Setting Up Your First Alter (part 1)

This is going to be one of the most important and personal choice you make when practicing. You’ll need to decide what type of alter, how you store everything and how to display it if you want to display. You may choose to hide it in a room in your home that visitors don’t visit or you may keep it out in the open. I personally store everything in an old antique table a family friend gave me. I can hide it, keep my kids from accessing it and I know where everything is.

You will want to find storage– it could be a plastic tub or it could be an old wood antique box, that doesn’t matter outside of aesthetics.

You will also need to decide what types of tools you’ll want to use. Candle magick is one of the simplest and more common. All you need is a supply of candles of different shapes, types and colors. Common colors

  1. Purple is used for wisdom
  2. Blue- healing, fighting sadness/depression or bringing peace
  3. Green is used in healing, health, money and success spells.
  4. Pink- love, relationships in general (friendships), it’s used to invoke feminine energies
  5. Red- passion, love, vitality, fertility and can be used to banish negativity
  6. White- protection, cleansing, divining and communicating with the deceased
  7. Black- lifting curses, banishing negative entities or energy, purification and some health (banishing a cold or symptoms of chronic illness)

After determining the types of spells you’ll practice (you may want to stock up for any and all types), you will need to determine the sizes. There isn’t any significance with sizes and shapes, so that would be a personal preference, although sometimes you find specially molded candles in shapes of gods, goddesses or symbols. Even then, all you would really need are tapered, pillar, jar, votive or tea lights.

The last thing to consider- do you want primarily unscented or scented candles? I would suggest a mixture of both, but with earthy scents. Some scents promote psychic energies, relaxation and sage is good for cleansing. Burning a sage scented candle can work just as well as smudging, if you don’t have a smudge stick available.

Dragons blood is good to work with in any form. You can use scented candles, incense or dragon’s blood ink. Dragon’s blood incense smells amazing and is added to increase the energy you put into your spell work. It makes the energies more intense.

 

Incense is another item on your list. It’s normally a good idea to stock up on different earthy scents to help enhance your spells. Different scents help with different emotions or energies- dragon’s blood is considered to help

Some common scents that are used to enhance spells

  1. Dragon’s blood
  2. Sandal wood
  3. Lavender
  4. Sage
  5. Peppermint
  6. Other earthy scents work well as well

An alter cloth is next on the list. You can make one or buy one. It’s typically used as decoration and to protect the surface of the alter. You could also get one that serves both to protect the alter and provide divination

The divination tools are next. Decide what form(s) of divination you’re wanting to practice and make sure to get the tools you will need for those. If you’re wanting to read tarot, get at least one set of tarot cards. Most people say the first deck needs to be gifted and not bought, but to be honest, not everyone is going to have a friend or family member who will give them their first deck.

If you’re wanting to learn the iChing, they do sell iChing coins but all you really need are five coins of one type and one different. (I use 5 pennies and 1 dime).

If you’re wanting to learn runes, one or two good sets of runes

For dowsing, you need a pendulum (you can make one fairly easy but there are plenty to choose from) and you need a mat (either make or buy- it can be paper but they also make cloth) with words like “yes,” “no,” “maybe” etc.

With any method, it’s best to buy at least one guide book to start you out. Some people prefer ebooks but I like normal, paperback books myself. It makes it easier to do readings and the batteries never die. Of course, when you’re studying Tarot, it comes with a book and you will find out quickly that the meanings in the book mean nothing, but it gives a basic understanding while you’re learning.

If you decide you’re not interested in practicing divination, that’s ok. It’s not required but it is useful to know at least one method.

There may be another post like this later, if I find I missed anything. My alter box is mainly set up for candle magick and divination and I covered those. I don’t do herbal or crystal magick too much, I do have a collection of dried herbs, crystals for specific energies and salt (sea and black). I’m in the process of grinding coal to make black sand.

As much as you can gather, dry out and make yourself- the better. The more work you manually put in, the more the alter’s energies will be alligned with yours but if you buy, you can use the 3 day “rule”

For 3 days, carry the tools with you in your pocket. Three nights, sleep with them under your pillow and it should sync your energies up to the tools.

A few miscellaneous items you may also want to add:

1. Athame- double sided knife used in rituals to direct energies

2. wand- once again, used to direct energies and very easy to make (I found a sturdy stick, stripped it down and have been using it for years)

 

When you go to buy your supplies, it’s best to find the supplies that are calling you. Find the ones that keep you coming back around- even if it’s not the best looking, those are the tools most aligned with you and we hardly choose our tools. Most of the time our tools choose us.

If I missed any tools you have found you need, feel free to comment. We all practice different so what I use may not be what everyone else uses and vice versa.

 

 

Decided to participate in Blogtober this year

I believe I have failed Blogtober in past years (other blogs, I have 5 or 6 currently) but to build content up as I am letting the plan I’m using on my main blog expire this month,

This is going along with Nanowrimo prep month as well as my first major social media campaign for my shop.
I love a good challenge- always have and these 30 day challenges are always the most fun to me.

To do Blogtober, you simply have to blog daily- the “rules” say you can blog about anything at all- every day of October.

Anyone else doing Blogtober? My other website, I believe, failed last year but this year I should have enough drafts to help push me along.. but I’m doing it with 4 different niche sites.

Introduction to Tarot

The tarot is by far the most popular and well known method of Divination. You draw cards and interpret the cards. All tarot decks come with books and there are hundreds of tarot books and websites that teach tarot.

There is even an organization- The American Tarot Association for tarot readers. It costs 25 a year and you get special courses, access to joining their free tarot network and they have a newsletter that comes out every few months.

Even with all this information available, there are some main rules that the books and sites don’t teach. Even though the cards do have meanings, they aren’t always set in stone. When you do a reading, the cards tell a story- and it’s up to you to determine what they’re saying. The cards have generic meanings, but when you really start reading, your intuition will tell you what the real meaning of the card is for your specific reading.

Since you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’re new to tarot, or interested in learning. Here are the basics

How to pick your deck

Now, they say the first deck needs to be gifted, but not everyone has a friend or family member who will gift them their deck. If you’re interested in learning, don’t let the gift rule keep you from going and getting a deck.

It’s best to go to a shop that sells a lot of decks and handle each deck that stands out. Find the one that gives you the energy that connects best with yours.

If you keep shopping in a store, and one deck is always jumping out at you, there is a good chance that deck has chosen you personally.

How to Prepare Your Deck for Use

Now that you found the deck that wanted to go home with you, it’s still not the right time exactly to start using it.

You will hear lots of opinions about timing, but even if the moon isn’t full or new, it will work.

You can place the cards at first in a circle of salt or run a smudge stick around the cards in order to cleanse them first but the three day “rule” is what I follow with new decks.

Carry the deck with you for three days and sleep with the deck under your pillow for three nights. Keeping the cards on you for so long helps link your energy to their energy and purifying can help cleanse any negative energy they may hold.

When you finish binding your energy to the deck, take the cards out and study them on your own without the book.

When you’re ready to use them, you’ll notice all the different cards- they have knave/knight, queen, king, ace (or 1), numbers 2-10, then 0-XXI. They also have cups (or chalices), wands, pentacles and swords. What do they all mean?

Minor Arcana

The minor arcana cards are the ones numbered like playing cards. They have 4 categories, for lack of a better term. The minor arcana show the day to day life. They are the mundane things that happen to us daily.

Chalices or cups- these are intuition, thoughts and feelings

Swords- action or conflict

Wands- your passions and what motivates you to do what you do

Pentacles- finances, successes, material possessions

The people cards (knave/knight, queen, king) tend to sometimes even represent actual people in your life. They don’t always, but when they don’t they do show masculine and feminine energies.

 

Major Arcana

These are the special cards labelled 0 (the fool)-XXI

They show major life changes and also give special insight that should be considered slightly more important than the minor arcana.

 

Major Arcana meanings

0- The fool

I The Magician

II The Priestess

III The Empress

IV The Emperor

V The Hierophant

VI The lovers

VII The Chariot

VIII Justice

IX The Hermit

X Wheel of Fortune

XI Strength

XII The Hanged man

XIII Death

XIV Temperance

XV The Devil

XVI The Tower

XVII The Star

XVIII The Moon

XIX The Sun

XX Judgement

XXI The World

 

Since the cards can hold such importance, I will have separate posts going into detail with each of the major arcana.

 

These are the basics for people wanting to learn to read. The best way to practice is to get the book out to familiarize yourself with your deck and read for your friends, family and self. Once you have done some readings, you’ll find that meanings are general but specific “meanings” are useless- the whole story is what matters in a tarot reading.

Good luck.

Tips For Using A Pendulum

Using a Pendulum works best with a mat like the one in the picture, it’s also a method people use to predict the gender of a baby when a woman finds out she’s pregnant (it worked for all three of my kids). It’s one of the most simple methods to use.

You hold the pendulum over your mat/stomach or whatever you’re using, make sure your hand is steady.

Wait for it to quit moving then ask your question.

When it’s working, you will feel it tug at your hand to move and it will drop to the correct response.

If you’re not using a mat of any kind, wait for the pendulum to be fully still and ask it what means no. Wait to see if it swings in a circle clockwise, counterclockwise, straight up and down or back and forth and make note of what direction means no. Ask again for yes and see what it shows.

You can also ask it to lead you in different directions- you will feel a slight pull and it will start to pull in the direction it is trying to lead you, then stop when you reach the location.

Picking out a pendulum is simple. The right pendulum will call out to you when you’re shopping. It may or may not even be what you’re looking for at the time but when it calls, it’s best to listen.

 

The pendulum is the most simple and easy to use divination method. There are fewer variations and fewer steps. In my opinion, pendulum is the best divination method to start studying when you’re looking to get into learning divination.

 

What is the soul mate, twin flame or life partner?

Every romantic wants to meet their “soul mate,” fall in love, settle down and start a life with that one person. There are many people that say they are married to their one true soul mate but there are misconceptions on the concept of soul mate. A soul mate is not necessarily the person you settle down with. It can be a child, a friend, parent or other close family member or a member of your preferred gender. It can be someone you end up marrying but there are other types of people who come in and out of our lives.

Some people have heard the term “twin flame” tossed around and some may have heard “life partner” but what do they mean? No one has just one soul mate, but people do have just one twin flame.

What is a Soul Mate?

A soul mate is a person put in your life to make a difference- to teach you something. It may or may not be the one you marry. (life partner is a different concept and you typically settle down with your life partner and not a soul mate)

A soul mate doesn’t have to be someone you’re romantically attracted to- it can be a family member, friend, partner or just a stranger you have a conversation with.

 

What is a “Twin Flame?”

The concept of the twin flame is the second half of your soul. In some belief systems, the soul was split in half and people spend their whole live(s) searching for the second half. THe second half is also reincarnated in the same timeframe and they can come into each other’s lives, but it’s rare.

When the twin flames meet, the feelings are intense and it’s like being with another version of yourself. You feel complete with them and you feel like you have known them for forever. Some times, these relationships are too intense to last but you will always remember them, even if you have a falling out, you will miss them.

It is said that you can both be on opposite ends of the world and if you meet yours, there is a good chance your soul is ready. When twin flames meet prior to being truly ready, the intensity of the relationship can be too strong and that will be what makes the relationship go up in flames.

 

What is a life partner?

A life partner is the one you end up settling down with. This relationship progresses slower and unlike with a soul mate or the twin flame, the feelings don’t get as intense. They give you a stability and a close feeling, you will feel comfortable and close. You won’t care as much around them because you’re confident that they will continue to be with you regardless of how you look at your worst. This partnership will make the best marriage. You won’t be afraid of being your most vulnerable, you will want to open up and you will want them in your life in a permanent spot.

 

 

I’m currently working on guides for various divination methods for beginners

They will be separate sections in this site. I will have basic how to guides with tips for tarot, astrology, numerology, IChing and the runes.

I am also contemplating doing a tarot reading online course. I’m going to break it down to 5 “classes” dealing with everything that’s needed to be known to start reading.

So far, I have the classes broken down but I’m still very early planning so when I have more on that, I’ll post more. I will offer it on my primary site.

 

Being a Pagan Parent in a Christian World

As long as I can remember, I walked off the normal path. I was always seen as different, strange, and could never fit in when I was a child. I tried wearing the same clothes, listening to the same music, talking with the same slang (slang always made my head hurt) and no matter what I tried, I never could succeed at fitting in.

I have the same issue now that my oldest is in school. I have tried to come up with things to say to start conversations with parents who seem a good ten years older than I am. I have tried to wrack my astrology and tarot obsessed brain to figure out how to start an appropriate, not new-age conversation and my brain fails. I feel like if I mention Bethcessories, I’ll come off as being pushy like a sales rep at a kiosk at the mall. If I mention writing, I’ll be seen as trying to self promote myself too much and if I talk about my tarot and astrology business, I’ll be seen, once again as too much self promotion. It feels like a very fine line.

There also seems to be a bit of a difference between moms who work from home, stay at home or work out of the home so besides the age difference, it feels like I don’t fully fit in with either of the main groups. It may all be in my head, but I’ve attended one or two PTO meetings and only spoke with a few people in the entire time I was there- one was my daughter’s teacher. My daughter was in therapy with one class mate (different therapists but we went at the same time) and I would try to get to know their mom, then I heard her talking to one of the therapists about a church group and it hit me- church groups seem to be how different parents get to know each other. That night, I went on facebook and found one lone Pagan parenting group and another group for all pagans in my state, so I know we exist.

 

My main site can be found here. I have another that focuses on gluten/dairy free recipes and normal kid crafts that can be found here. This site is going to be 100% focused on pagan parenting, history, divination and all things New Age. I will post kid friendly ritual and spell ideas you can get kids involved in and around each holiday, I’ll post ways for your child to celebrate.