Of Clay & Fire


The ritual I am describing is something that in actuality took several days. It is condensed into what sounds like an hour or so here for the sake of ease of reading, and if truth be told, ease of writing.

The coals are ready. I dust them with a handful of lavendar and anise, with rose petals and orange peel, with cedar and acorns and lemon grass. Smoke billows up in eddies and mad spirals. It billows and writes out the words of the wind.

I pass my clay through the smoke, I touch it lightly, dabbing it with oil.

I set it down, across the fire, so that I can see it through the smoke and flame. Then I begin.

I fill my pipe with Damiana and breath in the smoke.

A deep calm settles on me and I straddle the veil between worlds.

I look through the fire and flame and see the potential of what sits across the fire there.

I weigh it against what I have in mind, against what I need, and I nod. It will do.

I breath in and gather my need, I hold it close and tight and then I breath it out into the air,

    “I need a force to keep the peace in my home,

I need a reminder to find joy in the every day.

I need something to balance my family and bring us closer.”

Again I taste from my pipe and look again at the clay through the fire.

I gaze past this world and see into the other.

There I see the shadow, a vague silhouette of what I have done. This will be the mold, the bones from which I build my spell.

I gather my clay up and hold it in my hands. I knead it and I speak.

“First He took the stuff of fire, and threaded it through. He spun it hard and strong and set it deep, and from it built a skeleton of light. Next he drew the stuff of living earth, this he set about the bones and molded into flesh. He set water to flowing and made it its blood and then he bestirred it all with air and gave it life.”

I take a moment and look at what I have done so far. What I have molded, both with my hands and with my words.

Satisfied that the vessel would suffice I set it aside and set about refining the spirit.

Oberon I name it, and that gives it identity, a personality for itself and in my mind.

I take my molded clay, the physical link from him to us and I hide it. I am tempted to bury it, to give it to the earth but I need him to be for us, not deeded to the land.

Instead I find it a place in our home. Where it will not be seen. Where it will not be moved or touched. Not yet. First I will let it watch and learn us. First it will need to understand us then I will bring it out and let it take what place and role it may.

Mommy Breakdown

A little backstory: Since I was pregnant with my son, I struggled with some depression issues– particularly after he was born. I didn’t realize there was something ‘wrong’ or ‘off’ with me though until I started to feel better when he was going on a year old. Now 2.5, I still have some problems with motherhood. I have felt a disconnect of sorts since he was born. Our immediate postpartum bonding period was spent apart (which for those of you who don’t know, your levels of oxytocin– the love hormone– is highest during labor and in the first 1-4 hours immediate post-birth. It is imperative to keep mother and baby together, encourage skin-to-skin and breastfeeding during this time. Those who don’t experience this critical time undisturbed have higher incidences of postpartum baby blues/depression, impaired mom-baby bonding, and difficulty with breastfeeding), and I blame that (as well as my not-so-pleasant labor and birth experience) on the distance felt between me and my son, as well as our initial difficulty with breastfeeding– though I can say with pride that at 2.5 years old, we are just starting to wean. But it was a hard road. Over the last 2.5 years I have struggled with depression, severe anxiety, and anger issues. I have fought the urge to just leave, feeling like my son would be better off without me because I have little to no patience for him and I am so quick to anger. It doesn’t help that he behaves completely different around me than he does his father, Midnight.

The other night I had a breakdown. The last straw fell and broke mama’s reserve. I totally detached, I yelled and tried to walk away. He slumped his shoulders and cried. I was heartbroken. Midnight quietly took him to Nana’s for the night and I sat down and cried. I spent the next three hours sipping a drink and watching a French movie, trying to distance myself from everything and calm down. The next night I did something I hadn’t thought to do before, for whatever reason. I turned to my herbs, and to my spirits for help.

I took the Eastern Cedar (a juniper in actuality) and Lemongrass, bound together by hemp twine, and an owl feather. I opened the doors and windows throughout the house and I went along, starting in our bedroom where the three of us sleep, and worked my way through the rest of the house wafting cleansing smoke into every corner and around every frame, ending with myself. Lady Brighid of the hearth and home, let strife be no more in this house. Let only happiness and the sounds of laughter and joy be in abundance. I went outside and, after asking, snipped a sprig of our small rosemary plant and used it as a switch to flick melted water from last Winter’s first snow throughout the house, and then over myself. Lady Brighid of the hearth and home, let strife be no more in this house. Let only happiness and the sounds of laughter and joy be in abundance. I lit a candle at each of my altars, then went and put a pot of water on the stove, peeling off the rosemary leaves and dropping them in to steep. Pouring the resulting tea into a glass cup, I placed it on my Wyldwood altar. And then the strangest thing occurred. I experienced an energy release.

It started as a swaying, than a bobbing of my head. Then my shoulders began to loosen and my arms swing. Then the movements became more jarring and quick, my hands flicking quickly. I could feel the energy flowing into my arms, but it felt stuck. I realized I had on my copper bracelets and removed them. I again began to move and flick and shake, the urge uncontrollable, and I could feel the energy move down my arms. But it wasn’t enough to push it through. And so I knelt at my altar, and placed my hands around the cup of rosemary tea, and I breathed in the pleasant smelling steam down into my lungs and my belly and pushed the energy down my arms, out my hands, and into the cup. After a few repetitions, I stood and got the energy flowing again, then sat and tried emptying the rest of the energy. Once I felt I did all I could, I called on those spirits who I could feel standing by, waiting.

    Virgin Mary, Mother of God, please hear my prayer.
    Yemaya, Mother of Us All, please hear my prayer.
    Lady Brighid, of the hearth and home, please hear my prayer.
    Mothers and Grandmothers before me, my Disir, please hear my prayer.
    Please help me to be a better mother.
    Please help me to be the best mother that I can be, the mother that my son deserves.
    Please help me to have patience, please temper my anger.

I cleansed my copper bracelets with the tea and placed them back on my wrists. Afterwards I went and looked for some offerings. I took three decorative jars and filled them with local blueberries and drizzled with raw honey from the hives that were being harvested when I brought my bees home from the Romanian beekeeper, wise in her years. These I placed one each on my Ancestors altar, Brighid kitchen altar, and my Yemaya altar. Late next night I poured out the tea into the yard under the light of the full moon after a few minutes of moon-bathing followed by some moving meditation, my bare feet brushing the cool grass damp with dew. After the initial cleansing and ritual and the next day, I felt calmer. More at peace. I was able to pay more attention to my son (though I wasn’t able to do anything else). However in the following days, the ill-temper and impatience returned as I needed to get things done around the house and couldn’t play all day with my son. So, there is still work to be done. But it is a start, at least.


Liebster Award~

liebsterawardI (Isáine) was reading through a new blogpost by a new friend of mine and fellow witch, Morgan, over at http://lovebythemoon.com/ about her Liebster Award nomination and saw that she had chosen our blog as one of her nominees! Her words warmed my heart and I would like to thank her for them~ So, while I have four post drafts sitting in my dashboard I will go ahead and do this and send it on its way…

11 Facts About Myself


      1. I’m bisexual and polyamorous.
      2. My eyes used to be dark brown with a dark brown-green outer ring, and now they are turning hazel (one has freckles too)– the brown is lighter and the outer half of my eyes are green now.
      3. I am a terrible procrastinator, but I do some of my best work under pressure (or emotional duress).
      4. I am a collector of musical instruments that I am not particularly adapt at playing >.>
      5. I have way too many interests and hobbies and projects going on for my own good (or for my mental health I’m sure).
      6. We have a son who is 2.5, but our first son would have been 5 at the end of July.
      7. I’m training to be a traditional/shamanic midwife and am currently studying through the Matrona School of Quantum Midwifery.
      8. I keep honeybees and am training as a Melissa (bee priestess) through the College of the Melissae.
      9. I’m certified in Permaculture Design.
      10. I have a wanderer’s soul and a bohemian heart.
    11. I have an addiction: I collect tarot and oracle decks, bones and feathers.


      1. I study the use of enthenogenic herbs
      2. I am a practicing Bladesmith
      3. I am an aspiring artist ( always open to take commissions )
      4. I am a father of an amazing son.
      5. I am an avid reader and gamer
      6. I have studied three different martial arts and some pranayama
      7. I am a bone worker
      8. I love running and playing in the rain
      9. I talk to myself and have on had occasion to argue with myself aswell
      10. When no one is looking I like to try to move things with my mind
    11. If you get my started on theology or philosophy I can talk for hours and end up with nothing to show for it but a sense of satisfaction.

11 Questions from Morgan
What set you on your chosen path?


    I started on this whirlwind of a journey when I was about 12 or 13 years old. Raised in the Church, I had dabbled in ‘magic’ and believed in the fae since I was small. I began researching other religions and magic after being influenced by the Harry Potter books. I was so trapped in my upbringing I was pretty hesitant to let go completely at first. I started with Gnostic Christianity and began focusing on Mary Magdelene and the Virgin Mother to begin bringing the Feminine Divine into my life. Soon I delved head-first into Wicca, then Dianic Wicca, immersing myself completely in the Divine Feminine and was very much into Wicca for a few years. When I was 17 while on a trip back home to Oregon after graduation, I realized there must be balance, and allowed the Divine Masculine back into my practice. This was about when I began to grow and expand beyond Wicca, and by the time I was 18-19 I had left it almost entirely behind me. However a few remnants remain, such as some adherence to a “Wheel of the Year”. Over the last few years I have morphed into a veil-crossing, entheogen-using, spiritworking, animistic polytheist beekeeping priestess with a rather eclectic blend of practice and beliefs that I wrap up into a leather-bound bundle I call “Bonekeeping”.


    death did this to me. I think my first step was what many people start with, Wicca and ‘white light’… the fluffy parts as I fondly name them. But then my son died.. and having held death I found a need to know it. I couldn’t give up my child to death, to this stranger. I had to know it, so I started working with spirits and touching the other world, and from there…*shrugs* well things became what they would.

What is your favorite natural setting?


    One of two places: the beach, or the woods– particularly deep dark old-growth woods with the forest floor covered in moss and mushrooms.


    I love most any natural setting from mountains to the open ocean. They each have their own unique appeal, energy and life to them and depending on any number of things any of them could appeal to me on any given day. I was raised and have lived my life by the open ocean and I think that at this point in my life I wouldn’t know what to do without it. So If I must choose one, then it will be the sea.

What element are you drawn to (if one)?


    I have a very Air-Water dominant personality, and am drawn to both. However I am also very drawn to fire, but sadly have not taken up fire dancing in over a year.


    Water is something I have always had an affinity for. I began my pagan “career” with an extensive study of and meditations on the elements and their energies and above all I think that water draws me most of all, like iron to a loden stone.

Who inspires you most?


      My husband, Midnight; my close friends Annwyn (Water Witch of the West), Aahana, & Penny; and some of my ‘witchy-idols’ include Sarah Anne Lawless, Scylla (Root and Rock), and newly Kayla (White Thorn Witch) and Morgan (Love by the Moon).


        I really hate having to answer this question, I feel like it makes me sound like a bad person when I have to answer. I can’t think of anyone that I admire. I might admire something that they can do, more likely I’m envious.. I think the only person I really admire isn’t a person at all. Although it makes sense when I consider how much of my self is built from books and stories and the whims of childhood that I never gave up. If I had to admire anyone it would be Monkey D Luffy. The man who is going to be king of the pirates. ( If you don’t watch one piece then you should )

What book would you recommend?


        “Sea Magic” by Sandra Kynes… “Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide” by Sandra Ingerman… “Wise Woman Herbal” by Susan Weed… “Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook” by James Green… “Long Life, Honey in the Heart” by Martin Prechtel… “Seidr: The Gate is Open” by Katie Gerrard… “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant….. there’s probably a lot more I am missing.


        Any book, pick one up and read! The Cycle of Fire, most any book by R.A. Salvatore, The Warded man, The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook, Uses and Abuses of Plant Derived Smokes…

Dresses or Pants?


        I have actually been wearing a lot more dresses and skirts lately and I really like how it makes me feel.


        Erm… pants.

Favorite ice cream flavor?


        Huckleberry, or vanilla filled with various toppings.


        Strawberry Cheesecake.

Chocolate- dark, milk, or white?


        milk chocolate


        white milk for me please.. or strawberry

Best advice?


        don’t get stuck in trying to find a label for yourself, though I think sometimes labels are helpful. If you need to, make one up! Worked for me… Others can give us so much inspiration, but experience magic/life/ritual/gods/spirits for yourself too~


        Find someone who sees the fire in your eyes and wants to play with it.

What is your favorite spiritual tool (if you use)?


        I have been getting into using entheogens more lately, and I really enjoy it. I feel like the Poison Path may be one for me. I also like using staves/stangs, and fetiches.


        The feather.

What do you like most about your spirituality?


        it morphs, changes, and molds according to whatever cycles I am going through, the area I am in, the phase of my life and career, etc. It is fluid and not rigid. I also really like being able to connect to gods and spirits 🙂


        I think my favorite thing about my spiritual path is that Questions are encouraged.. its ok to be wrong, above all sometimes its ok to not know why and to just accept things for what and how they are.

My Nominees
(Besides http://whitethornwitch.com and http://lovebythemoon.com, here are my nominees. These are in no particular order, and if you have already received a nomination, you don’t have to do this again.)

Just found this one yesterday and they have a bit over 200 followers, but I like it.– American Folkloric Witchcraft. http://afwcraft.blogspot.com/
A long-time friend of mine (already previously nominated). http://www.waterwitchinthewest.com/
Found through this, it works! I need some more druidry in my life. http://druidphoenix.wordpress.com/
Also found through this, some Highlands witchcraft and musings for you. http://hagothehills.wordpress.com/
Pretty sure she has way more than 200 followers, but as one of my “inspiration” blogs for my path, here goes. http://rootandrock.blogspot.com
One of my go-to’s for Dionysian practice. http://thehouseofvines.com/
Some hoodoo for you, another friend of mine. http://themoonlitsea.blogspot.com/
Another go-to for Dionysian stuff, but also some ‘traditional witchcraft’ type work and more. http://forestdoor.wordpress.com/
Another I just found. Shamanism, bones, metalsmithing. http://randomcardrolodex.wordpress.com/
The blog of one of my new favorite artists I found on Etsy the other day. http://intothehermitage.blogspot.com/
A little heathen flair, I just stumbled across. http://merryjackdaw.blogspot.com/
Some more Shamanism. http://greenstag.net/blog

And the rules, if you would like to participate
Share 11 facts about yourself.

Answer the 11 questions I have given you.

Pick 11 blogs who have less than 200 followers to share with everybody.

Ask them 11 new questions.

Link back to me.

My 11 Questions for You
1. How long have you been on your path?
2. How would you describe your practice?
3. What’s your favorite magical/ritual tool, if you use any?
4. Any books you recommend?
5. What’s your favorite magic/witchy/pagan-y movie?
6. Do you have any hobbies?
7. What country would you visit if you could, and what would you have to see while you were there?
8. What’s your profession?
9. Shoes or barefoot?
10. Best advice?
11. Favorite holiday.

Our Shop Is Open!

This post is a tad late, as we opened shop on the Summer Solstice (it was decided short-notice to do so). Our Etsy shop went live and so far has stayed pretty quiet. We had done a 48-hour grand opening 10% off coupon for those who follow our Facebook page, but no one took advantage of it. Since we forgot to post about it on our blog, we would like to provide a new coupon that will be good from now until the day after the Super Moon (which is on July 12, so the coupon will expire July 13). For 10% off of your order total please use the coupon code SUPERMOON1 at checkout. One time use per customer only.

We are also taking commissions for divination tools and artwork. Here is a list of things that we are taking commissions on currently:

    – Runes and Rune Wands for Divination (Nordic runes or Ogham staves)
    – Herbal Remedies (these may require a small health intake)
    – Magical Artwork

If you are interested in a commission please message us over at our Etsy store or e-mail us at thetwistedtree.shoppe@gmail.com to discuss what you’re looking for, details, price quote, estimated time needed for completion, etc.

Divination readings are also available! $15 for a 3-card/3-rune reading, $25 for a full reading. Divination methods to choose from include the Wildwood Tarot, traditional playing card cartomancy, Ogham rune wands, throwing the bones, cowrie shell divination, Isis Oracle or Sprit of the Wheel Oracle. Can be purchased through Etsy or Paypal.

Some of the items we currently have in our shop:

    – A few pieces of OOAK jewelry/fetishes
    – Pyrographed leather bracelets
    – Black Cat Oil
    – Uncrossing Oil
    – Bug Bite Herbal Oil
    – Local NC turkey feather smudge fans
    – Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Ritual Salts


Here is our Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTwistedTreeShoppe

And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook! **Interactions with our page (liking and sharing posts) helps Facebook know to put our updates in your newsfeed. Checking the box “Get Notifications” will also help make sure you don’t miss out on anything we post!


To Be a Witch: A Response Post Pt. I

Tar Pit #3

How tame we have become. How polite about our witchcraft. In our desire to harm none we have become harmless.

Truth speaks, uttered forth, and realization hits. My stomach tightens and my jaw clenches.

I will not be part of this process, because to do so is to be complicit with the very forces that are destroying all life on earth. It is time for Witchcraft not to choose, but to remember which side it is on in this struggle.

A fire burns deep in my belly and my throat tenses. Again, realization hits. We have given up everything– our roots, our truth, our power. We have disempowered, hell even dismembered ourselves in an attempt to be accepted by the masses. I chuckle, a bitterness coating my tongue, as I remember defending my new-found neopagan beliefs to my mother, insisting that it was no baby-devouring devil that I worshipped, but the green beauty of the earth and a loving goddess… Harm None, says the Rede… all the while the dripping of rooster blood onto black feathers and brick dust across the threshold called to me, but I turned away, heart aching, for fear of being outcast.

Ours is a practice grounded in the land, in the web of spirit relationships, in plant and insect and animal and bird. This is where we must orientate our actions, this is where our loyalty lies.

This is where our loyalties lie. With root and rock and stone and beast and bird… Months, no, a year or two ago I spoke of the duty, the responsibility, that we as pagans and witches have to defend the earth. How we claim to be “earth worshippers” and yet we can’t even be bothered to recycle. But I was dismissed, my words brushed aside. Offense was taken, my words faded into the wind that blows dry and crackling with toxic particles that are killing us as we breathe. But here– here I have found someone once more stepping up, and he is being held aloft, his words spread ’round. It’s about damn time someone starts listening to what some of us have been trying to say. But he has a much more terrible, a much more sinister picture he has painted. But it is one that is most needed, I feel, to jar us awake and knee-jerk us into a reaction if we are to save anything, much less ourselves.

No living system that can escape the fate which our actions have bound it to. We are living in the age of absolute ecological collapse. Habitat loss is occurring at a staggering rate, driven by what industrial civilisation has in common with the religions of the Book: the view that nature, like woman, is ours to dominate.

Terror and a deep sadness I have not felt in a long time weighs heavy in my heart. My chest tightens to match the restriction in my throat like a serpent squeezing tighter and tighter with its soft belly scales cold and smooth on my skin. This is what we have done. This is what we are doing. We are experiencing the largest extinction event in the history of the world– including that of the dinosaurs. And it is all. Our. Doing.

So what does our world look like?
Let me describe to you our power animals.

Wolf carcasses bored through with rifle point. Wet piles of Golden Eagles and Buzzards fed poisoned meat. Sharks long-lined and finned by fishing fleets that have butchered through the Tuna shoals we have fed to our plague of familiar cats. Barn Owls bleeding from their eyes and hæmorrhaging their guts down ghost white plumage due to the warfarin in rat poison. Toads and amphibian life mutating into monstrous pained death, whose gelatinous bones do not float back up the river.

Tears well in my eyes, I bite my lip. Read it again. And again. We say we are earth-worshippers, animists, druids, shamans, witches… Then BE that which you claim to be. DO that which you are meant to do– your charge stands before you cloaked in crude oil, belly filled with plastic. Your enemy stands before you, honey-tongued and black-suited with pen in hand as the resources of the world are signed away, as another 10,000 species become extinct. Your fellow pagans and witches are not the enemy. Nay, in a time as critical as this, there cannot be strife amongst allies.

Seawater so acidic that the shells of molluscs are dissolving. Oceans overfished to the extent that they resemble deserts, seabeds ploughed to destruction, micro-particles of indigestible plastic poisioning bird life and turtles, reefs bleached, plankton populations which are the building blocks of all ocean life disappearing…Water, I bid you hail and welcome.

All life comes from the sea, and without it, we would be nothing. Our tears as acidic as the waters that now cannot hold life nor oxygen enough for us to breathe. Our bones returned to a desert landscape no longer lush and green.

The Earth itself is exhausted, soil degradation endemic, washed with its nitrogen fertilisers into our already poisoned seas. The living Earth is fragile, it takes a hundred years to form a centimetre of topsoil. Farmland is a limited resource and eroding fast… Insect populations will soon not be able to pollinate the crops… The wheel of the year has been broken. Earth, I bid you hail and welcome.

People speak of peak oil, but no one is considering peak soil. Our foods are becoming less and less nutritious as our crops grow in pesticide-laden soil that has been stripped of its vitamins, minerals, bacteria, and fungi. Soon they simply will be unable to grow at all. Bees are dying at an unsustainable rate. Butterflies are disappearing. Amphibians are suffering horrible mutations and terrible deaths. We are growing as a population too fast to support it.

This is where you should feel the knot of fear in your stomach. The CO2 emissions that are wreaking havoc now are the result of what we burned forty years ago. Since then we have engaged in an orgy of denial and consumption. There is no tech-fix in the Anthropocene, the age of manmade climate change. Nothing has been done… Clearly we are being lied to. Clearly something is very wrong. Air and Fire, I bid you hail and welcome

My eyes close, pressing out tears that roll in rivulets down freckled cheeks, wetting lips that may never again feel truly fresh, clean, nontoxic water cross them. Lips that wish to spread wide and let forth a raging cry to the world. But none would hear me, it seems.

Some will be afraid of this knowledge; witchcraft should be liberated by it, liberated from petty concerns to pursue lives of beauty, liberated from the sleepwalking into death that our culture has made for us and our children. So I counsel, confront death. For witchcraft to be anything other than the empty escapism of the socially dysfunctional or nostalgia for bygone ages, it needs to feel the shape of its skull, venerate the dead and the sacred art of living and dying with meaning. We are all on the fierce path now.

Confront death, not by pretending that you have cut a deal with the Elder Vampire Gods invented for you by some internet Dark Witch fantasist in their over-priced books. Confront death, not by pretending that a beautiful Beltane ritual and a blue sky means everything will stay the same. Confront death, not by practicing the magic of ploughmen and wortcunners in your urban appartment believing that it makes you more authentic than any given Wiccan…

Witchcraft has never been about turning the other cheek to this. The witch has been created by the land to speak and act for it… We need to offer the death rites in a culture that pretends that death can be cheated by buying the latest i-gadget or hooking ourselves up to plasma bags of young blood… If you are engaged in witchcraft I suggest that you work on the lament, on your death rites, your eschatology and on your spirit body. There are the examples to emulate of those sensitively lifting roadkill from the asphalt for burial or reanimation, tending the graves of their neglected local cemetery, lighting candles for their ancestors, remembering the lost children.

If you call yourself a Witch, if you call yourself a Pagan, an Animist, an Earth-Worshipper of any kind. Take a look around you. Open your eyes to the world. Open yourself to the Spiritworld. And step across. We need you for this fight. The earth needs you. Leave behind the capitalist materialism and constant hate between yourself and others– the continual attempt to separate us and keep us wary, untrusting, and isolated. Take up your stang, and step into the role you claim. Before it is too late. And, as a final note, I will leave you with one last quote. I encourage you vehemently to go and read the article quoted herein in its entirety. And read it again. And then, once you’ve read it (and hopefully read it at least twice) go and read a response article by Sarah Anne Lawless. And then, go be a fucking witch.

Witchcraft has never been passive in the face of power. Our witchcraft will not be silenced at a time such as this, it will not be polite. Witchcraft cannot retreat to the wilderness, because there is no exterior wilderness left; instead we need to exteriorize our inner wild. We need to wake up the animal in our bodies. This is witchcraft as contagion, as living flame. We witches must however reluctantly return the curse that has been laid upon us all.


Quotes (and photos) taken from the article, “Rewilding Witchcraft” over at the Scarlet Imprint website. Please read it in its entirety here: http://scarletimprint.com/2014/06/rewilding-witchcraft/

Please read Sarah Lawless’ response post here: http://sarahannelawless.com/2014/07/01/the-witch-and-the-wild/