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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.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

September is Pagan Pride Month!

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Paula Lopez
    Paula Lopez says #
    This has just made my day since i found out there will be one near by!!!
  • Natalie Zaman
    Natalie Zaman says #
    Thanks for stopping by! I love Pagan Pride Day!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Lughnasadh greetings to all my friendly readers from Airmid the Wortcunning Fairy!

I hope you are all having a bountiful early harvest because now is the best time for enjoying fresh treats from the fields and gardens-- especially berries. The most popular berry of Lughnasadh is the bilberry, also known as wild blueberry or huckleberry. These are smaller, juicier, softer and darker than the blueberries you would find at the supermarket, although they taste just as sweet. In Ireland, these berries are called fraochán. In the old days, everybody would get together and go bilberry picking around Lughnasadh, which was not as easy as it sounds because the best bilberries grow in the thickest patches of heather on the hillsides and peat lands. It's well worth the work, though, because later there would be scrumptious cakes, tarts and for the adults bilberry wine. If there is a good harvest of bilberries, the rest of the crops are sure to be abundant later in the year. (Bilberries on the bush. Photo by kahvikisu via flickr Creative Commons)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Focusing is an important part of practicing magic, and there are a number of tools that can help you achieve this--like the wand. Wands are directly linked to Nature and the four elements, the source of all physical life. Wood wands, in particular, are quite common because they hold elements of earth, fire, water and air. In Irish myth, oak, ash, thorn and hazel are the most noble of the trees and, therefore, the best for wand making, but you can use any that “speak” to you. One of our friends, author Pauline Campanelli, liked to use a fallen twig from her favorite twisted filbert tree! The tree is anchored in earth, draws water and nutrients from the soil, releases oxygen through its leaves, and is burned for fuel. Wood naturally conducts energy.

Other materials are popular as well, and for the same reason: conductivity. Crystal wands are great at drawing energy from your hand chakra and directing it outward, as are those made of copper. Your wand can be as simple or fancy as you like. The feel is most important. How does it rest in your hand? Does it feel too light, too heavy, or too awkward? When you extend your arm and point at an object in the distance, does it seem like a natural part of you, or does your arm get weak and shaky? When you draw a pentagram in the air, can you sense your energy moving outward through the wand? These are things to consider when making your selection. Obtaining a wand can be as simple as finding a fallen branch with an interesting twig, buying one from a Craft store or festival, or making your own. Crafting a wand yourself allows you to bind your energy to the wand at all times, not just when it's in use. In fact, you can easily craft a wand that combines wood, crystal AND copper. You will need:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Avast me Witchlings! The Summer Solstice is upon us--and this be no ordinary Sabbat! Sound the trumpets! Break out the MAGIC CONCH! Aaarrrrr!

Pirates (and Sponge Bob) aside, there really is such a thing as a Magic Conch. When you stop laughing, consider this: The life that was stirring at Imbolc blinked it's eyes at the Spring Equinox, started to bloom at Beltain, and now is in full swing--a reason to celebrate!

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His-story. It's dark, and the air is chill--Summer is a'comin in--but not quite yet. You're standing in a circle around a tall, dark object. You can just make out its narrow limbs; arms and legs formed by tightly tied bundles of twigs and straw. Suddenly, flames blaze up. In the crackling firelight you can see the figure at the center of the circle--the Wicker Man.

The lighting of the Wicker Man is a very old tradition that we know little about. Of course, there's the obvious: a Wicker Man is a human figure made out of wicker, straw or twigs, but he's built hollow so that things can be put inside him. But how this tradition started is a bit of a mystery. The ancient people who first built them--the Celts--didn't write about their practices. The first person to actually record anything about Wicker Men was Julius Caesar, and the picture he painted wasn't pretty. He wrote that the Celts created huge, human-shaped wicker figures, and inside they would put small animals, grains and slaves (yes, people), to be burned inside as an offering to the gods.

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Got plastic bags? Many businesses offer or sell reusable shopping bag swag, but we still haven't totally eliminated the old standard disposable sack. If you have any of these lying around, reuse them as much as you can, and then up-cycle them. This is important work, and one of the best ways to honor the earth and leave a smaller environmental footprint. Even the rattiest plastic bag can be made into something cool: a heavy duty tote, an apron, place or door mats, even a shower curtain; the list is endless. Use extra care when doing this work with children as ironing and cutting are involved. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Assorted plastic bags (garbage, food, store) in different colors, sizes, patterns
  • Scissors
  • Wax paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board or table covered with a heavy towel

Cut the plastic bags so they lay flat (no handles or folds at the bottom). You'll need between five and seven layers to make one sheet of material, so plan ahead to make sure you’ll have enough! In order to know how many plastic bags you will need, you have to decide what you are making. A tote bag (which will require sewing or stapling) will require more than a change purse. Of course if you use large bags, then you will need fewer. We made an apron, and used five medium store bags for the fabric, and four smaller bags that we cut designs out of to decorate it.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Natalie Zaman
    Natalie Zaman says #
    Thanks so much for stopping by! ♥
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    So cool! Thanks for this!

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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