Archive for the ‘Wild’ Category

Why is the great rite, I asked myself, the chalice and the blade and not the cauldron and the wand? For truly the ecstasy of sex is alike to the fervent stirring of a wand in a cauldron and not at all like the stabbing of a knife into a cup. And now, years later, I collect an answer.

For like the maiden bleeds afore she can create life, so must ritual sacrifice let blood to make its will manifest.

The menstrual current underlies magic and this is why the price is blood. Because the woman must bleed before she can conceive.

For Eve the cost was blood.
For Cain the cost was blood.
Sarah gave her pagan idols blood.
Delilah gave Dagon blood.

And to this day, the witch knows the prices is blood. The original meaning of sacrifice is blood intrinsic to the menstrual current.

By Sara Star


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The Alruan is a type of plant familiar. In this case a dried root that is kept, fed and cared for to work with the witch on various jobs to bless the home.


Mandrake root in coffin by Sara Star

An alruan is made form a root that looks like a man, woman or child either grown that way or carved to such a shape, dried, and kept in a box-coffin or on a plaque. Alruans were traditionally made form the rare and poisionous mandrake or more often from a briony root. But at its root (see what I did there) the Alruan can be chosen from any witches plant best if it has forked in the ground to form legs and/or arms. My first one was carved from a parsnip and my friend just gifted me one from blackberry roots.

Digging up rituals are all masked with rumors of danger to protect the trade secrets of the Alruan peddlars. Despite what you may have read, you needent have a dog pull it up for you to avoid its deadly scream, ear muffs will do ūüėČ

Mandrake Lego

A witch and her mandrake alruan

Loosen the soil around you Alruan with your working knife in a circle three times or until the soil is nice and loose.  Then very carefully pull up your root as to not break it much.  Any broken off parts can be reburied and maybe given some root hormone so they will start new plants. (Depending on the root it could start a new plant right away or take as long as a year to put out new sprouts, as long as the root is still clearly alive, firm and moist in the dirt, it could still sprout.

If you do plan to carve yours, please practice on a plentiful tuber like carrot or parsnip before taking your knife to a rare root like mandrake. If you are going to carve your root do so very carefully as to not kill the plant or damage its foilage. You should then rebury your root so it will form a skin over where you carved and look more natural.  You might bury your Alruan at an especially potent spot like a crossroads or a graveyard. Traditionally the Alruan will be the opposite gender as you. Female Alruans usually have not forked at the legs and male ones have.

To dry your root in hot dry weather, a covered box with some air circulation works fine.  You should turn your Alruan over daily to prevent it molding or worse rotting! In wet or cold weather dry your Alruan in the oven at 200-250*f with aromatic herbs such as lemon verbana.  Your root will lose half its mass when drying so choose a big one!

There are a variety of ways of keeping an Alruan. Some live on the hearth, others are made beds, and still others have mini coffins. I encourage you to look at the Alruans and Mandrakes at theonline Bocastle Musem of Witchcraft.

Mandrake Bocastle

A Mandrake Alruan in his coffin from Bocastle Musuem of Witchcraft, Richel Collection

Make your Alruan’s life nice and he will repay you in kind or so the lore says. Alruans like to be bathed, clothed, bedded, fed and given gifts. Give him gold coins for money magic and he will bring wealth into your life, bathe him in wine for love, feed him milk for fertility and dress him in white silk for happiness.

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A pretty busy week.  After doing a green sojourn in a less than pristine park, I came down with a pretty bad infection.  All a part of the work, I suppose.  The place was really trying to tell me it needs cleaned up.  I was laid out for over a week.  And I just wandered about in a half daze most of it.  I visited a grave yard, continued to think deeply on the Solanaceae family and did some work for its spirits.  And I am preparing for the dark season here at the end of the light season.  I hope my photos can tell part of the story.

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Sara water 1 by aprilskiver
Sara water 1, a photo by aprilskiver on Flickr.

Picture of nature (water element)

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Cairns are a traditional marker.  In the British Isles ancient Cairns commemorate the dead and battlegrounds.  In North America cairns tend to mark the summits of hiking trails though sometimes they are also commemorative.

Eaglecreek Cairn

Eaglecreek Cairn

When I see a cairn, I like to add an appropriate stone to it–if there is only room left for very small stones on top, then I find a little pebble to add.¬† However if there is more room, then I try to think of a shape of stone I want to add.¬† At the Eagle creek cairn I added a heart shaped stone.

Heart Shaped Rock

Heart Shaped Rock

This summer I have been hiking all over the Columbia Gorge and the Oregon Desert.¬† I have seen some amazing sites that I will continue to share with you.¬† I very much want to encourage everyone to get outdoors whenever they can and whenever it is safe.¬† Even just sitting in my little herb garden is enriching to my pagan soul.¬† Nothing beats reaching the top of a great cliff overlooking the winding bluffs along the Columbia river with the Gods of the Klickitat Indians–Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount Helens in view among others and then placing a stone on the Cairn.¬† I am giving honor to the spirits there when I add to a small and non damaging monument to the wild site.

I like to pick up little commemorative stones or herbs from my trips–something small.¬† I have been blessed to find several hagstones on my trips.¬† I have a small collection of three right now.¬† One from near my covenstead, one from the Gorge and one from the desert.¬† I strung one on a string to wear as a charm necklace.¬† I also have a small moleskine notebook that I press herbs I find on my adventures into.¬† I have a small collection of pressed herbs, but I know it will get bigger: Juniper, Sagebrush, Maidenhair fern, Wild Ginger.

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