Tag: #wakethewitches

Stitchcraft: Triangluar Prism Bag

If you remember from my previous post The Subtle Art of Good Enough, sewing is one of my favorite hobbies. I grew up surrounded by women who could transform the simplest of fabrics into functional, sturdy clothing. Even though I didn’t join in until I was older and they were gone, a part of me feels connected to this art. To make it clear, I’m no Olivia Walker *. To me, as messy and beautiful as it is, sewing is an extension of my witchcraft.

Merriam Websters has the definition of witchcraft as :

1 a: the use of sorcery or magic
b: communication with the devil or with a familiar

Now, I don’t think my Singer sewing machine is a hotline to the devil (I mean really? Could it be so easy?) or a familiar (I usually try to keep her away from my fabric) but I will not discredit the sorcery it takes to turn a plain sheet of fabric into something functional and tangible. So, if I may be pompous, I present you with the Conjure and Coffee definition of Stitchcraft

Stitchcraft

1.a: the use of sorcery or magic using stitches made with needle and thread.

b: communication with the devil by yelling things like  “Goddamnit!”, “Oh shit!”, and/or by accident piercing one’s flesh with needles, pins, or scissors.

The first thing I’d like to share with you in my Stitchcraft series is something I am all about right making right now. I was pointed to this Craftster tutorial by a dear friend and fell in love! I mean really, how cute is a triangular prism for a makeup bag?

Quick side note: If you aren’t wise to the ways to Craftster, please, please check it out. There are SO MANY great tutorials. The user community is so vast and knowledgeable that inspiration abounds. Whatever craft makes your heart sing you’ll find a chorus for there.

On to the triangular prism makeup bag!

Following the measurements provided, I cut out the pattern for the bag out of everyday simple printer paper. I would advise to maybe cut the pattern out of a more stable medium. Printer paper is really flimsy. Cardstock would be a much better choice.

After measuring and cutting the pattern, I folded it in half, lining up the sides. Why? I prefer to cut on folds. I have no real reason, I feel that it helps me judge how much fabric I’m using. Once folded, I followed the directions and cut two out of the outer and inner fabrics.

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That’s when the fun started! It was time to attach the inner and outer fabric to the zipper! Zippers are still something I struggle to get “good enough”. Sometimes I can get them on no problem, other times it’s a garbage fire. Before I started sewing the zipper, I unzipped it enough so when I was finished sewing all the other sides I could turn the bag right side out.  For this project, I did an acceptable job with the zipper. I still have a little way to go before I master it, but I’m satisfied with my progress.

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One note about zippers: Make sure you check your zipper before using it. I bought a good size lot of zippers off Amazon. I didn’t go through and check their individual functionality. I just grabbed one that matched colors. The one I used for this bag was a little hiccupy the first few times I used it.

After doing that zipper magic to both sets of fabric, I did a seam down one side, stopping at the right angle edge. Then I sewed the bottom straight across. After that, I did the other side.

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Once those three sides were done, I pinched the cut out right angle looking edges together and zapped them under the sewing machine needle real quick. The bag finally took shape!

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I cleaned up some long leftover threads and turned it right side out. And BAM! A makeup bag is born!

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I love this tutorial and pattern so much!! It’s easy to assemble and pretty fun. The bag itself is really versatile. I keep saying its a makeup bag but really, you can use it for anything. About ten minutes after finishing the one I made for this post, my three year old had taken it for her Shopkins.

I hope you enjoyed the first Stitchcraft post!! This kind of post was a first for me. I’ve never really taken the time to chronicle making something. It was definitely a learning experience. But isn’t that what growing in the Craft is about? Manifesting something out of pure idea and energy is never easy. Hopefully, when I bring you another Stitchcraft post, it will be a bit more polished and a little more informative.

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  • But wait! Who’s Olivia Walker? Olivia Walker is the seamstress who for decades provided the colorful robes that The Nature Boy Ric Flair wore as he walked that aisle. Being a Southern girl who was the daughter of an independent wrestler (trust me, I’ll tell you about this later) Ric Flair and his flashy robes were my first taste of costuming and pageantry. Without these robes, you could make the argument that Naitch wouldn’t have been the character or champion he is known for being.

Ric_Flair_in_Seoul,_South_Korea

Why I’m Thankful For Prayers (even though I don’t believe in their God)

Growing up in the South, most conversations that involve tales of hardship end with a hug and one party saying to the other, “Well, we’ll be praying for you.”. As someone who doesn’t follow any of the branches of the Abrahamic faith that influences every bit of life below the Mason Dixon Line, even something as innocuous as prayers can get overwhelming. If I had a nickel for every time someone informed me that they were going to pray for me, well, I’d have a lot of nickels. It seems like everyone wants to include you in their conversations with the Lord. And really, I’m okay with that.

 

To a lot of believers down here, not being a Christian makes me an uncaring godless heathen. Which is funny because as a polytheist, I have more gods than fingers to count them on. And as a person, I’m an Empath. So I care. I care a whole hell of a lot. While I don’t think of prayer in the same way most Christians do, I believe there is something powerful in communicating with the beyond. When that communication is done for the betterment of someone else, no matter who is listening, it’s incredibly meaningful. Whether you’re talking to God like a Southern Baptist, taking part in your daily Salah, whispering to The Goddess, or chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo there is something profoundly magical in the connectivity of that act of compassion.

To me, magic is all about energy. It’s about being connected to not only yourself and others around you, but to the Universe. So taking your energy and manifesting it into something positive for someone else is huge. It’s a big piece of everyday magic we all agree is powerful but we don’t talk about. It’s like telling someone to have a good day, wishing someone a happy birthday, or saying bless you after someone sneezes. It’s taking a bit of yourself and turning it into hope for someone else. That’s what prayer is for me.

I know it’s easy to think that the people praying for you are doing it only for themselves. And you know what, maybe they are. I’ve never inquired as to the rhyme and reason of someone’s prayers for me. I’m not naive enough to think that some of them weren’t straight up “Please Lord, help this girl find Jesus” ones. But, I’d be willing to bet you all my nickels mentioned earlier, a lot of them were for good outcomes. I’ve lit candles and cast circles for people who would have burned me at the stake for doing so hundreds of years ago. And I did those things out of love with the hope that they helped. And in the world we are living in right now, we all need all the help we can get to achieve a good, safe, and peaceful life.

So please, if you feel moved to do so, pray for me. Meditate for me. Chant for me. If my name and my situation are put upon you, do what feels right in your heart of hearts. Because I promise you, every time I feel that need, I will do so for you. I’ll just do it in my own way.

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Imperfection is Beautiful

A Lesson in Wabi-Sabi

The other day, while neglecting the roughly fifty-seven baskets of laundry that needed to be folded, I found this wonderful list of words that have beautiful meanings but not clear English definitions. It’s from 2014 and features the work of Ella Frances Sanders from her book, Lost in Translation. The illustrations are as beautiful as the words, each showcasing the pulchritude that we feel inside, but can’t quite describe.

The one that struck me the most was the Japanese word wabi-sabi.  

Wabi-Sabi centers on accepting that life is fleeting and that its imperfections are beautiful. If you remember my post here I am a proud agent of imperfection. It’s in my nature to have things that are chipped and broken, missing parts but still functioning. So I immediately connected with a worldview that pretty much says my acceptance of imperfection is not just the laziness I’ve been lead to believe.

 

Contemporary_wabi-sabi_tea_bowl
By ottmarliebert.com from Santa Fe, Turtle Island – White Pink Bowl, CC BY-SA 2.0

 

 

So what is wabi-sabi really? Probably one of the best explanations of the idea comes from Richard Powell: ““[w]abi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.” While this might sound nihilistic as shit, it really isn’t. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard something so freeing and inspiring.  Let me break down why:  

NOTHING LAST

A roaring summer thunderstorm, your first kiss, the first time a baby says “Mama”, the jar of Nutella you hide in the cupboard to eat by the spoonful because said baby is now 9 years old and never stops saying “MAMA!”. All these things are fleeting. They exist and then they are gone. Their purpose is to be experienced. The thunderstorm inspires and connects you to the Earth. The kiss fills your heart and mind with oxytocin dripped love. The baby brings joy and purpose. The Nutella releases the stress that joy and purpose brings. The emotions they bring to you are beautiful because they are ephemeral. To experience the magic that is in a  beginning, you have to accept that there will be an end. It’s a bittersweet compromise. Being mindful enough to understand that all things have a finality helps you understand how important they truly are. It’s true for people too. Every person and every relationship in your life will eventually end, including yourself. Experience and love them now, in this moment because that is really all we have.

NOTHING IS FINISHED

Life is kind of like road construction here in South Carolina, it’s never finished. All things are a work in progress. Even if it looks complete, there are still pieces changing, ideas morphing, decay and regeneration happening. Nothing, not a building, an idea, an emotion or even a person is impervious to the changes in the world. So every decision we make, every storm we face changes who and what we are. Its uplifting to know that this is not our final form. No matter how bad things are currently, it is not the end of the story. The converse is also true. No matter how good things are, it is not the end of the story. With the burden of a final goal lifted we are free to continue learning, growing, and striving for better for our entire lives. We no longer have to worry about having to accomplish certain things by a certain time. I often struggle with feeling that the time I have to do certain things has run out. One of my deepest secrets is that I want to learn to dance and perform burlesque. For so long I’ve thought that since my age and station in life has meant I’ve missed my chance. But, if nothing is finished, then my chance is still on the table. And that fills me with hope.

NOTHING IS PERFECT

As much as I tout my love of imperfections, there was a time when I was forced to be perfect. In my young formative years, my mentally ill helicopter mother’s focus was on the perfection of my school work. But being the messy, head in the clouds, overly anxious and possibly ADD kid I was, that was never going to happen. I had too many ideas and too few chances to take them to get all the A’s she felt I should. I’m still trying to replace what was lost due to the price I paid for her expectations not being met. During this time, however, I did have one parent in my corner. , When I was bummed out and upset over not having everything come up aces, my dad would say “There was only one perfect person on the Earth, and they crucified him.” I took solace in those words then even if I didn’t quite understand them. Now, I totally understand what he was saying. Perfect is unattainable. Nothing, except for God himself, is perfect. And being perfect wasn’t even enough to save Him. (Sidenote: The Christian faith of my father obviously isn’t my jam these days. I do respect those that choose that path. You do you, fam. Just be nice and I’ll support ya)

If you accept that nothing in this world is perfect, its like life instantly becomes easier. The freedom in knowing that the world is going to be full of fuck ups no matter what you do lifts that blanket of stress clean off. It erases that compulsion to do things with only the end in mind and allows you to now enjoy the process.

 

And while we’re at it, I’d like to share this: Perfect is an illusion. Its a thing of fairy tales and nursery rhymes. It’s a way to keep us plugging away without enjoying our life, hoping to achieve some magical happy ending. It keeps us unhappy, unsatisfied, and forever wanting more. If we banish the idea of perfection from our lives, we would be able to enjoy the beauty that is the mess and chaos that is life.

Fun fact: Wabi-Sabi is actually two words. Originally the word wabi referred to the loneliness of living in nature, away from society. Sabi embodied meanings that included  “chill”, “lean”, and “weathered”. (Unnessaccary sidenote: The meanings of “chill” and “lean” back then are nowhere near the definitions of them now. That “lean” Soulja Boy talks about is not the same type of “lean” ) Around the 14th century (and you thought this was new age hubbub didn’t you?) the words shifted and started having more positive connotations. The philosophy can be found in art, design, engineering and even the practice of the  Japanese tea ceremony.  

It’s not just a thought process, it’s a way of life.

One that I think is beautiful.

wabi sabi quotes

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The Queen and Her Crown

My husband had been vomiting for six hours. I had been on hold with the medical helpline for twenty minutes. In the living room, the two youngest kids were going to war with each other and the older one was trying to mediate. The dog was barking at the cat who was drinking from the dog’s water bowl. All of this played over a soundtrack provided by the whichever annoying Youtube Play-Along video the kids had previously been watching. The automated message telling me someone would join my call in just a moment repeated over and over in my ear. And for some reason, there was suddenly not enough air in the room.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no pause button on life. If there were, this would have been when I hit it, went outside, and screamed all of my worries and frustrations right into the face of the sun. Since that didn’t happen, I did the only thing I could. I took in a breath, put on the crown and started handling the shit in front of me like a Queen.

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Obviously, this was no a real crown. I’ve got some beanies and maybe even a baseball cap or two, but I do not own a crown.

Or a Queenly dress.

Or fancy shoes.

Or anything else you’d imagine a Queen has.

That’s because for me, being a Queen has fuck-all to do with outward appearances.

Being a Queen means taking a stand against the forces of self-doubt. It’s about bringing sovereignty to a world of chaos. More so, being a Queen is about justly, fairly, and fiercely reigning over your world. Most importantly, being a Queen also means not giving into and becoming incapacitated by fear.

I’m afraid a lot. In fact, I think it’s my factory preset is to be anxious. I have always been a Chicken Little type of person.  In the last few years, I’ve realized that letting this fear and its anxiety rule my life is unfair. It’s stolen moments and relationships. Its made me dependent on the wrong people. I have put myself in the hands of people who have not had my best interest in mind because I was afraid. When I look back at my life, there are so many times when instead of inspiring me, fear clipped my wings and locked the cage door.

As the primary caregiver for three young children and a husband with multiple health problems, I can no longer allow this fear to exist. By acknowledging my Queenhood, I rebuke the helplessness that fear brings. It gives me the confidence I need to accomplish the things I think I can not. I have people counting on me. And I can not let them down.

So when things get tough, when I feel overwhelmed, and when I’m certain the sky is falling, all I have to do is reach for the crown. My self-professed royalty lifts me up and turns me into the type of woman who bows the head and bends the knee to no one. Especially fear.

2018, so far, has shown me that my family needs a Queen who is not afraid to stand, back straight and chin high, in front of the adversaries in life and tell them to sit the hell down. Heavy may be the head that wears the crown, but someone needs to slay these dragons.

So since it doesn’t seem that this year is going to get easier

Note to Self:

Queen up, Buttercup. It’s time to reign.

 

P.S. The Husband ended up being taken to the hospital for a four-day stay. As a Type 1 diabetic, complications can strike at any moment, especially when battling other illnesses. We are still all recovering from this hectic and frightening start to the new year. The week of this posting, he will be returning to work. We’re hoping the bad times are behind us. Even if they aren’t, I’ve got my crown on.

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I Remember

I Remember

Sometimes I stand in the shower

Cold water turned off

Scalding water raining down on me like cinders

My skin goes through a transformation

Milk white, then new born pink, then cattle brand red

In that moment when all the blood rushes up and my skin threatens to bubble,

I remember

I remember the cords around my wrists

The way the sap from the stake penetrated the hand spun cotton of my dress.

How many people there were gawking, both aroused and appalled

Hiding behind and covering their eyes with their holy claims.

The urgency in their eyes,

the hunger that would have pulled my meat from the bone if the flames didn’t take.

I remember the rush of heat, of pain, of cosmic elation as the smoke found a new home in my lungs,

throwing out all the oxygen that has once resided there.

It thickened my blood and blocked my nose,

Fervent prayers weighing down the blanket of flame

that consumed me.

I remember I was gone before the body was done,

before my meat and fat had melted like candle wax

the salivating audience ,ready for my ashes got them on their tongue

proof they saw an abomination erased, stayed until the moon rose high

my body becoming the smoke that itched their nose and stayed in their clothes for weeks to come.

I remember they put my remains with the animal waste

and then wondered why their crops didn’t return, even with the manure.

I remember the cries of hunger, of pain, of violation as the little village

became nothing more than an empty field again.

You say you’re the granddaughters of the witches they forgot to burn.

I was burned.

And I remember.


Poetry has long been a love of mine.

It started with my love of country music. In grade school, I was convinced I was going to grow up to be a songwriter. I’d write song after song, no music just lyrics. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of my depressive preteen years that I figured out, lyrics with out music are just a poem. I devoured poems (and paper writing my own) throughout my teenage and young adult years. Then adult life struck and being a mom and wife forced my writing to go into hibernation. That seems to be changing now. Some of it has to do with reading Lisa Lister’s  book Witch. Some of it has to do with having some amazing friends who inspire me every day to be more authentic. Some of it is because I’m waking up. And I’m thankful for it all.

#wakethewitches

 

 

 

Low Class Witchcraft

One of those most daunting things about my recent belief voyage is feeling slightly outclassed.  Witchcraft, Wicca, the Mystical and the Occult, often have a flair for the dramatic. Candles and robes, crystals and essential oils, sliver ceremonial tool. Just so much stuff!  The practical side of me keeps considering the cost associated with all this. And after reading the Modern Girl, Mystical World book, I was feeling a little too low class to take part.

Let that sink in for a minute. I was feeling like I couldn’t commit to what my soul was calling me to do because of my socio-economic status. My family’s situation is better than some and less than others. We don’t face fears that we will go homeless or even hungry. But we do have three children. And as we all know, kiddos are expensive.   Because of this and my upbringing in cotton mill generational poverty, I don’t feel comfortable spending money on myself when I know there are other needs that need to be met. I also don’t think MFMW made me feel any better. Sorry, I can’t go on retreats to find my OM. Sorry, I can’t drop hundreds of dollars on supplies to do rituals to put me in touch with my gods and goddesses and,more importantly, myself. Designer shoes and crystals? Yeah dude, that ain’t happening.

While reading Witch by Lisa Lister (side note: I’m going to reread this wonderful book and bring you guys a review soon. It was so good!) I realized those things don’t really matter.  I didn’t need certain items to strengthen what I believe.  All I needed to do is awaken what was buried somewhere deep inside of me. The ideas of the kitchen witch and the granny witch resonated with my soul.  It’s that practical everyday magic that I feel drawn to. So, it’s what I’m going to focus on.

I come from a long line of women who did what they could with the little they had. If you think feeding a gaggle of people on a pound of beans ain’t magic, you’re mistaken.  If you can’t see that magic in keeping the house warm when you’re out of cut wood, you’re blind. And that ability to chase off the nightmares with nothing but some loving words and a silver coin? Pure magic. That’s what is inside of me. That’s what I need to remember. Having pretty robes and shiny tools won’t make one bit of difference if I don’t follow the path my feet know.

 

There is no wrong way to be a witch.

I’m going to wake up the part of me that remembers how.

Wake up witch, we got magic to do.batborder