Venus Day Violet



Gods, the violets smelled heavenly this year.  Like a meadow in my hands, sweet and light and dewy and deeply floral.  They are central to my honoring Venus Day in a few days.  They'll be central to the Feast of Flowers celebrations as well.  Just as Venus Day is a descendant of the Veneralia, the Feast of Flowers descends from Floralia and the celebration of spring in all its merry and abundant beauty from that old world we draw so much of our cultural symbolism from.


All the flowers and their symbols are a delight this month- but none are more beautiful in their cool, unassuming, delicate sweetness as the violet.  Their color when crushed in water is the deepest indigo, a deep blue with a tint of red that adds passion to her hue.  Violets and Venus go hand-in-hand. It's a romance between the glittering star and the lovely sweet violet.  The garden-gathered violets are washed and presented to the altar of Pandemos; I invoke the sweet song of the violet and sing her gentle praises.  Every year I gather the sweet violets from my mothers yard and make syrups, candies or dyes- practical and sweet things- a very me kind of ritual. 


This year was for candied violets and lemon-custard vanilla candied violet tart. The dough tastes like crisp butter cookie and the filling is lemon yogurty goodness with fresh lemon zest, honey and lavender sugars.  I love lemons, I love flowers, I love violets, I love spring.  I hate being quarantined at the height of poplar-bud gathering season, missing the bloom of the white camellias...  But that's okay.  Life is like this sometimes; in these awful and uncertain moments, we make sweet memories while we can-- wherever we can.

The Lightyear in the Home

Egg and sugar, butter and cream, lemon and salt, garlic and flour.  These tools of the kitchen cover everything from love to peace, fertility and hexes, divination and banishment... and a silver fork (even one bent into the beautiful shape of a heart) offers protection in the home that can't be beat.  Stuck in the house means reacquainting with my domestic skills, with the magics of the kitchen.
Spring is supposed to be a healing time, a time of rebirth and renewal.  Right now, it's just a time of fear and uncertainty and anxiety.  I wished better for my generation.  Spring is supposed to be a time go be out with friends gathering up the poplar buds and plucking the last of the sweet violets, instead we're just stuck inside trying to respect the new restrictions in this new world.  I plan to sneak out and walk around the yard a bit, gods know I need the fresh air.  The violets need picking and syruping, the hyacinths need drying and the cherry blossoms need gazing-at.  The wild greenwood walks and here I am stuck inside watching the procession of spring from behind the walls.  Floralia comes.  The Feast of Rabbits comes; May's Eve and St. Johns, Midsummer and First Fruits... it's all so close, I hope we can all go out and enjoy it when it does...

On this Lightyear, this Spring Equinox, I planned for the magical days ahead.  I started planning for this particularly social time in the witching world.  I'd like to hope I'll get the time-off in summer to attend the Symposium but as this quarantine stretches out, I will loose vacation days and opportunities later.  It's all so nebulous our lives right now, that's why I look forward to the divination that permeates the great holy days of witches; May's Eve, St. John's and Midsummer... In American folklore May is all about divination; this is a contribution of our various Western European ancestors.  There are many May's Eve and May Day Charms, ones that include wells and mirrors, fires and eggs, handkerchiefs and even snails in corn-starch.

“On the first day of May, put a diamond ring in a glass of water.  Place this glass where the sun will shine into the center of the ring, and when you look into the center you will see there the face of the man you will marry.”
“If a person looks into a well on the first day of May at noon, he will see his sweetheart.”
“ To keep off all sickness during the summer, get wet in the first rain of May..”
“If you look down a well on May first, you will see the face of the one you are to marry reflected in the water.” -The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore


“A basket tastefully arranged with flowers, was left by the lore-sick swain at the door of his lady-love.”
“A Piece of wild radish worn on Walpurgis Night enables the wearer to see ghosts and witches”
“Hares found on May morning are witches and should be stoned.”
“Draw crosses on you doors before May Day eve and the witches can do no harm.” -CL Daniels, Encyclopedia of Superstitions, Folklore and Occult Sciences of the World


“Hold a mirror over a well on May first, and you will see the image of your future husband or wife."
"If you wash your face in dew before sunrise on May Day, you will become very beautiful." -(Alabama)- Current Superstitions, Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk

Key and Bible divination has always been curious to me... I've never used it or seen it used but it's well known as one of the three old-world divinations of the Salem Girls (aside from Venus Glase and the Sieve and Shear), nevertheless I've been exploring it with a sister in the circle.  The triad of these gifts captured the imaginations of colonials, made them weary of this wicked world.  Stuck in the home means lots of time with the family bibles and family clock-key.  I have all the eggs and fostoria glasses I need but I've never quite figured out how sieve and shears is supposed to work...
But, I along with seemingly the rest of the known world am in a state of self-isolation.  Seattle's taking a hard hit with this pandemic, every day is a new damage report.  I'm heartbroken for Italy.  I'm heartbroken for the elderly.  I'm shocked by the callousness of leaders and depressed to know that the future is more bleak.  I've seen it deep in the cards- this doesn't go the way we want or think it will.  We have to get ready for years of hell.  That's life though, it always has been.  There are waves of peace and comfort followed inevitably by waves of chaotic fear and uncertainty.  I encourage you all to fall deep into your spirituality as we wait for the virus (both biological and political) to pass. It will take time, and it wont be fair, but life always balances itself slightly, ever so rightly.  Be patient.


The one benefit is all the time on our hands to get creative.  I've been relentlessly baking, drawing, writing chapbooks and brainstorming ideas of new books for me and friends.  I've been contemplating reaching out to local witches when the quarantine passes to gather for healing circles (carefully sterile ones at that), or just for some resonating time.  I need to harmonize over the craft right now.  I've had some inquires about the chapbooks; they're not for sale, no profit to be made- most are for my rebel-witch circle, the rest will be distributed randomly in cafe's I frequent and given away for May Day Basket.  May Day Basket will be a give away of chapbooks (each themed around either Love Fortunes or Hex Magic) for May's Eve to some of you fine folk.

When in quarantine, bake bread.  Supply yourself, fool.
Stay healthy, stay calm, pray and think conscientiously about your actions going forward, lives depend on our thoughtfulness.  Use this time to create, to sew, to garden, to work great art, to write and to cook.  Bake breads and crack eggs, spend time in your thoughts.  I wish you the best.

The Procession of Spring and Spirits



Already the land is warming.  It could just be a trick of the seasons; sometimes it gets warm in February and March only to snow again, and indeed a hailstorm covered my home in a small pile of ice on a chilly Saturday evening.  The last few months have been about loss.  I don't like grief.  I can deal with finality but I hate the pain of getting through the losses we all endure.  I believe that the way out is through, and that's all I'm trying to do-  get through it.  It's a cold and chilly feeling, a sadness that will come and fade with the frost, returning every so often to remind me but always warmed by my good memories of those I've loved.  Frost never lasts, and it never stays gone.  I like that rhythm.  I like patterns and rhythms, processes and choreographed movements.  Nature is full of that, even in her chaos.

As the frost recedes, the subterranean nursery pulsates and undulates with life striving for the warm sun above.  Their hard shells give way, their roots stretch, the soil makes space as the young shoots crawl their way to freedom and air and light.  She pushes them up from within, the young green bride of the land.  The land opens, the green spirits promenade along the hillsides and bring the celebration that is spring and summer to us all.  The hags of winter rest, the brides of spring dance, and all I wait for is the fires of summer that make the time so great.  The cook-outs and campfires, and bonfires; the holy fires, the nyd-fires, the May-fires and candle lit porches in the short nights...  I encourage you to make this Mayday and Midsummer something special.  Make the bright-year a time of creation and life, go dance with all those green gods and rose queens of summer.  Enjoy the land and sky and sea, and protect it with your whole heart.


Part of my current work has been dedicated to working on a series of chapbooks/zines based on folklore I've collected and essays related to them that I've written here and elsewhere compiled with illustrations.  These chapbooks are put together by hand and will be distributed at some upcoming witch markets and pop-up metaphysics fairs in the city.  Look for me around town, I show up in random places in Seattle and these chapbooks will too!

Floran candles for Mayday festivities this year
The other part of my time has been focusing on welcoming the spring and the renewal that comes with it through creation.  Dipping dried, oiled and cured mullein stalks from the cemetery roadside in beeswax, rolling Floran candles on paper, molding them hot in my hand with the petals of roses and the scent of olibanum, cooking up the fresh-harvested Seward pine resin and wrapping branches in the dried moss for the Woodwife torches... Candle-making isn't just a hobby, it's a coping mechanism, a way by which I can calm my nerves and focus my thoughts.


For my Naenian Candles, my partner and I built a walnut box from hand; a safe and sacred storage for these torches which illuminate sabbats and lead processions of the dead.  Inside is a mixture of calendula, red rose and ash of the cremated dead... A suitable coffin for this spirit candle.  Creation is sacred in every form, and during this time of renewal and sun and fertility, I am a servant to the preparations of this time. Cemeteries are resting places for the dead and roadsides are the paths that guide us, and our processions.  The mullein that grows there is imbued with a particular gift for movement and guidance, rest and community.

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I just wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to my friend Cory over at New World Witchery for a great interview and a wonderful conversation on all things magic and folkish.  I look forward to our future collaborations!  Visit New World Witchery Podcast for more!

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