Book of Shadows

Originally written for The Crying Clown Zine (c. 1998)

The Book of Shadows could be called The Book of Life. Just the opposite of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (A series of spells to help the dead travel to and exist in the afterlife.) The Book of Shadows (BOS, for short) contains notes Wiccans have made along their journey of life and learning. Grimoire (A book of magickal spells and techniques) is more Medieval than Book of Shadows but they serve the same basic purpose.

Essentially, the Book of Shadows is a workbook containing ritual patterns, rules governing magick, instructions for circle casting and banishing, religious rituals, the consecration of tools, herbal lore, herbal recipes, dreams, divination results and personal thoughts and experiences. It is the Book of Shadows, which keeps the traditions of a solitary or coven alive. Without the Book, everything would be passed on from word of mouth with the chance of being forgotten, lost or misinterpreted.

A coven will keep a Book of Shadows so members can record and memorize the coven’s rituals in their own Books of Shadows. Some contain lists of the pantheon, training exercises and initiation ceremonies. Books can be passed from one Wiccan to another, usually on initiation. Often each individual Wiccan creates their Book and keeps it to themselves.

Until recently, a Book of Shadows was always hand written. With all the advances in multi-media today a Book of Shadows can be a Disk of Shadows. Some Books (or parts of them) are published on the Internet. Typed and photocopied Books are also common. You may choose to have more than one copy or form of your Book. One can be hand written, the other can be preserved on a disk or photocopied for safe keeping.

To make your own Book of Shadows begin with any blank book. It does not have to be something antique or beautiful, a notebook from the dollar store will do. The Book of Shadows gains its value from the amount of energy and effort used to create it and the positive energy surrounding it each time the book is used for magick and rituals. A binder with loose sheets will let you move your pages around and add new ones in the middle if you need to.

Simply write in this book any rituals and magickal information you have worked on, learned about or just read somewhere and want to remember. Keep it organized into sections for rituals, divination, herbs, and etc. Add your own personal touch with some poetry, a few pressed leaves from your first ritual, a drawing which inspired you, or anything else bookable (able to fit into a book, one way or another). Also, because this is your Book you can write any thoughts you are having at the time. You don’t have to write to impress anyone. Keep track of your feelings (both negative and positive), questions you want to find answers to, and any other personal information you would write into a journal or diary.

Keep your Book of Shadows in good repair. Some rituals may call for placing herbs in or on your Book of Shadows. Prepare for this by giving your book a fabric cover or tissue paper between its pages. Keep this in mind when or if you want to decorate your Book of Shadows. Watch for decorations that might damage your pages or make your ink run. Put some thought into your decorations of choice. Though macaroni art may have seemed “funky” at the time, it might not feel the same when the lumpy noodles won’t let you keep your book open on your altar. Remember, your Book of Shadows serves a purpose. Make sure its usable when you are trying to read it half way into a ritual and you just can’t remember the line you wanted to say as you sprinkle eye of newt into your cauldron.

Make Great Opportunities Happen

7 Habits That Make Great Opportunities Happen

1. Pay attention

Value curiosity and collect information. Make a habit of interacting with your environment. Notice things that happen around you. People who notice things know more than people who don’t.

Notice the kind of preparation and responses people value.
Notice how you can make processes and meetings work better.
Notice what makes people’s lives easier, faster and more meaningful.
Notice ways that you can add value without taking something away from those around you.
Develop a habit of paying attention. You’ll grow as a person and you’ll become a natural resource to the people who work with you. It will become natural for them to think of you when new opportunities happen.

2. Think of your work as important

No matter how dull, uninteresting, or seemingly useless the project, assume a higher purpose is driving it. Bring your best talents and most dedicated attitude to it. What you think changes how you feel and what you do. People will respond to the importance you place on the work that you’re executing. Develop a habit of honoring your work. People will place more value on the work you do and start to look for opportunities where they might use your higher-level abilities.

3. Be aware of the potential of your impact

The way you look, the smile you give, the way you answer on your cellphone—each causes a response in someone you might never be told. Everything you do has an impact. When you make decisions, think them through to understand how they will affect other people. Develop a habit of considering how your actions affect the people around you. People will see that you make work easier, rather than making more work for them.

4. Imagine opportunities everywhere you look

Lucky people know that opportunity is always present. Look for ideas and trends that match your interests and your skill set. Bend and twist those ideas to make them uniquely yours. Develop a habit of looking at everything to see how you might improve it—how you’ll make it more fun, faster, cooler, friendlier, easier, quieter, more musical, lighter, more romantic, more exciting, more inviting, more anything. Choose the opportunities that benefit other people and they will support your offer to take advantage of an opportunity.

5. Make yourself a magnet for jobs you do well

Be generous offering your help and counsel. When people help you, suggest your best skills as a way you might return the favors. Be on alert for the tiniest ways to match your best work with what the people around you might be doing. Talk about your favorite projects. Develop a habit of letting people know how much you love doing what you do well. People get impressed by folks who love their work and want to help.

6. Count and record the opportunities that suit you

Small ideas and opportunities have a way of getting bigger. Research shows that things we watch and measure get bigger and more plentiful. Develop a habit of attending to what suits you. People will notice that you record ideas and opportunities. They’ll start listening and looking to find more. Soon you’ll have a network of people who are offering you ideas they’ve collected for you.

7. Decide

When an opportunity is set before you, don’t hesitate. Take the opportunity and use it to grow the skills that got you that far. You know which opportunities fit your interests and skills and which don’t. Develop a habit of taking on new opportunities as a way of growing. Be clear that you’ll always be noticing and learning and people will feel secure in offering you opportunities that grow with you.

I Know I Left it Somewhere…

Forgive me Diary, it’s been…. a long time since I’ve written. Not that I’m Catholic and guilty of anything in particular, I’m just using being busy with nothing much as an excuse.

I wonder what stuff is playing in your head as you read this? Do you have show tunes, oldies, or something entirely different? I’m hearing big band (I think that’s what it’s called). Earlier it was Rainbow Connection by Willie Nelson but that was because I heard it earlier (outside of my head but now, of course, it’s inside my head). Before, or somewhere between, I was listening to an orchestra and watching Fred Astaire dancing in a ballroom. His partner had a long, white glittery dress. But, it was all in black and white so in fact the dress could have been another colour entirely. These are the days of my head. A lot seems to be going on in there. Any time I stop to watch there are usually dancers of some sort. I like the Irish dancers and the fiddle music especially. Do other people have all this in their head usually? These are the things I wonder.

Now I’m thinking about that white gown and redesigning it. It’s starting to have a beach theme, there is a pattern like gentle waves along the hem, about five inches up the skirt from the bottom. Still all in white though. Sleeveless, just white straps at the shoulders, not those spaghetti straps (this is a dress she has to dance in after all, it wouldn’t do for her to have it falling off due to a strap breaking).  A hat would be kind of nice but impractical for the dancing. Still.. it’s my head and I can have her wear a hat if I want to. Something that looks like a partially squashed top hat, a bit informal like that. No veil this time. But it’s white and has the same snow-like glitter as the dress.

You’ve probably seen enough of my head now. About two days later and I still feel a bit weird headed after the clunk from the bow window. I must not have a concussion or anything to worry about. But maybe something is wobbling around up there. At least the headache isn’t very noticeable today. I can still spell my own name and I know what day it is (I looked at the calendar).  So I’m not worried about it, just keeping a check on myself till it all feels right again.

It is a lovely day today. The kind I like anyway. Just a non-weather kind of day. It’s a bit breezy and cool. My Mother the snowbird and gardener doesn’t care for it. But, for me it’s just about perfect. Not hot or humid. I could just about talk myself into going back to bed to enjoy it properly. It helps that I’m actually tired and would love to have an hour nap, or so.

Enough useless babbling. I do have stuff to do. I know I left it somewhere…

Wear a Corsage on your Finger

From Kate Spade, crystal corsage necklace and ring. There are other necklaces, rings and earrings which have a simpler pattern with single flowers. I liked these cause I think of a corsage as being a collection of flowers, a bouquet. So nice to have a bouquet that you can keep without having to water it or ever watch it fade or become compost for the garden.

Bejeweled Clocks for January

After the New Years Eve celebrations January becomes kind of a slow month. It doesn’t seem right for the first month of each year.  So, to brighten up January I went on the look out for some dazzling time pieces. Keeping time suits January.

This is a vintage clock with pink rhinestones, created by artist Debbie Del Rosario. Found at Victorian Rose Cottage.

A jeweled alarm clock from Powder Blue. Design by Lisbeth Dahl.

Urban Outfitters has this pretty watch necklace with a bit of steampunk style.

This colourful watch with precious stones comes from Bertolucci. I found it on a French site.

I didn’t find the clock of my dreams. I had in mind something with a mix of romance, diamonds and the steampunk look. What would you design as the perfect bejeweled clock?

Happy B-Day Zack

To a Nephew, Born During a Mexican Hurricane

A hurricane welcomed you into this world
Winds have pushed you along from a tow-headed toddler
to 2 diet Cokes and 2 freezies, chips and dip and the newspaper.
A boy who looked for magical creatures with me.
A boy getting tall, stronger and not so much a boy any more.

I remember you. I watch you.
Your life has been a part of my life.
You grow fast, the speed of wind.

So many things I could tell you, talk to you about.
I’ve seen all kinds of storms, rainy days, snowy afternoons
If I could give you all of it, like a book to read, I would
But, life comes in steps and you have to take each one yourself.
Still, you’re never facing the wind alone.

I can block some of the wind while you check your map
Remind you to bring a coat, wear your boots.
Feed you and keep you and watch your hurricane blow.

Martha Stewart Not in Canada

Did you know Martha Stewart’s show isn’t on in Canada any more? Why! I really liked her show. She has information about things beyond cooking and pets and such, no one else has all that Martha does.

From Facebook:

Unfortunately, “The Martha Stewart Show” no longer airs in Canada. You can watch full episodes from previous seasons online though: http://www.marthastewart.com/show-archive

My Comment is Inappropriate???

I do not like comment moderation, especially the automatic kind. I have had to resort to using it on my WordPress blog because WordPress is a target in itself. Here I get almost zero comment spam. On Word Grrls I get about a hundred a day. It’s bonkers. Still, I moderate and watch for anything missed by the bot. I do not use word or other verification or CAPTCHA’s.

Tonight I tried to leave a comment on another site, Never Say Diet. I came to the site from a post on Twitter. I read the blog post and clicked in to leave a comment. I gave my name, email address and website. Then I did the math question to verify my comment and then I was given this lovely note:

Your posting was blocked by our spam filter.

Your posting on Never Say Diet from xxx.xx.xx.xx has been automatically flagged by our spam filters as being inappropriate for this website.

At Never Say Diet we work very hard behind the scenes to keep our web pages free of spam. Unfortunately, sometimes we accidentally block legitimate content. If you are attempting to post legitimate content to this website, you can help us to improve our spam filters by emailing the following information to a site administrator:

So my comment is inappropriate? In what way would that be?

Maybe the sales woman was shorter and didn’t understand the idea of taller women needing larger sizes. If she only looked at you for fit versus flab she could have goofed up. I like Skinny Large. It’s like me when I order a large latte with skim milk.

Ooooh Yeah. Just highly toxic, nearly pornographic in nature! Remove the children from the room!

I sent the automated reply note to the admin, it asked me to justify myself.  To prove that I’m not a spammer. I chose not to.

What is really annoying is that they may be passing my IP address to spam watch lists now. That really does piss me off. I’ve never left a spam comment and now I am being painted with that brush for some pissy site who can’t be bothered to moderate their own comments.

If a site doesn’t want comments they should just say so upfront, or turn them off.Why piss off readers, especially the readers who choose to leave comments.

Measuring the Broken Bits

From all the many things my Dad used to say about me I ended up believing I am broken in some way. I’ve wondered what it was that is so wrong with me that causes me to have so many problems and become all the things he accused me of being long before I was even in high school. I’m going to be 45 this December. So it has been a long time since those days. My Dad died a few years ago even.

It was only yesterday that I finally did wonder if I ever really was broken at all. I’ve felt there was something elementally wrong with me for so long. Never understanding what it was or how I could do anything to fix it. I’ve looked for answers. I thought it must be my problem and did not want to talk about it.

I’ve given up on so many things cause I believed once something went wrong that it was just my damage catching up again. I never believed in myself to really give myself a chance to succeed. Being broken I was doomed to fail somewhere along the way. I did keep trying things though. But, it wouldn’t be long before I would know I had done as much as a broken person like myself could ever manage.

Dad said a lot of things to me about who I am, what I look like and what I could expect to become. He told me I was fat and ugly and scarred when I was not even chubby and just a child with a little exema. I’ve seen photos of myself and I know I was none of those things then, I was pretty but I just couldn’t see that when I had him insisting I was hideous.

Dad told me no one would ever want me. So, I was happy when I married Todd, my friend. Then, I went into kind of shock when we divorced and yet, I could only watch from the sidelines too as Dad was proven right again. Trying to date never worked out for me. I can see now that I probably put people off because I felt so down on myself, so unworthy of anyone and so unsure about even trying to find someone when I was broken anyway.

All those years of believing I was broken. I still have not shaken it off but I’m peeling off the edges, like a sticker on a tomato. The tomato is so much more than the sticker but who would want to find a sticker on the tomato in their salad.

I still don’t really know where to go from here, with this new idea. Not even strong enough to label it knowlege yet. I have not told anyone. Just wanted to take some time to clear it through my own brain and write it here. To think it over a bit more as I type.

So much wasted time. Here I am nearing 45 and I really wanted to have a family of my own and children. Mostly the children and yet the person to spend your adult life with (if you can find someone you want to be with) is invaluable. I am not likely to have that now. Women my size and age are not in high demand and I’m still that damaged person,who needs to stop feeling unworthy and different in a not great way. I went through 2 decades of my life barely speaking to anyone. It left me quiet (which you would not know if you have only met me online).

Anyway, putting this here like a time capsule. A blog, if you keep it long enough, is a great way to measure your life.

And The Cat Came Back The Very Next Day

The Cat Came Back has been stuck in my head ever since I posted about the song on the CMF forum a day or so ago. I found the Canadian cartoon based on the old folk song. It was fun to watch too. Originally created by Cordell Barker who was nominated for an Oscar for The Cat Came Back.

Old Mister Johnson had troubles of his own
He had a yellow cat which wouldn’t leave its home;
He tried and he tried to give the cat away,
He gave it to a man goin’ far, far away.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

The man around the corner swore he’d kill the cat on sight,
He loaded up his shotgun with nails and dynamite;
He waited and he waited for the cat to come around,
Ninety seven pieces of the man is all they found.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

He gave it to a little boy with a dollar note,
Told him for to take it up the river in a boat;
They tied a rope around its neck, it must have weighed a pound
Now they drag the river for a little boy that’s drowned.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

He gave it to a man going up in a balloon,
He told him for to take it to the man in the moon;
The balloon came down about ninety miles away,
Where he is now, well I dare not say.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

He gave it to a man going way out West,
Told him for to take it to the one he loved the best;
First the train hit the curve, then it jumped the rail,
Not a soul was left behind to tell the gruesome tale.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

The cat it had some company one night out in the yard,
Someone threw a boot-jack, and they threw it mighty hard;
It caught the cat behind the ear, she thought it rather slight,
When along came a brick-bat and knocked the cat out of sight

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

Away across the ocean they did send the cat at last,
Vessel only out a day and making water fast;
People all began to pray, the boat began to toss,
A great big gust of wind came by and every soul was lost.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

On a telegraph wire, sparrows sitting in a bunch,
The cat was feeling hungry, thought she’d like ’em for a lunch;
Climbing softly up the pole, and when she reached the top,
Put her foot upon the electric wire, which tied her in a knot.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

The cat was a possessor of a family of its own,
With seven little kittens till there came a cyclone;
Blew the houses all apart and tossed the cat around,
The air was full of kittens, and not a one was ever found.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea

The atom bomb fell just the other day,
The H-Bomb fell in the very same way;
Russia went, England went, and then the U.S.A.
The human race was finished without a chance to pray.

But the cat came back the very next day,
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away.
Away, away, yea, yea, yea