29 December 2013

New Year Superstitions and A Spell For You

This article is part of Kallan's wonderful Sunday Stew. Please hop on over and read all the different flavors added by each chef. I know that you will love it!

First of all, I hope that each and every one of you found happiness in your holidays in however you chose to celebrate this season.

Today I'm going to list a few superstitions and beliefs concerning New Year's and that led me to thinking of a spell. So, I came up with a New Year's spell for you.

A few of the beliefs I have heard my whole life, not really knowing the reason behind them until I was able to find out for myself and some are just plain silly. But, I thought it would be fun to explore them and their reasons.

My Mamaw liked to follow superstitions and rituals for the New Year.  She always made sure that she made black-eyed peas, collard greens, and corn bread.  She never really said why she made this meal other than good luck for the coming year. The wonderful interwebs offers a wealth of information concerning this meal. The black-eyed peas and collard greens represent money. The peas are the coins and the greens are the paper money. So ingesting it guaranteeing yourself money for the coming year.

She would also sweep out the Old Year so that her home could welcome the New Year.  This is a custom that many follow. I have made my spell to put this belief to good use.

On January 6th, no laundry was done because it was Old Christmas. Again, no explanation was ever given by my grandmother other than it was bad luck! My grandmother did everything she could to avoid bad luck.

Apparently,  some people believe that January 6th is supposed to mark the day of the Wise Men's visit to the child, Jesus. But, really it is caused by the switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. January 6th was the equivalent day of celebration for England's Christmas.

Also, on this day do not lend anything to anyone........I'm not sure why. Maybe you'll never get it back? Maybe it comes back cursed?  Just. don't. take. the. chance.

These are the main New Year's rituals that my Mamaw followed......there are others:

Many people believe that the First Day of the calendar new year is a very important day. That what happens on this day will set the tone for the rest of the year. So, a good way to insure a good year would be to bring a small gift to anyone that you visit for the day and try to spend it with loved ones. And for goodness sake, don't go around the ones that you argue with. Spend it with the ones that enjoy your company.

If there is something unpleasant that you don't like doing, make sure you aren't doing it on New Year's day, because you will be doing it all year.

Always make sure that if you start something on this day that it is finished before midnight!

If you have money on New Year's, you'll have money all year.

This one is important:
The first person to enter your home on New Year's should be a dark haired man. A woman is said to be a bad omen, as are a red-haired men or  men with flat feet. Can you just imagine what happened to someone that had a red-haired flat-footed man that visited to make this one?

Those New Year's resolutions that people announce? Well, guess what? You better follow them through because it is bad luck if you don't!

Never hang a new calendar in your home before New Year's Day. It's bad luck.

On New Year's Eve, make certain that you have the whole house clean, then at Midnight open your doors to make sure that you welcome the New Year. Welcome it with a toast.

Here's a fun one: Whoever takes the last drink from a bottle of bubbly on New Year's Eve will be lucky all the year.

Okay, now for my spell. I started thinking about the New Year custom of sweeping out the old year and letting in the new years with hopes of a better year. .......that got me to thinking about Cinderella. She swept the ashes and always longed for a better life. And BAM, she suddenly had one. With the help of a Fairy Godmother and wishing for the new life, she was living what she dreamed.

I love fairy tales. I see them as tales from magickal grimoires written by the spellmakers to keep a record. They teach lessons, they have triumph and heartache, shiny things, and fairies. The Cinderella story is one of my most favorites. This one is based on the French version of the story. Don't you just love the Drew Barrymore Ever After movie?

So I call this:

Cinderella's Ashes To Sparkles New Year Extravaganza Spell

Could you hear the reverb on that while you read it to yourself?

This spell will take a little work, but all good things always take a little work. You may want to make your star a day ahead and then activate it on New Years.

Okay you will need:

Blue felt
Hot glue gun
Glitter and glue or decorative glitter glue
Herbs for the purposes
Nail clipping from each house member

To start, we will make the star. You probably want to make it a day ahead so that the glitter runes on it will be dry when you are activating the star.

You need to figure out what you want in your new year. Happiness? Prosperity? Fertility? Peace? Protection? Good health? Wisdom? Luck?  And please, this is VERY important, please be specific. Runes like it when you are specific. Write these out on little strips of paper and roll them up.

I'm going to keep the herb list to simple herbs. Mostly things you probably have on hand. You will only need pinches of them. You don't have to use all of these, I'm just listing a few for you.

Health:                      Prosperity:            Fertility:                    Luck:           Peace:         Protection:
Lemon Balm              Allspice                Dried banana slice    Allspice      Basil            High John
Carnation                   Basil                     Basil                                Aloe            Rosemary     Cedar
Cinnamon                   High John             Acorns                      High John    Bayberry       Sage
Corriander                 Pine                      Dried apple slice                                Pennyroyal
Cypress                     Sage                    


And you will want to add something for wishes, along with the other herbs:

Job's tears
Mustard seed

If I didn't list an herb for something that you wish for, it isn't too hard to research and find out which herbs will work for your intentions.

Alright now, you will make your star. I used blue felt, what you are making is the star from the end of your Fairy Godmother's wand.

Using the star template, cut out two: one for a front and one for a back. The finished stars are around 4 1/2 inches point to point.

You are going to hot glue the edges only of the star. Leave one point not glued. You will fill the star with this open point. Like this:

Now, inside this star you will put your little rolled up wishes. Then the fingernail clippings from each family member (because you want the whole household to be included in the fruitfulness), and the pinches of the herbs that you will be using. Don't forget to add one of the wish herbs to them.

After your star is stuffed, then you will glue the open point shut. After you have glued the point shut, decorate the front and make it pretty.

This one is mine

This one is my friend's. 

You can either let this dry for a couple of hours or use a blow dryer to dry it. When the front is dry, you will be making a bindrune symbol on the back. It will be a wish bindrune. It looks like this:
(c) Loren Morris

Wunjo: The wish rune and also promotes peace and fruitfulness
Ingwaz: This rune will bring focus and a successful conclusion, this one also binds together the work of the others
Fehu: This rune will circulate abundance
Thurisaz: This one will bring a breakthrough and stimulate your fruitfulness
Othala: This rune will enhance peace, security, prosperity in your home and will also draw fortune to your dwelling.

Now, let this dry. It will be ready to be activated on New Year's Eve, as a midnight spell. You are also going to have a super NEW moon on January 1st to help push your wishes to fruition!

On New Year's Eve, you will make another list. This list will be all of the bad things that happened to you in the past year. Make sure you list EVERYTHING, because you are going to sweep that stuff out of your life like Cinderella's fireplace ashes.

Get a small green candle and hold it while you fill it with all of your wishes and hopes for the new year. Concentrate for a few minutes and then light it. Use this candle to light your list of the past year's bad things. This is the new year overtaking the bad things to bring your good things. Leave the candle burning.

While the candle is burning, open the door and either fling your ashes out the front door or sweep them out. (make sure they are out good). After you are finished throwing out your ashes with the old year, go to your star that is filled with your New Year's Wishes and hold it while you think of all you want to accomplish and hope to have in your life this new year. Pass the star through the flame of the candle and say: "With the flame of this candle the power and the magic within these herbs and runes are activated and will work together to bring my desires and wishes to our home for the New Year. This will be done immediately with no harm to my family, property, possessions, or pets." 

When you are finished, attach a small ribbon to the back of the star with hot glue. hang it above your front door for the year. Visualize a blue light of the star gently spreading your wish fulfillment out into your home. Let the candle burn down.

Now, go eat your black eyed peas and collard greens and have a Happy New Year! and if you decide to share my spell, please link back to me.

If you would like to read more about the superstitions and customs that I listed above, Sarah Anne Lawless has a great blog about them. Black Arts Foundry

Here's information about the Supermoons during January. 

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

― Neil Gaiman

27 December 2013

A Child's Magical Library- Ruth Chew

Suzy's suitcase from Moonrise Kingdom

One of my most favorite things in the world are fantasy books. I have an extensive collection of children's fantasy books. It's a thing.

One reason is that some of them are leftover from my childhood and another reason is that I home schooled my 3rd child and read a LOT of books. I love to read aloud. 

I thought that I would create blogs every so often showcasing some of my favorites. People love to buy their children books and they often look for fantasy. Children need to learn to curl up with a book on a rainy day, or read with mom or dad and visit a new world, or take a book outside into the warm sunshine and just enjoy it. 

Today's books are some of my favorites from childhood. I would classify these as easy-to-read chapter books for 2nd through Middle School. I found these when I was in school through the Scholastic order forms.  

Anyway, these books are all written by Ruth Chew. She wrote and illustrated quite a few books. Mrs. Chew passed away in 2010 at the age of 90, but her books live on. I was delighted to see that a number of them are being published again! 

 Ruth Chew (portrait by Irving Schild)

These are pictures of my own copies. They are all filled with magical strangers, gadgets, and adventures. Most importantly, they have children that are quick thinkers and independent doers.

The following books I retrieved from ruthchew.com and I am linking back to them. These are the ones they have selected to be re-published and it looks like they are calling them "Matter-of-Fact Magic Books". 

This one has 3 tales in it: The Witch's Buttons, The Witch's Cat, The Witch's Garden

I don't own any of the new versions, but I plan on getting them to add to my collection. I love the new covers.

If you have never heard of Ruth Chew's books, then please do your child (and yourself) a favor and check them out.  To find out more about this wonderful author, please go here:

22 December 2013

A Merry Yule Craft!

This article is part of Kallan's wonderful Sunday Stew. Please hop on over and read all the different flavors added by each chef. I know that you will love it!

We are back!! Did you miss us?

I thought for this entry I would give you a craft to make. I like to save my old lightbulbs all year for this one. It is a recycle craft.

Items you will need:

Empty egg carton
Burned out lightbulbs
Styrofoam cups
White paint
Glitter (optional)
Various other paint colors (black, orange, green, pink, red, blue, yellow)
Bits of ribbons and other decorative items

Mainly everything that you will use on this project are all recycle items. Even the scrap bits that you can't really use for anything else.

First, you are going to rinse off the bulbs, dry them and get an old egg carton to hold the lightbulbs while they dry.

Like this:

Now, when you paint them, they can dry easily. I didn't have spray paint, so I just slapped a couple of coats of white acrylic paint on them.

This year I thought that I would add glitter to them. I put a coat of modge podge on them and then sprinkled the glitter on.

While the glitter was drying, I prepared the snowman hats. Turn your oven on 300 degrees and let preheat. Now, when you are using styrofoam cups, you want to find the smallest cup possible, preferably 6 oz. This year, I ended up with 10 oz. No worries, they will shrink down in the oven and look cute, no matter the size. 

Put your cups on a sheet like so:

Pop them in the oven and watch them shrink. It only takes a few minutes. When they are no longer shrinking remove them and they will immediately harden. I kind of shaped mine, which was a mistake because I squished the cup too much and the lightbulb wouldn't fit in it and I had to re-shrink more cups. Smaller cups do better.

After you remove your cups, you can paint them. Now, paint your faces on your snowmen. I also decided to make a tree.

Hot glue your hats to your snowmen. For the tree ornament, I cut out some stars from felt. and glued one to the front and one to the back. Be careful with the glue for the hat. If your glue is high temp, let it cool for just a second before putting your hat on, the glue will melt through. 

And you can get all creative with whatever decorative bits that you have. 

For the hanger, just glue a bit of raffia to the back of the hat.

I've also put a pic of one of the snowmen that I made a couple of years ago. This one has a smaller hat. The cups automatically turn up around the edge while they are melting.

And here they are. You can get fancy or just plain. 

Just have fun!