Living one foot in the broom closet

So, I moved again, and this time into someone else’s space. That right it’s a care-taking house-sitting gig. Having witchy stuff all over the place in this situation is not advised. So while I was packing my witchy things up I did some thinking about what needs to go in the box-of-secrets, and what doesn’t. I thought I would share my results as a guide to living with a foot in the closet. (Totally 100% opinion and mine at that, and we all know… I am crazy.)

I have a box of witchy things now. My box is one of those nondescript plastic bins. I had to do some looking to get one that wasn’t see-through (ok the second store had them…). The following is a list of things that should and shouldn’t go in a nice box ‘o’ witchy secrets.

1. Books

If you have EXPLICITLY witchy books but them in the box! Your natural healing, and nature guides and normal/ generically new age enough to stay out. Also if you have fairy books and things like that, those are fun and secular enough to stay out. But the “witchy life” “witchcraft 101” “tarot reading” might want to be in the box. Tarot is one of those marginal things just because it is so popular. Home remedies and herbal use and care books can stay out too, just put the herb magic ones away.

2. Candles

Most normally colored candles are just fine. Everyone likes candles right? Who doesn’t have some candles around the house? But candles with symbols carved into them? Or decked out? Those should go in the box, but think of them on a case by case basis.

3. Oils

 Essential oils are A-OK for out in the open but witchy oils? Those should go in the box. I have a set of hoodoo oils and those are stored in my box but my essential oils I store in my bathroom (I use them for baths). Also bath salts, I use bath salts a lot for calming and cleansing, those are also in my bathroom.

4. Herbs (and curios)

If you have curios and herbs that are not normally used in cooking (small wasps nest maybe?) those should be packed away. However, I would say the majority of your herbs can be kept with your kitchen. I have a nice rack for my herbs, with labeled containers. In contrast the herbs my husband uses for cooking… well those are normally in what I call “dangerously unlabeled mystery containers”. I am serious, I labeled one “NOT PAPRIKA”… only have to make that mistake once! On that note, dried herbs are fine to have hanging around too. My mom likes to hang herbs around the kitchen (they are never used for cooking just for… who knows… decoration… smell… its a mystery to me!).

5. Incense

LEAVE IT OUT! As long as it doesn’t have crazy names.. just leave it out. Like candles it’s not something that is “unusual” so feel free to burn away, and keep it out.

 6. Miscellaneous accessories

Have some seriously witchy items? Alter cloths covered in pentacles, very witchy statues, carved knives, runes…? Those are going in the box. Remember that a lot of items you use can be dual purpose. You can have a simple alter cloth that can be stored with other linens and your ceremonial knife can be stored in your kitchen if its plane looking. You don’t have to use the items for anything else, but they can live among your normal everyday things.

I think this is a good spot to talk about your alter. Now, my family has always had a fireplace and a mantelpiece. On that mantle my family has always put trinkets and candles, and photos. Remember this sort of thing, is totally “normal” so feel free to have some things out. I would caution against anything overtly witchy. Most of us I think have items we have on our alters that are not overtly witchy. I have several things I have picked up over the years because they caught my eye. Remember that there is a reason it caught YOUR eye and is likely to catch someone else’s eye too. Expect anything you leave out to attract some attention and interest, and be ok with others touching it.

I googled mantelpiece and here are three of the top results that I think illustrate my point. None of these are tagged “Alter” but you can see how mantelpiece’s can become an alter easily.

candles, photos, trinkets… something like this could easily be an ancestor alter! 
candles, flowers, trinkets… again something simple that could be an alter in disguise
Look at this beautiful  mantelpiece! Family photos, and meaningful items, and candles. To be honest, this is what my alter ends up looking like…. things and photos that only have meaning to me anyways! 

On the topic of duel use items, think back into the mythology and lore of witches. Often the classic witches used things from around their witchy cabin, and the women we would now call witches, the wise women of the village always used items from around the house. Don’t feel like you have to have a “special broom” or a “special knife” that “look witchy”. If you are at a shop and a broom catches your eye and you LOVE it that is perfect fine. That broom can have special witchy meaning to you, and to everyone else be just a nice broom. You can always have a special witchy broom that is very witchy, but if you are living one foot in the closet, a simple one can be just as powerful. Also several places sell things like “decorative cinnamon brooms” that can easily be duel use as decor and witchy broom. Witches and wise-people are resourceful!

I am a firm believer that we can all be surrounded by our witchy things, and still be living one foot in the closet. Get creative in the book store and get reference books that are not overtly witchy, you never know if you might find some amazing information. Get items that catch your eye but are from more mundane sources. Keep everything else in a box that you use when you need. Anther fun thing you can do is, make secret hollow books! I have one that I keep my tarot cards in. It is always fun to be able to look at your bookshelf and know you have secrets hidden in the books.

Also one more thing… if you are worried about people going through your box…. WHO GOES THROUGH BOXES IN OTHER PEOPLES HOUSE!? Seriously… If someone in your life is THAT nosy you might have a different problem, a boundaries problem… and you should talk to them about that.

 I hope this post helps! Any questions, tips, comments feel free to hop in there!

 ~Kathleen

 P.S. my “witchy box” sorry for the shitty photos….

an important box masquerading as any old box

Full of my witchy goodness and yes that is my hollow book on the lower left… bookshelves are not 100% loaded yet so its still in the box.
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Pagan Island, getting to know you….

There was no activity reported for Pagan Volcano this week, so we are going to look at the island itself this week. I think Its an excellent example of an island arc volcano. 
This is a diagram of an island volcanic arc. See? We are back to the structure of the earth, like I said its always important. In order to produce an island volcanic arc, you will have an oceanic/oceanic subduction zone. The oceanic crust that is subducted is the older thicker and denser of the two oceanic plates. 
Once the older oceanic crust is subducted to around 100km the water will be driven out of the rocks and lower the melting temperature of the surrounding mantle. That is the 101 explanation of what is going on and is pretty accurate. This produces melt that becomes buoyant and rises. When this magma breaks through to the ocean floor it starts to build volcanoes. 
Once these volcanoes start to build they produce underwater eruptions until they have built up enough mass to break the ocean surface. Then it starts to build islands. These islands are volcanic arcs. 
That is how Pagan Volcano was built. 

As you can see Pagan Island is part of a chain of volcanic arc islands that sit above the subducting Pacific plate as it dives under the Philippine Sea Plate. The Mariana trench is also home to the deepest point on the earth the Challenger Deep. It is 10,898 m (35,755 ft) to 10,916 m (35,814 ft) below sea level. 
Here is Pagan Island rising from the seafloor with a vertical exaggeration of 3
Next time we will talk about the island itself and how it formed! 

References, more reading and image sources
http://blue.utb.edu/paullgj/physci1417/Lectures/Plate_Tectonics.html
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X08005529
http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/pibhmc/pibhmc_cnmi.htm
Pagan Island Wikipedia page
Mariana Trench Wikipedia page
Volcanic Arc Wikipedia page 

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Borealis Meditation Podcast S02E04 The one about food, and interview, and new things to come!

Listen to the show here

Meat Week: NPR 

Freakonomics Radio: You eat what you are 1 and

Seafood Watch

Listen to my interview

Taoism argues that there is a natural order in the world that determines the behavior of all things in existence. Early Taoist thinkers believed in the “oneness” of things the unity of everything in the universe and hoped that by studying the world of nature they would discover essential laws.
This attention to the spirit of things particularly naturally occurring phenomena like water or wind lend Taoists into a systematic investigation that became the beginning of science in China. Later on Taoism operated on a more popular level the belief that inanimate objects had their own spirit or god gave rise to a system of warship designed to appease these power which was far removed from the early Taoist principles. 
– From Ancient cultures: Chinese gods and myths
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A volcano named Pagan

Pagan Volcano! How cool of a name is that!?

Pagan Island is one of the islands in the in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US) and it is actually the 4th largest of the Northern Marianas. The island is comprised of two stratovolcanoes (Think Mt Fuji and Mt St Helens, cones and tend to erupt more violently then shield volcanoes like the ones that make up the Hawaiian Islands). The volcanoes are named North and South Pagan. (Guess which one is the northern one and the southern one….)

While both Northern and Southern Pagan have been active, the majority of historic eruptions (since 17th century) have come from North Pagan Volcano. Thanks to the numerous eruptions from North Pagan Volcano, Pagan Island is one of the most active of the Mariana islands. The largest historical eruption from North Pagan occurred in 1981 and led to the evacuation of the island.

North Pagan Volcano is currently at aviation color code yellow and is monitored by the USGS.
(Yellow: Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored for possible renewed increase.)

According to the most recent weekly report there was a small low altitude ash cloud on the 10th of July, and drifted around 50Km NW and reached a high of around 1.5km or 5,000 ft above sea level.

References used and other useful links
1) Pagan (Island) wikipedia page
2) Pagan (volcano) page from Global Volcanism Program
3) Current volcanic activity report from Global Volcanism Program
4) USGS monitoring page on Pagan (and current report on activity)

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dual purpose everything.

Now, I have no citations for this post, this is all opinion. Disclaimer over, here I go!

Dual purpose tools. It is my opinion that the modern witchcrafting tools are derived from common everyday tools, herbs, and supplies. Things that were common to the area the witch lived, and common around the house. Everyone had a cauldron or some sort of large vesicle in the hearth, because that is how things were cooked. Mortar and pestle and knives were common place objects in the kitchen. Even the herbs and curios were plants, animals and things found in the environment. Witches were not rich, they were thrifty! They used the tools already around them! That is how I choose to view things, and how I run my practice. Use what you have, find what you need, no need to break the bank.
I would like to then talk to you about my latest project. Coconut bowls. I have been updating on twitter about the progress of my beauties but I wanted to run through some of the rational and uses for them.
I am currently finishing the inside with a food safe butcher block oil and finish. Why? Because it is important to me that they be dual purpose! These bowls can be used as, bowls, cups (as is done at the Kava bar), decor for the house, and offering bowls for my alter (their original purpose). So while I did not need to make them food safe to use them as offering bowls, since I would also like them to be water safe and food safe I took a few extra steps in finishing them.
My alter in fact is more of the garden window. My God and Goddess candles moonlight as either decor for the mantle or for the dining room table. My mortar and pestle while used for craft workings live in my kitchen, and my incense burner moves around the house. As a geologists I always have rocks out so they just sort of rotate through. My garden window is my favorite nook in my place, and yes I do move things around and pull out some special items when I do any workings… but, it is dual purpose. I currently have herbs and vegetable starts in the window soaking up the sun.
I would love to hear your thoughts on dual purpose tools!
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Local Lore: Meteorites

I stumbled upon some arctic lore about a specific rock that is believed to be a meteorite but the Inuit in northern Alaska. I thought you guys might enjoy it!

Unusual powers are similarly attributed to a large black rock in the
Point Barrow area, thought by Inuit to be of meteoric origin. Rochfort
Maguire’s journal (Bockstoce, 1988:541) gives the following account:

Among the few remarkable features of this dreary coast is a large

stone, about four sleeps from Point Barrow, near Point Tangent… The
natives assert it is a “fire stone,” and fell from the sky within the
memory of people now living. No one saw it fall; but one woman, about
sixty years of age, said she traveled that way yearly as a girl, when
there was no such stone there, and that in returning one summer, her
people were much surprised to see it, and believed it had fallen from
the sky….

It is said to enlarge and present a full rounded appearance
at times, where deer are plentiful in the neighborhood, as it feeds
upon them, killing and devouring a great many at a time.

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Borealis Meditation episode 11: Earthquakes, fossils and earth

Borealis Meditation Episode 11:
Listen here
download slides here
(I had trouble getting the IRIS and USGS slides to upload)
Download IRIS slides here
Download USGS slides here

Geology 101: Earthquakes, Japan Earthquake and Fossilization
(Pagan Community Fundraising Page – for Doctors Without Borders)
(Red Cross)
Music: none this time sorry 🙁
Weekly Update: earthquakes & volcanoes
Feature Mineral: not a mineral, fossils!
Elements: Earth
associations lists post

New contest for episode 12 & 13 post

Links for the Japan Earthquake:
USGS earthquake page technical information:

NOAA:
Tsunami warning page of the pacific current and past
March 11, 2011 Honshu tsunami propagation model video

IRIS:
Teachable moments

Technical information (sent out to the scientific community)with links to more

Harvard Seismology
Preliminary Rupture Modeling of the March 11, 2011 Tohoku-Chiho Taiheiyo-Oki Earthquake and Sequence of Events using the USArray Transportable Array

Science Insider: seismic waves in the US animation and article

Because I like good news even in the midst of bad:
The New York Times: Japan’s Strict Building Codes Saved Lives

The AGU Blogosphere
Blogs written by scientists about science hosted by one of the larger professional organizations. A good place to look around

Badass of the week:
Hideaki Akaiwa

Plus a more serious article about him from Forbes

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Fire Contest!

Contest for episode 12 and 13 FIRE
What you win: a piece of pumice I collected on Montserrat!

What does the word fire mean to you?
What images dose the word fire bring up? Does it matter what mind set you are in?
what stones do you associate with fire?
What else do you associate with fire?
How do you experience the element of fire?
WHAT IS FIRE TO YOU!?

These questions are good for the next two episodes, we are talking about fire so any comments, questions let me know. We are going to talk about volcanoes so if you have any specific questions about specific volcanoes or eruptions let me know!

Email me answers or comment on this post!

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Earth Associations

Association lists From my google search
first site

EARTH
Direction: North.
Rules: The body, growth, nature, sustenance, material gain, money, creativity, birth, death, silence, chasms, caves, caverns, groves, fields, rocks, standing stones, mountains, crystal, jewels, metal.
Time: Midnight.
Season: Winter.
Colors: Black, brown, green, white.
Zodiac: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn.
Tools: Pentacle/Pentagram, Salt, Images, Stones, Gems, Trees, Boline, Crystal and gem Magick.
Spirits: Gnomes, Dwarfs and Trolls who inhabit the interior of the Earth and are the consciousness of precious gems, minerals and the Earth herself. Ruled by King Ghob, Gob, or Ghom.
Angel: Gabriel.
Wind: Boreas, Ophion.
Sense: Touch.
Jewel: Rock crystal, salt.
Incense: Frankinsense, Storax.
Plants: Comfrey, ivy, grains: barley, oats, corn, rice, rye, wheat.
Tree: Oak.
Animals: Cow or bull, bison, snakes (earth-dwelling), stag.
Goddesses: Ceres, Demeter, Geae, Mah, Nephthys, Persephone, Prithivi, Rhea, Rhiannon, Macha, Innana, Epona.
Gods: Adonis, Athos, Arawn, Cernunnos, Dionysus, Marduk, Pan, Tammuz, Mabon.
Ritual Work: Night, Midnight, Winter, Riches, Treasures, Surrendering of self-will, Touch, Empathy, Incorporation, Business, Prosperity, Employment, Stability, Success, Fertility, Money

Second site

Earth
SANSKRIT/IRISH/LATIN: Prithivi/Talamh/
DIRECTION: North
ASSOCIATIONS: Stability, food, wealth, crops, animals, home, mountains, strength, grounding, protecting, nature, death/rebirth,
QUALITIES: dry, cold, heavy, passive
GENDER: feminine, receptive
MAGICAL POWER: To be silent
COLORS: brown, black, green
ARCHANGEL: Uriel/Auriel
ELEMENTAL BEING: Gnomes
ELEMENTAL KING: Ghobe
ANIMALS: most four-legged, animals that go by night
PLANTS: Celtic trees – Ash, Dwarf Elm, Hawthorn. Herbs – Patchouli, Vetiver, Wheat Natives – Bald Cypress, Inland Sea-Oats, Texas Persimmon, Elbow-bush, Indiangrass
STONES: Amazonite, Emerald, Hematite/Hematine, Jade, Jet, Lodestone, Malachite, Peridot, Serpentine, Turquoise
METALS: (Iron), Lead, Mercury
MYTHOLOGICAL BEINGS: Giants, Leprechauns, Trolls
KERUB: Bull
TAROT SUIT: Pentacles/Coins/Discs
TAROT TRUMPS: Devil, Empress, Emperor, World
RUNES: Fehu, Wunjo, Jera, Berkano, Mannaz, Othala
ZODIAC SIGNS: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
PLANETS: (Jupiter, Saturn)
HOUR: Midnight
DAY(S): (Thursday, Saturday)
SEASON: Winter
LIFE CYCLE: Old Age
ALCHEMICAL SYMBOL: downward pointing triangle bisected by horizontal line
TATTWA SYMBOL: Yellow Square
QABALISTIC SEPHIROT: Malkuth/Kingdom
MAGICAL TOOLS: Pentacle, Rock, Hammer, Salt, Shield, Drum
CHAKRA(S): Root
TYPES OF MAGIC: Household, Prosperity, Ancestors, Fertility, Grounding, Protection, Eco-Magic
POSITIVE CHARACTERISTICS: Reliable, punctual, stable, perservering, wise
NEGATIVE CHARACTERISTICS: Greedy, sensualist, materialistic, stodgy, narrow-minded
OVERBALANCE: Boring, tunnel-vision, materialistic
UNDERBALANCE: Unreliable, careless, tasteless

Third Site

EARTH:
Represents: Physical, Force that holds atoms together, practical application, consolidation
Direction: North
Days: Friday, Saturday
Zodiac Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Dragon: Grael (Grail)
Gender: Feminine
Colors: Greens, Browns, Earth Tones
Season: Winter
Time of Day: Midnight
Magickal Tools: Pentacle, Dish , salt, wood, powders, dirt, stones, gems
Elemental Beings: Gnomes , dwarves, trolls
Earth Locales: Farms, Caves, Fields
Animals: Large Animals, Docile or Domestic Animals
Body Parts: Muscles, Bones, Other Tissues
Human Qualities: Body, Strength
Herbs: Alfalfa, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Cotton, Cypress, Fern, Honeysuckle, Magnolia, Mugwort, Oats, Patchouli, Pea, Potato, Rye, Sage, Salt, Tulip, Vervain, Wheat
Foods: Starchy, heavy, plain
Music: Drums, spirited and rhythmic chanting, the blues, deliberate and earthy music, down-home country
Clothing: Practical, comfortable, timeless, earthy and uncreative, browns and greens, natural fabric, corduroy, roomy, chunky and natural accessories (like wood beads)
Rituals: night, midnight, winter, riches, treasures, surrendering self-will, empathy, incorporation, business, prosperity, employment, stability, success, fertility, money.


Forth site

Element of Earth.
Traditional tool or weapon is the altar pentacle. Tarot suit is pentacles or coins and in a deck of cards diamonds. Compass point is north. Colour in the Western Tradition is green (or brown) although the Airt colour is black. Earth represents understanding and is related to growth, material gain, employment and the home, prosperity, stability and fertility! Power: to be silent. Season: Winter.

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School magic

I have been cleaning my office today and I noticed something I guess I have noticed before but not given voice to. The energies of my different classes. Before every class starts I buy a notebook to take notes. Binders come later when I get a feel for the paper load and therefore size of binder required for the class. These notebooks I have only ever used for 1 class. Occasionally, I will pick one up for some random notes but it just feels wrong. I also stopped taking the note pages out and putting them in the binders because that also feels wrong.

So I started thinking about this. Why is there such a repulsion of other notes by these notebooks? I think its because of the energy I put into my studies. I am a lifelong student. I love my classes. I pour my heart and soul into my work. So these notebooks embody the energies of the class I took them too. When I pick up the volcanology notebook for my undergrad it is still filled with the energy of that specific class.

So I guess you could say I have charged notebooks. I change them with energy specific to the class I used them in. Does anyone else have a similar experience?

Kathleen
Student

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