Lineage, or Digging Up My Roots.

Ever notice how when most people talk about family trees, they refer to the ancestors as the branches? This never made sense to me. It makes way more sense to me to think of my ancestors as my roots.

As a solitary, eclectic witch,  I have been curious for some time now, as to where I came from. Outside of my immediate scope which included literally loads of my dad’s side, and a limited interaction with a limited number of my mom’s folks, I had no idea.

I knew the story of our name, Rountree, and its origin, in England.  Daddy told me the story often when I was little. A landowner was out inspecting his land and found a baby boy under a rowan tree.  He took the boy to raise, giving him the surname Rowantree. The boy grew up, took a wife, and had two sons, who changed the spelling to Rountree.

I loved that story. All I knew of my mother’s side was that she was one quarter Cherokee. I took the plunge. I signed up on ancestry.com. I highly recommend this.  It has been tremendously rewarding.

I have been able to verify my Daddy’s story, to some degree. Sure enough, the line stops in 1475,  in Yorkshire. Along the way, I found myself in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia before crossing the Atlantic to Ireland, and then on to England. There are other grandparents roots to explore,  but that’s as far as the Rountree line is traceable.

So,  at my Mom’s request, I began digging her side.  She wanted to uncover those Native American roots, and frankly, I did too. I may have found more than either of us expected.  Her line is traceable back to 400 BC. it goes further,  I just haven’t gotten that far.

Update: found a taproot on Dad’s side that goes pretty far.  I don’t know whether I find it cool or weird that it turns out that my mom and dad share ancestors.  I found documented proof that my paternal 34th Great Grandparents are also my maternal 34th Great Grandparents. This is the ancestor taproot that stretches into antiquity,  so,  I guess it’s kind of cool.

I have found royal and tribal and tribal royal blood in abundance on both sides.  It humbling.  Very humbling to know your roots.

This genealogy project has inspired me.  I want to write about the spiritual relationship between descendants and ancestors. I’m still ironing out the concept, while work begins in earnest on Book 2 of the Aradiana Series. There might be some genealogy themes touched on in this series, too.

Book 1 is still available.

 

A Modern Day Epic

The warm sunny weather has kept our household busy. Between spring planting, yard maintenance, end of year standardized testing for the boys, and the onset of the social season we have barely stopped.

I have managed to get very little writing done, and next to no crafting. I have managed to finish planting the Garden, even as the sprouts of silver queen and sweet corn broke the ground.  This process was blocked at several points by the biggest small problem ever to plague a gardener.

We have been tireless in our fight against the fire ants.  For generations our kind and theirs have lived side by side, in relative peace. Things changed in the event that will live in infamy,  The Siege Of The Feet 2016.

Picture it:Sicily, 1910…. No wait, wrong story. Picture it: my back yard, 2016.  A radiantly happy witch works the soil under the cloud dappled sky, a gentle breeze lifts her hair. The soft, rich dirt moves freely under her hoe, and her bare toes dig deep into its soothing comfort.  She has found a moment of nirvana.

She lifts her face to the expanse of infinity as she gives thanks for the sheer perfection of this moment. Little does she know, she has disrupted the colonization of The Grand Solenopsis Empire.  This gross affront has only one recourse for them; Vengeance.

Stealthily, they moved into position, between toes and along the arches, as far North as the ankle.  These brave, selfless elite fighting ants waited for the command, knowing that they most likely would be killed in this battle. The command came, and unleashed all of the rage at the insult to their great Queen. As one they attacked, causing the witch to curse and strike them dead, before she retreated to nurse her many wounds.

Many days later, which to the ants is centuries, the tale is still being told in the hatching chambers, as they re-establish their hatred for the enemy with every retelling.  Her feet healed and she caused a great poisonous snow to fall wherever they tried to establish a new colony, until they were forced from The Chosen Land. They now reside in smaller, clandestine groups in the outlying areas.  It has been rumored that one day the tribes will all unite again, finally take down the giant witch, and regain their glory.

These rumors are unfounded, and as yet unverifiable. As for the witch, she regretted the use of poisonous snow(the entire point of her garden is to provide chemical free, wholesome food for her family) and she resolved to find a better option for ant control.

Maybe fire.

I’ve Been Absent

And I apologize.  I have had a good bit going on.  Last Wednesday,  I bit the bullet and hit publish on the first in series short novel that I’ve been working on.

Of course I proofed it a dozen times,  but some errors and formatting issues showed up in the finished work.  I frantically made revisions,  and consequently found other errors.  The process continued.

So,  long story short,  I am now a published author.  I’ve never felt such gut wrenching anxiety. At last check,  38 free copies have been downloaded.

I gotta admit,  my brain kind of short circuited long about the 15th download.  I had to unplug and reset.  So I lost myself in dirt and sunshine until I felt normal.  We have had our garden spot plowed for a couple of weeks,  but then the rain came. I had to wait until the soil dried out before I could plant.  Since Friday,  I have planted yellow squash,  acorn squash,  cucumbers,  silver queen corn,  sweet yellow corn and okra.

Then my son decided he wanted to learn how to garden and we planted three kinds of green beans, blackeyed peas,  carrots,  onions,  spinach and tomatoes. This afternoon we will planting some more tomatoes and seven different kinds of peppers. We love our peppers.

I have also started on the second in series book.  The story centers around Rheta.  She’s no spring chicken,  but she is naive.  She is a witch and priestess in training who finds herself seemingly alone on an empty planet,  battling weather gone crazy,  crippling loneliness,  and a sorcerer that she doesn’t trust.

Unbeknownst to them both,  the rest of humanity has been “evacuated” by an alien race ruled by a powerful deity, who is bent on finding her heir.

It is going to be a series of several,  with each book being considered a short read.

If you are so inclined,  you can check it out on Kindle but it has occult and pagan themes and adult situations. Today is the last day of the free promotion.

So on to today’s work,  featuring a small mountain of laundry,  a vacuum cleaner, two bathrooms in need of swabbing, and a kitchen that needs a deep clean. All that before at least two more hours of planting this afternoon and getting dinner on the table. Ah,  the glamorous life of an author.

 

 

Rainy Day Crafting

It’s been raining and grey since yesterday afternoon. I was feeling kind of  blah, so I made a fairy house. I didn’t do a step by step on this. Sorry.  I really just kind of rolled with it. IMG_20160412_150213

Inspired

Today’s post was inspired in equal parts, by a visit to a friend’s house, and by another Word Press blogger. Reading her blog has been a huge inspiration to me just in the short time I have been blogging. If you haven’t already found her, please take time to check out the awesome project that Creatingmyspaceblog has going on.

I have always loved crafting and recycling. I love taking something that would have ended up in a landfill, and finding a new use for it. In our yard, you will find evidence of this all around.

Empty wine bottles used as decorative sun catchers, old motorcycle tires as planters, and most recently, yard spinners made from drink cans. Our friend had a couple of these hanging from a tree branch. I had to adapt them slightly to work in my yard.

For this project you will need two empty drink cans, a wire coat hanger, a hammer, one large nail,  a utility knife, scissors, pliers, a Sharpie, and tape. I also used wire cutters, but you could just use the scissors.

The very first thing you want to do is rinse your cans out thoroughly and let them dry. I took the tabs off because my son wants to do another craft with those.

Then  take the hammer and nail and make holes in the bottom of each one. Next you want to make your marks. I marked in two different places on the top of each. Next, make equidistant lines from the bottom of the can with the lower mark, up to the mark.

You could be ultra precise and measure, but I just free handed it. Now run tape around the bottom of the can with the vertical marks. This will serve as a guide line later.  I forgot this step this time and had to go back. Carefully use the utility knife to cut the top off of both cans on the marks.

Then, using scissors, carefully cut the vertical lines down to your tape. Bend the strips down.

Now, take the can without the strips cut and make small notches around the top. This will help you bend it in to fit inside the other one. Trim the sharp edges off the strips, bend all of them at a slight angle and put this down on the other can, to check the fit. You may have a little bending on the base can. As long as it’s minimal, it should be fine.

Now you are going to straighten your coat hanger and shape it. I am using existing, upside down, half buried wine bottles as the support for mine, so I made a loop on on end. On the other end I used the pliers to bend the wire back and forth to break off the weird end. If you want yours hanging, shape the hook to hang it and make a ninety degree bend. You want to make this bend however long your cans are plus about three or four inches from the straight end. Take the cans apart and slide them onto the bent part. Put them back together.

I wasn’t able to get pictures of the next part. After your can spinner is on the wire, put back together and spins freely, take the pliers and hold the very end of the wire and make a curl by twisting the wire around.  Then use tape in front of and behind the can, wrapping the wire. A few wraps in each place is enough. Just make sure you leave your can some wiggle room.

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This keeps the spinner from getting hung on the wire at the bends. (See my lovely neighbor’s house… On a related note, be watching for a future post that will be titled something like “Good fences make good neighbors”)

Now, hang it or stick it in the ground and enjoy. Aside from looking awesome when the wind blows, they lend a new voice to the chorus of wind chimes and bird song.

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See mine in action :

Friday Fun Day

This supermoon brought a depth I never expected. Yesterday did not go as I had planned. At all. But that is ok. Better than ok actually.

Yesterday, my mind was blank. I felt scatter brained and unfocused. No matter what I did, I couldn’t snap out of it. So I dived deep into that blank space, and I found something I did not expect. I found the reasons behind my intentions.

This is known as shadow work, working with your shadow self. Going boldly into those dark places, accepting yourself fully, or working to correct those flaws that you find that you cannot accept.

So how does all that tie into the title? Simple. I have been so focused on moving forward, that I forgot to stop and enjoy the moment. Having goals, intentions, and ambitions are all great. Wonderful even. But if you don’t take time right now to enjoy life, then those goals, intentions, and ambitions are empty.

So, in that spirit, today I’m going to have fun. What do I find fun? Being a crafty little witch, of course. I am making smudging fans today. The fact that I already have three is irrelevant.

Over the course of the past year of keeping backyard chickens, I have collected the feathers that they drop. I have a lot. First, I cleaned them in warm, soapy water. I added about half a cup of rubbing alcohol. This sanitizes them. *Another sanitizing trick for feathers is 5 parts warm water, 1 part vinegar, and 1 part witch hazel. Let them soak over night. If you get feathers from a craft store you can skip this part.

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Then, I rinsed them and spread them out to dry.

IMG_20160408_112351While waiting for them to dry I gathered up the other stuff.

Ribbon

Embroidery floss

Craft sticks

Sharpie

Tape

Beads

Small rubber bands

glue

Yarn* optional

Scissors

Thread

Needle

IMG_20160408_120240I selected a three feathers to start. Next I secured them with a couple of rubber bands. Then, I added more feathers to the bundle by sticking them in the rubber band, until it had the fullness I wanted.

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With the Sharpie, I wrote intentions on the sticks. Then, I sandwiched the feather bundle between them and secured with tape.

I selected blue ribbon, tied it off at the top, wrapped it clockwise around the sticks all the way to the bottom and tied it off.

I cut about eighteen inches of the thread, and threaded it double on the needle. I made one small knot in the end. Then I started by going under and up through the ribbon with the needle. Pulled it through and the knot is hidden. Then I beaded. Three beads at a time, repeating the under and up, in between. Another knot at the end, and one more under and up and snip the end.

I selected white embroidery floss and tied it off and then wrapped it in a pattern around the part of the handle that I beaded. This caused my ribbon to shift. I ended up using just a dab of glue to secure it.

And there you have it. A new smudging fan. Here’s a shot of it on my altar.IMG_20160408_130507

 

(The jawbones you see, I found in the woods, and bleached for about two weeks. I did NOT harm any animal.)

I will make a couple more, probably as gifts. Here is my whole collection and the topic of my next post: smoke cleansing/smudging bundles.IMG_20160408_131250

 

Never Fear, Super Moon Is Here.

Wait, what? Oh, Supermoon. The moon’s perigee. Gotcha. This time it is referring to a new moon perigee, or supermoon. Since it is a new moon, we won’t see it, but we very well could feel it.

In my practice as a modern witch, new moons are times of beginnings. Now is a great time to work on creative ventures and gardening. This is also a good time to start a self improvement project, a new beauty regimen, or work on relationships or begin romances.

They are also widely known as belonging to the dark goddesses. Hecate, Morrigan, and Kali, to name just a few. Don’t let the term dark goddess turn you off from reading, they exist to keep the balance. You cannot have light without dark after all.

The typical theme of new moons is abundance, and in our house that means honoring our deities, a fire in the fire pit or cauldron, new moon intentions and abundance check.

I honor my deities with a private ritual in my indoor sacred space. This is one on one time with the deities that I honor. It usually involves a ritual bath, candles and meditation.  The ritual bath will have sea salt and baking soda, along with fragrant herbs. I like to use lemon balm, and Rosemary. Add in a few drops of lavender oil and the scent is calming and clearing. It allows me to have concise communication with divinity. It puts me in the right head space.

Next, we have the new moon fire. It symbolizes the new moon, since the moon is not visible. Once it is burning steady, I write down my intentions for the upcoming cycle. Most of the time I keep this list to three goals. Areas of my life that I would like to see growth and abundance in. I write these down.

Then I take out my check book. I fill out our new moon abundance check. With the list and check in hand, I open the book of secrets. The list and check I’ve just written gets tucked into the book. Out comes the list and check from the previous new moon.

I take these to the fire, and toss them in, often with dried herbs that correspond to my goals and intentions. A household favorite herb that goes into the fire is vervain. The main attributes that I focus on during this ritual are it’s protective qualities. It is known to cleanse and purify as well, among other things. Truthfully, I use more of it than any other herb in my ritual work. It grows wild in my yard. I haven’t even delved into it’s medicinal uses. But that’s a post for another day.

After all the new moon work is done, I make sure the fire is banked and let it burn out. Important note! Our fire pit and my cauldron are both fire safe.This means they can contain the fire. Never leave a flame unattended. Safety first.

New moons are my favorite. I am a natural optimist, and during the dark moon is when I shine. Yeah, it’s dark. But I trust my faith to shine on, and be my light in the dark until the moon returns to keep watch over the night sky. Because this is a supermom, those deep emotions that I associate with the dark of the moon are going to be heightened, and the energy work that I do during this time will be strengthened, magnified.

If you do not practice, you can still use this energy to plant a flower garden that will bloom and grow better, start a new workout routine and stick to it, or make new friendships. Read more about new moons, supermoons and vervain at the links below.

http://earthsky.org/space/what-is-a-supermoon#how-many

http://www.thehoodwitch.com/8-phases-of-the-moon/

http://www.alchemy-works.com/herb_vervain.html