Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter & Yuletide Blessings

photo by Justin Kern

And now the fire's the focus of the room
By winter made so. Like a gay salute
There crackles in the hearth
The holly's fusillade.
May this season be full of love, merriment and comfort! Warm hearts & hearths to you and your loved ones, and many blessings in 2013!


Aymi & Laurel

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

interview with chief spence of the attawapiskat first nation

Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence has been on a hunger strike for over a week now. Her actions of protest are strongly linked to those of the Idle No More movement and she will continue her hunger strike until she has meetings with the provincial government, the prime minister and representatives from the crown. Watch the video below for an interview with Chief Spence and please send letters support for the First Nations people!

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Snail Mail:
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Governor General David Johnston
Snail Mail:
Rideau Hall,
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0A1 

Queen Elizabeth 
(+44) (0)20 7930 4832
Snail Mail:
Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA 

idle no more rally

{From a letter by Nipissing First Nation & The Union of Ontario Indians}:

"On December 21st 2012 First Nations citizens and leadership from across the country will be gathering in unity at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontarioto send a clear message to government that Enough is Enough and the continued imposition of legislation to control the lives of First Nation people will no longer be tolerated.
Nipissing First Nation and the Union of Ontario Indians have partnered and are strongly encouraged citizens and staff to attend this event."
Tonight {December 19th} there will be a information session and feast the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre to talk about the impact of Bill C-45. This event will be from 5pm to 7pm at 980 Cassells St in North Bay, and for more info you can check out the event's Facebook page.

On Friday December 21st there will be a bus from North Bay to the Ottawa rally, to reserve seating contact Theresa Stevens at (705) 497-9127 or at

Below is an outline of the Idle No More movement, copied from here:

"A rising movement is set to bring its message of Indigenous solidarity, and defense of Aboriginal rights, to the doorstep of Canada’s Conservative government.

Idle No More is a Grassroots movement opposed to unilateral federal government changes to legislation affecting the Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) peoples. We are calling on all supporters, Native and Non-Native, Inuit, Métis, Chief & Councils, On-Reserve & and Off- Reserve citizens, to Rally together in Unity and Peace. We must raise awareness to all people of impending legislative changes, being pushed through parliament to become laws that will directly affect our people, lands, all creatures that depend and reside on it.

As The First People, of this land, we must stand up, and tell the government, “We will make the changes from here on out. This land we live on is ours. These Waters we depend on are ours. These changes are ours to make. We have the right to decide our future as a Nation, the future of the land and waters we live on.” We can no longer remain silent in the matters that involve us now, and the generations to come. Silence is considered consent by the Harper Agenda.

The following is a list where we all will be affected across Turtle Island (Canada):
• Bill C-45 Job and Growth Act (Omnibus bill includes Indian Act amendments regarding voting on-reserve, land surrender/designations)
• Bill C-27 First Nations Financial Transparency Act
• Bill S-2 Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Interests or Right Act
• Bill S-6 First Nations Elections Act
• Bill S-8 Safe Drinking Water for First Nations
• Bill C-428 Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act (Private Conservative MP’s Bill, Harper Supported)

This list is a list of Senate Public Bills:
• Bill S-207 An Act to amend the Interpretation Act (non-derogation of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights)
• Bill S-212 First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill and the “First Nations” Private Ownership Act

All of these Bills are in direct violation of Article 18, 19 & 20 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Everyone should seek support from their Band Councils and Chiefs for support in peacefully uniting to fight these violations of our Rights."




Tuesday, December 18, 2012


my little Norfolk Island pine decorated last year
I figured that I would get this up before I start the whirlwind of cleaning, decorating and baking that needs to be done. This post is just to share some Yuletide recipes, ideas, going-ons and reading. Please feel free to share you own in the comment section!
For the last few years Midwinter and Christmas are mostlu secular celebrations for me, but I still do enjoy the season. The one real exception to this is a newly adopted tradition of making a Midwinter feast for Ancestors who are no longer here to sit at the table with us. Last year I was inspired by Ms Graveyard Dirt, who put out a Holy Supper Challenge and she is doing so again this year, which I recommend folks to join in!
This year for the Winter Solstice I will make offerings to a new deity that I am getting to know {a post about that still to come!} and start some heather seeds that I got from a lovely friend in Cornwall, on a recommendation found on the Alchemy Works website. I will also be keeping an eye on the illuminations of both New Grange and Maeshowe, which can be viewed on webcasts. And perhaps pining a wee bit that I will be missing the celebrations at the Kensington Market Festival of Lights.
I still haven't done any decorating, so one of the things that I have to do is deck my little Norfolk Island pine. Last year I cut out a bunch of woodland critters to put on it, which you can see more about here and perhaps gets some ideas. If you are looking for more Christmas tree ideas, you should go read Carolina Gonzalez's article A Very Magical Christmas Tree, her tree is fantastic!
There is plenty of cooking and baking to be done here yet, too. Here are a few recipes that I have enjoyed:
Should you find some time for reading, here are links to posts and articles that you might find interesting:
Yule & Hogmanay Part 1 and Part 2 from Tairis
And should you have even more spare time, here is a great movie called Mummers, Masks and Mischief about mummering and guising in Ireland.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

a great new steader book & a pile of awesome giveaways!

Backyard Farming on an Acre {More or Less} by Angela England

In celebration of the launch of the book Backyard Farming on an Acre {More or Less} there six different Backyard Farming themed giveaway packs up for grabs! Here is a rundown of each of the packs:

Herbal Tea Drinker’s Dream Pack (Click Here to Enter This Giveaway) ■Libre tea infuser – $24.00 value ■Villeroy and Boch Floral Mugs - $92.40 ■Bee Raw Honey + Estate Tea Set - $98

Apartment Dweller’s Self-Sufficiency Giveaway (Click Here to Enter This Giveaway) ■Earth Box Junior Garden System – $24.95 ■Mushroom Garden Kit - $19.95 ■Peaceful Valley/Grow Organic Gourmet Flavors Organic Seed Tin – $24.99 ■ Steel Composting Pail – $32

Backyard Farming Garden Pack (Click Here to Enter This Giveaway) ■Earth Box Garden System, original – $32.95 ■Safe Harvest Seed Bank - $42.99 ■Peaceful Valley/Grow Organic Good-Start Kit (Includes 1g Fish Fertilizer, 1 qt, Liquid Kelp extract, and Garden Art Calendar) – $37.97

Food Preservation Giveaway (Click Here to Enter This Giveaway) ■Legacy canning jars, one case each size – $34.83 ■Tattlers lids, 1 dozen – $24.99 ■Assortment of 8 Tomato Seed Packs from Baker Creek Seeds – $17.50 ■Yes, You Can! And Freeze, And Dry it Too! book by Daniel Gastieger – 19.95

Kitchen Creativity Giveaway (Click Here to Enter This Giveaway) ■Best Basic Cheesemaking Kit – $44.88 ■Villeroy and Boch Garden Serving Bowl - $98.25 ■All You Magazine Subscription + Kitchenwares Gift Basket – $50 value

Backyard Chicken Flock Giveaway (Click Here to Enter This Giveaway) ■25 Assorted Heavy Layer Chicks from Hoover’s Hatchery – $50 value (Orders will be held until February 2013 pending availability.) ■Brinsea EcoGlow 20 Chick Brooder – $59 value ■Peaceful Valley/Grow Organic Omega 3 Chicken Forage Blend w/3 17inch square seed flats – $10 value 
You need to get your entries in by December 18th! On the 18th there will be a live chat on the Backyard Farming Facebook page between 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm CMT, where the winners will be announced. Head on over to enter and make sure to check out the book!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Using Botanicals to Dye Magical Textiles

{I had originally posted this over at the Unfettered Wood blog, but I figured some of the nefaeria readers might enjoy it too.} 

A few days ago I did some natural dyeing, so I thought that I would share a wee bit about that in case other folks would be inspired to give it a go. Please keep in mind that there are different ways that one can dye textiles with botanicals, this is just they way that I have been comfortable with.
There are a few things that all methods have in common:
  1. Extracting colour
  2. Fixing colour
  3. Transferring colour
I would highly recommend people going through the resources that I will put at the end of this post to get more ideas to see what works for them.

The whole purpose of me doing this was to infuse the magical properties of the plants into the textiles, as well as obviously leave some colour on them as well.

For this batch the actual magical properties of the plants were of more importance to me than the colour. I wanted something that could be a good general purpose textile and wasn't quite sure how the colours would turn out. In one of the extra resources at the bottom of this post, there is a list of different plants and the colours they give off.

For fresh ingredients this is not necessary, but berries apparently benefit having a soaking in vinegar before simmering. This is a good time to do a blessing over the plant materials should you wish to, or to "charge" them with intent.

Using cold water is best to add for the vinegar, and after simmering giving the fabric a good rinse in cold water {water it runs clear} is needed. Other methods call for the fabric to be wet before putting it in with the dye wash, so this takes care of both the fixative and that step. Other fixatives are sometimes added to the actual dye wash or used to treat the textile afterwards. Learn more about fixative in the resources below.

Other methods call for a lower simmering time, depending on the materials being used. Sometimes fixatives, such as salt are added at this stage.

This is probably not a must, but it will make stage six a whole lot easier. As you will see in the follow photos, I did not strain all of the plant material out; some of it stuck to the fabric, which I just shook off outdoors once I was finished drying them out. I put the strained off bits into the compost.

The textile I used was a natural coloured cotton linen and I left it in the dye wash for a couple of hours. I shifted it around every once and a while with a pair of tongs. If handling, it is best to used a pair of rubber gloves so you don't dye your hands!

Before removing from the dye bath, carefully squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. To get the concentrated veins of colours, I left my fabric bunched in a pile on a dish drying rack {made black rubber, no risk of it staining!} over night. Then I dried out flat on our clothesline.

Extra resources:

Using Natural Plant Dyes by Kate Aimson {from White Dragon Magazine}
Natural Dyes: Their History and How to Make Them by Varenya
Making Natural Dyes from Plantsfrom Pioneer Thinking {has a great list of plants and the colours they give off}

a comparison of my linen before dyeing {top} and after dyeing {bottom}

It was exciting to see what the finished product would be and I am quite fond of the yellows, rusts and browns that came out in the linen. I will be using some of it in an upcoming project that I will post about later, as well as using some for charm bags and pouches.

For those who don't want to make your own, but would like some magical textiles, I will be listing some of this batch in the Unfettered Wood shop and I am happy to take custom orders.



Friday, November 23, 2012

luverly of the week: wild blue by cathy preston

Wild Blue by Cathy Preston
 Gods, I love this artwork! Cathy Preston, a writer, artist and philosopher {and dear friend} is the woman behind this Wild Blue. Here is a wee bit of what she has to say about it over at her website:
"Riddled with metaphor and symbolism, it hopefully raises questions and offers food for contemplation, thought and feeling more than attempting to provide answers. It comprises 9 paintings, 8 of which are mobile and can be placed in numerous combinations, juxtaposing the varying moods, characteristics and outlooks of each creature, when connected with the central body. The backdrop has the same background, meaning that upon moving any of the heads the picture is retained as whole, even if all but the central panel is removed. This painting(s) is intended to be interacted with rather than simply observed."
Cathy pictured with the artwork
Here is also a video that has more images and footage of Wild Blue.



Monday, November 12, 2012

animal odd couples

This is an amazing episode of Nature:

Despite the odds, there are countless stories of the most unlikely cross-species relationships imaginable: a goat guiding a blind horse; a doe who regularly visits her Great Dane surrogate mother; a juvenile gibbon choosing to live with a family of capuchins, and so on. Instincts gone awry? The subject has mystified scientists for years. Now, NATURE investigates why animals form these special bonds. Informed by the observations of caregivers and noted scientists Temple Grandin and Marc Bekoff, the film explores what these relationships suggest about the nature of animal emotions.

Watch Animal Odd Couples on PBS. See more from Nature.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

táin bó cúailnge etsy treasury

I created an Etsy treasury with a Táin Bó Cúailnge {Cattle Raid of Cooley} theme. You can see more about An Táin here and read the epic tale here.



Thursday, November 1, 2012


A few Jacks on our doorstep, waiting for the trick-or-treaters that the rain kept away. They are nothing fancy, but it was a wee bit easier carving the turnip this year {the secret: a spoon with a very sturdy handle!}. The top Jack is a turnip, the other two are pumpkins.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

blessings to you all this samhain

royalty free photo
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
May your loved ones, both ancestor and alive be with you to celebrate this sacred time! Warm hearts & hearths to all of you dear readers!


Aymi & Laurel

Monday, October 22, 2012

raising kids with religion

There is a post over at the Gaelic Folkway blog that inspired me to write a wee bit on this topic. The post is entitled Should Your Raise Your Kids in Your Religion? and is authored by Éireann. I have some pretty strong opinions on this {there is a theme here, eh?}, but I am probably not the most qualified to talk about this as I do not have any children myself. Although the better half and I did discuss this at great length when we were trying to have kids and I was raised for a time in a household of rigid religious dogma that was damaging. 

I suppose it would be fair to say that the way I view raising kids with religion would match what Éireann would describe as "liberal"; I do think that children should be given the freedom to decide for themselves what they believe, and this is probably best achieved by exposure to different belief systems and open dialogue. I also think that they should be able to decide if they wish to participate in any religious or spiritual activities and traditions. Probably the most important thing is that children should definitely be taught to respect other faiths and exposed to science and secularism. This would of course include respecting the rights of those who decide to be atheist and base their worldviews strictly on science.

The point of their post was to critique this liberal approach to the subject, and while there are quite a few things that I fundamentally disagree with, I do think that the critiques were thoughtfully delivered. And perhaps because we do share a similar faith, there are many things I also agree with.

No doubt parents/guardians will influence the children under their care, so certainly they have a responsibility to not only their kids, but to society in general. Wouldn't it be wonderful if more parents & guardians were instilling critical thinking, respect, and acceptance in the people who will be running things in the near future? Unfortunately I don't see that to be the case for many people who are raising kids in many of the more popular religions, and I certainly can relate to this from when I was growing up.

We owe it to kids to have a healthy view of themselves and their fellow humans, as well as the environment and all the other creatures who dwell on this planet.

Anyhow, please do feel free to add your own two cents if you like and if interested, you should give not only the post by Éireann a read, but the whole blog as well. Some great stuff over there!



Edit: Éireann has expanded on her position in regards to this topic which I wanted to add part of it here {it can be seen in full in the comment section} so there are no misconceptions on her position. 

"I noticed you wrote that you feel that kids should be free to choose what they believe. I wanted to clarify that I in no way feel anyone can -dictate- to another -what to believe-; -belief- is internal and personal and cannot be put upon another; it is impossible. So I want to be clear that I am not advocating for that." 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

speed dating for farm folk

'cause we all need a little romance! ;)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

lessons from the garden {unwelcome guests edition}

original image by travellinggirl2010

Just like every other gardening season that has gone by, I have learned a few more lessons from/in the garden, and this year's theme has been unwelcome guests. Some of these lessons are from my own experiences and others are from friends. I thought that I would share them with you dear readers, so you may avoid future these pains. ;)
  1. If you have a wild & witchy garden, it is probably a good idea not to have church ladies who happen to be formal garden aficionados over to visit during the growing season. They will try to exorcise you of the Devil, and exorcise your garden of weeds {read: anything that is not a peony, orchid or rose is fair game!} while you're inside getting drinks for everyone. 
  2. Don't invite over self-professed design snobs if your patio furniture textiles happen to not match your tomatoes {luckily this lesson was taught in a friend's garden; if the design snob had come over to my place, they probably would have fainted at the sight of our "patio furniture", which is just camping chairs!}.
  3. Light sensors and wielding gardening shears are good deterrents when dealing with drunken assholes who like to "water" your front garden after an evening at the local bar.
  4. "Piss-off" plants are a great way to keep neighbourhood kitties from using your garden as a litter box {recommended by a friend}.
  5. Earwigs are truly evil incarnate. This year they did a number on some of my young perennial plants and a whole bunch of my annuals. While I was a bit late, I found strategically placed traps {shallow containers with some water and a wee bit of olive oil} kept them under control.
  6. Fences are sometimes not enough to keep thieves and peeping toms out of your backyard. Having lots of thorny bushes and nettles where they are likely to hop over the fence will make them think twice next time. 
  7. And finally some advice from a friend {for fellow witchy folk}: having signage politely informing people that a witch resides at your place and that if people fuck with your garden, they may very well be blasted into next week. Apparently this has effectively kept the idiots who used to vandalize her garden on their best behaviour.
Have any tips or "unwelcome garden guests" stories? Feel free to share them in the comment section.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

some more witchy giveaways!

Howdy folks, I thought that I would share some more lovely giveaways that are happening right now. Nuno of the La Messe des Pâquerettes blog is having a Samhain giveaway. The winner will receive:
  • Incense of the Dead
  • Incense of Consecration
  • A string of rowan berries
  • A beeswax poppet
  • An extra wee surprise
To enter head on over to his blog or go to his Facebook page to express interest {only post on one of the places so there is not dual entries.} Entries need to be in by October 12, 2012.


Also having two different giveaways are my fellow Northern Ontario Pagans, Valerie & Renee of 2 Witches in a Box.

The first giveaway is a corn doll making contest, and the prize is a variety of mystery products from their upcoming apothecary shop {$40.00 value, potential items include herbs, gemstones, and bath products}. Entries need to be in by October 14th, 2012.

The second giveaway is going to a person who participates in voting for the corn doll contest winner. Voting begins on October 16th and runs until October 30th, 2012. The prize is a variety of mystery products from their upcoming apothecary shop {$20.00 value, potential items include herbs, gemstones, and bath products}.

For more information or to enter these contests, go check out the giveaway post on their blog.




Monday, October 1, 2012

vandana shiva on "violent agriculture"

A pretty great presentation by Vandana Shiva on "violent agriculture". Enjoy!
Part One:
  Part Two:
Part Three:



Sunday, September 30, 2012

unfettered wood samhain/hallowe'en giveaway!

The Unfettered Wood Samhain/Hallowe’en giveaway is now open {Until Monday October 15, 2012}!
What is up for grabs:
  • One $20.00 Cyber Gift Certificate
  • Ancestral Graveyard Dirt
  • Corked Bottle with Dried Datura and Poppy Pods
  • Beeswax Samhain Fire Starter
  • Dried Whole Dandelion Root
  • Ancestor Ritual Votive Candle
  • 1/2 oz Dark Daughter Loose Incense
  • 1/2 oz Tech Duinn Loose Incense
  • Beeswax Mullein Taper Candle
To enter and further details head on over to the Unfettered Wood giveaway blog post.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

McFlying Ointment

It has been a while since I have done a ranty post… 

My Dear Fellow Pagans & Magical Practitioners,

I don’t know if it is just me, but I have been noticing a big increase in people selling products containing entheogens that are being marketed towards witchy folks. This bothers me and it scares the shit out of me at the same time.

Before I go into why, let me preface by saying this: I am not someone who “walks the poisoners’ path”. While a good part of my practice involves working with plants {and it might be even fair to say that it is “in my blood”}, my experience working with psychoactive plants is limited. I was lucky enough to shadow someone for a short time who has a rich knowledge and experience working with these types of plants, but I learned quite quickly that it was not for me. Any concoctions I made {such as flying ointment} has been for my own personal use. 

Many poison plants have found a place in my garden and in my apothecary; my relationship with them is just different from proper hedge witches or other practitioners who work with entheogenic plants for altered states. 

Anyways, I am not bothered that people work with these plants in this way or that they are selling products containing them. There are a small handful of people who I have been a customer of and a “fan” of their work who sell them. To me it is quite clear that they have experience and that they have an idea of what they are doing. 

My issue lays with inexperienced people who are making these products and selling them to others. Noobies trying to be “badass witches” by selling this stuff is not just annoying, it is fucked up and reckless. 

Case in point: 

There is a person on Youtube who has an online store that has started to sell items containing these kinds of plants. In a video while bragging that she is going to be selling flying ointments, she was handling potentially fatal plants on camera with very little care. She was rubbing her face up against some of them like it was a fuzzy little kitten and pretending she was going to eat one of them. Fucking stupid. {A rather ironic side note is that she was going on a tangent about people who change spiritual paths like they do underwear, yet one day she is a new age crystal healer, the next she is a necromancer and traditional witch, the next she is a chakra specialist, and now she is a folk magician with tonnes of experience working with “dark plants” and hoodoo.}

I suppose all I can add is that there is nothing wrong with being new at something, just admit that you are, know your limits and keep on learning. Besides, these are probably good tenets to go by for any worthy practitioner, whether they be neophyte or have ages of experiences. So please folks, be careful who you buy these types of products from! 

Below are some sources that I personally think are reputable: 

 If you know of any other reputable sources, please feel free to share them! 



Friday, September 7, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

luverly of the weewoodland corn doll goddess by marla vander meer

Marla Vander Meer has a whole bunch of lovely corn doll Goddesses over at her Etsy shop. Here are a few more that I am particularly fond of:




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

harvests, chutneys & updates

Howdy folks! I hope that you all have been enjoying September so far!

Things have been extra busy 'round here, which is why I have been especially lax in posting. This is just a wee post about some of the goings-on in my garden, kitchen, and the witchy part of my life.

For the most part things in the garden have been going well, there has been lots of mini harvests and a few large ones.

{purple pole beans}

{black krim, orange blossom, red pear cherry, tigerella and marzano roma tomatoes}

{summer ball & acorn squash, along with some small sugar pumpkins. one of the pumpkin vines got damaged so I had to pick some early}

I have also been doing some herb harvests from the garden and some wildcrafting.

{stinging nettle}
{raspberry leaves}

Most of my kitchen adventures have been dedicated to preserving including trying to find ways to use some nasturtiums and green tomatoes. I made nasturtium honey along with three different types of green tomato chutneys that ended up going to to baggies to stored in the freezer:
{peach & nasturtium green tomato chutney, with some olive oil and nasturtium honey thrown in there for good measure}

{pear & wild ginger chutney with green pear cherry tomatoes, and some chives and olive oil}

{apple & mint green tomato chutney, with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar}

{nasturtium honey}

For more green tomato recipes you can check this post and this post.

The witchy news is that I have opened up a shop on Etsy for Unfettered Wood:

I will only be posting information about the shop if something "big" is going on like giveaways. If are interested in keeping up with it, you can always head on over to the Unfettered Wood blog, Tumblr or Facebook page. I will also link to the odd informational post over there; I think for the most part I will be posting things about my spiritual and magical practices over there along with writing about folklore. This blog will remain one for general gardening & homesteading, politics, opinions and rants.