Visiting A Roman Bathhouse

Pagan Summer Bucket List: Number One

During the time of Ancient Rome, when everyday life was filled with the rituals of the gods, bathhouses were a center of health and community. The mineral spas of the ancient world were thought to renew well-being and clear the mind. Wealthy Romans left the bathhouses relaxed, well-oiled and perfumed with the decadent luxury of a day at the spas.

The alluring, timeless indulgence of mineral spring has long captured my pagan imagination. So, last weekend, we packed the car with a picnic basket, our bathing suits and a couple of overnight bags and we headed to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, which is famous in the region for its healing Roman bathhouses.

It took some convincing to get my husband to join me for this exotic ritual from the farthest reaches of an ancient civilization. Let’s just say the role of Pagan Adventurer isn’t quite his thing.

We spent the night before browsing the boutique shops (I picked up an amazing bottle of sparkling grapefruit wine) and the farmer’s market. When he wasn’t paying too close attention, I booked us both an appointment at the bathhouses.

“You what?!”
“Sorry, baby. It’s non-refundable. Oops!”

For a reasonable price (about $32 total for both of us), we got out own private bath, which was about the size of a half a lap pool.

Stepping into the bubbling nutrient-rich waters, I felt like a lobster about to be slow-boiled.

It was hot. Really hot.

My husband (pictured) was squirming about. “How are you standing this?”

We had the room for 30 minutes, and I was beginning to think 5 minutes would have done just fine. But we hung in there.

Towards the twenty minute mark, the most amazing thing happened: the headache I didn’t even know I had evaporated. My muscles began to relax in so deeply, I realized they were tense in ways I hadn’t noticed.

I watched as the cloudy mist swirled about us. It seemed like a good time to try steam scrying.

By the time we were dried off and headed out, I felt lighter and energetic and decidedly more youthful.

Pagan Bucket List, Experience #1: check.

For my other spiritual goals this summer, check out:

https://shesmelting.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/pagan-bucket-summer-list/

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Pagan Summer Bucket List

I find that setting spiritual goals is as important as setting more mundane or worldly ones.

That’s why this summer, I am creating a bucket list to make the most of this the golden season of natural living.

Follow along with me.   I will be reviewing each of my experiences, and maybe inspire you to do some of them yourself!

1.  Experience the healing of a Roman Bath house.

2.  Go on a vision quest camping trip for Litha.

3.  Bake bread from scratch for Lammas.

4.  Design and create a ritual for every full moon until the Harvest Festivals.

5.  Grow at least three new magical herbs in my garden.

6.  Do a floating candle ritual.

7.  Hold at least one bonfire ritual.

8.  Go stargazing.

9.  Create a new kitchen witch recipe using ingredients only from the farmer’s market.

10. Go cherry picking and can them in brandy to give away at Yule.

11.  Go ghost hunting.

10 Ways to Bring Out Your Inner Goddess

10 Ways to Bring Out Your Inner Goddes

1. Take a belly dance class. If you’ve never experienced the sensual, spiritual tradition of belly dance, it’s time to try it! Belly dance is a body-positive activity that even those new to dance can enjoy.

2. Visit a hot spring. The ancient Romans believed mineral springs had the power to heal, renew and cleanse the soul. You will emerge refreshed and with a renewed sense of inner beauty.

3. Book a boudoir session. Oh, why not? Seek out a reputable photographer with whom you are comfortable, pick out something glamorous to wear, and indulge in the power and beauty of your femininity.

4. Go swimming under a full moon. Go night swimming under a full moon. But pick a natural body of water like a river, a secluded beach or a lake. Take in the wonder of the moon in her fullest glory. If you’re really daring and you know a place you can get away with it, skinny dipping earns you bonus points.

5. Experiment with Karma Sutra. The tradition of Karma Sutra is an ancient practice with deep roots in Hinduism and Indian spirituality. Being a lover is an art form, and you are an artist.

6. Give birth to something. Whether it’s a Pinterest craft you’ve always wanted to make, or that novel you’ve never gotten around to writing, creating something new is the essence of a goddess.

7. Build a goddess altar. Pick up a statue of a goddess (Gaia, Aphrodite, and Diana are all popular choices) and create a small space in your home dedicated to the protection and cultivation of your inner feminine spirituality.

8. Make things grow. The magic, power and wonder of taking something from seed to fruit bearing plant is an amazing thing that every inner goddess should experience.

9. Volunteer. You are at your most beautiful and powerful when you use your talents and abilities in the service of others. Nothing will make you feel more spiritual or at peace with yourself. Choose a cause you care about, and give it your all.

10. Celebrate the Summer Solstice like a goddess. Don’t miss out on one of the most amazing pagan holidays this year. Make plans to go to a festival and do it up right. Wear flowers in your hair, find a long, flowing skirt, anoint yourself with rose oil and dance around the bonfires like it’s your last night on Earth.

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Love Potion #9

Love Potion #9

I love incorporating magic into my kitchen! It’s a great way to be creative with your practice and come up with new/different spell ideas that are uniquely you.

This is a quick love spell recipe I threw together for date night with my husband. Try it yourself for a candlelit meal at home or even to enhance the mood at a singles party.

You will need:

-1 ounce heavy whipping cream (or other cream)
-1 ounce white chocolate liquor
-1 ounce vanilla vodka
-splash of raspberry liquor
-coconut (I used unsweetened)
-raspberries
-martini glasses
-red candles

In food magic, chocolate, vanilla, coconut and raspberries are all associated with love and passion spells.

chocolate = infatuation
vanilla = warm feelings
coconut = lasting love
raspberries = passion

1. Chill martini glasses, vodka and white chocolate liquor in freezer.
2. Rim glasses with coconut.
3. Add vodka, white chocolate liquor, raspberry liquor and cream in that order.
4.  Place glasses between two red candles.
5. Stir 9 times, chanting
“One, two, three
“Both your eyes all over me
“Four, five, six
“Red hot passion in the mix
“Seven, eight, nine
“Love tonight for all time!”
6. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

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Om Altar

Om Altar

I love to set up mini altars in random places in the house. The key for me is changing them up to keep the energy fresh and clear out mental clutter.

I set up this little peace altar in the bedroom for quiet minds and peaceful thoughts. I love the chime, which is perfect for a simple evening meditation before sleep.

The candle and the meditation stone are actually my creation, available at Moody Moons on Etsy!

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Hex and The City: Ideas for the Urban Witch

Practicing a nature-based religion poses unique challenges in a city environment, where space is limited and nature is . . . well, hard to come by.

ten tips for the city witch

1.  Window boxes.  A simple window can make a great herb garden in city apartments where even a patch of lawn can be pricey.  Almost any herb can be grown in a window box, but rosemary, mint, thyme and catnip are all easy options.

2.  Wall altars.  There’s no reason you need an enormous altar.  A small shelf can be mounted to even the tiniest wall space.  Be selective, and choose only your most important pieces.  If you are concerned about prying eyes, you can even mount in inside a closet door.  Just swing it open when it’s in use!

3.   Take advantage of what the city DOES have to offer.  Scan local event pages for pagan festivals, gatherings and shops, which are much more likely to be abundant in a metropolitan area.

4.  Make nature a day trip.  Quiet natural settings are scarce in big cities, but usually not far outside them.  Get some like-minded friends together and take day trip to a nearby outdoor attraction.

5.  Looking for a quiet place to meditate?  Try a temple.  Almost every major city has at least a few Buddhist or Hindu temples.  They are great places for meditating and exploring new traditions.

6.  Consider training a familiar.  If your apartment allows you to have pets, this can be a great way to stay connected to the natural world and form a spiritual bond with another creature.  Snakes, cats and tarantulas all make great apartment pets.

7.  Make use of your bathroom.  If you have roommates, this is a great place to find some assured privacy.  If you’re lucky enough to have a tub, transform it into a place of ritual cleansing with lots of candles, essential oils and incense.  If you just have a shower, bundle herbs and tie them to the shower head for a burst of magical cleansing.

8.  Make use of your kitchen.  If you’re an apartment dweller, you have the perfect opportunity to explore kitchen witchery!  The art of marrying food with spell craft is a great way to get into folk magic.

9.  Check out international markets.  You are probably surrounded by specialty markets from around the world.  These are great places to find statuary, inexpensive herbs and oils, incense and incense burners.

10.  Tarot cards.  They are lightweight, portable and take up very little space.  Spread them out when you need them, fold them away when you don’t.  They can be taken anywhere, hidden easily and make a fantastic way to connect immediately with like-minded people.

Hope this was helpful!

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