I thought I would share my only live video interview to date. This interview occurred before I even received my first copy of my book. Elhoim is amazing and it was such a pleasure to visit with him. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
It has been almost a year since I began my blog so, I thought I would re-share it to remind myself, and to share with you, where I come from and why I do what I do.
Why did I start a blog? I wanted a place to write freely, and a place to reach the whole spectrum of people rather than a specific group.
I am almost 62 and at my age, I have few filters left so I am rather direct in my approach. I offer my insights and experiences because I think there are people who will identify and relate. People whom my experience might help, and for the people, it will simply entertain.
So, who am I and why would you want to read what I have to say? Well, I have lived a full and colorful life. Many of the things I have done may seem fantastic, shocking, or unbelievable, but they are verifiable in their own way. As you read keep in mind, that I have never been someone who feared much of anything let alone consequences or other people.
Much of my magical life is in my book Psychic Skills for Magic and Witchcraft, and magic and witchcraft will be a big part of this blog too because it is what I live.
In my personal life, I became a sexual survivor at age four. We lived in the country and I was raised like a boy. I raised rabbits for meat, I was in 4-H, I rode horses, and we had a food garden we all participated in. I hunted and fished with my dad and helped to butcher the dear. I learned to shoot a gun safely when I was 6. It was needed out there for many reasons. I even used to go under the house with my dad when there was a need.
That was all fine and I was happy until I was 13. One day I was so bold as to tell my mom that if I had been born a boy I would never be bored because I would have a certain bit of anatomy to play with. Well, that was that! I was off to conversion therapy to make sure I knew I was a girl. It did not go well, and neither did her attempt at putting me in catholic school the following year. Then when I was 15 mom encouraged me to get married and leave the house.
Over these many years, I have run with bikers, skinned mink for a job, been a truck driver, worked in caregiving, been a waitress, a bartender, a bouncer, and worked on the carnival. In one ten-year span, I held 100 jobs, because I often worked two jobs to get by. I have been a witness to a murder, been in protective custody, struck by lightning, and survived cancer. It is all part of my colorful life and what made me who I am, which I happen to be very happy with.
In the 90s I went to college and became a dual diagnosis counselor on the streets of Portland Oregon. I say the streets because I worked in places like the detox, and methadone clinics. I also worked at the Salvation Army men’s shelter that only took people from prison and the mental hospital.
To me, this is the street level and it is where I love being. It is also the reason I quit being a counselor in an office. I never felt those running the clinics and programs really understood what it was like being on the streets. But let me tell you when you are in a fleabag hotel in Portland with your 3yr. old son, eating at the Sisters of the Road Café on Burnside while you look for work, you get it.
While I have been through some very heavy stuff, there have also been some very wonderful and magical things that are equally fantastic. All of which make for some very interesting stories. I believe that giving them away freely gives it all a positive purpose. If my writing gives solace, laughter, understanding, enlightenment, love, and acceptance to even one person then I have succeeded. I hope you join me for the journey.
Many Blessings to all!
With so much out on the internet in the world of paganism, how do you know who is legit and who is not? Who is knowledgeable about what you seek and who is not?
Well from what I have seen there are teachers, practitioners, and authors who are all over social media and using it to its fullest. Some push too hard and like a used car salesman you can hardly open a platform without seeing them and their wares. Those are what I call the commercial public pagans. Now there is nothing wrong with making money from what one does, we all want to make a living, myself included. It is a difference of quality VS quantity. From what I see from some of the commercial public pagans is that they are mostly online rather than out in their local community, other than large events.
Dare I suggest it is the ones you do not see so much of that should be sought out? You know who they are. The ones who quietly answer a question or two in your groups and stay out of the main conversation. They are the ones that stick to their lane, meaning: they do not try to be everything to everyone or portray themselves as having all the answers. Many of them have websites, stores, blogs, or classes that focus on the local area but are not overblown and slick. They are typically the ones you see presenting at the local pagan faire whose names you are not familiar with that also vend at said faire. That tarot reading you got from some cool old lady you are not familiar with, just may have been a very prominent priestess in her time who wrote several very good books. So it pays to look up someone’s name now and then.
A good friend of mine says one way to tell quality over quantity is to see what they are trying to sell to you. And how they go about it. Ask yourself are they flashy or pushing their wares? Does what they offer sound too good to be true? or are they quietly willing to be real with you? Are they charging a large fee? or just a basic fee? Does what they offer match their credentials?
Then one has to ask how do you see or find the quiet ones? In social media, you have to look past the flash. If someone left a practical comment and you have seen their name a few times, check out their profile, and any sites or other things they may have listed, it might surprise you!
It also depends on what you are looking for. If you only want information, cool. If you are looking for someone who lives what they teach and write and has credentials to match then you might want to take a closer look into that person’s profile and background to see if they are active in their community and available.
To help find some of the quiet ones I thought I would list those I find have quality over quantity.
Phaedra Bonewits has been a practicing psychic, witch, ritualist, and ceremonial magician for thirty years and is an early co-conspirator and a former national officer of CUUPS (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) Phaedra is also a master of the Tarot, a reading from her is quite something.
Phaedra is currently active in her local community through The Coven of The Rising Phoenix and making presentations at local Pagan events as well as the Sacramento and Eugene Pagan Prides.
Books:Real Energy: Systems, Spirits, and Substances to Heal, Change, and Grow. Phaedra also recently co-edited Goodbye Jesus I have gone Home to Mother, with Oberon Zell, a book about seekers who have left the Abrahamic faiths and turned to Paganism, and wrote the forward to Psychic Skills for Magic and Witchcraft by Cat Gina Cole. Phaedra also has a Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/isaac.phaedra.bonewits Her books can be found on Amazon
Oberon Zell he and others laid the groundwork for the paganism we know today. Oberon Zell is the Dumbledore of our time and a modern Renaissance man. A transpersonal psychologist, metaphysician, naturalist, theologian, shaman, author, artist, sculptor, lecturer, teacher, and ordained Priest of the Earth-Mother, Gaia. Among the many projects he has undertaken in his lifetime, Oberon is one of the founders of the Church of All Worlds, is the first publisher of Green Egg Magazine, the Headmaster of the Grey School of Wizardry, the founder and curator of the Academy of Arcana. Those who know him well consider him to be a true Wizard in the traditional sense.
Oberon Zell currently resides in Redmond Washington where he continues to write and participates in the local community and travels to events at the age of 79. He is a real treat to get to meet in person. His recent books can be found at: https://oberonzell.com/books/ His sculptures and jewelry are available at https://oberonzell.com/
Aidan Kelly is an influential figure in the religion of Wicca. Having developed his own branch of the faith, the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, during the 1960s, he was also initiated into other traditions, including Gardnerian and Feri n subsequent decades. He has also been an important figure in the creation of the Covenant of the Goddess, an organization designed to protect the civil rights of members of the Wiccan community in the United States. He has also published academic work studying the early development of Gardnerian Wiccan liturgy, primarily through his controversial 1991 book Crafting the Art of Magic.
Later a friend asked him to write a ritual for a Witch sabbat as part of an art seminar. This ritual led to the founding in October 1967 of the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (NROOGD), which evolved into a Wiccan coven in 1969. Although humorously named after the famous Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Kelly’s coven was otherwise unrelated to that group.
The NROOGD tradition co-founded by Kelly in 1969 continues to operate in California and has covens in other states, Canada and the UK. Aidan Kelly currently lives in the Tacoma Washington area and offers classes through his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/aidan.kelly.37 His books can be found on Amazon
Hexaba Theaux Is very active in her local community offering classes and running her store, Cajun Conjure Hoodoo Emporium, and teacher at http://www.cajunconjure.com/ Her Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/hexeba.theaux-
Karen Walters and spouse Navar Knight have created an amazing Pagan community center at their shop at https://www.facebook.com/candlelightandconjure/ in Salem Oregon where they offer many classes, events, and witchy supplies. Their shop even features life-size Anubis and Bast statues that are quite impressive.
Katrina Rasbold and spouse Eric Rasbold own the Crossroads and Conjure shop in Northern California and it is quite a sight to see. They offer many classes and events and Katrina and her crew make many of the products sold there. Katrina holds live tarot readings from the crossroads page on Facebook and has a YouTube channel and participates in many of the events in her area and much more. Katrina has written quite a few books on Witchcraft and Conjure as well as The Seven Sisters of Avalon series, she can be found at: http://katrinarasbold.com/
Erika Fortner, owner of the Queen Meb store in Portland Oregon a very nice space that is well stocked. Many of her products are made by her and this witchy gal is the real deal. There is not much she cannot help you with. Erika offers classes in person and online at https://learn.thehouseoftwigs.com/ and her website is https://queenmeb.com/
Manora Fawn- She has a YouTube channel, Talking with Siofra where she discusses topics suggested by her followers in a very practical and down-to-earth way. She and her husband are active in their local community and often hold meet-ups and rituals on the Oregon Coast. They have been active in the Pagan community for many years and their wisdom shows.
Lupa Greenwolf, this is one busy Pagan! Her website shows how diverse her natural works are and that she has been at this for a while. Her talents include the reading of bones and bone artwork, The Tarot of Bones, she has written quite a few books and does online classes! She can be found at: https://thegreenwolf.com/
Janice Patterson Seidel Owner of the Dancing Gypsy in Klamath Falls Oregon. https://thedancinggypsy.net/ Her shop services a wide region of rural Oregon and features handmade items, an apothecary, and any other witchy item you might need. Janice is a master of pendulum work and often holds classes on many topics at the store as well as doing rituals in her local area. She can be found on Facebook at:
Rachael Patterson, this is one amazing witch! I have watched her YouTube channel and love how she can make magic from common items, even eyeglasses. Rachael lives in the UK; she has written many books on witchcraft and runs a semi-private coven in her local community. She and her blog can be found at: https://www.rachelpatterson.co.uk/ Her books can be found on Amazon and Llewellyn Worldwide. Com
Catt Foy, talk about down-to-earth real folk, this gal is that and much more. Catt Foy is a writer, artist, photographer, author, organizer of the Meraki! Spirit & Arts Fair, and spiritual consultant living in Eugene Oregon.
Catt’s art includes paintings, fiber arts, wearable art, upcycled and original jewelry, and photography. Her recent publications include Rune Stones and Their Interpretations, a new guide to Psycards: An Oracle of Archetypes, a fun new Psycards Archetypes Coloring Book in black and white, and with color illustrations, and the historical novel, Bartleby: A Scrivener’s Tale. She can be found at, http://www.cattfoy.com/
Beverly Kennedy is truly one of the quiet ones on social media she does not employ any hype but check out her impressive pagan resume:
“I am an Honored Member of the non-profit, Temple of Witchcraft, Salem, New Hampshire, and attended the Mystery School of the Temple of Witchcraft, with Wiccan High Priest and author, Christopher Penczak. I have been a solitary practitioner of earth-based spirituality for the last 21 years. )O( Honored Literary Membership~Le Musee de Vampires et Monstres de l’Imaginaire, Paris Honored Membership~Temple of Witchcraft, Salem New Hampshire USA Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids~ *Bard* East Essex, England, UK Honored Member Tidewater Druids Norfolk, Virginia, USA Honored Member Ar nDraiocht Fein Certified Massage Therapist, 2001 Certified Master Facilitator Intuitive and Energetic Healing, 2002 Certified Reiki Master/Teacher 2002 Ordained Non~Denominational Minister 2005 Certified Angel Card Reader; Doreen Virtue, 2015 Certified Realm Reader; Doreen Virtue, 2016. She can be found at https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyKennedyEvanstar/about
Ruth Overholser is a gentle and wise soul. She studied natural medicine and makes all her own herbal products and she is the one I turn to when I need to know anything about herbs and medicine. Her small shop is tucked in the quaint town of Cave Junction Oregon. She can be found at: https://m.facebook.com/LadyThymeHerbs/
Karen Campbell, talk about quiet grace! When you meet Karen Campbell you feel an instant calming influence, light and gentleness just emanates from her. Karen is an amazing tarot reader, teacher, reiki healer, and much more. She vends at many local events and is a treat. She can be found at https://www.facebook.com/karen.campbell.509 and her website is: http://brokenwingcounseling.com/Home/index.php
Christopher Penczak, tho well known is a quiet soul. He is a Witch, teacher, writer and healing practitioner. His practice draws upon the foundation of both modern and traditional Witchcraft blended with the wisdom of mystical traditions from across the globe as a practitioner and teacher of shamanism, tarot, Reiki healing, herbalism, astrology and Qabalah.
He is the founder of the Temple of Witchcraft tradition and system of magickal training based upon the material of his books and classes. He is an ordained minister primarily serving the New Hampshire and Massachusetts pagan and metaphysical communities through public rituals, private counsel and teaching, though he travels extensively teaching throughout the United States. He can be found at:
Those are a few of the quiet ones that can be found if you look. They have a wealth of knowledge and skill to be enjoyed. I hope you enjoy and admire them as much as I have. Many Blessings to all!
I live in Southern Oregon and we are dealing with at least three consecutive years of drought here. When we bought our place four years ago it was lush and green. Things were way overcrowded, many plants had no space to grow and thrive. So, thinking things needed to look neat, tidy, orderly, and cared for I cleared much of it away. You clear away the unwanted and put in the wanted, tend to them and make them grow, and spend a lot of time effort and money getting rid of weeds and creating growing spaces. Everyone else’s yards are that way and it is just how it is supposed to be done right?
Today I regret that decision and work.
I see it in a whole new light now. I feel that bare ground is dead ground, because bare ground, is dry ground. Today, if weeds are growing, I feel at least there is some green and creating oxygen that is keeping some moisture in the ground. If there is a patch of weeds in a place I want to plant something else in, I will dig it up but not until then.
Weeding my garden is not something I do anymore. I see weeds as protection and life. Not just for the ground but for all the ground dwellers, insects, bees, birds, and more. Yes, even the Bermuda grass I am plagued with, it too provides shade damp and life to many things.
Today my yard and garden are very messy looking. I have folks tell me I need to clean it up all the time. I prune where and when needed for the health of the plant only, not for the aesthetic of it. For example, cutting back the dead stalks of flowers at a season’s end. I do not do this. I feel they provide shade, ground cover, food to insects, food for birds, or draw insects that are food for birds. I only cut back the old stalks when the new ones are coming in and only if they need the space or the old stalks are no longer of use as protection or shade to the new ones. Then those old stalks become mulch.
In nature, none of these things are done in the wild. What got me thinking this way was a conversation I had with a nursery owner two years ago when I was concerned about getting water to my plants. In that conversation, he said the plants need rain/water for the leaves, buds, and bark, the roots are fine. If you use lots of mulch and keep the ground covered like a forest floor and provide shade, they will be ok. Since then, I use all my leaves, grass clippings, and shredded paper as mulch and I have fake rain days.
What is fake rain? Me, out there with a hose and a spray nozzle spraying fake rain/water on my plants. I spray water over the whole surface as rain would. I do this for every plant no matter the size. I have discovered I use less water than traditional ways of watering. You can see the plants perk up right in front of you and it leaves me feeling as happy as they do!
So now I am on yr. two of trying to bring back or grow as much shade, leaves, and groundcover in a natural way as I can in my messy ecosystem. It seems to be the only way to keep my corner of this green planet green in this changing climate. So, a messy yard, fake rain, and useful weeds it is until that changes.
Plant identification and Majorum
When I began learning herbs from someone other than my grandmother I was taken back at how little information was being given and in my brazen style decided I could do better. So I asked if I could teach a class or two and was given permission. Little did I realize the amount of work and research that really went into knowing more about herbs!
As I proceeded I realized herbalism had its own language. In an earlier blog post, I wrote an herbal glossary that focused on types of concoctions and the actions of the herb. Today I include the language of plant Identification. It is very important to know you have the correct herb as there are many look-alikes out there that can harm rather than heal.
At the end of the glossary I show the type of research I do on all my herbs while discussing Majorum, but first the glossary. Sources are available on request.
PLANT IDENTIFICATION GLOSSARY
AXIS: The axis is the plant stem; more generally the line of growth of a stem or any of its branching parts that carry flowers, other branches, or leaves.
AXIL: This is the upper angle between a bract or leaf and the stem on which it grows, or an axillary flower or bud.
ACHENE: A small dry, nut-like, one-seeded fruit that does not split open when ripe to release the seed, It can be winged, such as a maple seed, or caraway seed.
ASCENDING: This simply means curving upwards.
BASAL: These are the leaves growing at the base of a stem.
BIPINNATE: A leaf that is twice pinnate i.e., a pinnately divided leaf whose leaflets are themselves pinnately divided. (See Pinnate description below)
BRACT: A small leaf or scale-like structure from the axil of where a flower often begins.
COMPOUND LEAF: This is a leaf divided into two or more leaflets or a leaf or flower cluster with a branched main axis.
DECIDUOUS: These are plants with shedding leaves at the end of the growing season.
DIVIDED: A place in the plant where they separate towards the mid-rib or base.
ELLIPTICAL: Leaves that are oval but slightly pointed at each end.
FEATHERY: Leaves that are cut into many fine segments along the edge that look “Feathery”
FURROWED: Leaves with longitudinal (long) channels or grooves that run toward the base of the leaf.
GLOBOSE: This term is usually applied to a fruit or a seed that is round like a sphere
LATERAL: This term means something that is situated at the side of the leaf. “It is lateral to the object being viewed”
LEAF AXIL: Is the part between the leaf and the stem
LEAFLET: This is a subdivision of a compound leaf where you find several small leaves in a group.
LINEAR: Leaves that are long and narrow, almost parallel-sided.
LINEAR- LANCEOLATE: These are leaves that are long and narrow but tapering to a point at the tip
LOBED: Leaves that are divided toward the mid-rib but not into separate leaflets, each division is rounded at the apex, like an oak leaf.
LATEX: This is a milky fluid produced by several kinds of plants such as poppy, milkweed, rubber plant, and many more.
MARGIN: The outside edge of a leaf or seed.
MID-RIB: Is the center vein of a leaf, usually thickened and obvious.
NODE: This is a point on a stem in which one or more leaves grow or have grown; the part of the stem between the nodes is called an internode.
OBOVATE: This describes a leaf that is oval, with the end farthest from the stalk being wider than the end attached to the stem that is somewhat egg-shaped, also called OVATE.
OPPOSITE: Leaves that grow in pairs at the same level on opposite sides of the stem.
PALMATE: This describes a leaf that has the shape of a hand. The leaf will have a center like our palm with three or more leaves extending from it as our fingers do on our hand. The Virginia Creeper vine is one of these types of leaves.
PETIOLE: Is the stalk of the leaf, not the whole plant.
PINNATE: A leaf that has the structure of a feather in that similar parts occur on opposite sides of an axis. A pinnate leaf is divided into numerous leaflets that grow along either side of the leaf stalk and have their own center stalk, which is called a petiole.
RAY FLOWER: These are flowers that edge a central disc, such as sunflowers daisies and many more.
RHIZOME: This is a creeping, usually horizontal underground storage stem, which sends up leafy shoots each season, like ferns, and water hemlock.
SESSILE: These are stalkless flowers or leaves. They have no petiole or stem of their own but grow right from the main stalk much like Chickory does.
SIMPLE: Leaves that are not divided into leaflets of stems but are unbranched in any way.
SPREADING: These leaves stand out horizontally or at a wide angle from the stem.
SHEATH; The sheath is the lower part of the leaf that wraps around the stem or stalk, near the base that is separate from the main part.
TERMINAL: This is the end of a stalk or stem or branch that limits more growth.
UMBEL: Is a bract of flowers that are umbrella-shaped in which all the flowers or the secondary umbels in a compound umbel are borne on smaller stalks that spread out and are equal in length. They arise from a common stem, like on water hemlock and wild carrot.
VEIN: This is the passageway for water and nutrients to and from a leaf; also the mechanical support system you see them when you look very closely at a leaf.
So now that we know more about how to identify a plant let’s talk about one of my favorites, Marjoram! I have fond memories of this herb as it was one of the first teas my mom introduced to me. I knew when mom brought out the Marjoram it was time to sit and quietly talk.
How the following is laid out also shows the type of research I do on all of my herbs. The reason I do this is because I was taught herbs are medicine. Many of the terminology used here can be found in my blog article Herbal Glossary.
CONTAINS: vitamins A,B-12,C AND K, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, zinc, silicon, phytonutrients, beta-carotene, lutein, and flavonoids.
ACTIONS; Tonic, carminative, diaphoretic, calmative, anodyne, stomachic, antidote, antispasmodic, anti-fungal, antioxidant, aperitif, diuretic, antibacterial, anti-viral, optic tonic, aromatic, expectorant, emmenagogue, and hypertensive.
USES; asthma, violent cough, spasms, cramps, measles, dropsy, respiratory issues of all kinds, digestive problems, nervous headache, colic, gas, gargle, allergies, colds, nervous disorders, rheumatism, toothache, prevents neural damage in the brain, food poisoning or staph infection
I have used Marjoram as a calmative and tonic. Any time I am over-stressed and worn out, or wrung out during or after a cold or flu or other illness. I find it has restorative qualities and feels very relaxing to the system and I love the earthy aroma!
You can infuse oil to use on sprains or joint pain, by putting the fresh herb in olive oil and let stand in the sun for 2-3 weeks. Another way to do this is to get one of those small warming crock pots for sauces. They heat to 140. Put ingredients in and let warm overnight or two days to get the same effect. This oil can be used for earache and toothache and massage for varicose veins and gout.
The planet of Marjoram is Mercury, and it is used for communication, thinking logic, writing, motivation, and wisdom. This is a good tea to serve at a study group or business meeting.
Its tarot card is the Magician because it has all the tools it needs to do the job. It brings temperance that promotes growth and changes that make one humble. Excellent before meditation. Marjoram’s Goddess is Aphrodite who is the symbol of happiness, love, joy, and serenity. This herb is one of my staples. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Many Blessings!
Being of Service
In my family tradition I was taught from a young age about being of service. Not just being of service to the spirits of the other side as a witch, but helping people in whatever way possible. Those closest to me know I live this daily.
I often wondered why I experienced some of the things I have in my life. I could not understand why these things were put on me. Often, they were heavy, confusing, and very hard and made no sense.
On a day when I was struggling and feeling like I was at the bottom of life, my mom said, “You experience these things so you can give your knowledge and strength of how you got through them to others.” In that perspective it suddenly all made sense and I was able to carry on.
This does not make me an expert in anything. Nor does it elevate me above anyone else. That is not who I am. I am a simple country witch, a real person that has led a colorful life and had some experiences that when shared, might help others through their journey. And that is the sole reason I wrote my book Psychic Skills for Magic and Witchcraft.
I have had the opportunity to elevate myself in this world and walked away each time because being a real and approachable person available to others was more important. Which makes self-promotion against my character. But how does one be of service to others unless they know you are there?
In today’s world of social media, I cannot reach folks that might have a need without some self-promotion. I, like many, despise the slick used car salesperson tactics or flooding of social media I have seen others use. So, I quietly sit in many Pagan groups on social media. I carefully select those I respond to and share my blog once in a while. To date that has been my form of self-promotion. On the flipside of promotion, one must enjoy and share their joys with their community to fully live that joy. That is my goal here today.
In writing psychic Skills For Magic And Witchcraft, the main goal was to write about psychism in a common-sense, and practical, step by step easy to understand way. To tear off the band-aid of the common mystical language that only serves to further confuse or cloud psychism for many.
My second goal was to de-mystify many of the preconceived ideas our society has taught us about psychics and let all psychics know they no longer have to feel odd or confused. There is a name for what they experience, there are tools to use, it is real, and they are not alone.
My book, Psychic Skills for Magic and Witchcraft takes the seeker on the complete journey. In the later chapters, I use real-life experiences to demonstrate how psychic occurrences can appear in daily life. I couple those experiences with additional advanced tools and skills the seeker can use to deal with their own experiences in their own way.
My book is my way of being there for the many psychics that have no one to talk to or feel lost in their experiences. The book is not only what I live daily and what I teach, but it is the book I wish I had growing up as a psychic. It is my greatest desire that it brings all psychics, confidence, guidance, and peace of mind, no matter where they are in the journey.
Today I celebrate my work and let myself feel the joy I wish to share with you the seeker. Psychic Skills For Magic And Witchcraft, published by Llewellyn Worldwide will be coming out in February 2022.
I am excited to see this work come full circle. I can hardly believe it is available for pre-order at Llewellyn Worldwide, on Amazon, and Barnes and noble.
I am also honored to have written an article for the Llewellyn Journal, to be published in January. I even get to be a guest on Spirit Talk, a show in Australia! Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would be so. It is almost surreal like I am walking in a dream or in someone else’s life. the joy of it is almost overwhelming. So, witches, follow your dreams and fly!
Below you will see some of the endorsements for my book. I am so honored that these folks thought so highly of my work. I am humbled by their praise. I hope you enjoy the book as much as they have. Many Blessings to all!
Advance praise for Psychic Skills for Magic and Witchcraft: Developing Your Spirit, Intuition, and Clairvoyance, published by Llewellyn Worldwide in February 2022:
“If you want to develop your intuition and related mental acuities, this is a fabulous resource! Each chapter provides a variety of tools, both material and otherwise, that allow you to open your mind and increase your focus. Even if you’ve never done any sort of psychic practice, this book will offer you the framework you need to get started and get better, without being overly dogmatic or prescriptive.” —Lupa, creator of The Tarot of Bones deck and book
“I’ve read a lot of books on psychism, but this one is unique; not merely theoretical, but actual tried-and-true practical exercises, definitions, explanations, and most enlightening—personal excerpts from Cat’s own journals from a lifetime of both learning and teaching the psychic arts. Cat’s descriptions of her childhood lessons and exercises remind me so much of my own lonely journey as a ‘magikid.’ Fortunately, while I had to invent my own experiments in telepathy, hypnosis, psychokinesis, etc., Cat had her witchy mother and grandmother to teach her. And in this book she organizes the solid lessons she learned and teaches into an easy-to-understand three-level course of study for beginning students to intermediate practitioners. This course presents a foundational curriculum of psychic skills for daily living and all forms of spiritual practices. I recommend it highly!” — Oberon Zell, Headmaster of the Grey School of Wizardry, author of Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard.
“Crone wisdom resonates throughout the pages of this vital book that is certain to become a modern classic. Bringing together a lifetime of clinical and priestess training, Cat Gina Cole has written the consummate book for developing and growing psychic awareness and sensitivity.” — Katrina Rasbold, Author of Uncrossing: Identify, Cleanse, and Heal from Hexes, Curses, and Psychic Attack and Crossroads of Conjure: The Roots and Practices of Granny Magic, Hoodoo, Brujería, and Curanderismo.
“There is no light without the darkness to compare it to.” An appropriate and popular saying at Yule time. On this solstice many celebrate the return of the light as the days begin to get longer. Others celebrate the dark time and all that dwells there. Some take this time to dive into their personal shadows and darkness.
How ever you acknowledge the darkness this season, there is another darkness that must be dealt with, the darkness we feel from the entire nation. We are all oversaturated with trauma, crisis, and sensationalism in one form or another. As Witches it is our practice to work with the forces around us and that includes this one. As magical practitioners and sensitives it has slowly had its effect on us.
Now that we have acknowledged this dark force, let us as Witches, Magical practitioners, and sensitives, use this Yule and celebration of the return of the light to roll back this dark force on our nation and our personal lives.
This Yule let us gather in energy or in-person and focus on the return of the light to people’s hearts. Cast your laughter and joy loudly from your throats. Cast your music, your dancing, your drumming, your candlelight and let it shine brightly across our communities. Cast the joy until it ripples across the land and touches everyone it can.
My Yule blessing for you all is this: May you feel the ripples of joy and light. May you pass it on. May the New Year have no choice but to be joyful for everyone!
By our will, so mote it be!
Today I thought I would write about herbalism. And I realize there is so much information out there that you might like to know what sources I use and my process for researching them.
I have several rules of practice when looking for information on herbs. First, I google medicinal uses for….(insert herb here) I look at no less than 15 sites if the herb is new to me. Then I look for what the herb contains, not just its uses. When I begin to see the same information being repeated, that is the information I then write down. After that, I go to my books, and for a new herb, I use no less than eight. Then when that information matches up with what I found online, I enter the matching information into my herbal journal confident in what I have found.
Why do I do all of this? Because herbs are medicine and chemicals just like a prescription.
My number one rule is “Do your own research”, even if a trusted friend gives you good information. Two herbs are responsible for this rule, Kava and the mint family of which there are 7000 species. Kava is listed as harmless and non-toxic, yet if someone has liver issues it can cause them harm. In the mint family of 7000, if someone is allergic to one of them, they are likely to be allergic to all of them. Almost every herb has some indication like this and it takes deep research to find it at times.
I also look at what an herb contains and I find words like saponins, flavonoids, or rutin. I look them up too so I know what they are and how they interact with the body. I look at the actions and find words like depurative, vulnerary, and diuretic, and look them up too. All for the sake of safety and being confident of what I am using.
This resulted in my creation of an herbal glossary I keep for my own use and teach my students. You will find that glossary on my blog at http://catginacole.com/a-little-herbalism-for-your-day/ It is an excellent example of the types of words to look for. I also created the glossary because I discovered herbalism has its own language and the glossary became the key to understanding it.
I do have several friends I have come to trust over time to converse with about herbs, they are: Kathleen Crochet Stursa- Herbalist, simpler, and Gardner extraordinaire, Ruth Overholser-Owner of Lady Thyme Herbs in Cave Junction Oregon, Janice Patterson Sidel-Owner of the Dancing Gypsy in Klamath Falls Oregon, Erika Fortner- Owner of Queen Meb in Portland, Katrina Rasbold- Owner of Crossroads Metaphysical Store in Shingle Springs Ca. These ladies really know their stuff and if the research fails, I can always count on them.
There are two links I use the most, they are Web MD and VeryWellHealth.com I also watch Suzan Weed on YouTube and a few others on occasion. I look at many other links as well but these are the most used.
There is nothing like finding a good herb book with special nuggets of information. When you buy one, check the glossary, index, and bibliography. This will tell you exactly how good the book really is. Here is the list of my current herbal books.
Practical Herbalism by Frtichey
The Good Herb by Judith Benn Hurley
Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs
The Consumers Guide to Herbalism by Steven Kirch
Magic and Medicine of Herbs by Readers Digest
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Sarah Bunny-Barnes and Noble
Magic with Incense and Powders by Ana Riva
Medicinal Plants of The Pacific Northwest by Moore
Petersons Guide to Medicinal Plants & Herbs
Todays Herbal Health by Tenny
The Herbalist by Joseph E Meyer
I also have assorted books on aromatherapy and oils and am always looking for more! Feel free to share your favorites with me by leaving a comment and happy herbing!
A note about trancework. Anything that occurs in trance falls under the category of UPG-Unverifiable Personal Gnosis (knowledge) This means it is personal to you and not verifiable by other means. Each of us have our own unique events and ways of doing them. Most of mine are done while awake and sitting up, only a few are done while sleeping. So, the following is my personal gnosis.
I have been a psychic my whole life and I am used to my head being full of thought and sound. In 2018 I received a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. After the accident, my brain was completely quiet. I could not even hear my own thoughts before I said them. The irony is how hard we try to quiet our minds in meditation. But this was almost surgical and quite distressing.
Then my gal pal Phaedra Bonewits whom I had been training under, gave me a task. I was not to just meditate on each of the major arcana of the Tarot but deeply trance on each of them. This accomplished many things, and it brought back my psychism enough for me to begin my journey back to being the psychic I had been my whole life.
This tarot trance begins with the fool card. On this day I was not feeling well and was going back to bed and about to put the work off again. But last minuet I decided to grab the fool card and focus on it as I drifted off. I looked very closely at every small detail. I had to force myself to keep my focus and not let my mind wander. I looked hard at all the colors, the position things were in, the scene, and took it all in.
What I see is, the “fool” does not have a care in the world and is actually taking in the splendor. He has a look of “I have arrived and look at this splendid place” to him. There is no impending doom or fear of falling off the cliff. I reflect on how I think the label of the fool is misleading. He is not a fool at all, just a traveler. The dog has led him to this place and is also happy.
Then I fell asleep and became the fool and was on a small hill above a coastal village near the sea. As is typical of my dreams there were two of me. One the fool, the other also a fool aspect who was not as happy but seemed stronger than the original fool. Yet I am observing them both from a distance in my lucid state. Perhaps this is what Carl Jung meant when he says that dreams are aspects of the self.
As I ponder this a disagreement breaks out with some folks from the village that had arrived to see what we wanted. They were arguing about the dog, who they felt needed protecting. At the same time, an amazing sword appeared in the hands of the stronger fool aspect. It was bright silver, very strong, yet could fold when not in use.
Just then I noticed an orange color like the sun appear in the sky, which was partly obscured by the clouds. As I watched I began to see it was somewhat square and seemed to be a signal we were running out of time. In my mind, a voice said, “It’s coming let’s go!”
We shambled down the rough hillside over rocks and mud toward the village near the sea. When we reached the level ground we could see the village was spread out and primitive. As I,-the fool, took in the splendor of the village, much like what is shown in the card, my stronger aspect had made it to the sea wall at the water’s edge. He was now involved in another dispute among the village elders there. They were rejecting him and denying him access to whatever was coming.
As I,- the fool, made my way to them, a huge fog rolled in. I remember thinking “What is this fog, I can’t see a thing!” Yet the orange square in the sky was coming closer and getting larger.
Annoyed with the fog and lack of clarity, and the confusion, the fool aspect stood tall. He lifted his chin, closed his eyes, opened his arms, and pushed out his chest towards the fog. This made the fog retreat, revealing that the orange square was a sail. The sail was so large and glorious it took my breath away, no one had seen the like and size before. The ship was just as fantastic and breathtaking. The dog became joyous and began jumping and barking like he was saying this is it! And I was excited too!
I then noticed the stronger aspect of the fool began to walk up the boat ramp with the sword in hand. He held it up, and said, “This is mine!” The elders of the village said, “The sword disagrees.” As they directed our attention to the sword, it folded up, became dim, and would not work for the stronger aspect as he struggled to try and re-open it. Once he gave up and handed it to the fool, however, it became bright and unfolded with all its strength and glory. The elders seemed to approve and allowed the fool and the dog to get on the ship. Then the cat jumped on my belly and woke me up!
Sorry folks, not all trances are complete stories. This is why I now do most of my trances sitting up in a closed room. But do not worry there are many more such fantastic tales to come, so stay tuned to see what is revealed in the next blog entry.
For many Magical practitioners, winter is, the dark time, and full of shadows. Seasonally we have only one winter, but it has occurred to me that according to our modern calendar, winter actually comes twice a year. In January most of us are deep into winter, then it comes again at the end of the year.
Winter brings in the new year and also ends the year. In the fall we see the slow onset of winter as it darkens and blankets the area for the rest of the season. In spring we see the slow recession of its grip and see the hope of spring arrive. Winter shows us the very cycle of “Life, Death, and Rebirth”
Many of us get snow which can lift our spirits. It is cold, it is crisp, it is fresh and it changes the way everything looks, smells, and sounds.
Magically what is snow? Snow is white, the color of purification and clarity. Snow has a way of purifying the air as it pushes all the dust and pollution back into the Earth. To me, that is the air getting cleansed and charged. Because cold crisp fresh air is invigorating, and easier to breathe, everything just feels lighter in a dark season and lifts my spirits too.
Snow is a combination of elements. Snow begins as water. Water is H-2-O, which gets so frozen in the atmosphere it becomes crystalized and falls to the Earth, where solids belong. These crystals bring all the purity and cleansing we know clear crystals to have to Earth with them. Later, they provide nourishing water that brings forth our spring.
Snow also gives us stillness because it seems to make everything stop. Snow dampens sound and stifles movement. This dampens the usual noise we are so used to hearing and gives us cause to listen and notice things. In this way, snow creates a liminal space. This makes it easier for those of us who can, to notice and communicate with the darkness and shadow of the season.
Most think of liminal space as crossroads, thresholds, portals, doors, walk through trees, the beach, and more. The liminal space that snow creates is not often spoken of. It is a liminal space of time. It creates something similar to what many feel when they walk into a church, where all the buzz of the world and time stops. There is only you and your soul. This is why so many do shadow work in this liminal time.
The darkness gives us space enough to let go of what is not useful, apply acceptance and awareness, put your fear aside, gather your strengths, grab your courage in spite of fears, and gain faith in our own ability and that of our divine. We do this shadow work so we can be ready to step across the threshold into a whole new year of the unknowable when spring comes.
When a magical practitioner finds a dark shadow in themselves or others and there is snow on the ground, you can place it in the snow to first freeze it and render it powerless, then to be purified by the snow, then to dissolve as the snow melts.
That kind of shadow work and dark magic is the lighter side of working “Dark Magic and Shadows. The lighter stuff is what prepares us for the real stuff to come. When we clean up our personal shadows, we are better prepared to face any other shadow that may come, not only in life but in Magic.
A Magical practitioner who faces their own shadows and has no fear of them will be able to face the more surprising darker things one encounters in Magic. On occasion, a “dark thing” will pop up in meditation, or a dream or astral travel. Even when working with deities or spirits we sometimes encounter dark stuff. Our shadow work allows us to face them and build skills to handle them. Make no mistake dark things exist in all facets of life and Magic.
It is the job of the Magical practitioner to be able to identify the dark, then decide how best to proceed. Either with protection, engagement or to provide accurate information to others.
There are many definitions of Dark Magic as there is with any type of Magic and discussions on White or Dark Magic and the ethics of it all. I am not here to debate that or give you a set answer to that. What I will and can say, is that Dark Magic exists whether you believe in it or not.
The power comes from acknowledgment. For example, there is an individual whose name I never say. I never say their name because I do not want any acknowledgment of any kind to lend power to them or to create an energetic link back to me. This is knowing darkness is there, but not acknowledging it. This is a type of magical defense, like putting up a shield. Belief is power and any power can be a spell or a protection.
This allows for us Magical practitioners to be aware and knowledgeable but not engage in anything we do not choose to. Yes, we can choose to accept what we experience or reject it, good or bad, either choice is a Magical power.
I have had plenty of occasions to walk among the dark shadows and to do dark magic. Being able to work dark magic and having it available when the need arises is a defense to the dark arts. I find it allows me to walk the light as a better protected and confident Magical practitioner.
So do not be afraid, to look into the shadows or dark magic and come to know them. Just because you look or know and are able does not mean that is where you will reside nor does it make you a dark practitioner, it makes you wise, protected, confident, and capable.