Art & Healing: An Interview with Annie Perkins Rosenberg

Annie Perkins Rosenberg is a visual artist currently based in Vancouver, WA. Her work is prolific and often times collaborative, and draws on esoteric themes of alchemy, divination, herbalism, the elements, astrology, and more. Along with her art, Annie also does recorded meditations over at Heal With You. Both her art and her meditations have been influenced and informed by her journey with a chronic illness, which she shares a bit about here.

The Moon by Annie Perkins Rosenberg

What are your first memories of making art?

I was a very imaginative child. I know this often annoyed others around me. I was the youngest of many brothers and there was a bit of an age gap. While they were at school all day, I was often at home with my Mother and my Grandparents who had a home they built across the street. My aunt and uncle lived next to them in another home they built, and then my other aunt lived behind us. There were always people around, people going in and out. There were sports, and fishing and going to the public pool, but rarely any art.

While other kids my age were involved with all the other kid stuff, I realized I was different, very different and I really did not like being different. The way I saw the world was different from the rest of my family. I had this artistic, emotional and often dramatic way of doing things and I could see that wasn’t how everyone else was. I hid a lot of that for a very long time and it for sure affected my creating.

My earliest memory of creating therefore come from around the age of seven. I grew up going to Catholic school in a small steel town in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The sister who ran the art department was a tough cookie. She had this small room that was behind the stage in the basement and auditorium. It was really dark down the hallway and there were these dark damp stairs that lead out of the basement and up into the parking lot. When I was in second grade, she had an assignment for us to collect pieces of trees we found outside in the fall and then glue them to a piece of paper to form a tree. We had this large oak outside our house that I collected pieces from and created a tree out of. I remember when I hung it up, that it stood out. Which felt weird. I never excelled at school in any of the academic areas so I knew I was good at something and it felt good. I actually won an award for it and the sister called my Mom to tell her how amazing my work was. It felt really great.


Can you tell us a little bit about your path as an artist, and what brings you to where you are now with your art?

I was truly introduced to the art scene when my best friend, basically my sister, Tamara went to art school at RISD in Rhode Island. I spent many weekends in Rhode Island partaking in the art scene while she was in school there.

My own path as an artist is strange. My schooling is through many community colleges and local schools that I could afford in the many places I have lived. I started with studying painting and photography at a local community college in my hometown. Then I eventually moved to Philadelphia when Tamara graduated from RISD and got a job working for Anthropologie. While living there, I studied art at the Community College of Philadelphia. I did a few art shows while living in South Philly at local coffee shops and salons. I then moved to San Diego, California where I studied Sculpture and Ceramics for a good four years. I did a lot of art shows in San Diego and became really involved with the art and music scene there and I still am today.

While I was still living in San Diego my health became an issue that I could no longer ignore. I have lived with major health issues since I was a child and have gone through hundreds of different diagnoses’ but they could never diagnose me. With this happening in my body, I began studying Nutrition and Wellness to figure out more on my own about my health and did this while still taking art classes. I had been living in San Diego for almost a decade and this was a time in my life where I was fully dedicated to school, work and my art. During this time, I met my now-husband and together we moved to Oakland California. I continued to create while living in the Bay Area and studying Nutrition while I worked full time. This is where I think my art and my health truly began to intertwine. I was not well and I was getting sicker and sicker and it was becoming scarier and scarier each day. A hard part of my life to talk about, but my art is what got me through.

Eventually my health took a severe turn and it got to a point where I entered a treatment. When I began treatment, I got progressively worse and the doctors suggested that I go home to be with family. It is macabre and hard to think of this time, but I felt my body shutting down and I thought I was going home to be with family for my last days. I was too sick to even fly so my husband put me in the car and drove me, and I fought for my life for five years. I do not remember much from this time, just that I was fighting and fighting hard. Eventually, my husband joined me and my family in Pennsylvania and we literally put all of our belongings in the bay area in storage or on the curb. A lot of my artwork was lost in this time.

I didn’t create again until 2018. My father in law bought me some supplies for my Birthday and my husband would lay a towel down on my bed so I could make artwork. I remember I would get out of bed to go downstairs and stain the wood I used and that was amazing for me. It got me out of bed, and it gave me a purpose.

Long story short, I kept creating and it is what got me through. It is also when I began creating meditations that were free online for other chronically ill and homebound patients. A lot of the people who purchase my art or listen to my meditations do not know about my journey. For many years I wrote for well-known websites advocating for my disease and I still stumble across an article I have written on Google news and other random places. It feels like it is coming from another person. I have grown so much in that time.

My health did eventually get to a point where I was able to slowly get out of bed. We relocated to the Seattle area for a year and a half to work with a doctor there and that is when Laurie of Ghost Gallery found my work and asked me to do a solo exhibition. I was still doing IV therapy and in the thick of it at the time, but her reaching out I think is truly what got me to where I am today as an artist. From there, the book covers and other work that I do commissions for like small product lines and other amazing opportunities started to flow in.

Now I am living in the Portland area in Vancouver, Washington. We relocated here right at the beginning of the pandemic and I have worked with a few galleries in Vancouver as well as San Diego and Seattle. I am really excited to see where my work goes from here. I would love to have art in Europe at some point.

The Sun by Annie Perkins Rosenberg


As mentioned in your bio, healing is a major influence in your work. Can you talk about how your role as a healer (and perhaps your own healing journey) has influenced your work?

When I first got sick, I was in bed 24/7 for about three years. I had such severe sound and light sensitivity from my body being so reactive that I was in a dark room and the house had to be silent. Anything else was torture. I could not watch TV, listen to music or even talk on the phone. Although my body was in this raw, overreactive state, I was able to listen to meditations through YouTube on my phone. There were about three or four that my body could handle.

Although I loved these few meditations, I also felt that each one was missing something. Like if one was just a little shorter, or less loud or less talking, etc. So, I took a class online that taught me how to record my own meditations affordably and bought all the equipment, and began to create my own. This too began in bed. I would write the script and then spend the hour downstairs at the kitchen table recording them. The more that I grew with my healing work, the more content I created. A lot of them focus on issues like OCD, Insomnia, Disassociation and other mental health topics that go along with the trauma of having a chronic illness. All the topics are things that I have worked through in my own healing process, and the more that I heal, the more that I see working through the emotional blocks, the trauma, and the other energetic circumstances help me to heal. The mind-body connection is a powerful tool.


There are many references in your art to the esoteric realms of alchemy, astrology, divination, the elements, herbalism, and mythology. Do you have any favorite sources that you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from all these things. I firmly believe that I have the honor of being a very old entity inside this organic vessel. I have been drawn to these things since birth and would often worry my family as a child because I was so different. I also feel a certain humbleness with the gifts that I have in these areas because I truly believe we all are called to these things, it’s just the modern society we currently live in takes us away from what we internally already know.

With the art I create, I am always drawn to certain plants, animals, or images and then I read about them. I know it should be the other way around, but it is like I already know what I want to create first. Therefore reading about ancient knowledge, manuscripts and art always makes me feel at home. These things validate me. They help me understand the things that come to my awareness. Again, I feel honored at this, and time and time again I create a piece of work then read about what it means in one of my books. This vague relationship being one I have learned to trust.

I think my upbringing also hindered a lot of this creative flow. Being raised in a religious household gave me many years of shame around these gifts. I was often sent to the principal’s office in grade school for asking questions like “how do we know that” or asking how we were just supposed to believe something without any proof. Eventually, I was expelled from Catholic School. During this time I was also questioning my sexuality, getting involved in the punk scene, and becoming what I knew was the real version of myself. In Catholic School, that was very looked down on. After too many situations of me getting in trouble, or fighting, I was eventually expelled. When I was filling out the paperwork to leave, the woman who was the disciplinarian for the school waited for my mother to leave the office and called me in alone. She told me that I was going to be something someday. That people like me made a difference in the world. Of course, I promised her I would take this to the grave with me, but I think enough time has passed where it is safe to share. That experience was the best thing that happened to me. In public school I was with so many different types of people and I made so many good friends and the art program was phenomenal. I carried so much shame about that part of my life into my adult. I always feared people I interviewed with would know that I was a troublesome kid. Now that I am in my late 30s, I am so proud of that younger me. I can still look back and see myself with my buzzed haircut and dog collar.

Now, in my adult life, I look at religion with a lot of understanding and realize that the thin line of being over religious is where the issues are. I feel such an honor and respect for the Catholic religion now. When my mother tells me she is praying for me or when she tells me a story from the bible, I actually listen. I am an adult now and it is on my own terms. I just do not like any views being forced or drilled into me. That is when I stop listening – with all things.

The Great Return (to source) by Annie Perkins Rosenberg


Along with your art, you also do record audio meditations over at Heal With You. The composition and precision of your artwork feels very meditative to me – is that intentional, or perhaps just a natural extension of your work as a healer?

There is a MASSIVE connection between the two projects. The funny thing is that a lot of the followers of my art are not interested in meditation and the followers of my meditations are not fond of my art. I think my art intimidates some people who are into my meditations. It is raw and real and sometimes very dark. That is because I am sometimes a very dark person and it took me years of meditation to honor that part of me. I think the meditation part of my life shines on my lighter side and my art on the dark. I create meditations that anyone can listen to. Ones that people feel no shame or fear around dark things that come up and where there is no pressure on positivity. You can feel angry and meditate, it is part of the human experience.

At this point I feel like they are less about me, Annie Perkins Rosenberg the healer or Annie Perkins Rosenberg the artist. Now, my artwork shines without my face and the story attached to it. People are drawn to it on their own terms. It helps them see parts of themselves that they need to heal. I am a small part of that. My meditations are the same, that is why it is called Heal with You. The name is cheezy, I admit that but it is about others healing themselves, I just help them get there. They do the hard work and they deserve the praise, it is hard work.

There are certain repeating symbols in your work, such as snakes, clouds, hands, the Sun and the Moon, and eyes. It almost seems like you are creating a language of your own through your art. The symbol that resonates the most for me in your work is the eye. Can you share a bit about what eyes represent to you?

When I was a child and I felt my disease start to sneak in, I started having neurological issues. I grew up in a small row home and since I was the only girl, I had my own bedroom. My brothers all shared. Therefore when I went to bed at night, I was always scared. I had these long curtains in my windows and when the lights would go out, I would see faces and eyes in them. This carried with me throughout my whole life. It is just something my brain does when I see a pattern, I see a face or eyes. I always see this as a gentle reminder that we are not alone. For all I know, maybe the faces and eyes weren’t my neurological issues creeping in during childhood and indeed it is eyes watching me. I mean, I still see them…

The eye is so telling too. I am a shy person and speaking to someone while looking them in the eye is very hard for me. Especially as someone who works with energy. I can tell a lot about someone, sometimes good and sometimes bad, simply by looking them in the eye.

Like me, throughout the history the eye has held significant meaning for many others. For example, the Egyptians and the eye of Horus which was seen as a symbol of health and offered protection in the afterlife or the blue eye amulets also known as Nazar that offer protection against the evil eye which is known to cause death and dismay to those who gaze into it.

Can you tell us about what you are currently working on, and any upcoming shows, projects, or collaborations?

Right now I am taking time to let my work flow when it flows. Heal with You and Black Haus Art are such amazing projects, but they give me very little income. Right now I truly do it because I feel a calling to create for both of them. It feels more wrong not to create and the time I put into it I enjoy. For my artwork specifically, I have tried to use it as a way to gain income, but then it becomes less organic. It is a balance. This year I took the vow to only create as a form of healing. To channel all that I am learning about myself and this human experience into my art. When I let go of having to create art to pay the bills, that is when my art starts to pay the bills. This letting go approach has carried over into other areas of my life as well. It is when we let go of control that things begin to have more control (imagine that).

Recently, I just wrapped up a joined show I did with another artist, Coleman Stevenson of the Dark Exact and I have a few pieces in some smaller galleries right now too. I also have been selling prints of a collaboration I did with my friend Monifa Kincaid. I really like working with artists, it gives me a lot of joy to share art that is so different but coming from the same idea.

I am also working on a collaboration in the near future with my friend from back in Oakland Carrie. She works in a stained glass studio and I want to put my art into glass. We are figuring out how to combine our powers and create something together.

I never really have a plan with my art to be honest or have a goal or want to be in some major gallery one day. I create because for me, it is just as important as eating, sleeping and breathing. I create because I have to.

Who is an artist that inspires you right now?

There are so many, but specifically an artist, Alessandro Keegan out of Brooklyn, New York. Actually, he is an artist, writer, and teacher. What makes me called to another artist most, is their attitude. I am always drawn to someone who is humble and caring. That is always expressed in their work first for me and then when I read about them or talk with them, I see it in their personality. I understand, that becoming well known in the art world takes a lot of time, dedication, and sometimes money, but maintaining the proper attitude throughout that is what I think makes someone truly shine. Alessandro is a good person and his art is stunning. Speaking to him, through all the small exchanges we have had is always an honor. His work reminds me so much of the shapes I see when in meditation. The things I see when I take the time to calm my hyperactive and busy mind and truly look behind my closed eyes. It’s addicting.

What is the best way for people to learn more about your work (website, social media, etc)?

You can follow my artwork through my website at blackhausart.com or through Instagram @blackhausartshop. I also have a Facebook page, but the information is always the same as my Instagram since I never log in and just have it automatically post through Instagram. Heal with You is accessible through the website as well at healwithyou.com or through Instagram @healwithyou, the Facebook is the same situation.

And please, always feel free to reach out to me, I love meeting and talking with new people.

May Book Coven: Ancestral Medicine by Daniel Foor

Our next book for the May Book Coven is Ancestral Medicine by Daniel Foor. They say that once you start planning a ritual, the ritual has already begun, and I think a similar notion may be applied with certain books such as this one. Once you decide to acquire and read it, the work has already begun – and the spirits are paying attention.

This book covers foundations of ancestor work, ancestral healing, ancestor contact, ancestors of place, funeral rites, and more. Each chapter has at least one exercise to integrate the information in your personal work. Our optional activity is to simply pick one of these exercises to do on our own, then share our experiences with it at the meet-up (if you feel comfortable doing so). If you are interested in participating please email me at saganightryder@gmail.com. And if you’d like to be added to the ongoing Book Coven mailing list, let me know and I’ll get that set up for you.

Bright Blessings,

S.

Digital Detox and Witchcraft

Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth

After reading Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey, I started thinking more about digital detox and, as Grey discusses in his book, the effects that the internet may have on our dreaming, short term memory, and critical thinking. For myself, I also have found that it can have adverse effects on my imagination, visualization, and ability to tune in with spirits, which are all important aspects (along with dream work) of my Craft.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think internet=bad, it can be an amazing tool for learning, connecting, and cultivating community. I do, however, believe that it should be used with awareness as just that – a tool. This is just my personal opinion – you can (and probably should) formulate your own perspective on it, if you haven’t already. We are entering an increasingly digital age, and rather than getting tossed about in the waves, you might consider constructing your own boat and making sure you have your map and compass for the voyage ahead.

I find that I tend to go through phases of mindless scrolling, and then realizing at some point that it’s really affecting my mental state and spiritual life, then totally dropping off from the digital, then repeating the cycle again… instead I’ve decided to get more intentional with it. In my mind, being a Witch includes learning self-responsibility – a Witch takes action according to her Will, often in the form of ritual, offerings, or magick. But there are mundane levels to this too, which can reverberate into the spiritual realms.

So I’ve decided to challenge myself to remain offline for the first hour of everyday – and longer if I choose to. During this time I might meditate, read, or wash the dishes… it doesn’t have to be anything spiritual, but rather just setting the intent at the beginning of the day to bring awareness to disconnecting from the digital.

I invite you to join me with this challenge if it resonates for you – I’ll also be making note of any effects of it for myself in my Mirror Book, as I am interested to see how it changes my dreaming landscape and magickal workings. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on what the Internet/digital world/social media means to you, and if you’ve done any digital detoxes in the past, and how that went.

Bright blessings,

Saga

Journal Prompts: Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey

The book selection for our April Book Coven was Apocalytpic Witchcraft by Peter Grey. Below are the journal prompts for diving deeper:

In the second chapter, Grey presents a Manifesto of Apocalyptic Witchcraft. (pg. 14)

  • Which points do you agree with? 
  • Which would you redact? 
  • What would you add to your own manifesto?

“The work of witchcraft is intimately connected with dreaming; some say it is simply that.” (pg. 25) “…we could go so far as to define witchcraft as the art of navigating dream.” (pg. 35)

  • What is the quality of your dreams?
  • Have you had any significant dreams recently, or repeating themes in your dreams?
  • How can you connect more deeply with your dreaming? Some ideas are keeping a dream journal, disconnecting from the digital, fasting and/or bathing before sleep, evening meditation, and using herbal aids such as lavender, mugwort, and poppy. 

“Hughes relates that: ‘The inner world separated from the outer world is a place of demons, the outer world separated from the inner world is a place of meaningless objects and machines.'” (pg. 57)

  • How do you balance the inner and outer world? Some ideas are through myth, poetry, art, dream work, active imagination, magick, and ritual.

“We do not need to begin with an exterior cult if we can diligently apply the basic exercises, and in doing so nurture the flowering of our own gifts.” (pg. 152)

  • Grey goes on to describe these basic exercises as orientation, presence, and imperative. What do you consider to be the foundational exercises of your Craft? For example meditation, ritual, offerings, etc.

“Orientation demands a mythic topography of witchcraft to replace the lost dream of a unified cult.” (pg. 156)

  • What does the landscape of your witchcraft look like?

“The witch must be present and this presence means the body.” (pg. 158)

  • How do you practice presence and embodiment?

“The third principle is: imperative…Witchcraft is defined in that it acts. This is not a path of contemplation, but of engagement.” (pg. 162)

  • Grey presents the imperative of apocalyptic witchcraft as animism. What is your imperative as a witch?

Bright blessings,

S.

Herbal Grimoire: Rowan (Mountain Ash)

*Please note: this is not a monograph, and I am not an herbalist. This is an excerpt from my herbal grimoire, and the writings of a Witch. It is intended to supplement your own research and studies.*

Identification

The Rowan is a deciduous tree, growing 5-20 feet tall. The bark is smooth reddish brown to gray, often with a silver sheen. Leaves are compound, oblong to lance-shaped and sharply serrated and dark green with lighter underside. Small white flowers form fluffy clusters and are replaced with bright red to orange berries in autumn. This tree can be found in low-to-middle elevation forests, as well as rocky slopes in northern and mountainous regions. It seems to prefer to grow on the fringes of places, such as meadows, clearings, stream banks, and slopes. Cultivars can also be found along roadways. The berries are edible but extremely tart and bitter.

Remedial Qualities

The berries are high in vitamin C – can be added to jams, wines, beers, and bread. The Nuxalk would rub the berries on the scalp to combat lice and dandruff.

Magickal Qualities

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: Fire

Powers: psychic ability, healing, power, success, creativity, protection

Rowan is primarily considered an Herb of Protection as well as a Visionary Herb. For centuries it has been used for protective purposes in Europe, often being planted around the home. A traditional protective amulet is made with two twigs tied together with red thread to form a cross. The branches are often used in fashioning dowsing rods and magickal wands.

The leaves and berries can be added to incense blends, sachets, and amulets, to enhance creativity and psychic abilities, and to banish unwanted energy.

Preparation and Recipe

To dry the berries:

String the berries together along a thread with a needle, and hang to dry. May be used as is for ritual adornment (as a necklace or on your altar), or removed from thread to add to incense, sachets, etc.

You can also purchase dried berries from the shop here.

Sol Incense Recipe:

2 TBS dried rowan berries

2 TBS dried rowan leaves

1-2 cinnamon sticks

1 TBS frankincense resin

2 TBS St. John’s Wort flowers

Crush ingredients separately in mortar and pestle, then add together in a bowl and mix well. Store in an air tight jar.

Burn as needed for creative and visionary works, divination, or casting a circle for ritual.

References:

Beyerl, Paul. The Master Book of Herbalism. Blaine: Phoenix Publishing, 1984.

Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1990.

Pojar & Mackinnon, ed. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Auburn: Lone Pine Publishing, 2014.

Deur, Douglas. Pacific Northwest Foraging. Portland: Timber Press, 2014.

Bright Blessings,

Saga

Keeping a Witchcraft Journal: The Mirror Book

The Mirror Book is a term coined by Scott Cunningham, and refers to a Witch’s daily journal, in which you record anything pertaining to your spiritual life and Craft. This distinguishes it from the Witch’s grimoire or Book of Shadows, which is a more permanent record of recipes, spells, and the like. The Mirror Book is a valuable tool in assessing your progress in witchcraft, and life in general. Over time, as you read back over the book, you become your own teacher. As Cunningham says: “One of the goals of the Wicca is self-knowledge; the Mirror Book is a valuable tool in achieving this.”

So, what do you record in your Mirror Book? Here are a few suggestions:

-Date

-Moon phase

-Menstruation cycle (if applicable)

-Unusual weather

-Significant astrology/planetary alignments

-Dream notes

-Divinations

-Reflections on witchcraft/being a witch

-Reflections on your studies in witchcraft

-How you are feeling that day – physically, emotionally, energetically

-Successes and failures in magick spells

-Reflections on your rituals

-Mundane concerns that pertain to your spiritual life or Craft

-Synchronicities

-Repeating symbols or themes in your day-to-day life

-Significant interactions with others (humans, animals, plants, spirits, etc)

-Progress in your Craft, such as building a new altar, starting an apothecary garden, creating a Witch’s tool, etc.

These are just a few ideas to get you started – you can also check out these journal prompts on the blog for more ideas. What do you include in your witchcraft journal?

Bright Blessings,

S.

March/April Book Coven

Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey

For the March/April Book Coven we will be reading Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey. I think this is going to be a challenging read, considering the times we are in. It is a challenging read regardless. However, if you are ready to dive in, let me know (contact info below) and I’ll make sure you’re on the email thread for it! Our meet-up time is still TBD, but will be sometime around mid-April.

Book synopsis.


One of the chapters presents a “Manifesto of Apocalyptic Witchcraft”, so the *optional* activity is to create your own Witchcraft Manifesto (aka Rules, Guidelines, Laws, etc), which may include or omit from the one presented in the book. As a Witch I believe it is important to work on defining our Craft, and this would be an excellent addition to your personal grimoire. It is of course not set in stone, but rather an ever-evolving philosophy. If you feel comfortable doing so, you may share some of your Manifesto with the group at the meet-up. It would be great to get insight and inspiration from one another. 

I encourage you to purchase this book directly from the publisher, Scarlet Imprint, if possible. While they are based in the UK, my order was shipped promptly and it took about two weeks for it to arrive. Here is the link to purchase from them (or you can purchase a digital edition to start reading right away): 


Hard Copy

Digital Edition

If you do not have the resources to purchase it, you can find a free pdf for it here.

Here’s an excellent interview with the author and his partner, both who also run Scarlet Imprint:

If you would like to be added to the ongoing mailing list for the Book Coven and receive monthly updates directly to your inbox, please send me an email at saganightryder@gmail.com and I will add you to it!

Book Coven General info:

  • A monthly book club with Zoom meet-up at the end of the month.
  • Book selection announced mid-month (for the upcoming month).
  • This is a month-to-month opt-in, you aren’t expected to participate every month!
  • You do not have to be a Witch to join the Book Coven, just know that witchcraft will be a running theme with the book selections and probably a part of the discussions.
  • There will be a bonus activity (optional) inspired by the book, as well as journal prompts.
  • Email me at saganightryder@gmail.com if you want to join in for the upcoming month!

Bright Blessings,

S.

Journal Prompts: Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

We read this for the Jan/Feb Book Coven, but in case you missed it and wanted to dive deeper into this fantastic book, here are a few journal prompts to consider when reading it:

Ch. 1 (The Howl: Resurrection of the Wild Woman), pg. 30*: “Each woman has potential access to Rio Abaja Rio, this river beneath the river. She arrives there through deep meditation, dance, writing, painting, prayer making, singing, drumming, active imagination, or any activity which requires an intense altered consciousness. A woman arrives in this world-between-worlds through yearning and by seeking something she can see just out of the corner of her eye.”

What are some of the ways you access this “river beneath the river”?

Is there an activity you can do on a daily basis to travel to this place?

What do you seek in this “river beneath the river”?

Ch. 3 (Nosing Out the Facts: The Retrieval of Intuition as Initiation), pg. 80: “Vasalisa turned to her doll as soon as the Yaga had gone. ‘What shall I do? Can I complete these tasks in time?’ The doll assured her she could, and to eat a little and go to sleep. Vasalisa fed the doll a little too, then she slept.”

Vasalisa’s doll can be seen as a talisman, an object imbued with life and magickal intent. If you are creating a talisman, how will you “feed” it? Some ideas are: 

passing it through sacred smoke

making offerings to it

bathing it in salt and/or water

charging it with crystals

anointing it with oils/herbs/flower essences

Ch. 5 (Hunting: When the Heart is a Lonely Hunter), pg. 159: “It is good to make a meditative and daily practice of untangling the Life/Death/Life nature over and over again…When we are untangling this nature, it would be good for us to sing something like this: What must I give more death to today, in order to generate more life? What do I know should die, but am hesitant to allow to do so? What must die in me in order for me to love? What not-beauty do I fear? Of what use is the power of the not-beautiful to me today? What should die today? What should live? What life am I afraid to give birth to? If not now, when?

Ch. 9 (Homing: Returning to Oneself), pg. 306: “The exact answer to ‘Where is home?’ is more complex…but in some way it is an internal place, a place somewhere in time rather than space, where a woman feels of one piece. Home is where a thought or feeling can be sustained instead of being interrupted or torn away from us because something else is demanding our time and attention… Home is a sustained mood or sense that allows us to experience feeling not necessarily sustained in the mundane world: wonder, vision, peace, freedom from worry, freedom from demands, freedom from constant clacking. All these treasures from home are meant to be cached in the psyche for later use in the topside world…. Although there are many physical places one can go to ‘feel’ her way back to this special home, the physical place itself is not home; it is only the vehicle that rocks the ego to sleep so that we can go the rest of the way by ourselves. The vehicles through and by which women reach home are many: music, art, forest, ocean spume, sunrise, solitude. These take us home to a nutritive inner world that has ideas, order, and sustenance all of its own… In truth, home is holographic.”

-what physical space and/or actions bring you home?

-what does home feel like for you?

-how can you access home on a daily basis?

-how can you bring the treasures from home to the “topside world”?

Ch. 14 (La Selva Subterranea: Initiation in the Underground Forest), pg. 458: “How does one live in the topside world and the underworld at the same time and on a day-to-day basis? What does one have to do to come down into the underworld on one’s own? What circumstances in life help women with the descent? Do we have a choice about going or staying? What spontaneous help have you received from the instinctive nature during such a time?”

*Page numbers are from the 1st edition, paperback.

Bright Blessings,

Saga

Perfect Oats

In my opinion, oats should be a staple in every Witch’s kitchen – they are healthy, delicious, versatile, and inexpensive. On my own path in kitchen witchery, I’ve been focused on incorporating more plant-based, whole foods into my diet, for both health and spiritual reasons, and oats have definitely become foundational in this.

Here is what Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs has to say about the magickal properties of oats:

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Venus

Element: Earth

Power: Money

Magical uses: Use in prosperity and money spells.

I understand this to mean that oats are symbolic of the abundance of the harvest, and the generosity of earth. They have a grounding and feminine energy. You could consider incorporating certain spices in your bowl of oatmeal for their unique magickal properties as well.

These days I have oatmeal almost every day for breakfast and I still look forward to this meal as one that is both comforting and nourishing. Over time I have perfected my recipe for making oatmeal, and want to share it with you! So without further ado, here is how to make a perfect bowl of oats.

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups water

1/2 tsp sea salt

splash of vanilla extract

dash of spice such as cinnamon, cardamom, pumpkin pie spice mix (my fav), etc (optional)

1 spoonful tahini (optional but definitely recommended!)

maple syrup or preferred sweetener

milk or plant milk

Directions:

  1. put oats, water, salt, vanilla extract, and spices in pot
  2. set heat to medium and timer for 10 min
  3. after 10 min, remove from heat, give it a stir, let rest for 1 min
  4. mix in tahini to make it extra creamy
  5. add sweetener and milk , and enjoy!

That’s it! So simple and delicious. You can of course add toppings such as fruit, nuts and seeds. Get creative with it!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if so, let me know in the comments. 🙂

Happy cooking and bright blessings,

S.