Fries and Filigree - A Witch's View

This week we spent sometime testing out different root vegetable fries.  There is a really good reason that you only get French Fries when you're out.  Well at least for the most part.  Hubby and I go to Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh from time to time to have their root vegetable fries.  They are amazing! You can find my review of Fiction Kitchen here.

Root Veggie Fries at Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh
Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

This was my attempt to replicate.  I failed miserably.  :P

I started out with a bunch of beets and a turnip.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Peel each and slice into "fries"

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson
Beets will stain your hands and any cutting boards and what have you.  You may want to wear gloves or wash up quickly.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson
I then tossed them in the oven with a little bit of olive oil and some salt.  They were not crispy at all and they really didn't turn out well.  I honestly thing the best way to have "fries" is just to fry them.  I know not that healthy and all that but if you want fries.  Have some damn fries and be done with it.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

So that's the fries part of this blog, now for the filigree.  

This week I have started making my Valentine's Day Special pieces.  I will have two copper and two sterling silver for the holiday.  This is the first one.

This piece is tarnished copper and rose quartz wire weave heart pendant.  She turned out amazing. This one is available for purchase on my Facebook page.  If you think you'd like this one reach out fast. This is a one of a kind.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Witchy Wednesday - Spells

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.  ~William Shakespeare ~ Macbeth

This week we're talking about spells.  Specifically banishment or binding spells.  Now some people believe that you shouldn't do magic on people without their consent and without causing harm.  I am more of the "A witch who cannot hex cannot heal" variety myself.   For today's chat I'm looking at a book called The Spells Bible by Ann-Marie Gallagher.  A small disclaimer, I don't use this book.  I'm merely using this as a reference for this blog post.  I believe that a witch should write their own spells. Sometimes you might need a little nudge to get you in the right direction but a bit of research and then let the words come from you.  I find that speaking from the heart is much better that uttering a specific set of words written by someone you never knew.  That being said, let's get started.

The banishment section of the book starts on page 366 and has an assortment of ways to get things back under control.  You can bind someone to their actions, send those energies back to the sender (my favorite) or cancel out the harm done by another.  In this case (and because it is the type of spell I do most often) we'll have a look at what this author calls the Bird's Nest Spell.

The Author's Supplies
1 charcoal disk in a fireproof dish
1 black candle 6-8 inches tall
1 white candle 6-8 inches tall
Matches or a lighter
1 teaspoon of dried juniper berries
1 intact bird's nest

I won't add the incantation here but basically the author has you repeat a phrase while running the nest through the smoke of the juniper berries and then leave the nest on your enemies porch/doorstep over night. If you're interested in the spell, I recommend using the amazon link above to pick up the book.  We should support our witchy authors.

I have one issue with this advice.  While I get that you may want your magic to be close to them, if this is a dangerous situation do you really want to be traipsing up to their house in the middle of the night leaving something on their property? My advice would be no.  Negative.  Stay far away from that.  There is plenty you can do from the safety of your own dwelling vs. rolling up on their property and putting yourself in physical danger.

Why not instead reflect that behavior back to them from your own doorstep. Mirroring is a great way to not only protect your space but also do send that magic right back where it came from.

My Supplies
4 Tea Lights
Enough Salt to circle your property
4 Apples
4 Mirrors (compacts are fine, better are mirrors with handles that you can stick in the ground)

Prepare your ritual space as you normally would (Call the quarters, call the gods, call the goddess)
Light each of the candles in the north, south, east and west directions on the ritual space
With your salt, apples and mirrors, focus on seeing your mirrors reflecting negativity away from you.

Repeat the following 3 times:

Sacred Salt
Protect my home.
Evil is stopped
Negativity is gone.

Mirror Mirror 
Reflect it back.
Stop this energy
Return this attack.

Open the circle and take your supplies outside.  (You may need an assistant)
Take the salt and use it to create a line around your property (See 1. Below)
As you get to the four corners stop and place an apple and a mirror while saying the incantation.

Once you complete the circle around the property go back inside and close the circle.

Mirror spells are a great way to protect yourself from things that may be coming to you and adding just a bit of justice back to those who may be on the prowl.  I would recommend that this be done on a full moon.  I like to use the full moon in October for this spell work.  Traditionally working with this type of magic is usually handled on the dark moon however I find the full moon to give me a bit more energy.  Remember to be mindful of your safety.  If you are in physical danger please reach out to someone you trust locally or to law enforcement for assistance.  Magic shouldn't be your only work if you are in real danger.

So there you have it.  A nice spell to take care of your space and return that negativity back to someone. If you try this feel free to drop me a note or leave a comment on how it worked for you.

1. Some of stated this is a bad idea due to the animals that may be harmed by the salt. Personally, I believe salt is needed, but you can symbolically drop the salt if you wish.

The Witch's Way - My Response to Separation

Over this last week and weekend I have been really reexamining my life and how I interact with people. I was so moved by the March on Washington this weekend.  I saw people of all colors and backgrounds coming together to support the rights of women.  All woman.  White women, Women of Color, Trans women.  All women.  I was so thrilled to see it.  To hear it.  To feel it.  I have been marching a long time.  My first pride event was in 1990ish in Norfolk VA where we had about 30 people and a hibachi for our celebration.  The cops told us to get out at 5pm.  We have come a long way.  I have attended prides, protests and marches with MECA, MEUSA and volunteered my time to not only support LGBTQI people (like myself) and even work towards creating the first library at the San Diego Center and getting their LGBTQI Senior Program off the ground.  I was so thrilled to see the full range of diversity at the march this weekend.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson
San Francisco Pride March 2006

And then the other shoe dropped.  I read about how all white people are racist .  I read how not only can I not support Trans people but also how I can't even use the word ally because I so much want a pat on the back.  I also listened to the words of the speakers at the march.  Those who have been working for women's rights for their entire lives and those who are just starting that march.  I watched friends posting their disgust at the women marching.  Saying they don't march for me.  Yelling that they were nasty vulgar girls.  Then I read about coming together and working for a cause, laying down the victimization that we can sometimes do to ourselves and actually getting off our asses and getting into the fight when you can. And then the stark reality of no matter what we may feel, we are indeed not equal.  Then last night, to top off the week a friend shares this meme.

Internet Meme

For a group of people who want the world to hear their voices, they certainly are shutting down a lot of others. I was molested by a family member from age 5 until I ran away from home at 15. The last 3 years of that was with full penetration sex.  No condoms.  No choice for me.  Yet, this "friend" thinks that I should have made that choice.  I just sit and shake my head at this.

I'm tired.  I'm tired of being called a bigot.  I'm tired of being told that I cannot help; I do not help and then being yelled at for not helping.  Today's social justice warriors (SJW) have made it so difficult to even try to support them and I FUCKING FIT IN THE category.  As a lesbian woman, I have a voice and yet, I'm told by speaking I'm silencing a lesbian PoC.  Today I read a post that said Susan B. Anthony was a racist. I read her story many times and felt that because she was an abolitionist, she would not have been racist. Then I realized we are doing the same thing here that the SJW are doing to the movie Boy's Don't Cry.   By today's standards many of the things that she said would be considered racist.  Just as the choice to place Hillary Swank as Cis Female actress in the role of Brandon Teena, a trans man brought protests by our young SJWs actually shouting hate and violence at the director.  At the time this movie was made there were little to no exposure to Trans people who were opening acting in films.  I believe that this file was a benchmark in opening up what really goes on in the lives of some Trans people and was a very well made film.  The rape scene was a bit too graphic for me, but that is a personal choice.   Hillary Swank did an amazing job and it was really well done. Today, I would prefer to see a trans person playing the role of Brandon.

So what does that leave us with?  What do we have?  What can a middle aged white cis lesbian feminist pro choicer witch do to help support the rights of others?  Sometimes we cannot join the marches do to disability, economics or location.  Sometimes we cannot join groups that fight for the causes we want because the very groups we want to support frankly just don't want our support.  They tell us that repeatedly with their words and actions.

So what can you do?

You be you.  Help those individuals around you that you can.  Be happy.  Be positive. Try not to let them get you down.  Support your local shelters or food banks.  Go down to the library and volunteer to read books to the kids or help clean up for a book sale.  Reach out to your local planned parenthood clinic and offer support.  Check out the local cancer center and see if someone needs a ride to and from their treatments.  Do what you can to make the world around you a better place.  Hold your values high and don't let anyone ever tell you are anything other than a wonderful person who was put on this planet to help those who cannot help themselves.  Become your own hero.  Become someone who can take on the world, or maybe even just a little piece of it.  There will be those that will read this post as some sort of whine.  There will be those who always need to be the victim.  You have the choice to sit back and play into that victimization or take the world by the horns and make it a better place.  I have room on my team, and everyone is welcome to play.

Internet Meme

Note: There are a lot of links embedded in this post.  I recommend taking the time to follow up on as many of them as you can. 

Fitness & Family - A Witch's View

Being raised in the south, I had my share of eating with the family.  For the most part we were low income (sometimes no income) and my mother received government subsidies to raise us.  Because my father was in prison, she got a monthly check, food stamps and medicaid.  Most of the money went to my alcoholic stepfather who was pretty much a complete monster.  The majority of my childhood was spent hungry.  I stole food from grocery stores and ate it in the fields next to our house. This was the beginning of my struggle with food.  On the holidays we would go to my grandmother's house for a huge meal with all the family.  Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas were the big ones.
Photo Credit - Family Photo
This past Christmas I went to the "family" get together and was amazed at how different the meal was. Hubby and I took a vegan dish to share and the rest of the food was your typical southern Christmas dinner.  Turkey, Ham, candied sweet potatoes, butter beans and so on.  We opened up a five food folding table to put all the food out.  When I was a kid, we had a 4x4 card table to hold the food and usually only had a couple of cakes, and maybe a chocolate delight.  This year after we finished eating our meal, we put all the food away and brought out the deserts.  Even know there was not even 1/3 of the people that normally show up the entire five foot table was full end to end with sweets.  I sat and watched as person after person loaded their plate with more food that anyone should eat.  And yet, they did.

My Grandma, Aunt and Uncle with a Chocolate Delight

I wasn't a fat child, looking back.  Today however that's a different story.  I struggle everyday with my weight and I know that my relationship with food is different than most in that food was always there for me when I was sad.  It never judged me and I was able to control my food.  I took what I wanted when I wanted it.

Photo Credit - Family Photo
It seems today that we have forgotten how we ate before. Everything is in excess now. As I watched the kids grab the store bought chocolate chip cookie and overlook the amazing fruit salad that was my grandma's favorite.  It made me sad but was a reminder of how far I still have to go in order to get this final 60lbs off me for good. I am so looking forward to that.

Witchy Wednesday - Books

For this Witchy Wednesday I think it is a great time to talk about books.  As part of my studies for the Covenant of Hekate, there was a significant amount of reading involved.  I poured over books for nearly a year working through each section in order to feel more connected to Hecate.  As my path has deviated from working with a deity I find myself back in the library and again reaching out to books to add more knowledge on magic.

I'm currently reading Magic in the Ancient World again.  It is a tough read.  My first attempt to read it years ago resulted it in going back on the book shelf.  It sat there patiently waiting for my return. I finished my Hecate books, and it waited.  I finished Witchcraft, Theory and Practice and it waited. So now, I'll start it anew. I will do my best to make some notes and share my thoughts of the book with you over the next few months.

I've also added three new books to my wish list. Jason Manky recently posted an article listing these three books as a must have for the magical community.

They are:
The Discoverie of Witchcraft
The Key of Solomon The King
Aradia Gospel of the Witches

Screenshot - Amazon
I plan to get started on these new selections after I finish Magic and the Ancient World. If, I finish it. It is just so hard to read.  Hopefully I will have more patience this time.  What books are you reading? What is working on your path.  Love to hear from you.  Just drop a note in the comments.  What's your favorite Witchcraft book.  How did impact your life?  

Collards - A Witch's View

I find myself in a conundrum. I worry about people I see online as well as friends and family.  I see their food choices and think, you're killing yourself.  I have a cousin who has a morbidly obese spouse and children who are obese, yet I see shares of food that are just killing them.  Literally.

So what do you do?  In this day and age, we cannot tell a fat person they are hurting themselves without it being called body shaming.  I'm not sure what the right answer is.  On one hand I want to help them and on the other, I don't want to hurt their feelings or be called a bully.  So instead, I'll just share one of my favorite recipes for Collards with you.

I get my collards in bunches on the stalks.  Collards hold sand like you would not believe so you're going to want to wash them really well.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson

Start by cutting the stalks off then ends and discard.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson
 Use a paring knife to remove the stems from the center of the leaf.
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson
 I remove them like so.
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson
Next put them in a sink full of water and wash them really well.  The sand should sink to the bottom.
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson
 Collards are always better after they have been exposed to at least one frost.  To ensure that I can cut the bitterness from them I put them in a bag and poss them in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson
 After the "frost" I take them and put them in a pot with the onion that I have diced and allowed to cook a bit with a little vegan butter.
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson

 I have tried a few different types of veggie broth, my two favorites are Emeril's (which I don't think is on the market any more) and Swanson.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson
 Cook the collards on medium/low heat until they are tender.  You can test them by taking a bit out to taste them.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson
 I then drain the collards a lot.  Mash the moisture out of them and then serve with a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson

I hope you find this recipe helpful.  They were really yummy on this icy cold day we had today.  I took a few photos.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

What's Your Path - Witchy Wednesday

I have spent over 25 years trying to figure out exactly what is my path.  When most people are asked about a religious path most of the time they say they are on the path they are on because they were raised that way.  I was raised as a Christian, Southern Baptist specifically.  When I was in my late 20s I was introduced to Paganism.  To me it fit me better than what I saw going on in the world of Christianity.  Up until this last year, I classified myself as a "Goddess Worshiper".  Over the last few months I have found myself less a "believer" if you will.

To me religion was created by man for two reasons.  First it was to explain things that we did not understand.  So the sun rising in the morning and the moon rising at night was obviously a race between the planets to our ancestors.  As we learned more about the world around us with new discoveries in science religion would have died off but for the power it allowed some to have over others.  This is where the mainstay of religion has roots.  Around the world those in power used things like religion to control the masses. From Kings taking the lands to Popes demanding submission religion has been the key to controlling the world.

Odin - Saga's Cottage
Artist - Loren Morris

To me, religion was intended to help us find those qualities and personify them so that we could be better people.  We could take the strength of Thor or the wisdom of Odin to help us through out days. Creating sagas about these people helped us identify with them in order to reach an ideal.  For example, for many years I followed Hecate, reaching out to her to embody her knowledge of magic and the dead.  Calling on her for justice and protection.  Pulling into myself these attributes that make her who she is so that I could become just as strong as she.  As I continued to read and grow I began to see that what my mind was telling me was exactly what I had known all along.  These gods no more walked the earth than Jesus did.  We can ask for the wisdom of Odin or the wisdom of our grandmother who raised 10 children after her husband died at 49.  We have the ability within ourselves without relying on the fears of the ancestors from our past.

One of the things that we can be sure of us the energy that we have on the planet.  From the animals that are here to the plants and waters.  Everything has energy. To me as a witch, I need to have a connection with those thing and not to some over arching being that controls everything. Just look around us. No one is in control.  We are what we are.  And we can look to use our energy to change the physical world around us.  How does that look?  How does it work?  That will be my goal over this next year.  I want to focus on improving my magic and taking control of my destiny.

There are many witches I identify with, enough though we may not share a direct path.  Some witches follow deities while others done.  Some follow the rule of three and some don't.  I will try to share videos from all different paths to show a diversity in the craft.

I'll start with this intro video from Laurie Cabot.

One of the things that directed my path was the Cosmic Skeptic on YouTube.  Here's one of his videos.  I recommend checking him out.

Resolutions - A Witch's View

This time of year many people start making resolutions to make changes to their lives.  Generally these promises include getting healthier. Many want to quit smoking, lose some weight or exercise more.  This leads to the onslaught of advertisements and sales on work out equipment and gym memberships.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson

While it is admirable to take stock in your life and decide to make a pledge to change it for the better, it is still quite sad to see so many people quit.  Gyms are expensive and going there every day takes time and energy.  I recall living in California over 10 years ago and spending 2 hours a day at the gym.  This doesn't count the commute.  My gym was on Miramar Road which was one of the busiest roads in San Diego.  You could sit for hours waiting in traffic.  I could never get below 199 pounds.  I struggled daily with it.  After moving to NC I changed to a vegetarian diet and made my goal.  But it didn't last. Quickly I was back up to my old habits.  The bacon and the cheese biscuits didn't help.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson

But I did rebound and get back in gear to start losing weight again.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Sadly after some family issues I slowly added the meat back into my diet.  And along with that meat came the weight.  For many years I sat here in sadness trying to over come the impact that these issue played in my life.  And only recently have I gone back to removing meat products from my life but also actually caring about who I am.

We place a lot of focus on what we want our bodies or our lives to be. We don't need a gym to get healthy. We need the drive to do it.  I saw this video recently and it really spoke to me.

As you get started with your resolutions for the new year, make them attainable. Make them sincere and make them in your own best interest.  As you can see, just over the last 10 years, my goals sometimes fell to the wayside to my detriment.  Be loyal to the most important person in the world. 


Witchy Wednesday - An Introduction

As part of 2017 I have decided to change my Wednesday posts.  I'll still be sharing my wire work but under a different format.  For Wednesday I've decide to focus on my Witchy nature for the next year.  Exploring what it means to be a witch, what is witchcraft and how does it fit into this modern world.  These posts, while meant to be informative, are not intended to instruct anyone on how to be or not be a witch.  These are simply my observations on the subject.  I'll start by providing an introduction to who I am and where I am coming from.

The Star - Female Mystique Tarot
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson

I was introduced to general paganism by a girlfriend when I was in my early 20's.  She told me she was a druid and liked to dance naked in the rain.  That piqued my interest for obvious reasons. But slowly I began to read more about it.  A friend of mine was taking a course at Old Dominion University which included a text called "Drawing Down the Moon" by Margot Adler.  He suggested that I read the book.  Coming from the south, I was always taught that women were less than.  They did not hold power, they were subservient and they were not to speak.  Yet, there this book opened a world of power to me, a world of confidence and magic. This was the world I wanted to live in.

Fast forward my life 25 years and I still have no real direction of a deity or of any direct link to where my magic originates.  I have a plethora of books on numerous shelves all saying the answers are within their pages yet, the message escapes me.  Discussing my path with a friend he recommends I seek out the Covenant of Hekate (Coh); a world wide organization of devotees to the Goddess Hekate.  Ironically I was reading a book at the same time called "The Witches' Book of the Dead" by Christian Day that referenced working with Hecate as part of ancestor work, which I was deeply committed to. This opened me up to the writings of many great authors on Hekate. Individuals like Sorita d'Este, Tara Sanchez and Sarah Iles Johnston to name just a very few.  I devoured everything I could find regarding Hecate and over the next 3 years committed myself to the CoH, first as a Devotee, then a Torchbearer and finally as a member of their administration team and editor of Noumenia News, the official Newsletter for the organization.

The Mystic of Cups - Female Mystique Tarot
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson
As the world around me changed, so did my experience with this magical world. I found myself embracing, not a religion but more so a practice. I began to learn that the stories told to us by the oracles were myths to help keep us on a path of goodness and not so much godliness.  More of a story about how we need to be, not about beings who actually were, if you will.  This began to resonate with me. At the same time I was developing a gift of divination through aura or photo readings. I knew that I could see what people really were, not just that exterior they put on.  I could see them in person and through photography.  As my path drifted away from the divine, my strength of self increased and I decided now was the time to control my own destiny by again, changing my direction.

The The 3 of Blades - Female Mystique Tarot
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson

I have decided to up the blade and take that next step, leaving behind the trappings of deity worship and fully embracing the power of the Witch. As I take this step I understand that there are many who will not understand this step away from the Goddess.  They will not understand my desire to remove all references to religion from my daily life.  I do believe that for the most part organized religion has caused and is causing more death and destruction on our planet than any other force.  It is a path paved by blood through patriarchy. I choose to embrace my feminine strength by walking the path of magic and opening my life up to the mysteries of the ancient ones.

I hope you will join me on this journey by providing feedback, comments and your own life experiences.  Feel free to challenge me, add your comments, link to your own blog.  I welcome what I hope will be come an enlightened discussion on life, love and magic.

Wishing you a magical 2017,

Note:  The images contained on this blog post are part of the Female Mystique Tarot, a project designed to represent the diverse female body is all her embodiment. This project started as a Kickstarter and more information can be found here.

A New Year - A Witch's View

This past year I have dedicated A Witch's View to showing off my photography.  I've decided this year I want to focus on my health.  I thought I would take this day to showcase recipes, food, or information on health and nutrition.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

My goal is to use this day to help share what I have learned about food. My diet leans more vegan however I do eat fish sometimes.  I'm slowly removing that as well.  I am following Dr. Joel Furham's Nutritionian guide.

I hope you'll hang in there with me and take what you need from it.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

I can't wait to document my progress.  Here's an update from July 4th when I went to spend some time with family in MD.

Photo Credit - Elijah Trent Olson