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A Tea Ritual

I quite enjoy meeting friends at a café after work which I do fairly regularly. For many, including myself, this can be quite a ritual in itself, albeit a mundane one. However, there is a witchy ‘pick-me-up’ ritual I do that I would like to share. What I love is that it’s so simple and I can do it surrounded by people, without them even knowing I’m doing a little magic.

At a café, I usually order a pot of herbal tea rather than a coffee. I love coffee, but I’m incredibly picky and it’s hard to find a barista that can make it the way I like it. So I usually have tea that comes in a three cup pot with a little packet of honey on the side.

There is a lot of spiritual symbolism in having a cup of tea if you think about it. The tea cup is a symbol of the Goddess (like the chalice), the spoon a symbol of the God (the athame). So even plunging the spoon into the tea cup mirrors fertility rites, such as the Wiccan Great Rite.

But for my ritual, the tea cup filled with herbs is of course a symbol for the Goddess. The honey; sweet and golden like the sun is a symbol for the God, and as I slowly pour the honey into my tea cup; it represents the spark of life that awakens the earth. They compliment each other perfectly. No words need to be said, my mind is clear and open. My heart is full from such a simple pleasure. I give thanks by enjoying and appreciating every last drop; I take my time, there is no need to rush. Afterwards I always feel uplifted, especially after a long and tiring day.

So that is my simple tea ritual. I like to take the time to enjoy my food and drink; I think a lot of people take it for granted. Do you have a similar ritual?

Tarot, An Obsession

I love collecting things, and one of my most cherished is my collection of Tarot decks. I started my collection when I was thirteen with a deck my Grandmother gave to me called the “Jonathan Dee Tarot Pack”.

Jonathan Dee Tarot Pack, 2001

I instantly fell in love and spent a lot of time studying the cards and giving readings to my friends at school. Slowly over the years my collection has grown to 40 decks. It’s not as many as I would like, and actually very small for a Tarot collection, but it’s not the only thing I collect and it gets quite expensive!

Celtic Tarot, 2000

I collect purely for the art. I have a deck that I read with called the Deviant Moon Tarot but that’s the only deck I read with. There are many decks that do not have detailed illustrations on the pip cards. I can’t read cards that aren’t fully illustrated; yes, each card has its own meaning but it’s the symbolism on the cards itself that is important for a reading. For me anyway.

Deviant Moon Tarot, 2008

However Tarot decks are truly works of art in their own right. A lot of dedication, time and thought has gone into these beautiful decks and with so many artists and themes. And there are so many themes! Everything from the Celts and Paganism, to Hello Kitty, Mermaids and Tattoo Culture. I wish I could draw because there are two decks I would love to make. One, a novelty deck called the “Rider Waite Zombie Tarot” and a deck about kitchen Witchcraft. Perhaps I should commission an artist? Anyway, a really great site for all things Tarot is Aeclectic Tarot (http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/) and was actually started by a fellow Aussie back in 1996!

Pagan Tarot, 2005

Paulina Tarot, 2009

So that is one of my many obsessions, and I might actually post a review of a deck every now and then. Do you read and/or collect Tarot decks? What are your favourites? I would love to hear from fellow Tarot enthusiasts!

Tarot of Mermaids, 2003

Lunatic Tarot, 2005

My Beginnings

Many Pagans that I meet haven’t been raised in a Pagan environment; but rather have come from mostly Christian backgrounds. I came from a Muslim family.

My Mother is from Bangladesh and my Father is Australian with Dutch parents. When they married, my Father converted to Islam. So when I was little I had to go to the Mosque for Islamic holidays, I had to try and learn Arabic so that I could pray. I am very thankful that I was never forced to wear a headscarf outside of prayer!

I have never been Muslim. Being born into a Muslim family does not automatically make you Muslim, as much as the Islamic community like to believe. Religion is a personal choice. I cannot recall a single moment in my childhood where I had any kind of faith. The whole thing felt like a chore to me, especially prayer. I had to memorise various Arabic Surah’s (passages of the Quran) so I could recite them in prayer. However, I never understood what I was saying… I couldn’t speak Arabic. I tried to learn, but I’m very bad at absorbing other languages as it is. Not understanding what you’re saying seems to defeat the purpose of prayer; it should come from the heart, and definitely not forced on you.

I was about eight or nine years old when I was sure I didn’t want to be Muslim. My brother and I used to go to the Mosque on Sundays so that we could learn Arabic and do the typical Sunday school thing. One day, a creepy old man who was teaching us told the class that “all our Australian friends would go to Hell because they don’t believe in Allah”. That was the exact moment I knew I wanted out. It didn’t sound fair to me at all. It was a very harsh thing to say to a bunch of young kids too: what about teaching peace, tolerance and love? No it was either their way or eternal damnation.

It didn’t scare me. From then on, I just questioned everything. I still do!

After realising I wanted out, I began to notice things about the Islamic culture that I really didn’t like. It started to bother me how the men were allowed to pray inside the main part of the Mosque, but the women had to go upstairs, hidden away. This happened at social dinners as well; the men would take their food first, and then the women after them. It was mostly the women who had gone through all the effort to cook the food in the first place! What kind of backwards view of men and women was this? I was living in a time and a country where women had equal rights. It bothered me a great deal, and still does to this day.

One occasion, the way women were treated took an amusing twist. When I grew older, and started menstruating, I found out that I couldn’t pray if I was having a period. It was seen as “unclean” and you had to sit out. I thought it was a rather disgusting view on menstruation; making a girl feel ashamed rather than proud to be healthy and normal. Now, the Islamic calendar revolves around the lunar cycle, so major holidays such as Eid to celebrate the end of Ramadan falls on the full moon.

My body also revolves around the lunar cycle, so every Eid I would be menstruating and I’d have to sit out. I thought this was hilarious. I took it as a sure sign this religion was not meant for me. I did not want to be part of something that viewed women as second class citizens and who worshipped a male God without a female counterpart. It didn’t make any sense to me.

I first started an interest in Paganism through my first deck of tarot cards given to me by my Grandmother. I didn’t know it about her until I was a teenager, but she is very much a New Age hippy. She loves crystals and tarot, and so she was the one that sparked my interest in divination, which eventually led me to explore Witchcraft. I remember the very first book I bought was “Wicca” by Scott Cunningham and I was hooked. I haven’t looked back since. It felt like home, where I truly belong. And I couldn’t be happier. I think Islam can be a fulfilling religion if it’s right for you, but it definitely wasn’t for me. I am eternally grateful to my family for giving me the choice.

Matchbox Altar

I actually made this little altar a while ago but this blog is perfect for posting such projects. I am quite crafty so there will be many more projects to come. This little altar is just adorable. Even if it has no practical purpose; it’s fun to make and besides, I really love cute things. That’s not to say it couldn’t be used as a portable altar for your travels! This craft project would be great for kids; and you could make a little altar for anything. Just use your imagination; choose colours, decorations and objects that fit the purpose of the altar. I made one for Esbats with silver paint and glass beads and filled with a white silk cloth, a white shell and even a little candle.

So for this project, you will need the following:

An empty matchbox, paint, decorative items (such as sequins, glitter, whatever takes your fancy), a small piece of material for an altar cloth and little items to represent the four elements. I used a matchstick, a twig, a coin and a miniature bottle.

All you need to do is paint and decorate the matchbox; make sure you paint the inside too! Then decorate it how you wish, and fill the box with your chosen items. Make sure you’ve tested beforehand whether the items will fit!

And that’s it! If you try this project, I would love to see photos that I can post on this blog along with your name and/or blog address. My email address is on my “About” page.

Happy crafting!

Enter The Wild Garden

The Wild Garden is a metaphor for my life and journey as a Pagan and a Witch. I mostly walk this path alone, and there is still so much to learn about my Craft and myself. I will never stop learning, which I think is wonderful. My life is not organised, neat and landscaped. It can be messy at times, a few prickles here and there and even a few rocks to stumble over every now and then. But it’s also mysterious, magical and beautiful. I love it wild.