What I Learned From Floating In a Sensory Deprivation Tank

What do John Lennon, Anthony Bourdain and Lisa Simpson have in common?

Aside from world fame and trips to Japan, they all, at some point, found themselves inside the curious device known as a sensory deprivation tank.

“Floating” in zero gravity sensory chambers specially designed to create the experience of weightlessness has been a thing since the early 1950s, when a neuroscientist by the name of John C. Lily developed them to test its effects on the human psyche.

Since then, the practice made its way into spas and new age facilities around the world.  Some people regularly use sensory deprivation for relaxation, enhanced meditation experiences, or even to treat pain from conditions like arthritis.

As someone always looking for experimental approaches to meditation and spiritual insight, I found this concept intriguing.

So I put it on my bucket list . . . where it remained for years.

But this week, when the folks at Mystic Flow Wellness Center invited me to try it, I felt fate tap me on the shoulder.    No time like the present to dive (or ease?) right in.

Ah, the spa.  The smell of essential oils, the skilled hands of massage therapist, the feel of mud sinking into my skin.  Just the word spa drops my blood pressure.

After 19 months of first-time motherhood, the idea of spending 90 minutes in silence should have sounded like a granted wish.  But  I found myself surprisingly nervous when I arrived in the lobby that morning.

(I distracted myself by wondering how awesome that chandelier would look over my dining room table.)

spa reception

Rose, a friendly, approachable attendant, met me at the door, introducing herself as my “float host.”

Say hi to Rose.

rose from mystic floats

She gave me a little tour of facility before my treatment, swinging open the door to one of the “float rooms” to reveal a space-age-looking machine that glowed with empyrean aquamarine light.

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I wondered briefly if I might wake up in the Matrix.

But Rose assured me that I could, at any time, open the door and get out.

She also promised I’d float beyond any scientific doubt, explaining that the chamber solution contained 1,000 pounds of salt—-a larger concentration that the Dead Sea.

I was provided a robe, some earplugs (apparently, water in the ear canals is a common distraction) and left on my own to confront the alien pod.

sensory deprivation tank feet first

I got in, closed the door and laid back, surprised at my extreme buoyancy.  A robotic-yet-soothing feminine voice welcomed me to the session and the glowing turquoise light faded into oblivion.

My initial claustrophobia faded.

Inside, I struggled with all the things common to ordinary meditation.  My mind wandered.  I resisted the urge to fidget.

But some of the physical discomforts I usually experience during “land meditation”  (like my lower back pain, and tension in my shoulders) instantly alleviated.  After a few minutes, most of my major muscle groups softened.

I started to feel as though I were floating through deep space.

I personally experienced nothing close to the hallucination, but I definitely found my visualizations more vivid and easier to stabilize.

Occasionally, I bumped into the sides of the pod, which briefly jolted me from my visualization, but I found if I centered myself and held as still as possible, I could stay with my meditation for long stretches.

About halfway through the session, I started to lose orientation.  Time became difficult to gauge.  I guessed I’d been in for about 45 minutes when the same robotic-yet-soothing feminine voice beamed through my consciousness to tell me my 90 minutes was up.

I opened the pod to discover that I had not, in fact, been transported to the Matrix.

Rose met me in the lobby and told me to expect to feel pleasant after effects for several days.

She was right.  That night, I slept beautifully.  In addition, I felt the strange but delightful sensation of weightlessness for several hours, like walking around on the moon.

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10 Ways to Use the Waning Moon in Witchcraft

As the receding light of the waning moon retreats into oblivion like a great ocean tide, we turn out energy inward to eliminate or re-work repetitive patterns that no longer serve us.  Harness the cleansing power of this lunar phase to clear obstacles and release negative influences.

10 ways to use the waning moon

Try a weight loss spell.  If you’re trying to get in the right frame of mind for weight loss or fasting, ride the “drawing away” or receding energy of waning moon to gain some momentum.

Let go of a toxic friendship.   Use the waning moon to finally release that cyclic, dead-end relationship.   You know the one.   Take any items that remind you of the person and get rid of them.  Write down any residual feelings, then burn the paper in a cauldron with some dried rosemary.  Be free.

Reduce debt.  Instead of using your spell work to increase wealth under the waxing moon, think of reducing debt under the waning moon.  It’s a totally different mindset that moves you towards less consumption, more mindful spending and greater personal freedom.

Make an offering or donation.  I think of the waning moon as a retreating tide coming to collect on the gifts brought to shore by the last wave.  Send blessings out to sea so that the next full moon tide brings them back to you.  Say “yes” when the cashier asks you if you’d like to donate a dollar to a children’s charity, drop a few quarters in the “Give a Penny, Take a Penny” or drop off a load at the Salvation Army.

Using a healing spell to ease grief.  Whether you recently lost a loved one, or you still grieve for one who passed long ago, if you feel ready to begin the healing process, try a spell to let go of a deceased loved one.

Leave your job to start something new.  If you’ve been thinking of transitioning to another position and you have some control over the timing, consider scheduling your last day during the waning moon.  The retreating energy of the waning moon aids in letting go of the past to ready for the future.

Exorcise your home.  If you feel your house bogged down with negative energy (frequent family fighting, excessive clutter or unmanageable chaos), clean your house top to bottom.  Then bring a pot of water to boil on the stove with rosemary, cinnamon sticks and lavender petals to dispel darkness and restore harmony.

Take a waning moon bath.  Fill a muslin bag or tea strainer with star anise, orange peel and bay leaf.   Let it steep in your bathwater and relax in candle light.  Meditate, focusing on any unwanted or residual energy from the previous moon cycle.  Imagine it seeping into the water.  Then, pull the bath stopper and watch your discomfort drain away.

Get a massage.  Nothing beats negative stress stored in the body like a massage.  Most massage therapists are quite happy to let you bring your own oil.  Blend a (skin safe!) mixture of oils for releasing negativity, bring it to your massage therapist and imagine she is massaging away your stored anxieties, fears and tensions.

Reverse a spell gone awry.  Last month’s spell not serving you so well?  You’ll likely need to ride it out.  But reversing the spell by doing it backwards during the waning moon speeds karma along.

10 Ways to Use Lapis Lazuli in Witchcraft

Tranquil, soothing and beautiful, lapis lazuli’s timeless mystical appeal drew the admiration of ancient royalty.  Today, practitioners of crystal magick use it in a variety of ways.  Want to try it?  Here are a few simple, creative and inspiring ideas to incorporate this unique stone into your spell work and rituals.

In honor of Moody Moon’s new Bling Blessings jewelry line, this post begins a series on the in-depth properties of common gemstones and crystals.

If this subject interests you, be sure to check out my article, 10 Ways to Use Clear Quartz.

10 ways to use lapis lazuli in witchcraft

Hold a piece to sooth stress or anxiety.  People struggling with mild anxiety sometimes feel relief when holding a piece of lapis lazuli.

Place it near the hearth of the home to harmonize disrupted relationships.  Kids bickering?  Are you and your partner inexplicably annoying each other lately?  Try a piece of lapis lazuli near the heart of the home (living room, kitchen, wherever everyone spends the most time together in the house) to help quiet tempers and promote cooperation.

Use during dark moon divination to symbolize the night sky.  With its dark blue color and tiny, flashing golden flecks of pyrite, lapis lazuli resembles a star-filled, moonless horizon.  Keep a piece near during your dark moon divinations to draw in the energy of the darkest nights of the month.

Place a piece on an Egyptian altar.  If you honor the Egyptian Pantheon in your practice, place a piece of lapis lazuli on your altar to draw out your “inner queen.”  Egyptian pharaohs ground the gemstone into an deep-indigo powder for use as eye shadow or to dye clothing.  Its brilliant hue symbolized royalty and power.

Place it in mojo bags for inner peace.   Include lapis lazuli in inner peace mojo bags for its wonderfully calming properties.   Let it smooth out frayed nerves and quiet the rough tides of your spirit.

Bring it with you into deceptive situations.  If you suspect dishonesty afoot, carry a piece of lapis lazuli to encourage the truth to service.  But take caution!  Expect it to unmask your own deceptions, too!  Especially the ones you tell yourself.

Toss one in the cauldron for tranquility and reconciliation brews.   
Lapis Lazuli’s tendency to encourage people to empathize with their partners, family members and friends deeply allows them to see past their personal frustrations and misunderstandings, clearing obstacles that stand in the way of healthier interpersonal connections.

Carry it to sooth stage fright.  If speaking in public makes you nervous, carry a piece to calm your nerves and center your emotions before presentations and performances.

Wear it during meditation to open the third eye.  Lapis lazuli’s chakra correspondence rests on the Third Eye, a both literal and figurative place in the body between and slightly above your eyebrows.  The third eye “sees” the invisible and informs your intuitive senses.

Give it as a gift.  This gemstone blesses deep friendships.  Give it to a new or old friend in raw form or set into jewelry.

Sources:

Crystal Vaults

Balance Chakra

What’s New at Moody Moons?

As autumn makes its official debut, Magical Moody Moons presents fresh offerings from the handmade workshop, including a new line of jewelry (more to come!), totem oils and of course, Moody Moon’s signature Samhain items.

Click on the photo to be redirected to the product page for more details!

Back in stock!  Samhain oil!

As dark begins to overtake the light, the witch’s festival of Samhain approaches.

This spicy aromatic oil is blended with organic essential oils and herbs chosen especially for this sacred festival. Steeped and finely strained in a rich olive oil base.

The charm tied to the neck symbolizes the crow, which is said to carry messages back and forth from this world to the world beyond.

Bottle is approximately 4.5″ tall.

Are you a fire sign? A red-headed witch? Someone who considers the fox a personal totem? Or maybe you’re just in need of some of the smokin’ hot, fierce energy in your circle?

Introducing Fox Oil, the first in Moody Moon’s new line of totem oils.

Enjoy the spicy, evocative scent of essential oils chosen for their sacredness to the fox and steeped in an olive oil base.

Use this oil to anoint candles, gemstones and altar items, or burn it to fill your sacred space with the awesome energy of the crafty, wise fox.

Jar is approximately 3.5″ tall.

It’s mid-harvest season, and as the smell of wood smoke and falling leaves fills the air, it’s time to turn our attention inward for personal reflection.

This handmade blend of fall herbs, botanical oils and aromatic spices, including orange peel, dried apple, cedar, rose and thyme is specially crafted to fill your sacred space with the essence of autumn and the Wiccan harvest festivals Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain or Spirit Night.

Place mixture on a charcoal burner in a fire safe dish during meditation, scrying, divination, spell casting or ritual celebrations during the Harvest Season.

Please use caution as the herbs sometimes spark when burned!! Never leave this or any other loose incense unattended.

Jar is approximately 2.5″ x 3″

Gorgeous drop earrings with turquoise and om pendants.

Reputed to emanate natural “chill out vibes,” turquoise heightens spiritual awareness and brings the mind and body into alignment.

Om is an ancient mystical Hindu symbol of a sacred mantra used in scripture, before meditation and during spiritual rites.

Alloy-free, fishhook ear wires.

Drop length: Approximately 3″

Free domestic shipping on all US orders for this item.

Earrings made of the most serene, soothing gemstone in world!

Lapis lazuli’s brilliant, deeply saturated indigo-blue color appeals to the eye and the spirit.

Wear them to sooth frayed nerves, open the third eye and release negativity.

Points are about 1″ long. Earrings have about a 2.5″ drop length. Alloy-free fish hook ear wires.

Free domestic shipping to anywhere in the US.

Moody Moon’s introduces cloth menstrual care.  Don’t be scared!  It’s no big deal!


This 11″ reusable cloth menstrual pad makes a perfect addition to your stash for overnight needs or heavy flow days.

Choose from floral/fuschia or adorable fox pattern on the pad with contrasting orange arrow/zigzag pattern on the wings.

Topped with 100% cotton, terry cloth soaker/absorbent core and backed with PUL (waterproof fabric). This PUL is a little more breathable than some of the more waxy PUL fabrics.

Wings are fully lined with soaker material.

Hand-executed whip stitch on pull-through seam.

Snaps are sew-on (as opposed to the machine embedded snaps).

Pre-soak in cold water to avoid staining, but otherwise, you can feel free to throw this pad in your washer/dryer.

If you haven’t yet made the switch to cloth pads, this one makes a nice starter pad to try. One cloth menstrual pad replaces up to 300 disposables.

This set of two regular absorbancy gray and white polka dot cloth tampons are made of 100% natural cotton flannel with an organic twine pull string.

If you haven’t made the switch to cloth, this set makes a perfect introduction. Everyone thinks cloth menstrual care is “a little too much” until they try it and get hooked!

Unlike designs that are sewed rolled, “roll up” design makes them easy to get them clean for reuse.

Simply roll them tightly before use, then unroll to wash.

A cold water rinse before washing is recommended to prevent staining.

 

 

Pagan Travel: The Green Witch’s Guide to Costa Rica

 

(For all my posts on pagan-inspired travel destinations, click here.)

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In Costa Rica, the locals say, Pura Vida.

Roughly, this translates to “it’s all good,” “no worries,” or even “hello.”

Pura vida, like so many of the best expressions, renders no true equivalent in any other language.

But directly translated, Pura Vida means “pure life.”

When I think of Costa Rica, I think of the pure life, and all the things I love about the wild, breath-taking, adventurous spirit of this beautiful country.

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Costa Rica appeals in particular to Earth Signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) and anyone who identifies as a green or Hedge Witch.

Boasting some of the richest biodiversity on the planet, the green witch will marvel at the lush, tropical cornucopia of plant life, and the impressive local knowledge of its medicinal and spiritual values.

 

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The drainage pipe in the upper left of this photo is part of an ingenious system that collects rainwater, redistributing it for use in the beautiful pools and fountains of this guesthouse hotel.

 

Every place vibrates with a certain energy.  This energy is both static and infinite.

As individuals, we “read” this energy and experience it according to our beliefs, impressions, state of being and the context of our lives.

For me, Costa Rica means rest, rejuvenation, and purification.

Perhaps because I love me some spa time.

The ritualism and use of natural herbs and oils to honor the body as a temple deeply to my pagan self.

Costa Rica’s unique access to botanicals combined with its world-class service industry makes for some of the most amazing, quality massages and spa treatments available at a price much more affordable than Europe or the US.

It’s not impossible to score an top-notch facial for $15.

I especially enjoy making magically meaningful beauty treatments at home, so I brought this recipe home for my green witches on the Stateside:

Mint Chocolate Face Mask

*greek yogurt (3 tbsp)
*cocoa powder (1 tablespoon)
*3 drops peppermint oil

Mix it up, and ahhhh . . .

mint chocolate mask

(Or even better!, let me mix up a batch of the scrub version for you personally.)

Stay away from the bigger, more commercial spas at hotels and look for little places tucked in between shops on the charming streets of La Fortuna.

Usually, there’s room to negotiate if you feel comfortable bargaining, but even on the high end, an hour long massage runs less than $50.

hot spring

My inclination towards natural healing and holistic health drew me to the healing waters of the hot springs in La Fortuna.

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Situated near a majestic volcano that dominates the landscape like a great, sleeping giant, the deep fire that roars beneath it feeds hot springs all over the area.  Many hotels even have private natural springs.

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Many off-beat travelers value lesser known, more local attractions, and I personally enjoy them very much over super-touristy, Disney theme park type stuff

On that note, if ghost chasing piques your interest, check out the little-known Sanatorio Duran.   Built originally to treat patients dying of the then widespread epidemic of tuberculosis, the Sanatorio also served as a prison and a mental hospital.

It’s no wonder local legends abound about this strange and beautiful place.

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(Look forward to more on the Sanatorio Duran, as I plan to showcase it in an upcoming Featured Haunting post.)

Whenever I go anywhere, I take note of the wildlife I encounter.  Every place teems with its dominate species.   In Tanzania, you may think of the mighty lion.  In New York, you may think of less-mighty (yet formidable) subway rat.  For many people, Costa Rica conjures images of butterflies and brightly color tropical birds.

But I think of alligators.

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We passed this one on a stroll through Manuel Antonio, where he soaked himself in a natural drainage ditch just 4 feet from the sidewalk.  No barrier, no fence.  Nothing standing between us and this ancient creature with razor-lined jaws.

Oddly, a man stood on the sidewalk, tossing what looked like some kind of hairy palm fruit.  (You can kind of see one right in front of the mouth in the photo below).  The alligator happily ate them—-I always thought they were exclusively carnivores?

crocodile

As a totem animal, the alligator represents primal energy, courage, protection and The Gatekeeper.

I find the eyes especially unsettling, and in them, I see a jarring reminder of the beautiful but dangerous world beyond our five senses.

Speaking of totem animals . . .

baruca masks

Although (sadly) indigenous tribes in Central America continue to shrink, the Baruca people of Central America still carry on a rich tradition.

The above masks made Costa Rica famous for its hand-carved wood.  Baruca people began making these masks 500 years ago to scare away Spanish invaders.

Christian invaders thought the masks symbolized the devil, but in fact, they represented fierce versions of the Baruca totem animals.

Of course, Costa Rica remains largely Catholic, but I love seeing little pockets of living-yet-ancient pagan traditions around the world.

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Wildflowers in  Costa Rica’s rain forest wonderland burst with a delicate, vibrant beauty.

The orchid—a flower I think of us as impossibly fragile in my own region—grows with particular tenacity in this climate, poking its way through the thick of the jungle in search of sunlight.

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In my childhood, my great uncle visited us from San Jose and brought with him bouquets of orchids from Costa Rica for the ladies in our family.

(How did he manage to get them through customs?)

I still vividly recall the image of his wife standing at our kitchen counter, gingerly flicking water droplets on the exquisite, graceful blossoms with her fingertips to keep them from fading in the drier, cooler air of the Northeast US.

If you live in North America or Europe and keep a pot of orchids indoors through the winter, you know what a marvel it is that this plant actually grows somewhere wildly without any help from human hands.

In ritual, the orchid symbolizes:

*beauty
*femininity
*soft touch
*grace
*elegance

Leave them on the altar or use them in beauty and romance spells.

Perhaps even more than the flowers I know and love, I marvel at all the strange, otherworldly flowers for which I have no name.

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unidentified flower

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For those with a deep love of gardening, I recommend you not leave without a tour of the farms that grow one of the earthiest, most wondrous plants ever gifted to the human race by Mother Earth herself: coffee.

I consider it one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets.  Lesser known than coffee powerhouses like Columbia, Costa Rica nonetheless grows some of the finest coffee in the world, and the growers there know their crop in a way we rarely think of it in the US/Western World.

The indigeneous healers in Costa Rica recognized the medicinal and spiritual value of this magical plant centuries ago and still use it this way today.

coffee plant

At the very least, if you drink imported coffee anywhere, know that it tastes completely different at the source.  The vibes coming off well-grown coffee beans (or “cherries”) on the vine give me a heady, dizzy feeling that ruined me for the ordinary, pre-ground, store-bought stuff.

In spell craft, coffee makes a wonderful addition to rituals for motivation, moving forward, energy clearing, and creative pursuits.  Include fresh, unprocessed beans in mojo bags for these purposes.

For the gardener, touring a coffee plantation opens creative possibilities for sustainable growing practices.  Our guide impressed me with the interesting and unique ways Costa Rican coffee farmers make the most of the land space and soil quality by mingling complimentary crops.

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Sit down. It’s just a yuca leaf.

While coffee plays a key role in Costa Rica’s economy, my visits to Costa Rica drew my attention to the importance of responsible growth and labor practices.   Coffee production impacts Costa Rica’s rain forests and rivers to such a degree that the (exceptionally) environmentally-conscious government often passes laws regulating the process to ensure sustainability.

However, corruption often impedes the enforcement of these laws.

In addition, farmers often exploit cheap labor from neighboring countries like Nicaragua, even employing small children to spend hours picking coffee beans in harsh conditions.

Witnessing directly the devastating effects of child labor while abroad makes ignoring these things much, much more difficult.  I encourage all pagans to look these things in the face and practice less harmful consumerism as a key feature of a nature-based spiritual experience.

I think we all sometimes forget real people live on the other end of our purchases.  Protecting their interests should be a part of everyone’s investment in better karma.

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Natural Living for Pagans: 10 Ways to Live Closer to the Earth

Oh, pagans.  I love my people.  I really do.  Adorned in flowery skirts, tattooed with woad or dripping with crystals, my sisters and brothers in the Craft really do live life according to their own rules.  But there’s one thing we all agree on:

Nature is cool, man.

If nothing else, we like us some trees.  We sleep in the trees.  We put parts of trees in our tea.  We even have workshops . . . about trees.

How many of us have gone to a class at one of the local occult boutique, or been to a workshop at one of the festivals that brighten summer, to listen to a self-appointed magickal guru wax poetically about the virtues of “living in harmony with nature” and “connecting with the earth daily.”

Everyone nods, smiles, and we all vow to do just that.

And then you look down.  And in your hand, you find yourself holding a very unnaturally orange bag of Cheetos, which you plan to wash down with your tasty Mountain Dew and then drive home in a camper that’s about as fuel efficient as an oil rig.

I’ve done it.  I continue to do it.  Daily, even,  I note what might politely be called “ironies” and less politely call “hypocrisies,” or at the very least, inconsistent practice of my own belief system.

Some of it can’t be avoided.  We can’t all pitch organic canvas tents on a mountain top in the middle of the Blue Ridge and “live off the land” our whole lives.

But even suburban or urban life offers many opportunities to live closer to the earth, eliminate wasteful habits and bring about a healthier, more globally conscious lifestyle.

natural living for the natural witch

Start composting.  Even if you don’t garden or you live in the city.  This simple act of reverence for the earth and its resources makes a lovely daily devotional.  It may seem insignificant at first, but over weeks and months, you begin to see how much waste you produce, and how much of it may be returned to the earth instead of a landfill.  Try dedicating your compost pile to a spell or personal cause and think of your deposits as offerings.

Try cloth menstrual care.   Everyone knows someone who does the cloth pads.  She’s always one of those wild sisters who swears it’s this whole primal experience.  I don’t know about all that, but cloth tampons and pads produce less waste, force you to unapologetically confront your hang-ups about the realities of womanhood and are way cheaper in the long run.  Plus they come in lots of cute colors and styles.  If you cloth diapered your little ones, this will be a piece of cake.

Donate.  Simplify your living space by donating all that stuff you think you need but don’t.  Let go of any unnecessary objects, especially electronics and devices that encourage mindless time-wasting and keep you indoors.  If you want to ritualize the experience, try donating an appropriate object as an offering to the universe.  For example, give your largest pair of jeans to Goodwill to boost a weight-loss spell.

Gather your own firewood.  I don’t know if you noticed, but that stuff is expensive even at Walmart.  And buying firewood cheats you of the experience of collecting it yourself.  If you have a hearth in your home or even just a backyard fire pit, take a walk in the woods and collect it yourself before your next Sabbat or Esbat get-together.  Better yet, invite some help.  This activity makes a romantic walk in the woods or a fun, screen-free after-dinner walk with the kids depending on your mood.

Get to know your local wildlife.  Your unique geographic location offers a wealth of resources for any herbalist.  The freshest, and often most potent plants for the herbalist or metaphysical practitioner are not in a fancy organic supplier’s catalog or the health food store—it’s in your backyard.  Or growing between the cracks in the sidewalk, or vining its way up the side of the abandoned building near the railroad tracks.  Photograph random plants with your phone, and identify them for their medicinal or metaphysical properties.  Even knowing 10 local herbs and where to find them is a very valuable skill.

Switch to cloth shopping bags.  You very likely already have some stuffed in a drawer or under your sink.  You just never use them.  Use them.  And don’t worry that you won’t have plastic bags to line your waste baskets.  Even if you use cloth all the time, you will inevitably still manage to accumulate plastic bags everywhere.  That’s a monster you can’t kill.  Just aim to tame it.

Stop using harsh chemical cleaners.  Not only are they totally unnecessary, they often make things worse, inviting antibiotic resistant bacteria into your life and exposing your pets and family to harsh commercial compounds.  Make it magical by using appropriate protection herbs, cleansing essential oils and natural air fresheners to “enchant” your house with homemade cleaning “potions.”

Make natural eating a slow, but steady course.  If you’re like me (or any one of the millions of Americans on crazy diets), you very likely have, at least once in your life (usually in January), cleared all the junk food out of your house and gone on some kind of militant health craze that you know is doomed to fail even as you are doing it.  Slow, steady progress to natural eating is much more sustainable.  Set small goals, like going to the farmer’s market once a week or planning at least a couple of “whole food” meals per week.  Or just try cutting out soda and replace it with sparkling water and lemon.  Once you’ve stayed consistent for a few months, try eliminating or adding something else to your rotation.  After a while, natural eating becomes instinctive.

Consider a more fuel-efficient car and/or drive way less.  Do you drive even very short distances just because that’s your habit?  Don’t miss the chance to be outdoors and out of the rat race.  Can you bike to the grocery store?  Find a Zumba class or a coffee house within walking distance?  Even if you can find one chore or regular activity to walk or bike to every week, your health and mental well-being stand to benefit by leaps and bounds.  And the next time you make a car purchase, chose fuel efficiency as a top priority—even if it means driving a yellow car with an unfortunate legacy of decals from the previous owner.

Speaking of which, buy used.  Take advantage of sites like Craigslist, Freecycle and Facebook trading groups to enjoy the financial and environmental benefits of second-hand stuff.  Many times, you can get what you need for free or next-to-nothing.  While some things (like bathing suits and underwear—-ick) are worth getting new, many things (like sturdy cookware, wood furniture and toys) cost so much less second hand.  Buying used also tends to keep usable things out of landfills, puts money back into the local economy and reduces production of greenhouse gases.

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10 Witchy Ways to Harness the Power of the Solar Eclipse

Even if you resigned yourself to not looking directly at the sun during the solar eclipse because you missed the boat on securing appropriate eye wear, you can still use this amazing astrological event to your ritual advantage.

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Charge your runes.  Runes have deep ties to solar energy.  If you have a set, leave them under the eclipse to absorb this amazing solar energy.

Call the energy of the lion.  For the eclipse tomorrow in the US (August 21st, 2017), the moon will be in Leo, supercharging this zodiac sign’s energy exponentially.  Any spells that the lion might enhance, such as spells for confidence or courage, are best conducted on this date.

Create a human sun dial.  If you will be celebrating the eclipse at a public ritual or with your coven, hold hands in a circle during the eclipse and chant to raise power during this epic astrological moment.

Gather the light.  Leave any crystal points you have to absorb the magic of the eclipse so that you can “store it” for future use.

Make sun cakes.  These are so perfect to pass around for cakes and ale or just as a solar eclipse “party favor.”  If you’ve never made sun cakes, here’s how.

Burn some sun magick incense.  While most blends available at occult shops cater to the moon’s energy, there are incense blends and potions made specifically for the sun’s energy.  This is the perfect time to explore sun magick!

Do a gold glitter blessing.  Any craft store has glitter available in gold tones.  Get some, pass it out right before the eclipse, and then let everyone scatter it like confetti.  It creates a super mystical vibe and is a great way to raise power.

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Place a piece of red jasper or garnet near your heart.  Wear a red jasper or garnet necklace during the eclipse to draw the considerable power and influence of the eclipse’s solar energy towards you.

Pass around a chalice of mimosa.  Orange juice and champagne both have strong solar associations, making them the ideal pour for sacred chalices.  Pass some around during the moment of totality.

Make a wish.  In a spiritual tradition that places so much emphasis on the power and beauty of lunar energy, the power of moon is no more evident than in that rare moment when it actually blocks out the light of a celestial body that is 400 times its size.  Stand in the majesty of her shadow and ask her to make things happen for you.

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