Welcome

Merry Meet, all. Hummingbird, here. 19-year-old eclectic Pagan who works primarily in stone magick and energy manipulation. Demisexual, with a wonderful girlfriend. Not currently following any deity(s) more specific than Goddess and God, but interested in many pantheons including Greek and Shinto. Attending college with end goal of a degree in Interior Design.

This blog is a digitalized record of my life as a Pagan. It includes spells, charms, meditations, notes on the properties of various magickal items, and my own personal experiences with my practice. Sometimes I post multiple times a day, sometimes it's once a month.

All are welcome here. Please, make yourself at home, and let me know if I can help you with anything. )0(

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22nd, 2015

In honor of Earth Day, some students yesterday were giving out native plants to take home and put in one's garden. I got these lovely Butterfly Weed plants:


I'm planning to have my mom take them home to plant when she comes to visit on Sunday.

Butterfly Weed is a great garden choice for anyone living in midwestern America. The red and orange flowers are pretty and fragrant, and the leaves are a vital food source for native butterflies, Monarchs in particular.


Those working with fairies may like to include some of these plants in a fairy garden, as those flowers favored by butterflies also tend to be favored by the fey.

On the altar, the bright orange flowers could be used to symbolize the fire element, and would be great for spring and summer rituals, like Beltane and Litha.

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20th, 2015

I thought you all might like to see this beautiful Polyphemus moth my friends discovered outside during our rehearsal yesterday:



Moths and butterflies are associated with the element air, and with the fairy folk. This guy was so soft and fluffy that I was joking around saying he was a sky cat (by way of interest, you can tell this one is a boy by how fluffy his antenna are). 

In attempting to identify his species, I learned something rather interesting - the name, Polyphemus, actually derives from Greek mythology. Polyphemus, as you may or may not recall, was the cyclops with whom Odysseus had a run-in, leading to the infamous "Nobody" conversation. The moth's eye-spots inspired the name.

According to Wikipedia, this is also the species of moth through which Gandalf communicates with the eagles in The Lord of the Rings. The more you know. 

As such, someone who enjoys lepidoptery might call upon the Polyphemus moth to navigate tricky situations, to improve one's sight, or to assist communication.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19th, 2015

It's been a busy month, what with my first college production coming up this week. I've had rehearsal mostly every day, outside of class, homework, and etcetera. We're doing The Children's Hour, and I plan to continue my tradition of blessing the stage with holy water before opening night if I can.

I ran into the geology club again last Thursday! They were only selling stones of which I already have specimens (they had an enormous chunk of purple fluorite which I was considering, but by the time I made up my mind, someone else had walked off with it), but they had a few broken quartz geodes, and the girl at the booth gave me a couple of little ones free of charge.

They're now sitting in my window.


As you can see, my basil plants are also getting bigger! I think my moss agate has been helpful.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 7th, 2015

My afternoon class got cancelled, so I decided to use the time to get caught up on a few things. One of those things includes finally getting around to researching the properties of Chrysanthemum Stone. I received my piece of it as a gift from my grandma several years ago, and neither of us knew what it was. Then I got Judy Hall's The Crystal Bible, and came across an entry about it. Now, an eternity later, I finally got my information on it consolidated.


Chrysanthemum Stone

Physical Characteristics: These stones are most commonly black with white inclusions, although the matrix surrounding the "chrysanthemum" may also be dark brown or red.


In Nature: Sources on both the composition and formation of Chrysanthemum Stones differ in explanation. The matrix can appear as a mineral called Xenotime, limestone, or clay, while the interior may be Zircon, Celestite, Calcite, Andalusite, or etcetera.

Chemical Composition: Various

Mohs Scale Hardness: 3 - 4.5 (low)

Can be Found: Japan, China, Canada, USA

Healing Properties*: In matters of health, use Chrysanthemum Stone to ease problems with the skeletal system, nails, and eyesight. It can also help to dispel abnormal growths. Those who struggle with depression or anxiety may find that this crystal eases some of the symptoms. 

Magickal Properties: The name comes from the Japanese 菊石, or "kiku-ishi", which literally translates as "Chrysanthemum Stone". The crystal's black and white nature lend it associations with harmony and balance. It brings joy and enthusiasm to one's life, and makes a great gift for one starting out on a new path. Heightening one's energy vibration, these stones can cause more meaningful synchronicities to occur around their bearer. As such, they can bring prosperity and general good fortune. They may also be used in the same vein to encourage manifestation. It has been said that the floral nature of the crystal inclusions can help those struggling with self-esteem issues to open up and "bloom". Use this stone for reflective meditation when one needs to open pathways to happiness and contentment. This can also have a grounding effect.  

Chakra Association: Seventh (Crown) chakra

Element: Water

Energy: Projective

Planetary Association: Neptune

*Magickal healing should never take the place of seeing a doctor and following any recommended prescriptions, actions, or other advice. Magick works best in tandem with physical efforts, anyway, so don't skimp on those check-ups!

Monday, April 6, 2015

April 6th, 2015

I ended up going back over to the spiral garden yesterday to add some paintings to the stakes around the outside. I also stopped by the labyrinth out back on my way to grab the hose and water the plants.


Some of the architecture students built a geodesic dome around the labyrinth, which was kind of interesting, and then it was surrounded by lots of spring flowers.


I chose a sort of elemental color scheme for my paintings, and also tried to note the cardinal directions. Not only does it have elemental connotations that way, but it will also help planters figure out which side of the garden will be getting sun at which time of day.

North:


East:

South:


West:

It really seemed to brighten things up - I hope other people like them as much as I do!

If you have a garden of your own, you can of course add painted stakes like I've done here, but other decorating options include adding lengths of colored ribbon to stakes or fences, hanging bells or wind chimes nearby, and adding rocks or paving stones decorated with meaningful words or symbols. Just try to make sure that the supplies you use are environmentally friendly!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spiral Herb Garden

Two posts in one day? What is this madness?! I guess you can tell I'm having a light-homework-load weekend, huh?

Well, I celebrated Esbat today with something pretty special. My university's sustainable gardening team got together to build a spiral herb garden outside of the Gaia House Interfaith Center, and I got to go and help put it together.

Spiral gardens are really interesting for several reasons. There's the perhaps obvious metaphysical symbolism of the spiral, often associated with the goddess and ideas of eternity and continuity. Then there's the actual, physical construction of them. These gardens are actually a sort of terrace, spiraling not just toward the center, but upward in height as well.


What this does is create a unique sort of microecosystem. Soil at the top will have a lot of drainage and full sun, while areas down the slope get progressively less drainage and different amounts of sunlight. As a result, plants requiring different amounts of water and sun can all be in the same garden together. Here are some further examples from the internet:



For the one we built, we started off with a stake in the ground to mark the center point. Then, we laid cardboard across the whole area we wanted the garden to cover. For the walls, we dry-stacked coal ash bricks, donated to the group from another vendor. Those were in turn made of coal ash (surprise), thus recycling the waste material instead of just disposing of it. 

In order to get the placement correct, we worked off the idea of the Fibonacci Sequence, which goes 1 1 2 3 5 8 13, etc. Basically, you add each number to the one before it to get the next in the sequence (1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+2=5, etc.). We laid one brick with the short end against the stake, and one at a right angle to that, and then two at a right angle to that, and so on and so forth; we were making a smaller garden, so we only went through eight bricks max, and even then we ended up adjusting the pattern slightly to get the look we wanted. Here's a diagram of the Fibonacci Sequence for reference:


Once we had a single brick layer set out in a spiral, we then started building up the walls. The goal was to create a gradual slope upwards, with the highest point being the very center. We then went back and added a few stakes around the perimeter. Since we were dry-stacking, we wanted to make sure nothing shifted when we added the dirt.


Speaking of dirt... We actually started with leaves! Lots and lots of leaves all packed in for drainage and also gradual decomposition. Then we layered that with topsoil, mushroom compost, and more topsoil mixed in with some of the clay-rich soil native to our area. Periodically, we threw in another layer of leaves for the heck of it.


Here it is with all the soil added. I was a little worried about the dry-stack holding up, but it seemed to be really solid! Next up was plants.


Rosemary! One of my favorite herbs, both for its fragrance and for its usefulness in memory charms. Finals coming up? Grab some rosemary...


Then from the bottom up there is pictured chamomile, kale, dill, cilantro, and more dill. Uses for these can include what follows.

Chamomile: calming (great for bedtime teas), purification, prosperity, meditation
Kale: I couldn't find anything on kale (trust me, google "magical properties of kale" and you'll just get a million pages of pseudo-scientific health websites), but entries for lettuce include, protection, love, sleep, and divination, so use that as a starting point and experiment!
Cilantro: protection, peace
Dill: prosperity, protection, love

Not pictured are the sage and thyme we planted.
Sage: PURIFICATION! protection, wisdom, health
Thyme: warding negativity, protection, health


Here's the finished garden! I think I'll go back tomorrow and do some painting on the stakes to make them pretty. 

If you would like to build your own spiral herb garden, consider using earth-friendly, recycled materials if possible. Also, consider the magickal properties of the herbs you plant in it. One could plant flowers in a bed just like this, as well. Either way, they needn't take up a lot of space, and are extremely easy to construct. With about ten of us working together, this got built in under an hour. These make great places to grow herbs for your Craft, and to dedicate plants to your deities. 

April 4th, 2015

Last weekend, my family came down to visit, and we got to visit a couple of places I think you all might be interested in.

For starters: Castle Park! This memorial park is a bit D&D inspired, and is full of all kinds of statues of dragons, and wizards, and other mystical creatures. There's also a giant castle-playground. I'd love to go again in costume sometime, but for now, I'll just post a few pictures.





It'd be a really interesting place for a ritual, I would think, except that it is, ultimately, a Christian memorial for a teen who was killed in a car crash, and I wouldn't want to be disrespectful. In any case, a fun spot for magick workers and casual fantasy fans alike.

We also went to Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area in Shawnee. More than 300 million years ago, erosion exposed these huge sandstone bluffs, which had been left in turn from an ancient shallow sea. Check this place out:



These patterns in the rock are called liesegang bands - iron in the sandstone rusted, and so doesn't erode as quickly as the regular sandstone. This leaves the complex ridges and swirls in the rock visible here.





This formation is called the Devil's Smokestack; it occurred to me that these pillars of rock could act as focuses of energy, much like the natural version of a stone cairn. In a setting like this, there really was no way to get close to it, but even at a distance I was really struck by it.  


We also visited this place called Cave-in-Rock, but it had just rained and so the river had flooded the whole area out. 

It was a really nice day of hiking in the good weather, and a good way to reconnect to the earth element. I'm so glad it's finally getting warmer!

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23rd, 2015

While at the zoo on Saturday, I stumbled across this:


It's a slice of Amethyst, shaped to resemble a stylized bear, along with some beads on a cord. I was drawn to it immediately, and when I saw it had been marked down from $50 to $10, I was sold. I love Amethyst, and the pendant reminds me of my grandma, who loves bears. 

The stylization used here is clearly intended to be reminiscent of Native American depictions of the bear. Bears were bringers of medicine, healing, and food, and it seems appropriate to associate them here with Amethyst, given the stone's propensity for healing. That being said, I need to do a lot more research before I try any deeper explanation of the bear's significance - most of the online sources immediately available come across as rather disreputable, and certainly not authored by First Nations people.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 22nd, 2015

I missed my Ostara post, as usual, but seeing as it was also my birthday on Friday, I think the gods understand.


It's been absolutely perfect weather here at school the last couple of days, and when not going out for sushi with some friends or doing homework, I have gotten to enjoy it. In fact, I've had my window open all day today, letting in a nice breeze. 

I also got to go to an art museum, and to the zoo, yesterday, so that was a great opportunity to soak up some of the creative, springtime energies abroad in the world. Today, I finally got around to doing my ritual. My roommate moved out last Monday; seeing her go was sad, as we'd gotten on quite well for never having met before this school year, but it does mean that now I can have a proper altar laid out without having to worry about making her uncomfortable. It's pretty nondescript at the moment, but then, most of my decorations are back at home. 



And then I have my little Basil plants. They're growing very slowly, but they are growing. The taller one just started putting out a second pair of leaves. I put some eggshell in the pot for added nutrients, but I think I need to pick up some fertilizer. 


I put a moss agate in there, as well, to help encourage them to grow.

And now, for kicks, here's some pictures of spring flowers from the zoo yesterday. Happy (belated) Ostara!






Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16th, 2015

I realized that I have never posted pictures of all of my dreamcatchers, so I thought I might do that today, and also explain some of their history. In order, from newest to oldest, these are mine:


Made by my friend Destiny, she gave me this as an early birthday gift just last Friday.


A gift from my grandma, I received this one perhaps a year or two ago. She wasn't sure I would want it, so take from that what you will about her understanding of my interests.


If you dig way back through my posts on this blog, you will see that I went to Niagara Falls a few years ago. There was a Native American woman there selling traditional, handmade dreamcatchers, and I was more than happy to purchase one.


A Yule gift from my Aunt C, I've had this one for probably four or five years now.


My oldest dreamcatcher, I purchased this one while on a sixth grade field trip to Springfield. As I recall, I got it in a gift shop located in a reproduction of Abraham Lincoln's home town.

~~~~~

Dreamcatchers were originally created by the Ojibwe-speaking people of the North American Great Lakes region, primarily in Canada, but extending south into the American states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and etcetera. The Ojibwe words for dreamcatcher include asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word "spider", and bawaajige nagwaagan, meaning "dream snare".

In the 1960s and 1970s, during the beginning of the Pan-Indian (later the Pan-Aboriginal) Movement, Native Americans sought to unite their efforts for the protection of the rights of native peoples in the United States, and the dreamcatcher became a symbol of the First Nations. Some Native Americans, however, do see dreamcatcher as being over-commercialized, or even culturally appropriative, and it is important to bear that in mind.

According to Ojibwe legend, Asibikaashi, or Spider Woman, cared for the children of the native people. As the Ojibwe people spread across North America, it became harder for Asibikaashi to look after all of the children, so the mothers and grandmothers made magical webs for the children by tying sinew cord around willow hoops. The dreamcatchers filtered out bad thoughts, only letting good ones enter the mind during sleep.

The willow frames were traditionally either round or teardrop shaped, and the string tied in a fashion similar to snowshoe webbing. They could then be decorated with feathers and beads.

~~~~~

I am not Native American, and the brief history presented above was researched entirely on the web. It is not my place to comment on the trend of non-Natives using dreamcatchers, but I think it is important to remember that they are special objects and deserve to be treated as such. If you want to buy one, support actual Native Americans and purchase from them rather than getting cheap knock-offs, if at all possible.