So much has been happening this summer, it’s hard to keep up! But I wanted to share some good news and a few links regarding some of the authors I work with.
First of all, the big news was that one of my favorite witchy authors here, Deborah Blake, won the COVR award (that’s Coalition of Visionary Resources – not the cover of the book!) in the Wicca / Paganism category for Witchcraft on a Shoestring. This is her fifth book with us, and in it Deborah gives advice on practicing the craft without breaking the bank.
Since it’s summer, here are a few suggestions from her book for ways to make your yard and garden less expensive and more satisfying.
Use seeds: Most flowers, herbs, and vegetables can be grown from seed. This is a much cheaper option than buying plants from a nursery or garden shop. In many cases (although not all, since most hybrid varieties don’t breed true from seeds), you can save the seeds a plant produces one year and use them the next. Heirloom seeds are particularly nice for this, and then you have the added benefit of growing a plant with roots in the past (you should excuse the pun). Many folks who use heirloom seeds are enthusiastic about increasing their use and will often provide them for free (or the cost of postage) to anyone who requests them. You can also trade seeds with friends who are gardeners, or take turns starting plants from seed by having one of you start all the tomato plants and one the broccoli, for instance. There are lots of plants (corn, carrots, spinach, lettuce, and radishes, for example) that require nothing more than tossing the seeds into a bit of clear ground, then keeping them relatively free of weeds.
Grow perennials and self-seeding plants: Perennials are plants that come back again year after year, and self-seeding plants are those that, while technically not necessarily perennials, tend to reseed themselves without help and show up the next year anyway. Many herbs and flowers fall into these categories. Perennials may cost more to begin with or take more effort to grow from seed, but once they are in your yard or garden, they will come back every year for free. (Be aware that some self-seeding plants are so effective at reproducing themselves that they can take over a yard or garden. Do your research before planting, and make sure that pretty flower isn’t considered to be an invasive weed in your area!)
There are five more tips on keeping your garden thrifty in the book, plus recipes, substitutions, spells, advice and much more on saving money! Check out the browse inside feature of this book for more.
Next up in the big news department is my favorite vampire (yes, I just said that) Michelle Belanger. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Michelle on five books now (same as Deborah), the first of which was the anthology Vampires in Their Own Words, a book which offers a glimpse into the lives, thoughts and emotions of real life vampires. She has since been working with the cast and crew of the Paranormal State TV show for a few years now, and has in turn been writing some paranormal books for Llewellyn as well.
Michelle’s exciting news gets back to her core as a vampire expert – she will be commenting on season 4 of HBO’S hit show True Blood for MTV. If you’ve never heard of “real life vampires” before – they’re not the same as Dracula, Sookie and the other Hollywood vamps you might be familiar with – check out Michelle’s video introduction to the topic here. If you’re a fan of True Blood, check out all of Michelle’s ongoing commentary here and stay tuned as the season progresses. Here is a brief excerpt from her book explaining how she first began to discover she was a vampire.
My own exploration of vampirism started nearly twenty years ago. It was around that time that I began to suspect that there was something unusual about the way I interacted with other peoples’ energy. I would give massages to my school friends in band and choir and theater, always knowing just where to put my hands to relieve their tension and stress. It was not uncommon for people to fall asleep during one of my back massages, and everyone I massaged would comment on how I seemed to just pull the tension out of them with my fingers.
I had an instinctive understanding of where and how to use my hands, and I was always drawn right to the problem areas as if I could sense the knots and sore spots through the skin. The moment I put my hands on another person, I would often get images in my mind, as if I could somehow “see” inside them […] Knots and other problem areas manifested to me as dark or clogged-looking patches in the flow of energy. I would fix these by pulling the energy into myself, clearing out the gunk and leaving behind an unencumbered flow.
I always felt revitalized after giving someone a massage like this and, at first, I believed the rising, expansive sensation I felt was simply a part of the sense of satisfaction I experienced at having helped a friend. But I was sickly all through my youth and it began to be obvious that I felt physically better for a little while after I worked on someone else’s energy. Born with a life-threatening heart defect, I endured several major surgeries before the age of five; although the worst of the problem was repaired, my health was expected to be precarious. Yet somehow I improved my own vitality by touching the energy of another person and taking some of that energy in.
It took a little while for me to fully comprehend what this meant. The ability to connect with and draw upon vital energy came so easily, I never questioned it at first…
For more, check out the browse inside feature of this book.
In the last bit of author news, Katalin Koda was interviewed by the Wiccan / Pagan Times about her new book, Fire of the Goddess. It’s a long, juicy and detailed interview, focusing on everything from women opening to their inner masculine, to the connection between Reiki and shamanism in reclaiming the divine feminine. Here is a brief excerpt from her book on the archetypes she focuses on throughout:
The goddess is portrayed throughout various cultures and histories as a three-fold or triple-faced goddess. Contemporary Wicca practitioners, who practice crafting using the seasons, elements, and natural rhythms as guides, follow the cycles of the maiden or virgin, mother, and crone to guide their sacred ceremonies. This triple-fold view is connected to the three major times in a woman’s life: before menses, the years of menses, and the time of and after menopause. This is reflected in the phases of the moon: new or waxing as the white goddess of birth and growth; full as the red goddess of love and battle; and old or waning moon as the black goddess of death and divination.
After spending time working with these aspects of the goddess, I began to search further afield for varied expressions of the sacred feminine. These expressions are aspects of a wild, sacred feminine and resonate a very deep truth within our beings. This is not the feminine of gender, nor is it the feminine of biology, but the sacred feminine that connects us as human beings to life on this earth. I moved beyond the triple goddess into a nine-fold path that inspires us to access our own sacred feminine within.
When we focus our gifts and talents that are inherent to us as women, we are able to live from a place of authenticity, courage, and clarity. Using nine sacred archetypes, we unlock the rich natural resources within and develop our spiritual journey. The nine manifestations of the sacred feminine are Fire Bearer, Initiate, Warrioress, Consort, Healer, Bodhisattva, Priestess, Weaver, and Crone. Of course, there are many more aspects of the sacred feminine found both in cultures across time and space as well as within, but these are the nine I felt would be most accessible for women today. These nine archetypes are each associated with a specific goddess and one of her myths that will help to illuminate her role as the archetype. We can think of each of goddesses as an inspiration to activate our power, love, and wisdom as we develop on the path of the sacred feminine.
Well, that’s enough reading to keep you busy for the weekend. Have a good one! And Hail Lady Liberty!