negativity out.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

This next photo shows a close-up of the red candle and the Triple Goddess symbol that is carved into the back of the wooden Altar.  I have a bell in the rear for air and to the right there is a small bottle of water and some dirt.   Just next to the red candle dish is a small green candle that I've added for prosperity.  To the back right is my hand fasting cord.   Hubby and I plan to renew our dedication to each other on Samhain, our ten year anniversary using this cord.  It’s been on my altar for a month now collecting energy. 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Most altars will have representation of the particular Deity.  I have several of Hecate on my altar. I've the painting above of the Goddess in Red.  I have a key, a piece of Lapis Lazuli as well as a small red bag that contains the cord I used in the “Rite of the Red Cord”.

The representation can be something as simple as a small stone or a candle or as complex as a huge statue.  Many believe that making the object yourself adds more power to it, however I believe that if this is something that speaks to the individual, which gives it a power of its own.  Selecting an image for your deity is a completely personal decision and can take years to complete.

Here are a few examples of some of the Goddess representations I've created.

Photo Credit - Artist - Renee Olson
Purple Goddess

Photo Credit - Artist - Renee Olson
The Goddess & Offering Bowl

Photo Credit - Artist - Renee Olson
Golden Goddess

Photo Credit - Artist - Renee Olson
Natural Goddess

Photo Credit - Artist - Renee Olson
Small Red Goddess

Creating your sacred space to work with the deity of your choice is a very personal process.  Each item can take years to find its way to you.  You will know when you find it.

When I’m working with my altar I use a playlist on Youtube to help me get in the Witchy state of mind.  Recently I found a new chant called “The Charge of the Goddess”.    I’ll leave you with that now.

Namaste & Blessed Be

NaBloWriMo - Talented Tuesday 4 - Velody Dark

For this weeks Talented Tuesday I’m featuring Velody at Treegold & Beegold.  Her Facebook Page has an amazing message:

Quote from her Page:
Treegold and Beegold is about creating items influenced by modern and historic earth-based spirituality for both children and the whole family. Our goal is to fill a void for infant/toddler items that showcase common symbology, imagery or themes of earth-based faiths, often referred to as Pagan or Neo-Pagan.

Treegold & Beegold offers amazing assortment Pagan Family friendly items from custom embroidered bibs to little witch families for the back of the car.

Photo Credit - Treegold & Beegold

Photo Credit - Treegold & Beegold

Photo Credit - Treegold & Beegold

Velody has even thought about our pets!

Photo Credit - Treegold & Beegold

I've known Velody for a quite a few years now and have participated in many of her blog giveaways.  This past Ostara I won a prize of mix and match memory pieces from her shop.  She was a bit late in shipping it out and included a free Goddess for my car!  She was giving me something for free, for not sending my “free” item fast enough.

Photo Credit - Photographer - Renee Olson
Goddess Sticker - Treegold & Beegold -

It’s this attention to detail and honest desire to be fair to people that makes me love Velody’s work and dedication to helping us teach our children about our Pagan/Heathen roots.

Velody’s blog is on a temporary hiatus but you can still find her wonderful work at her Etsy shop.   Take a hop over there and check out her inventory.  She’s got a lot of amazing things to show you.

Namaste & Blessed Be

NaBloWriMo - Monday Memories 4 – Buying a House

Ten years ago this month I met and fell in love with my amazing hubby; we started on what we called our five year plan.  Our plan was that we would own our own home within that time frame.  By year two we were both unemployed due to layoffs in our industry and we were just trying to make ends meet.

We had a kid to get out of high school and get into college as well as a budding boxer business to get off the ground.  With each door that closes another opens, and we ended up in a position that would allow us to continue to assist with the kid’s education but also allow us to move to the east coast.

November 2005 we drove to the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park and saw this view:

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park
Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

We new we had to stay, as we were leaving Seven Springs, we saw this

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Photographer

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

By the end of the year we were all moved in.  I did several turn and burn plane rides to bring Sheba, Duchess and the kid to NC. We had seasons!  

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Photographer
What's this stuff?

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Here we are now, 2012 with a budding business and our relationship still going strong.  

I've discovered a passion for Sculpting!

Goddess in Red - Artist - Renee Olson
Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Goddess with Offering Bowl- Artist - Renee Olson
Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Goddess in Gold - Artist - Renee Olson
Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

And we've got two wonderful female Yorkies that joined ETKennels!  We should have some puppies by February!  

Turtle- Dam - ETKennels
Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Froggy - Dam - ETKennels
Photo Credit - Renee Olson - Photographer

Our new five year plan ready and raring to go.  Watch out, we’re just getting started.

Namaste & Blessed Be