Join me if you will…

Crooked & Hidden Ways…

Sorry for the inconvenience… It just wasn’t working out keeping a blog ‘for others’, so I’m going to ‘write for myself’ and I’d love for you to join me on my journey, and to find my voice…

One happy family…

Introducing my hubby…

My darling husband, Jason, has finally got himself his own little nook in blogland…

Destination England…

Come on over and join us in our journey from debt to England…

Spring Sprang…

It finally happened…

March is a-marching, madness abounds, the sun is nearly done melting the snow, bird song flitters through opened windows and the darkness is lifting… Buds have appeared, they may be small and indistinct at the moment, but there they are… The sun shines, giving a warm glow to the everything and lightening my mood…

But this morning the skies were cloaked with clouds, lurking, threatening to darken my mood… I’m truly in ‘Spring Mode’, my heart feels as if winter has been too long, too dark and too cold, and they are failing miserably to bring me down… It’s nice to see the last remnants of The Hags bleached plaid wash away, even if it reveals the sickly yellow-green carpet that spreads out under foot… The rain, and sun will transform that soon enough…

And time remembered is grief forgotten
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover,
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
-Algernon Swinburne

But as the Equinox approaches and we find ourselves at the ‘edges’ of Winter, the major climatic shift can hard on our bodies… So it is a good time to give a boost to your immune system with natural remedies and cleansing foods… Which is why I’ll be hosting the Tea Party for the week later in the month… But for now, I always find this time of year leaves me with a craving for Dandelion and Burdock cordial…

Ingredients for Dandelion & Burdock Cordial...

In rural Britain it’s traditional to drink Dandelion and Burdock cordial at this time, as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after it’s Winter hardships… As the Vernal Equinox heralds the arrival of spring, it is a time of renewal in both nature and the home, so before I get down to some serious packing (we’re moving in May) and spring-cleaning, I think I’m going to try my hand at making my own homemade Dandelion and Burdock cordial!

There have been a small number of stories concerning its origin, most now widely considered to be apocryphal… The story tells of an Italian monk who, whilst deep in prayer, was sent a message from God to go out an make a elixir from the first ingredients he comes across… St Thomas of Aquinas the monk in question, lived around the 13th century, if the story has any truth to it, it would make Dandelion & Burdock one of the oldest soft drinks… err.. ever.

* Dandelion – Is rich in Vit A and C, iron, and it’s benefits include stimulation of bile flow, weight loss, improvement in liver metabolism and it’s also a safe diuretic.
* Burdock – This healer and blood purifier, regulates sugar metabolism, destroys “unfriendly” bacteria, detoxifies and cleanses the kidneys and gall bladder.
* Anise -This antimicrobial herb has been used since the seventh century, as a remedy for curing coughs, and aiding in digestive problems.
* Ginger – This warming herb as a truck load of health benefits from aiding in digestive ailments, relieving nausea; which can be effective in treating morning sickness as well as motion sickness. It can help knock out a fever, and stimulate circulation of the blood. It can also help relax muscles around the blood vessels and is said to help prevent blood clots from forming. The warming effects make it a natural decongestant as well as an antihistamine, making it the perfect remedy for colds.

This gorgeous drink full of ginger and spice, hedgerows, sunshine & fun, is not something that you have to enjoy in the Spring, it’s also a favourite Summer drink, mixed with lots of ice – And is rather tasty with a shot of Gin, garnished with a few fresh Borage flowers, for the ultimate English beverage, stepped in folklore…

It’s Good To Be Back…

Baba… I see your one deep pool-like eye, staring out at me from beneath the brushwood on your gnarled head, it is faster than a star in the cold Winter months, rushing towards warmer climes… Your face a blue-black, the lustre of coal; Your tufted tooth, like a rusted bone… Isn’t it time to take back your colours?

It’s been a hard winter for me… The first out of the country I was born and raised, away from my family and friends… The weather has kept me in, out of harsh cold and snow that we’ve had, as it’s too chilly to go out anywhere other than the shops and back with the baby…

The Veiled One, took up residence in the dark wee nooks of my temple and now it’s time to think about eviction… I know my temple will never be gold-gilded, but at least I can keep it tidy… Brush away the cobwebs, freshen the place up, fix what’s become tattered and light some candles…

I mean this metaphorically of course, as in this tiny apartment, there’s no room for anything more than a wee altar… Which will change when we move into a bigger place in May… I have slacked over the Winter in the way of daily devotion and physical exercise, which I’ve found go hand in hand, both need determination, motivation, perseverance and stamina… So once the ice and snow has cleared enough that I won’t break my neck, I’ll be starting to run again… Get my body and mind back in shape after the long dark winter we’ve just had… I know the Winter is a time for ‘drawing inward’ and rest, but this Witch is restless…

So that’s why I hope the Old Hag has finished washing her plaid in the Corryvreckan for  this year… It’s time, Cailleach, for you pick up your white shroud of winter, and take your colours back… I long for Elen of the trackways, the fiery-haired, antlered Goddess of the woods, to take Her lover Karnonos and warm this damn place up a tad…

Elen, I miss your embrace!

So, welcome back to Shimmeringways… I’ve been on hiatus throughout the winter, brewing in the dark cauldron and now I’m ready to start Witching again, it was just the rest I needed to recoup from a strenuous year…

As promised, we have a wee interview from the beautiful Carolina Gonzalez… So without further ado…

Carolina Gonzalez is an Eclectic Witch with 20 years of experience – along with her husband, Fernando, she runs The Hoodoo Shop, which is an online & offline business dedicated to all forms of Folk/Traditional Magic, such as supplies and products for Witchcraft practice, ritual and devotional use and her gorgeous artwork.

Carolina & Fernando are seriously committed to the Slow Lifestyle – that means they forage, wildharvest, recycle, reuse, swap, and transform. They build their own furniture, sew their own clothes, plant their own herbs and vegetables…

Carolina's magic oils available at The Hoodoo Shop...

Carolina took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions:

Shimmeringways: What drew you to WitchCraft, in the first place?

Carolina: I was drawn to Witchcraft at a very early age – my mother was into the “UFO scene” in the 70’s so books and magazines on the subject were available at home. I remember being 6 and waiting eagerly for every Friday, when she would get her new age magazines, and reading them from cover to cover. I started reading Tarot at 13 and spellcasting at 17 – after I left college I started working as a self-employed Witch, and it’s been like that since then.

I have had paranormal experiences since a very early age, as I think all children do – I don’t consider myself as anything special or out of the norm. I think that this spiritual connection that children have just didn’t disappear in me, as it sadly happens with most kids on their pre-teen years. I’ve always wanted to help others understand and use their spiritual experiences in their own advantage, so that’s why I became a “pro” Witch.

Shimmeringways: Can you tell us a little about your path?

Carolina: I am an Eclectic Witch, so my path is made of many influences, but my work mostly evolves around Latin Santeria and Hoodoo. Being an Anarchist, I do not believe in organized church, and my only affiliation is with the Universal Life Church, which offers legal certification for priests and priestesses of all paths – but that is more of a professional guild to me than a spiritual cult. I have studied many religions and philosophies deeply – shamanism, taoism, Dianic Magick, demonology, saxon Wicca… but I fell in love with the African diaspora religions about ten years ago, and the beauty and truth of that magick captivated me. Since then, I have studied it and practiced it lovingly.

What I love of Hoodoo is that it is much more a practice than a belief system. My slogan is “if it works, it works!” When a customer comes for my help, we are dealing with unemployment, illness, depression, etc., not fighting dragons. My work consists in offering solutions, paths of healing, and connecting my customers with their spiritual energies and allies.

Shimmeringways: You said that part of your job is to ‘connect your customers with their spiritual energies and allies’, can you tell us a little about how you go about that process?

Carolina: Well, I think that probably the most rewarding part of my job is introducing the Orishas to pagans that come from different pantheons. Most of my customers have had no contact at all with Santeria before; after reading the blog or making purchases at my shop they become interested in learning more. They come from Wicca, European Witchcraft, Dianic Magic… as I did myself. In many ways, I am a bridge to start knowing Afro-Caribbean religions without fear and with the proper respect it deserves. Once, someone saw the footprint of Eleggua in me, and that changed my life completely. It is my wish to see the footprints of the Orishas in others, and show them how the Spirits can help hem and protect them too.

Shimmeringways: How do you connect with the spirits, deities, orisha, etc that you work with? Can you tell us a little about the relationship you have with them? And how has your relationships changed with them over the years?

Carolina: As I said above, Santeria is a demanding practice. The Orishas require attention, commitment and a certain code of honour. BUT our relationship with them is made of Love, not of obedience or fear. They are our family, our protectors; we give to them, take care of them and honour them, and they do the same for us. They have tested our faiths and we have had to endure those challenges – just like it happens in human relationships. Once the “apprentice” phase is finished, we are in permanent connection with them. Each Orisha or Spiritual Guide you add to your “family” starts the cycle again; so, each practitioner works mainly with only a few Orishas and Spirit Guides, or else there wouldn’t be time to do anything else :).

Shimmeringways: What sort of spiritual practice do you engage in regularly?

Carolina: Santeria is quite a demanding practice, so attending altars (mine and my husband’s) everyday is our first work every day. Since I’m a 24-7 Witch, there isn’t a day when I don’t have something “witchy” to do, either for customers, friends or for myself. Our herbal garden also receives Reiki sessions regularly. All that and working for The Hoodoo Shop is enough to fill the day! Actually, right now I wish I had more time to study, I miss it!

Shimmeringways: How did you develop along your path?

Carolina: Work, work and more work! Studying, experimenting and seeing what works and what does not. I am a very practical and skeptical person and, in many ways, I work like a scientific, establishing a work hypothesis and testing the results. I do not believe in “intuitive” powers, or “intuitive” Witches, or inheritance of abilities. I still have a lot to learn and I don’t feel like I have “reached” a static position – in this path, we are constantly evolving and growing, as well as leaving things behind.

Shimmeringways: Which books inspired you, or did you find the most informative and what advice would you pass on to others who are wanting to study up on your chosen path?

Carolina: I think that Ray Malborough, Migene Gonzalez-Whippler, Robert Tallant and Denise Alvarado are wonderful writers with a deep knowledge on the topic, but my path has also been built by reading philosophy, anthropology, history, biology, herbalism, psychiatry… staying just around books on Witchcraft is very limiting. I see that many Witchcraft students read only books about their path and I think that is a huge mistake. A Witch must be a wise person, in the widest sense of the term.

Shimmeringways: You and your husband follow The Slow Lifestyle – Can you tell us a little more, and why you made the decision to live this lifestyle?

Carolina: I did not “make” any decision, actually! Both me and my husband come from humble families and we have had no other choice than to be savy and crafty all our lives. That “Slow Lifestyle” term came after. Again, being anarchists plays a big part – we want to be as self-sufficient as possible, and do not like depending on others. For us it is also a part of our spiritual growth – the more aware, skilled and self-sustained we are, the more we grow and evolve in our spirituality. Our wish right now is to relocate to the country in a couple of years, where we can have a small farm.

Shimmeringways: Where do you get the inspiration for your crafting from?

Carolina: Everywhere :). Art, nature, history… we are constantly learning and evolving. Also, our customer’s needs are always a great source for ideas – I get asked for a lot of custom work and we have several products in the shop that are recreations of work made for customers. I see creativity/crafting as a spiritual practice, that can be developed just like meditation; trough persistence and constant learning. And as it happens with meditation, the regular practice of using your imagination and improving your skills makes a better person of you.

Shimmeringway: Is there anything up and coming that you are working on right now?

Carolina: Right now we adding new products weekly, so there is always something new :). Our plans for this year go around expanding our products into other forms of Santeria, like Venezuelan Santeria, Umbanda, Kimbanda, etc. Right now we are developing spell kits, something that we haven’t offered yet and that I think will be of great help to our customers because there isn’t much information in English about actually working with the Orishas. Hopefully the kits will be available in a couple of weeks.

Shimmeringways: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to interview you, did you have any closing words for those reading?

Carolina: Only that Santeria is a very beautiful form of magick and worship, and that it shouldn’t be approached with fear, but that requires a deep level of engagement. Wrong and obsolete ideas about African Magick must be forgotten; luckily these religions have more and more presence online and many myths are already being left behind. It is not something to use; it is something to love, explore and enjoy. I have seen many people who had lost all hope being helped and comforted by African Spirituality, and those are hard facts; what I have seen is like nothing I had seen before in any other form of Magick.

Thank you Carolina for taking the time to share with us a wee insight into your path…

If you want to see more of Carolina, I recommend her Blog and The Hoodoo Shop

...Ancestral Pendulum Giveaway…

Handmade pendulum - Hematite, smokey quartz, carved bone, red stone and black freshwater pearls...

So, I promised to share the details on how to get your mitts on the pendulum above and it’s very easy… There are going to be a few levels of entry into this giveaway…

  • For 1 entry, all you need do is comment on this blog…
  • For 2 entries, leave a comment, and this blog needs to be on your ‘friends’ or ‘bloglist’ of some kind on your blog…
  • For 3 entries, leave a comment and make a post on your own blog mentioning this blog, or this giveaway…

The winner of this Ancestral divination pendulum will be announced on the 22nd March, at the beginning of a week long Tea Party (more details to come)… And then it will be packed of to you with a sample of my homemade divination incense and an information about how to use…

So, I hear you say, what is this Tea Party all about… Well, let me tell you…

We’re just into March and where I would be used to the weather warming up a bit, but here in Ohio we’re still firmly trapped in Winter… The Cailleach’s bleached plaid still covers the ground, and the chill is still bitter at times… So until Bealtuinn – the Feast of Bright Fires, we are still in Winter’s grip… Until the fiery-haired Elen takes her lover and warms this place up a tad, we still seek warmth is all it’s variations – spiritual, protection from the cold and the nourishment of friends and family…

This Tea Party is a way for us to come together and share a warming brew… Specific herbs possess warming ways to insulate the body and spirit from the harsh winter chill… From the 22nd – 28th of March, I’ll be hosting a week long party where I’ll be talking about various herbs and teas, their spiritual and medicinal purposes, etc… And I invite you to share in this time with me, by brewing up your favourite herbal tea and sharing the whys and hows behind said cup… How you make it… What is said teas properties… What do you get out of said tea… Does it bring back memories… We want to know!

All you have to do is post the link to your entry in the comments or email me and your blog will be featured during the week long Party…

Easy as that! You can always wear the button on your blog to get more people involved…

So coming up:

Interview Mondays – Every Monday will feature a new interview…

Folklore Fridays – Every Friday we’ll share in some folklore and how it’s relevant to WitchCraft…

Giveaway Draw – 22nd March…

Tea Party – 22nd – 28th March…

March/April – Spring welcoming to begin, weather magic and lore…

May – Bealtuinn celebrations and moving to a new home…

June will see me returning home to England for three weeks with my husband and baby, Connor Rhys, and we’ll be keeping a diary of our excursions and maybe a Vlog or so…

July onwards – Keep up to date with how we transform out new home, Witchy house lore, keep track of our magical, spiritual patio garden, etc…

Keep tuned for some more plans that are in the works…

It’s good to be back…

Back on the 1st March…

A full moon illuminates the night, and you have the impression that everything around you sparkles – a fine, fine glitter- under the silvery light… You clearly see pastures and forests; you hear the gurgling of a stream, the fluttering of leaves,  the hooting of owls in the distance…

You approach a house… A rustic cottage beside the stream, amongst the trees… You can clearly see the glow of firelight in the hearth, and the twinkling of candles through the windows…

You approach quietly; your footfalls soft as you approach the open door… You notice a broom, propped up on the threshold…

You step inside, carefully avoiding stepping on the Toad that eyes you from the foliage by the front step… Resting beside a wax sealed bottle filled with sharp, rusted nails, broken glass and other rust coloured and strange curiosities…

In the windows hang colourful fishing floats, their coloured glass sparkling in the candle-light… On the window-sill ,and on the many shelves, sit a collection of bottles, white pebbles, smooth river stone, herbal infusions, salves and balms, seashells, freshly ground herbs, resins, roots, driftwood, dried flowers, wooden boxes,  and jars… Hanging on the walls are bouquets of various medicinal and sacred herbs… Earthen-ware and wooden pots are placed on a roughly hewn wooden table, stained with over-use, reds and greens worn into the very wood…  In the hearth rests a cauldron, and propped up in the corner; A forked staff of Oak wood… The bleached bone of a Stag’s skull, antlers still intact, rests with it…

A woman with long raven hair, streaked with grey – A few small braids woven with coloured thread, small beads, trinkets and feather of her birds – works her pestle and mortar… Her black dress hangs to the floor, her bare feet peep out from beneath its folds, a red cord wrapped around her waist, as she pounds the fragrant smelling herbs into submission… Adorning her fingers; her Handfasting band of silver knotwork, and a silver serpent that is eating its own tail… She wears a dangling necklace of carved bone, various small shells, garnet and jet, it glints in the hearth-light, falls to her breasts, and swings with the motion of her grinding… The torc around her neck, reminding her of her oaths…

You are in the cottage of a Witch…

Come in from out of the cold and stay a while… She might tell you a secret, or three…

Welcome to ‘Of Shimmering, Hidden and Crooked Ways’, my own wee nook of the blogosphere… A place for Witchcraft and cunning … A place for folklore, song and celebration… A place for my Witchy ‘Workings’, gardening, cooking and travels… A place to honour the Old Ones, the Old Ways and the Ancestors…

A place for learning, and growing and teaching…

Once a week I shall be featuring an interview – The first person  I have the privilege to interview is the beautiful, and incredibly talented, Carolina Gonzalez of The Hoodoo Shop , which is a business ran by herself and her husband, dedicated to all forms of Folk and Traditional Magic…  You can read the interview at the re-launch of this blog on the 1st March…

Carolina Gonzalez - Working on Samhuinn

Carolina Gonzalez - Working on Samhuinn

As well as some secret planned fun, the re-launch on 1st March will also feature…

…A Giveaway –  A stunning, Ancestral divination pendulum -
I would post a photograph, but it’s still a work in progress, so I’ll have one for you at the launch as well as the details on how you can  get your mitts on this piece of Witchy goodness…

…The details of the upcoming Blog Tea Party! Not to be missed! Fun for all…

… A very Cailleach inspired theme…

So, until then, I invite you to have a look around…  There’s a little about me, and details for contacting me

Facelift…

Please bear with me while Shimmering Ways gets a wee makeover…

I’ll be back…

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