January 2006 Newsletter
1) Judith's Ramblings
- Judith's Ramblings
- Product Spotlight
- Book Review
- Ritual Workings
Wow - what a relaxing Christmas holiday. How many folks can say that? Once we finished the orders for Christmas we relaxed and read books, ate junk food and just chilled before going to the inlaws for New Years... while I missed Christmas with my family, it was still wonderful not to be rushing wrapping presents at the last minute only to go to sleep stressed late, get up early have presents before we dash in the car off to inlaws.
So how were all of your holidays? I know some of you left and went on sunny vacations, some of you went to sisters or parents and some of you just stayed at home. I hope your holidays were approaching as relaxed a time as mine were and I hope you got fab gifts for the holidays.
Speaking of fab gifts, we have some stunning stuff coming across for Valentines day. I have added a new section of Gift Ideas as we're constantly getting asked so I've put my thinking cap on and tried to come up with a set of ideas so for birthdays I've put the celtic birth charms in, for valentines all the hearts plus the new kiss and hearts stuff, for other holidays I have other goodies. I'm hoping it'll help with the many choices we have. I'm still working on that section so please excuse the blank holder pages. I'm doing stuff as fast as my little brain can work!
Weight loss... weight loss... I think the scales at the exercise place are broken because I had *lost* 3kgs but *gained* around 2 inches so either despite working out and into a sweat 5x/week plus body balance 1x/week I had lost muscle tone and gained water (since the machine checking body fat had it going down) or the scales were wrong and the machine was wrong and I just gained fatty weight or something... I don't know but I gained inches and lost weight which doesn't make sense. We'll see what this month brings as I go back on an Atkins-type diet (about 50 - 100 carbs per day) and up the workout to 5x/week, 50 minutes (5 laps of the circuit) each time plus body balance. Wish me luck!
Mind you, the weight loss has had an expensive side effect - none of my clothes fit. One of the neighbours has a sign outside her home for alterations so I'm having my nice clothes taken in but as I went shopping in the sales everything I wanted for the summer I kept thinking "it won't fit by then". I have a fab Bravissimo top with a built-in bra that is now too loose to hold me in - fab, yes but also damn annoying from an expense point of view. I did buy a cream "sexy" sweater from RedGreen which was a bit tight but mainly is sexy because it doesn't go to my knees like my other sweaters do (for all you Canadians, you'll giggle at that shop name - it even has a visible tag so I can boast about it when I go back home for a visit!) and a shirt from Klauss which was Chinese silk with a beautiful pattern in Jade - I tried it on and although I knew it'd be loose in the summer, I had to have it. I have trouble believing I'll be a 14 in the summer - I'm a 16 now and at my heaviest I was a 24 so you can imagine why I have trouble with clothes. My mom made me buy new jeans and people thought I'd lost a ton of weight when all I'd done was buy clothes that fit properly *laughs*. But really - how can I justify spending money on clothes that won't fit properly in 6 months...?
I hope you guys are all having a fab time wherever you are though. I hope you're drinking lots of water and detoxing that liver *grins*. I hope you're all well and fit and have a job that is at least tolerable *smiles*. I've opened a free account on LJ but I'm not quite sure what I'll put in it - maybe funny ramblings about stuff that happens around here. I'm New_Moon_Occult if you want to friend me. See you all at WitchyCon '06 I hope!!
Speaking of which, I have been uber stressed about it this year. I'm spending 3x what I did last year on the venue, more than double on guests (because we have double the number coming and I have to pay to put a few up), and I just seem to be spending more time and money on everything it seems. I've been trying meditation but stuff keeps popping in my head like I have to get posters done before I go to Avebury with a supplier Wednesday, I have to have membership forms done before Monday for the pub moot, I have to find stewards (which I think I have), I have to figure out how many tables will fit in the suite we have for dealers then how many for the back of the hall, I have to find 2 door people, I have to solicit people *again* for subscription forms, catalogues and the like for you all and I have to touch base with Llewellyn again. I'd like WitchyCon '06 to make a profit or at least break even so I can do it again even bigger with more speakers and more workshops so we go on longer with more fun stuff but I'm not sure I can handle the stress *laughs*. I might have a US guest in town next year too which would make it even better but instead of the first Saturday in April we'd have to move it to avoid Easter. Ah well, whatever happens this year looks like it's going to be tons of fun again so please grab your friends and book online or by mail!
2) Product Spotlight
The "Heart of Darkness" set features a necklace, bracelet and earrings that all have a beautiful black diamond included in the piece. I've wanted a black diamond piece for myself for awhile but all we could find was men's stuff then I saw this range and knew I wanted the set. It is beautifully gothic and yet not - hardened darkness for one who dwells in shadows.... I just wish I would get it as a gift as opposed to buying it for myself which I know I will have to save up and do.
Black Diamonds - I have to admit, I did the research for this for myself as much as the newsletter. I've always been attracted to black diamonds and this months new products including a heart with a black diamond really caught my fancy. I am hoping we still have some when I can afford a whole set.
At first all I could find was that a black diamond was an inferior dark diamond used in industry for drilling and polishing however that makes a black diamond still a diamond and a fun, gothic coloured diamond at that. Hematite has also been called a "black diamond" but the ones set in to this jewellery are actual black diamonds.
From a crystal healing point of view, black or clear, the resonance of the diamond remains constant although the additional inclusion of more of the base material giving it that black colour means that there is additional healing and magickal properties to a black diamond.
It can be used for courage, clarity of vision, decision making, inner vision, to stimulate changes in your life, strength both inner and outer, to attract prosperity and probably most importantly to open the heart to receive love. It is also a stone you can use to connect with your angels and while you may think it odd a High Priestess and witch talking about angels, one of my "spirit guides" looks _VERY_ much like an archangel and so I really can't ignore them *winks*.
Probably the fact black diamonds are considered inferior is why the jewellery is less expensive than the white diamond equivalent.
As all things seem to, the name for the diamond stems from the Greek word, adamas meaning "adamant". Diamonds were believed to offer unconquerable might in the face of hardship. The diamond is said to be a magnifier, but for more than just psychic powers like amethyst and with a twist: if the wearer is noble, it increases their nobility and if the wearer is self-centered, conceited or wicked, it will increase those qualities as well. I suppose it does mean if you choose to bring a diamond in to your medicine pouch you need to be sure you've worked through any lingering aspects you do not wish to amplify.
Remember - *ALL* the diamond jewellery we carry is guaranteed "conflict free" - you are not supporting the war in Sierra Leone by buying diamonds from us.
3) Book Review
"Industrial Magic" by Kelley Armstrong
"Dime Store Magic" left me wanting to know what happened next to Paige. I looked all over the house for the book, gave up and got it from Amazon though I would have preferred to have been able to buy it from Forbidden Planet or if I had one, my local independent bookshop.
We start out with renegade (and still quite young) witch Paige Winterbourne interviewing for a new Coven (and I'm not telling why incase you haven't yet read "Dime Store Magic"). Failing to do so starts the tone of our novel along with dealing with a new teenaged daughter of a black witch and a demon. Now *that* is hard work! However Paige finds that the bigger problem is her relationship with Lucas Cortez - reluctant heir of the Cortez cabal. He doesn't take family money ever, he mostly shuns his father and yet still his father wants him to head the cabal over all of his other (legitimate) heirs. We learn why as the story progresses.
This time the story follows Paige and Lucas as they hunt for the killer of young daughters and sons of the cabal employees - all of them magickal. Why were they being killed, why the children and why were calls for help allowed when it was clear the killer had then in his or her sights all along? Could Savannah be next due to her relationship with Lucas? I'm not telling but I know that if you loved "Dime Store Magic" and the struggles Paige went through to learn to control and work her magic, you'll also want to follow her through this latest set of trials and see if Lucas can resist the temptation to simply take the role as heir to help the woman he so clearly loves. When *is* he going to ask her to marry him anyway?!?!
3.5 out of 5 moons
"Haunted" by Kelley Armstrong
Ooooohhhhh... now, how to talk about this one without giving away the plot of "Industrial Magic" you might think. Easy. This book may sort of follow on but it is about Eve Levine - Savannah's mother who loves Kristof Nast (head of the Nast Cabal) still (Savannah's father) and is with him in the ghost dimension. She keeps regular tabs on her daughter because of her persistence at using the transportation codes she has learned as a ghost to follow her daughter around. She is searching for a way to actively intervene in her daughters life when the Fates, who we met in the previous book, come to her with a job. Eve most stop the Nix who is inhabiting women and helping to encourage them to commit the most brutal and chaos-causing crimes. There is a catch - to capture the Nix she has to have the power of an Angel.
This book is more a romance between the kick-butt-first, ask-questions-later Eve and Kris and her coming to terms with the need to leave the world of the living behind and embrace the lover she once knew. She finally begins to release her hold on the land of the living and instead accept her death with and love for Kristof when she is threatened with having it all taken away. At a point in the story where she has to choose between love and duty you really do feel for her as she curses herself. Still, I feel this book slightly lacking after "Industrial Magic" and perhaps I like the fun of Rachel Morgan more than the kick-butt-don't-think Eve Levine.
3 out of 5 moons
"Dead Witch Walking" by Kim Harrison
If you were interested in the other 2 books by Kim Harrison I reviewed last month, get this one first. It really sets up the other 2 as far as things from Rachel's past go. You don't know what Trent is yet and that adds to the plot plus how Jenks comes to be with them and how Ivy and Rachel first end up in the church. The constant references to certain events in the future books, including her desire for handcuffs of a particular sort are explained and really it's also a fab story.
We follow Rachel Morgan, a witch of no small accomplishment, as she starts off on her independent runner career. In this book she breaks free from the IS, Ivy decides to go with her and she starts "Vampiric Charms" an independent runner business. Located in the Hollows which has mostly interlanders from after the Turn, the big church they work and live in is full of surprises. A tomato plant sits on the window sill more for flavour than to keep the humans out for it was the Angel virus that created this world. In a search for genetically enhanced drugs and humans, a virus was created that killed only humans - not witches, sorcerers, werewolves, vampires or any of the other races of the earth except, regrettably, Elves whose interbreeding with humans led to their demise in the Turn.
This is a vibrant world created in just the women-kick-ass way I love. I won't give away anything too much but as you know Rachel, Ivy and Jenks do live for 2 more stories and who knows, maybe even another one "A Fist Full of Charms" due out this year (in the US and Canada), you'll also know the adventures are set to continue for a long time.
4 out of 5 moons
4) Ritual Workings
Ultimate Love Spell from our website
Take 3grams orange flowers, 2 grams true lavender, 1 gram rose petals, 1 gram jasmine, 1 gram ginger and grind them coarsely in a mortar. Use a small piece of cheese cloth to put the herbs into and run a hot bath placing the sachet in the running water. Once drawn, soak in this pre-ritual bath with the sachet in the water and just relax and clear you mind.
(Love wine - simmer or stew (leave in pot cold for 3 days) 2 cups red wine, 2 tsp rhubarb juice (which you can make yourself), 3 tsb Cinnamon, 2tsp Ginger, 1/2 tsb nutmeg and 2 cloves scored. Also add one one-inch piece of vanilla bean available from cookery shops scored along it's length. Simmer for 1 hour or leave for 3 days and serve!)
In the ritual, have 3 candles - one white, one red and one yellow - on the altar. Your source candle should be white and new (not previously used in ritual) and lit well before the ritual. Have your charcoal on a bed of sea salt scented with flower scents if possible. Have all you ingredients and love wine ready.
Cast the circle using the "In love and light I cast the circle round. May all within be safe and all ill intentions be only without. So mote it be." chant.
Put the Love incense (2 parts sandalwood, 1/2 part basil, 1/2 part bergamot, small amount of rose petals, a few lavender flowers, and a few drops of those essential oils) on the charcoal and censor the circle and return it to the altar.
Now, place the chalice with the love wine in the triangle of the 3 candles and then light them using a beeswax taper while visualizing someone coming towards you. See them coming towards you with their arm outstretched towards you.
Now, crush the herbs for the love sachet first - 3 parts rose petals, 2 parts orange flowers, 1 part jasmine flowers, 1 part gardenia flowers - in a mortar using a pestle. While crushing, focus on your goal. Next, tie the herbs up in a piece of pink cloth. This should be worn to attract a love.
Next, create the love powder to sprinkle on bed sheets and around bedroom.
Finely crush 3 parts yarrow, 3 parts lavender, 2 parts rose petals and 1 part ginger. While crushing visualize that figure coming towards you again. Please try not to focus on any one particular person as this limits the scope of the spell.
Now to finish, take the chalice with the wine, the sachet and the powder and pass them all through the smoke of the love incense. If this has finished, ad a bit more. Drink the wine while chanting in your mind "Magic wheel draw to my house the one for me to love."
Close the circle and extinguish the candles. Sprinkle the powder, wear the charm and love will come your way!