Broomstix: Story, art, magic and craft!

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Natalie Zaman

Natalie Zaman

From 2006 to 2010, www.broomstix.com was an online magazine for families following alternative spiritual paths. Relaunched in 2013, Broomstix has a new format, but the same, simple goal: to be a positive community resource where folks can share their knowledge and talents.

We've arrived at the Spring Equinox again, which means its time to strike a balance. Use your Book of Shadows to develop and track this magical work.

Weigh Your Words. Four months have passed since Samhain, the new year, where you probably planned all sorts of wonderful changes for yourself. Draw a scale on a clean page in your Book of Shadows. One one side, write or draw all the things you've managed to accomplish since Samhain. On the other side, write or draw those things that are still in progress or waiting to happen. Look at both sides of the scale. Which side is heavier? Of the things you still have to do, are there any that you found difficult? What did you do when you were faced with that challenge? Did you put it off, or try and succeed? Or fail? How did you feel about that? Maybe you're in the midst of a task right now--how is that coming along? What about your accomplishments? Even if that side of the scale has less on it, perhaps those things took a great deal of work. Think about it and write down your feelings.

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It's almost Spring, a time to celebrate the return of the flowers, the awakening of the animals, and the renewal of the earth. Forest, farmland, the wilds, and the animals that depend on them need our help to maintain a clean environment and safe habitat (and humans need this as well!). Here are a few organizations working to make us all aware of the special balance between Nature and people everywhere:

Forever Forests is a group started in California by Gwydion Pendderwen, a Pagan folk singer and writer. He strove to help re-forest the areas of logged-over lands in California. Although Gwydion passed away in 1982, other Pagans have continued the work. Tens of thousands of trees have been planted since 1977.

Established by the late Steve Irwin, and continued by his family and partners around the world, Wildlife Warriors salvages habitats and provides education on an international level.

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As the sun set on February 1st, Pagans everywhere began their preparations to celebrate Imbolc. This is an Irish word meaning “in the belly”, because lambs would be developing “in the belly” of the ewes (female sheep) at this time, waiting to be born in the spring. It is a fire feast because now we can truly see that the sun is growing stronger in the winter skies, and the days are getting longer.

But February 1st through 2nd (note: Irish pagans see the day as starting at dust the prior evening) is also sacred to the Celtic goddess known as Brigid or Bride. (The Celts were the tribes of people who eventually became the Welsh, Manx, Cornish, Scots, Irish, and people of Brittany). Her name means “Exalted (mighty) One”, as well as “Bright Arrow”. She is often seen as 3 goddesses in one, known as a “triple goddess”, because she had mastery over three things: fire and smith-craft, hearth and home, and poetry – which was thought of as magical, and born from the “fire” of inspiration. She is a goddess of fire, but also of water.

This may surprise you, but it is often true: for something to thrive, it needs a little bit of it’s opposite. The warmth of the sun (fire) makes things grow, but it can’t do it without the rain (water). The fire goddess Brigid is also goddess of sacred wells where people would go for healings. So that the goddess would remember them and aid their health, people would tie strips of white cloths, called “clooties”, to the branches of the trees surrounding the wells. It is similar to the way some Christians light candles before a statue of a saint in church, to be a reminder that their help is needed.

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Every year the same thing happens: the evergreens come down, the hearts go up. It's Valentine's Day--get on your wolf-suit and let's party!

Wolf suit?

It's too early for April Fools—but we're not kidding! Once upon a time, the 14th of February marked the celebration of Lupercalia, “The Day of the Wolf,” an important festival in ancient Rome. What the heck happened here?

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  • aought
    aought says #
    I've seen references to the possibility that Silphium might have also been used as an abortifactant. That might have been importan

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Rufus, the shih tzu puppy, was so excited he could barely keep still. Even though he tried to stay calm, his tail seemed to have a mind of its own. It wagged furiously as he danced around and around Mama's legs.

“OK, little boy, settle down,” she said, as she read over again the piece of paper in her hand.

He didn't care what was written on it. All he cared about were those nine words Mama said when she unfolded the mail. “Oh! The Mid-Winter Pagan costume ball. Want to go?”

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In honor of the passing of Lady Olivia Robertson last week, a lovely personal experience by Katharine Clark...

Olivia Robertson felt the touch of the Goddess at a very early age. She had experiences of entering altered realities, and seeing both crystal and golden goddesses as a young girl, but didn't fully respond to the “Call of Isis” until much later. Born in London on April 13, 1917 (a Friday the 13th!), she was the second of four children born into a well established Anglo-Irish family. They owned an ancestral castle in Ireland, between the Slaney and Derry rivers outside Enniscorthy, called Clonegal Castle (at times also known as Huntington Castle). During the Irish war for independence, the IRA had used the property as a headquarters, and housed prisoners in its multi-chambered under-croft. When “the troubles” were over, her father moved everyone back to the castle in 1925, when Olivia was eight.

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Hi, thank you for your caring thoughts. When we discussed Olivia in comments on my post about her, you said you wanted to find you

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Welcome to the dark side! Don't worry--we've said it before, and we'll say it again--the dark is not a place of fear, but one filled with magic and mystery. Raven Digitalis is an intrepid explorer of this aspect of the craft. He took time out of his busy schedule to chat with me about his tradition, music, animal rights and all things shadowy...

NZ: You are quite young for a published author. How did you get started, and any advice for young and aspiring writers?

RD: Hello! Thanks for the interview.I was contracted by Llewellyn to publish my first book, Goth Craft: The Magickal Side of Dark Culture just before my 23rd birthday. Writing is a fun and strategic way for me to convey information that's in my mind. I would advise any young writers to keep doing what they're doing, whether it be nonfiction, fiction, poetry or anything else--just keep writing, even if it doesn't feel immediately successful. Art is something that should be channeled and expressed, regardless of how many people may or may not become readers, viewers, listeners or whatnot. As with any art form, if you get the motivation to do it, make the time to make it happen. One must always follow their calling!

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Ah, Samhain-tide: a time when life and death balance on a razor sharp edge as we welcome in the Season of the Winter God. Rua, Fin and I will be tucked safely into our stalls this evening, away from those things that walk between the worlds. It’s a time to stay firmly rooted in this world, while seeking predictions from the next. Your best tools on Samhain are sharp wits and clear vision. It reminds me of a stone we find here at the dairy. It’s usually shiny and black (although it can be green, grey and even “rainbow”), and made from volcanic glass. It’s called obsidian.

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Obsidian was highly prized by Native Americans because of its use as a blade. It could be honed to the thinnest edge, and still be deadly sharp, so it was a perfect material for arrowheads. Even today, obsidian blades are used in surgery because they are many times sharper than steel blades, and have nice, smooth edges--and smooth blades mean less scaring. Obsidian has other properties that are especially useful this time of year. Wearing or holding the stone not only releases healing energy, but also keeps you grounded and balanced. That’s especially important during a season when the worlds of the living and the dead touch.

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  • Natalie Zaman
    Natalie Zaman says #
    Thanks so much for visiting!
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you. You reminded me of my fascination with obsidian as a child. Now it all makes sense.

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We are so grateful for the love visitors, readers and friends have shown to Broomstix, and we want to give a little ♥ back. It's October 1, and Halloween and Samhain are only 30 short days away! It's time for pumpkins and cider, to put on something warm, perhaps put on a guise. How about a GRIZZLY BEAR?

 

 

We love Spirit Hoods for so many reasons (see above!). To win a Grizzly Bear Hood, visit Broomstix's Facebook page. Following us on Facebook will get you one entry (if you were a Facebook follower you get an extra entry!). A random drawing of all entries will be done on Monday, October 14, 2013. If you're not on facebook, no worries, we will be doing more giveaways in the future. 
 
Thank you all, again for your love and support ♥ Bright Blessings for an awesome October!
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According to various Native American myths, our earth wouldn't be here without the Turtle. When all that existed was water, it became clear that humans could not exist under the waves. So Muskrat scooped dirt from the ocean floor and formed it into a ball. It was Turtle, however, who volunteered to carry the ball on her back to the surface of the water. Over time, the ball grew and became the world we now know. Some Native Americans call the U.S.A. "Turtle Island" in honor of the great Turtle who carries the world to this day. Now as spring approaches we can celebrate life and Turtle, who supports it by making... Turtle Pancakes (no turtles were harmed in the creation of this meal!)

Number of servings: 6 (Or one really hungry pre-teen)

Total prep time: 15 minutes, cooking time: 20 minutes

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The Autumnal Equinox is almost upon us. In anticipation of the change of season, some Autumnal haiku...

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Flower Faeries are intriguing to have in the garden. A great way to invite them to move into your own herb garden is to plant an enticing Faerie Chair. Faerie scouts will be able to see this high rise Faerie Garden from a great distance! They will be so delighted that perhaps a whole clan will make their home near this awesome chair garden. You do however, have to make sure that your friends and relatives never try to sit on the chair. Who knows what will happen?

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Begin by finding an old wooden chair. Garage sales are a good source or in my case I remembered I had some chairs up in the top of the barn. Remove the seat part of the chair. And gather the rest of the needed materials:

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How lucky was I when I found out that I was going to a festival where Wendy Rule would be playing? Not only that, it was a super small venue--not only would I get to see her and hear her sing, but I'd get to talk to her as well. A native of Australia, and a leading voice in Pagan music, once you hear Wendy Rule, you won't forget her haunting voice and her enchanting melodies...

NZ: There are lots of kids who dream about being professional musicians--any advice for these budding artists? What is the most rewarding thing about being a musician? The most challenging?

WR: Certainly the most rewarding thing about being an independent musician is having an opportunity to share my own creative journey. I’ve been a professional musician for many years, and throughout that time have had many rewarding experiences, but also many challenges. The most important thing to me has been to stay true to myself--to write and record the songs that are deeply meaningful to me. Each of us has something unique and wonderful to share, and it’s important to honor that. It’s so wonderful to be able to travel, and share my music all around the world. But at times it can feel quite lonely, and I have to remind myself that this is my Soul Journey and a deeply important and magical process.

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  • Lee Pike
    Lee Pike says #
    I love Wendy Rule, and have been lucky enough to see her live and participate in a couple of her workshops. She is doing Australia
  • Natalie Zaman
    Natalie Zaman says #
    Thanks for stopping by! ♥ I saw that she's done some online workshops as well--would love to try one of those... And she is the ni

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For many, the Summers Solstice is a time for Sun, Sea and Sand, the longest day and the official start of summer in the West--a good time to create a shadow box altar to honor this turn of the wheel.

Before we get started, I want to tell you why shadow boxes are important. They are not only seasonal reminders of our 8 holy days, but they take concentration and focus. By thinking about the elements that go into the box, you are also centered on the meaning of each box. What represents Beltain? Should I include a maypole? What can I use from my environment to honor the gods at Imbolc? (The image below is a Beltane altar--in miniature!--and made from clay, beads and found objects.)

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The Magical Life of Oberon Zell
Interview by Natalie Zaman

When I attended the New York Witch-Fest a few Samhains ago, I was a little nervous about approaching the man who founded the Church of All Worlds, Green Egg Magazine and the Grey School of Wizardry (for those who believe that wizard schools ala Hogwarts are fantasy--think again!). For over 40 years, Oberon Zell has been a champion of paganism, learning, and magic, along with his--to use his words--beloved soul mate Morning Glory.

Hopefully I've come away with a little wisdom from my meeting with this extremely warm and personable wizard. Accomplishments are marvelous things, but it is the person who is important--the one who helps others and works actively to spread enlightenment and make the world a better place today.

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Probably better to start with what Broomstix was.

Keeping this short, as the real fun is the content to come: From 2006 to 2010, www.broomstix.com was an online magazine filled with stories, crafts and journal activities, ancient traditions and magical tools, and a growing collection of lovable characters to teach kids about alternative spiritual paths. Willow the Seeker took readers to Sacred Spaces, the cows of the Lapidairy revealed the esoteric qualities of crystals and stones, and readers were challenged to reflect on the world around them as they built their own Book of Shadows. Great fun, the old Broomstix...

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