I know I’ve mentioned Runes often enough in this blog, but I believe I’ve only mentioned Oghams as a sort of “Celtic Rune” that is connected to the Wheel of Life pathworking symbol I use. I don’t know if they’ve ever had a full blog post, though. So, I thought that it would be appropriate to delve into an old Irish alphabet on St. Patrick’s Day.

Let’s start with what the Oghams (which are, as I understand it, pronounced oh-ams… the g makes an almost sigh like h sound) look like. They’re essentially tick marks on a line. Either shown a vertical or horizontal line, they are usually read down to up. To give you a little hint as to the direction you are to read them, there can be a sort of arrow to show you where the line is starting. The picture below shows the word “Ogham”, starting at the bottom above the arrow showing the direction it is written.


The history of the Oghams are a bit murky to me, and seem to be rather murky to historians who know far more than I. Some historians say that the earliest record of the Ogham is from the 4th century AD, but it has been argued that it is as old as the 1st century AD, or perhaps older. Inscriptions of Oghams are found mainly in Ireland, but have also been found in Wales, England, and Scotland.

It is an odd alphabet, as according to medieval information on the Oghams, some of the letters stand for sounds not present in the Irish language. Some suggest it was patterned after Latin, or from a pre-Celtic Irish language from megalithic times.

There were originally 20 letters, with five extra letters added on to the alphabet in later years. The original fews (as the letters are called) were separated into four groups of five, as each group ranged from one to five tick marks in their group (each of these groups of five called feadha).


The last, newer five are called the forfedha. They have a different style, certainly not as easy to carve into wood or stone as the original ones were.


Each letter has an association with a tree, as well as other associations tacked onto them throughout the years. This is where their use in divination comes in. Each Ogham can be used for divinatory or magical purposes. Whether they were used originally for such purposes, I don’t know. I swear I read about a story of an ancient Druid who used them in divination, but, for the life of me, I can’t seem to find where I read that. So, we’ll have to stick with the fact that whether they were used in that capacity in ancient times or not, they are used as such now.

An example is the first few, Beith (the first one in the picture of the first feadha above). This few represents the birch tree. In divination, it would represent beginnings, renewal, rebirth, and purification. Generally, a pretty good few to pull in a reading, unless you were looking for the continuation of a stable situation, as renewal and rebirth requires change.

Oghams have a few interesting historical points. The poet Robert Graves discovered a book that had an incomplete listing of the Oghams (the first thirteen, specifically). Thinking that he had figured out an ancient Celtic lunar calendar that corresponded with Oghams and trees, he put a system together. I’ve read a little about it, and it seems interesting and, though not historically accurate, magically useful if it aligns to your cosmology.

There’s also the matter of the order of the Oghams. I originally learned them from “The Druidry Handbook” by John Michael Greer (one of the sources that I have used for this blog entry). In that book, JMG mentions that there are two ways people order the first feadha. He uses the order BLNVS (Beith Luis Nuin Fearn Saille), as that was the way that it was taught to him. He also noted that the letters almost form the name of a Celtic solar deity, Belenos, and the other order may have been a sort of Christianization of the Oghams. It seems, though, that most of the rest of the people that work with Oghams in magical practice, as well as most of the scholars that I’ve come across in literature, say that the first Oghams are represented in the order of BLVSN. The mix up can make understanding what the last three fews of the first feadha mean if someone is writing with Oghams. Because I first learned them via JMG, I read them as he taught them, though it is most likely not historically accurate. That is the interesting thing about divination, though. As long as you settle on a meaning between you and the powers that be in the universe, the message can still be carried through.

If you are looking for information on the Oghams, you can find them in “The Druidry Handbook” by John Michael Greer, or in a lot of places all over the internet. I know there are a lot of books out there, but I don’t really know too many that I can personally vouch for. So, if you find this set of symbols intriguing, do a little research. See what you can find.

On a completely different note, I’d like to announce that Josh (my husband) and I have a new space we will be renting out for readings, Reiki, rattling, workshops, and more very soon. You’ll be able to find us below the Juicy Girls Juice Bar in Littleton, NH by appointment. You’ll be hearing more about that as it unfolds. We will be having an open house on the solstice, having set up fully by June. I’ll keep you all posted.


Stay warm. Though the Equinox is this week, it’s still rather wintery up here in northern Vermont.


Until next week


  • The Green Mountain Mage

Circles and Community

I’d like to start off with an apology. I try to write blogs every week, and I missed the last one. Between my husband’s birthday, family stuff, and a major case of writer’s block, I couldn’t come up with anything. Trying to come up with a subject can be tricky from time to time. If you enjoy reading this blog, subjects you are interested in me tackling are always appreciated.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a magical community event led by my friend Stacey Doll. We created a central sacred space, did some yoga, did a little journeying, did a little chanting, and opened up. While I’m super comfortable being opened up to, I have a hard time opening up to others. There’s a certain level of being authentically there with a bunch of people that you don’t know that makes me uncomfortable. Unfortunately for me, I believe this to be an important part of my work. To help others, I have to be able to help myself, check in, and be aware of any issues that may get in the way.

I get in my own way a lot. In fact, that’s what my journey taught me that night. I won’t get into the weird symbolism of my subconscious, but I believe that Spirit was telling me a lot of the obstacles that stop me in my work are me. It’s one of those obvious things that I forget to pay attention to. I can be my worst enemy. Part of my work is finding those parts of me that are no longer useful, and leaving them behind.

One of the interesting connections that pop up in many Shamanic cultures is the dismemberment experience. In initiation, the spirits take apart the shaman to be in their dreams, then make them whole again. It’s representative of the spirits taking away all that you were so you emerge into the world as something entirely new. It’s a scary premise, but apparently an important initiation. It makes sense. As I said, I get in my own way. So, here I am, trying to leave behind the parts of me that get in the way.

What happens if you don’t face your own issues and make peace with them in this work? From what I’ve seen and experienced, one of two things. You slowly get off of the path of the shaman, or your issues start to get a little more aggressive in trying to get your attention.

I think that people sometimes think that this sort of path is all flowers and light. I heartily disagree. If you don’t face your shadows, ignoring them because they’re not pretty, or “high vibration” enough, they tend to come out for you. We can’t do the work with others without expecting to do the work for ourselves.

It’s not a once and done deal, either. I have a good amount of shit that I have to work through still, though happily less than what I started with. That’s part of the learning experience. Through working through your own stuff, you have a beginning blueprint on how to help others. Just a beginning, of course, because everyone has their own unique way of dealing with their blockages and trauma. It’s a start, though, and a point where you can feel compassion more deeply.

Another thing that came up due to this circle is the importance of community. I know I talk about that from time to time, but having a group to do a little magic with felt really good. My teacher has also been encouraging her students to begin creating community. So, I will be planning a few full moon fires when the weather gets warmer. It’d be nice to get out in the moonlight, fire and drums ready to make a little magic. I’ll keep everyone posted about those, as well as workshops that I plan on leading this summer.

I want to leave you all with a thank you. Thank you for being part of my community, for being interested in what I have to write, and being part of trying to make the world a little better. You are all much appreciated.


Until next week


-The Green Mountain Mage


The Shaman I am apprenticed to often talks about the conversation that is happening around us. Trees interact with each other via the massive network of fungi that connects the forest. There is an interaction between plants and the soil type, seen by noticing what plants grow where. Red squirrels are always chattering at intruders, giving away the intruders location to the listening ear. There is so much information that can be gleaned from around us by just noticing the way that life and the elements are interacting.

We, as humans, are so dependent on conversation and interaction. The importance of relationship between us, our food, and our planet is often understated. We like to think of ourselves as beings outside of the feedback systems of the ecosystem we live in, but nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes down to it, we are a very cunning, social species on the planet earth who may just be in over their heads.

I’ve been thinking about relationship a lot recently. As my family and I were out doing errands, an interesting TED Talk came on the radio. It was an author named Johann Hari delivering a speech called “Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong.” Essentially, he speaks about the roots of addiction in disconnection. It was fascinating, although some see some errors in his train of thought. It struck me as something rather shamanic.

Part of the role of the Shaman is to help heal and build community. It is about finding, strengthening, and creating connection. Connecting to the world of Spirit is only part of this. As I mentioned, we are social creatures. We need connection to each other, to the world around us, and to some sort of purpose. When we lose that, we try to find connection in some other way. I’m not suggesting that this is the only reason for addiction, by the way. There are real chemical and biological components involved. There is language in shamanic practice to cover those aspects, too. What people might call a “family curse” could really be a genetic predisposition to a problem. The chemical hooks of a chemical are part of its “spirit.” We fall in danger of those hooks when we lose correct relationship with a plant or substance.

I’m a firm believer that everything has its use, its place in an ecosystem. Even illegal drugs have a medicinal side. When used correctly, we use opiates to deal with pain when it becomes too much. Cannabis has medical uses, just ask any medical marijuana enthusiast. Hallucinogens have their place in different indigenous spiritual traditions. Even cocaine is derived from Coca Leaf, a plant with a strong place in certain South American cultures for its benefits. Alcohol is a great extractor of herbal medicines, and can be used to open people up to themselves and others. It’s when we fall out of correct relationship with these things (or change the plant to become something that it was not meant to be) that it becomes a problem.

We as Americans aren’t that great with relationships, though. Maybe it has something to do with the loss of connection to Spirit, and the loss of connection in community. Maybe it’s the way that we structure society now. Maybe it’s the vapid nature of social media. Maybe we are experiencing a loneliness epidemic (though loneliness and connectivity are not synonymous). Maybe it’s just the way it is. I don’t know. I do believe that connectivity and community are important healers to the heart sickness that seems to be growing in our world.

I think that the world needs connectors and healers now. I’m still trying to figure out what my part is in helping to connect and heal the world about me. What do you think the world needs right now?

Until next week

-The Green Mountain Mage.

Finding Boundaries

The concept of strong boundaries has always been something that I struggled with. When I was younger, I wanted to expand my ability to feel the feelings beyond myself. I wanted to be able to easily read other people’s emotions, so I could be a better source of support. It soon became quite counterproductive, as I would pick up people’s emotions without meaning to, becoming lost in what I was feeling.

Then, there was the extra layer of feeling out who I could safely be myself around. A healthy amount of caution mixed with a low self esteem soon led to me being far too jumpy around anyone I thought might not embrace my “otherness.”

Finally, we add in a weird hero complex. I believe it to be tied into what I am supposed to be doing in this life. Left unchecked, though, it can lead me to overgive of myself. When you go into a situation where you feel a person can benefit from some energetic support, it can be easy to give of yourself to help that person. Done with your own personal energy, that can leave you drained, and useless. It also usually only helps that person feel better, but not to actively change anything that was wrong in the first place, creating an unhealthy relationship between you and the person you are trying to help.

I know I’ve discussed energetic exchange before, but I’m not sure how much I’ve discussed how guilty I was of going about it unhealthily when I was younger. I would be happy to let someone drain me, if I felt I was helping. Learning Reiki, and learning to be a channel to healing energy helped me out immensely in that aspect. I know that, if I’m not careful, people can still draw away my energy.

The work I’ve been doing in boundaries has mainly been in reference to the first two. Mainly the idea that it’s okay to stand in conflict. This may seem to be a no brainer for some, but for those of us that dodge conflict like it’s the plague, it’s an interesting notion. When I am interacting with someone who’s energy is more aggressive or pushy than mine, I usually shrink back. I don’t stand my space. I think one of my life lessons is in owning that I have a right to my being and space just as much as anyone else, and this stems from it. It’s okay to stand my ground and be me. Sometimes, that takes a courage for which I must dig deep.

I’ve talked about keeping space and riding the emotions that you’re picking up from others while not owning it. That is part of it. I think the next step is owning my own emotions. It seems that there are quite a few people out there, especially in the spirituality scene, that demonize certain emotions. A great example is anger. When I flipped my car two weeks ago, I was texting a friend and talking about my process. I mentioned that I was angry about it. The anger wasn’t running the situation, or boiling over into other parts of my life. That was just what I was feeling at the moment. Digging deeper, it’s really a secondary emotion to the scary nature of it. She told me that I shouldn’t be angry, because it didn’t serve me in the end. I  changed the topic, talking about the secondary emotional nature of anger, but it made me pause.

Why shouldn’t I feel it?

I can’t ignore it. That would be burying it inside to let it fester. Instead, I felt it. I sat with it. If I needed a way to release it, I would have found it. Anger has a purpose in our lives, like lust, or dislike. Lust leads to procreation, which leads to life. I dislike pain, which generally keeps me out of really dangerous situations. It’s when anger, lust, dislike, or fear gain too much power in our lives. One of the ways to hand those emotions that power is to ignore them and what they are trying to communicate to us. Sometimes, we need to sit with them and listen to what they are trying to tell us. Once we do that, we can figure out how to fix the problem that is creating these unwanted emotions.

Sitting with our emotions is part of knowing ourselves. The better we know ourselves, the better we can set healthy boundaries. We can stand in our belief. We can say no to things that we really don’t want in our lives. We can use boundaries as a way to keep ourselves, while keeping them permeable and changing so that we can still feel the world around us.

I’m still figuring it all out. I’m still striving to keep a good connection to myself, and the person I strive to be, all while being aware of what’s happening around me, and where the people around me are at. It’s not always easy, but I’m learning.

Anyways, these are my thoughts on the issue. Remember, if there is a subject that you’d be interested in hearing about in this blog, reach out and let me know. Until then, I’ll keep going off about subjects that pop up as something folks might be interested in and personal explorations into the world of herbs and spirit.


Until next week


  • The Green Mountain Mage

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Sometimes, the work that I do is way less flashy than it is in the movies. People sometimes expect pyrotechnics and earthquakes. That’s just not how it works, though. I mention this because I had mentioned that I was doing a energetic cleansing of a building last Sunday, and I said that I was going to talk about it a bit.

There were no pyrotechnics. There were no earthquakes. There wasn’t poltergeist activity that left me dodging levitating furniture. It was a lot of me singing, praying, visualizing, and trying to communicate that it was time to leave the building.

Let me back up.

This building is an old mill building by a river that is now used by multiple businesses. From what I’ve gathered, the river plays a large part in directing certain spiritual energies and entities to this building, and the theme of a river doing this may be a reoccurring one. I know that the building was bought by another company in the mid 1800s, but I don’t know when it was built. It’s old, though. Being an old mill by a river gives it enough chance to have spirits of people who might have worked there, along with anything wandering the area that the river kind of pushed into there.

I’ve been in this building multiple times, and have always had the feeling that I was not alone. I could feel ghosts. I even tried to contact one once in a meditation class that was taking place there. I believe I did, but it was a long time ago and, as a lot of this work goes, I just wasn’t 100% sure.

Eventually, a friend who owns one of the businesses asked me to try and clear out the space. She was tired of the creepy feeling there, and was looking for a little good juju in the building. I agreed, with one caveat:

I’ve never tried to clear a building like that.

So, I checked in with my teacher for a little guidance, and we worked out a plan. She works a lot with BioGeometry, a system of dowsing and energetic working that was created by Dr. Ibrahim Karim. She helped me come up with something that I could place on the property to divert heavier, unhealthy energy that might be brought in via the river. So, I made a makeshift amulet of sorts out of a plastic pipe, marbles, and whatever else seemed like it worked. I know. It sounds odd, but I wanted to see how well it would work. I headed to the bank of the river to talk to it. There did seem to be a spot where weird energy was accumulating. Unfortunately, it was a sort of flood plain before the building. With the ground frozen, I couldn’t bury the amulet safely, so the next flood would wash it away. Instead, I placed it in a safe spot as close to the floodplain as I could put it, with plans to bury it late spring.

A week later was the day that I was to do the clearing. I woke up well before dawn, gathered my supplies, and headed out. My plan was to sort of ride the energy of the sunrise to help me clear the space. I arrived, felt around for light switches, and made my way to the center of the business that I was helping out. I set up my mesa, and sat to listen.

I could feel the spirits there watching me. I announced my plan as I gathered my drum and a bell and walked through the business, then the building at large. The place that I felt the most activity was the second floor. I was expecting to feel it in the basement, but it wasn’t that bad at all. Perhaps the amulet had already began its work. I drummed as the hanging bell rang, and I prayed for the space. I sang a little of a power song a medicine man once taught me when it felt really intense.

Returning to my mesa, I proceeded to try out a banishing ritual of the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn. I have to say, I’ve had better success with it in the past than I did in that moment. I imagine it’s due to the fact that it’s not a ritual I often practice. I then broke out my mix of sweet fern and cedar to smudge the place.

I rarely use my charcoal incense disks, as they burn for a while, and I feel that using them is an investment of time. So, when I tried to light the one that I brought, my inexperience shined brightly. It might have been too old, it might have been incompetence, it might have been both. I couldn’t keep the damn thing lit. Without it, my herbs would not be producing the cleansing smoke I needed. Muttering to myself that I knew I should have made a smudge stick out of these herbs instead, I continually lit the herbs to produce a meager smoke. It was a failure. I also noticed that the sun was rising quickly, and that this building was BIG! Between the size, the age, and the amount of spirits in the place, I began to feel overwhelmed.

In the end, I focused mostly on the business I was there for. I really had wanted to tackle the whole building, though. I ended it with the Sphere of Protection ritual that I often use. That had a stronger effect than normal. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it uses elemental forces, along with energy from the planet, the cosmos, and a synthesis of those powers to bring balance. I could feel the balanced force (referred to in my tradition as the Lunar Current) moving through the beams of the building. That was the surprising success of that morning.

I recently revisited the building. The business does feel lighter, as does most of the building. There are still entities on the second floor, though. As someone who has taken on the responsibility of clearing this building, I want to try it again. I’ll go a little earlier next time, though, as well as figure out my smudging problem. It’s interesting that the biggest problems that got in the way were very mundane and boring. I’m okay with that.

I do have a little funny story to add to it, though. In the middle of the Sphere of Protection, I heard what sounded like a sudden hailstorm coming from the eastern side of the building. A little perturbed, I went to investigate, all while asking my spirit helpers to have my back. I opened the one door I had yet to explore to reveal….

A hopper for wood pellets. The sound was the pellets pouring into the heater.

And they gave me a little bit of a scare.

Next week, I’ll talk about some work I’ve been doing with personal boundaries, and some wisdom that I’ve found concerning them.


May your week be warm and enjoyable


-The Green Mountain Mage


I find the idea of astrology fascinating. When I speak of astrology, I’m not talking about birth chart daily horoscopes you’ll find in the newspaper. That is generally rubbish, as far as I’m concerned. No, I’m talking about how the movement of our planet in relationship with the movement of the planets, stars, and moon affect the flow of energy. I have done a little research into it, as it can be an interesting addendum to magic work. At least, so I’m told. I’m still playing around with it, forming my own thoughts.

The idea that life is affected by position of our planet, our sun, and the way that the closer planets in our solar system reflect the sun back to us makes sense, in a way. The sun is already a major player in why we are physically here. Daytime and nighttime also feel drastically different from each other, and I mean that in more ways than simple heat and light. Maybe it's the way that life reacts to that lack of light and heat that creates the energetic shift, but I believe it to be more than that.

I bring this up as I contemplate the recent lunar eclipse. There is a lot of different views of how eclipses affect the unseen world, and I’m personally trying to grasp what I believe about its energy. They have a bad rap, and it is said that the effects of an eclipse can be felt days before and after. Usually, that makes me think it’s just a scapegoat, but, along with the beautiful full moon that we had, it seemed to be a little more intense than usual. That feeling is further exacerbated by the chaos of life here on my hill in Vermont. My step-son was thrust into the position to save a life last weekend. His mother’s boyfriend’s heart stopped as they were hanging out. As the man collapsed, my amazing step-son kept his wits about him, called 911, then proceeded to put his recent CPR training to use. Not bad for a fourteen year old. The man recently came out of the coma that had resulted from his cardiac arrest, about as fine as one can be for being dead for a bit. While it’s amazing that our kid saved a life, that’s pretty traumatic fare that most people don’t have to go through.

Then, yesterday, after a fight with the doctor’s office about some asthma meds, what looked like a clear road ended up being treacherous. I somehow found the only patch of slush on the road, spun 180 degrees, slammed into a boulder, and launched my Volvo wagon into the air. After finishing a complete roll over, the side of my car slammed into an apple tree, roughly putting the vehicle back, right side up, onto its tires in the snowy woods. While I came out of it a little sore, I’m perfectly intact. No broken bones, no blood, minor bruising. I’m still at a loss of how it happened. Good snow tires don’t slide across perfectly dry roads like that, yet here I am.

Now, I’m not blaming the eclipse. The earth’s shadow did not fall upon the moon to specifically warn my family that life was going to get a little crazy. The words of an author that I respect do come to mind, though. I can’t remember the exact quote, but John Michael Greer said something to affect that magic is just the art of intended coincidence. It stems from the idea that magic can cause physical change in the world, as long as it doesn’t break the laws of physics. Instead, it looks more like a coincidence that after a ceremony to call rain, air pressure changed as it does, and rain followed in what seems to be a natural course.

This is absolutely conjecture, yet it seems to me that the area has been a little more chaotic recently. Maybe I’m projecting, or maybe I’m seeing it through the lenses of my own crazier-than-usual life, but it seems everything around here has been more open to disorder. Could part of this be connected to the eclipse of a powerful full moon? Why not? Everything is connected in ways that we have yet to fully understand.

The experiences of my step-son and I both remind me of the rune hagalaz, the rune that shakes things up. If my step-son wasn’t there, his mom’s boyfriend would have died. Josh keeps thinking that my crash was something reaching out to prevent me from finding a more catastrophic experience down the road. What if these are acts of the universe to change for the better, but the change itself is still powerful and traumatic. It reminds me of some of the healing work that I’ve been trained to do. The act of facing your trauma and shadows. It can be hard, and it’s rarely fun, but it leads to a deep healing. Maybe that’s the energy of the eclipse. Maybe there’s a bigger pattern in the chaos.

Or maybe it all just happened, and the proximity to the eclipse is just a coincidence. Maybe it’s all false equivalency.

On a side note, concerning the solar and lunar forces, tomorrow I am heading out to an old building to do a clearing. I’ve felt that this building is haunted for quite a while. Recently, the owner asked me to go in and try to do a clearing, as she finds the building creepy. This being my first building that I’ve tried to clear of noncorporeal beings, this is going to be an interesting experience, one that I will share about more next week. The reason I mentioned solar forces in conjunction with solar forces is that I plan on heading there before sunrise to try and use the energy of the sunrise to help me clean out the space. It may be successful, it may not. Either way, it will be interesting. I can’t wait to share the story with you next week.


Be well. Be safe.


-The Green Mountain Mage

Where it all comes from

I usually have the subject that I'm going to write about in this blog planned out well before I begin writing. Today, though, I'm here at my step-son's track meet, utilizing some down time to write. But, about what? I know there are a whole lot of cool topics out there to tackle, but I'm not in a place to write about them.

Why? I think I'm feeling a little fatigue from the work.

This is, of course, not a complaint. I love the work that I do, and it's worth me feeling tired. It's just an interesting observation.

In my years of Reiki, I rarely feel a great amount of fatigue from doing healing work. After all, my work is to be a channel for Reiki energy, not to supply it myself. It's as I work more into different modalities, though, that I feel myself using energetic and mental "muscles" that I don't normally use. I'm beginning to feel the after "workout" slump.

It seems the shamanic work in particular can take it out of me. When using my rattle to reach a state of trance, the work I do in my trance and the emotions uncovered and experienced by both myself and the client can be tiring. I feel that way especially when I ride intense emotions with others. You know that exhausted feel after you've had a cathartic, ugly cry? Yeah, sometimes I feel that way after an intense session. Again, this is what I want. This is the work that I'm supposed to do. I've just had a full week of it.

It started with the rattle I began to make last week. I wasn't paying attention to the work as closely as I should have been. When imbuing something with power, it's best to draw that energy from something bigger than yourself. I was not. After I typed up the blog on the rattle, I noticed that I had dug into the well of my own energy without meaning to. Whoops. This can sometimes manifest in physical symptoms, as it did with me that evening. Nothing a little sleep couldn't fix, but it still messed up my plans for the day. 

Later this week, I decided to do some needed ancestor work. I rattled, and dug deep. I had some personal revelations and experiences that culminated in the message "Why the hell aren't you more focused on your work in helping people!" It made me face some of my insecurities and reasons why I hold back in this work. Not fun work, but important.

I catch my breath in time to do some work with clients, which led to a full day of rattling and journeying. It was good, but, wow, I'm feeling it today. 

I guess what I'm getting at is beware of the work of the healer. It's not always sunshine and roses. If it is, I suggest breaking through that. In the work that I do, it seems that the messier the session, the more healing it is. Part of finding healing is facing things that we don't want to face, and that can be exhausting. In the end, though, it's incredibly liberating.

Friday Night Rattle Making

Have you ever wondered what your younger self would think of you? That thought crossed my mind yesterday, as I thought of what a Friday night might have been in my earlier years. I wonder how my younger self would have responded to see how I was spending my Friday night: sitting on the edge of the tub with a few knives at my disposal as a I scraped away at a piece of deer hide, offering prayers to a deer spirit.

My husband has been partaking in a few learning experiences that have presented themselves to him in the realm of Norse trancework. He has been using recorded music to go into trance, but he has bumped up against some work where he needs to make the sound he uses to go into trance himself. He needs a magical sound maker.

He could use my rattle or my drum, but it’s better that he have his own. So, to help him out with this, I offered to make him a rattle. I could use the practice, and it would be more meaningful to have one made for him instead of just buying one.

The first step was to get the hide. I have a deer hide given to me by my sister-in-law’s brother about a year ago, and this was a perfect moment to use some of that. I trudged through the snow to get to the barn where it is. I sat with it, getting ready to take some off, when the spirit of the deer decides to reach out to me. He wanted me to know that he’s a little pissed that I haven’t taken better care of the hide.

I took the piece of hide inside, put it in a bucket of water, Borax, and salt, and make offerings to it. Working with annoyed spirits does not make a good sacred tool. The deer spirit is right, though. I didn’t clean it off as well as I should have at the beginning of the last summer, so it could be in better shape. In penance, I offered prayer and herbs along with the salt and borax to properly clean and care for it.

After a few days of that, it was time to start the actual process of rattle making. I took the hide to our tub to get a good look at it. The fur was still there, and that gets in the way of cutting, sewing, and muffles the sound of the rattle. The Wahl Show Pro Plus dog hair trimmer is the best thing ever in that situation. If it wasn’t for that, I would be cutting with scissors and scraping with knives all night.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of handling wet hide, it’s not exactly pleasant. It is a great material, though, and being a local deer gave the rattle a connection to the area. It also makes one ponder their life choices as one scrapes any detritus off it while sitting on the edge of the tub on a Friday night. Hence the beginning of this blog entry.

After it was clean and ready, back to the bucket it went with a fresh batch of water. I made offerings to the water (white flowers and sea salt), the deer (tobacco), and the future rattle (a mix of sage and lavender), along with a little more prayers and thanks. I instructed Josh (my husband) to go and make an offering that seems right to him.

Fast forward to this morning. I took the hide out of the water, and cut out the shape of what could be described as a fully deflated balloon from half of it. I used the cutout to make the same shape with the other half of the hide. I broke out my leather hole punch, and begin ringing the outside with holes about half a millimeter apart (except for most of the skinny part of the balloon shape). After finishing both shapes, I broke out the thread. I usually use waxed thread or sinew, but I had neither. Doubled up upholstery thread it was!

The sewing is part of the magic for me. I like working in energy and intention with sewing. I see it as light that I sew in along with the thread, or the thread capturing certain words or phrases. As this is for Josh, I just put love into it. I keep on thinking about how much he’ll love it. I don’t want to affect the feel of it too much. I want it to feel wholly his.

I then lugged up this cauldron of sand we have. We have used it as a big ashtray before when we have large amounts of people over, and we want our smoker friends to have a place to put their cigarette butts that isn’t our lawn, road, or garden. It’s clean now, and I need the sand, so up to the mage room it goes. I started filling up the hide pouch with sand, tamping it deep in with a stick. As soon as I could fill it no more, I hung it up to dry. That is where the project stands now.

Once it dries, I will empty out the sand, and begin the process of finding the right sound for Josh. I have a jar of old Jacob’s Cattle Dried beans that I harvested years ago, and I’m sure they do not have a high germination rate. Instead, they should make a great sound in the rattle. If that’s not the sound Josh is looking for, we keep searching. He has to also pick a type of tree that he wants to make a handle out of, and preferably go find the perfect handle. We’ll attach it and seal it to the rattle head, once we have the right insides for the right sound. We’ll decorate it as he likes with leather, cloth, braids, feathers, paint, or whatever else he might want.

Once he has a rattle, he will have a tool to create a monotonous sound that he can use to go into trance. I’m feeling pretty good about the project, so I wanted to share with you a little bit of the process. After all that hide cutting, hole punching, intentional sewing, sand packing, and now blog writing, my hands are feeling a little tired. I’ll end the blog with this.

I think that my younger self would totally approve of my Friday nights. He was pretty weird, too.


Until next week


  • The Green Mountain Mage

Fire Cider

I have a favorite immune support concoction that I love to start my morning with when I have it on hand, especially during the winter. I always seem to have a hard time setting aside time to actually making it, though, which is a shame. It’s a recipe called “Fire Cider.” The well-known Herbalist and Author Rosemary Gladstar came up with it in the 70s (though recipes like it may have been around before that) and she has been perfecting it ever since. There is an interesting legal battle concerning the name “Fire Cider” that’s been waging for a few years now. I urge you to look into it, as it highlights some interesting quirks of herbal work and copyright, but it’s not the focus of my post today. Instead, I want to talk about the product itself, how to make it, and where it plays a part in magic.

The recipe for Fire Cider calls for an apple cider vinegar, preferably unpasteurized. The herbal ingredients are:

  • ½ cup of chopped horseradish root

  • ½ cup chopped onion

  • ¼ cup chopped garlic cloves

  • ¼ cup grated ginger

  • Chopped fresh or powdered cayenne pepper to taste

  • Chopped fresh or powdered turmeric (an addition of mine that usually matches the amount of cayenne I put in, if it’s powdered. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on fresh turmeric, maybe an ⅛ of a cup?)


You may notice that these herbs are all food. That being said, the amounts of this recipe can be tweaked to taste or availability. Take these herbs, mix them together in a mason jar, cover them with the apple cider vinegar, gently warmed, but not hot. Put the cover on, and shake it once a day. Usually it’s suggested to do this for a month, but if you’re feeling like working a little extra magic into it, you can do it for a moon cycle.

When you’re ready, strain out the fire cider with a cheesecloth, add honey to taste (or not, if you don’t want or need the sweetness). Take a shot a day, or more if you’re worried about getting sick. This recipe leaves a lot of room to change things around. Some people add orange peel for the taste (and maybe some Vitamin C), or Cinnamon for its taste and medicinal properties. The important parts are the apple cider vinegar, onions, garlic, horseradish, and ginger. The cayenne is highly advisable, but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker.

The herbs in this concoction are generally warming, and are great at taking out a lot of different sicknesses before they settle in. If you take it before your coffee, its zing and heat will wake you right up. It’s also great for your circulation, and you’ll have the immune system of a champ with it.

While looking at the jar of Fire Cider sitting on our kitchen counter recently, I began to wonder what the magical properties of the herbs I’m extracting via vinegar are. That has to have some effect on the imbibing individual, doesn’t it?

These herbs actually have a lot in common in the more esoteric senses. As garlic and onion are related, this makes sense. They both have connections to Mars, and are used as protection against hostile magic and malevolent spirits. I think that magic and physical response are two sides of the same coin, and this makes sense. As these herbs dispel illness, they also dispel bad vibes. They are protectors that also have a connection to martial matters and male sexuality. With their history as ways to support heart and circulatory health, it would make sense that they are also connected to these things.

Ginger also has connections to Mars (a Mars in Aries astrology, just like garlic). It is used in magic concerning protection and sexuality. Could this be another connection to its use as an herb of the circulatory system?

Horseradish is also connected to Mars, and used for purification and protection. It’s medicinal uses are many. When grinding it, sometimes I have to use goggles it makes my eyes burn. It is well deserving of its fiery reputation.

I actually couldn’t find anything on the esoteric uses of cayenne, but I’m sure they’re out there. It’s certainly a fiery herb, and great medicinally for getting things moving, circulation, and kicking out illnesses. It also has a good amount of Vitamin C.

Turmeric has a history in magic as an herb of protection. Medicinally, it has some great anti-inflammatory actions that are a fine addition to the Fire Cider. I also like the taste, it fights blood clots (like a lot of the other herbs in this recipe), and there is interesting research on it helping the body fight cancer.

Vinegar itself has often been used in magical practice. I have a few herbal vinegar extracts that are waiting to be finished and mixed together to make a home cleansing vinegar wash. Vinegar itself has protective and cleansing qualities. It’s used in exorcism and banishment. I’ve even read that some people put out a bowl of vinegar in energetic troubled areas to make it difficult for negative energies to take shape. It is also classified under something that has a fiery energy.

Fire Cider has more fire in it than just in taste. All of these ingredients seem to have some use in protection and banishment, which is essentially what an herbalist is trying to do to winter illnesses with this concoction. Not only will it keep you physically healthy, it might also do the same thing for you energetically. Now, if you don’t mind, I think I’m going to strain out the batch in my kitchen and take a shot. Yeah, it’s early afternoon, but it’s sounding like a good idea to me to get a shot in.


Happy experimentation!


-The Green Mountain Mage

Red Flags

I was gifted with a few great books this Christmas, with subjects ranging from herbal alchemy, to ceremony, and even a little bit of hoodoo. I couldn’t have been more pleased. One of the books that fascinated me is called “Becoming Supernatural” and I began to dive into reading it soon after receiving it. A few pages into the introduction, a few red flags started to wave in my mind. It looked like the book had a streak of pseudoscience. Now, this doesn’t still my interest in the book. It looks like it also contains some factual material that will yield a deeper understanding on how our brains work in the realm of the spooky, as well as some interesting meditations that the author claims had some amazing positive effects on those who have tried them. I’ll slog through some “fake news” to glean some truth (while using it as a way to practice my critical thinking skills, pointing out what I believe to be bunk, and why).

This brings me to the topic of the blog today. There are some easy to find red flags in spiritual thinking and literature that can at least make one stop and try to figure out if the thinking or literature will actually serve to help you or take your money. I thought that I might share a few of them today.


  • Name Dropping Quantum Theory


Quantum mechanics became the darling of the New Age scene as it seems to do the impossible, such as light acting differently due to observation, or particles pulling seemingly improbable shenanigans that don’t quite jive with our understanding of physics. The problem arises when one looks closely at the experiments that help create some of the quantum weirdness out there. The correlation between quantum mechanics and the New Age movement is usually born from a misunderstanding of what is actually happening, or trying to create false equivelency between everyday life and the actions of particles on the atomic level.

Because of this, any work in the spiritual realm that readily drops how quantum mechanics proves that it is more of a science makes me jumpy at best. It can be from a misunderstanding of quantum physics (not many of us really understand it, myself included). It is the predatory spiritual movements that really get my goat, though. The ones that drop the word quantum in their practice, and use it as a way to sell it to the masses as scientific spirituality. Either way, beware of the “Q” word in spiritual practices. It may just be an honest misunderstanding, or it may be a way to fool you.


  • The Hard Sell


True stories of how a practice changed the life of someone is useful anecdotal evidence when we try to tackle subjects outside the widely accepted world view. It can also be a selling point for a product. If you feel like someone is leading up to asking you for money, it might be wise to take a step back and check out the intentions of the book or person trying to sell a “spiritual product.”

I know. This comes from a guy that charges for sessions, and tries to sell items of spiritual significance online. It may be shocking, but I don’t do this for the money. I like to be paid for my time. I like to have enough wealth in my life for food, home, and a little fun. That's not why I do what I do. I do this work because I am passionate about it, and I feel that, in a way, I’m supposed to. There is a line where people start putting the money’s importance before the importance of how our practice helps others and the world, though. It’s a difficult balance in this line of work, but there are people out there who are very blatant about what they’re in this for. If you feel like someone is pushing a product more than the work, you might want to pause and get a better feel for who you’re working with. A few other things to look out for in this would be promises of instant results, lots of spiritual power and wisdom accrued in a weekend workshop, claims that their product is the only way to enlightenment, promising abilities and wisdom that the promiser does not/cannot display, and other general signs of sleaziness.


  • The White Savior


This is a little specific to cultural traditions, and not a problem that I’ve noticed in “Becoming Supernatural.” It is a problem in spiritual literature, and I figured I would address it. This is a trope that could easily be found in a handful of 90s books on shamanism or Native Traditions. The story is about how a culture gifted their secrets to some white person from California to save their tradition, and share (read: sell) this wisdom with other well off folks. This is kind of tied into the hard sell (there might even be a little bit of quantum name dropping) as it usually leads to some kind of plan to make lots of money off of those looking for lost cultural connection.

While I’m not suggesting that cultural wisdom cannot be gifted to those outside of said culture, and taught by an outsider (with permission where applicable), I find that those folks who practice real cultural tradition that they weren’t necessarily born into don’t see themselves as the savior of that culture. They are sharing what was given to them to share.

So, when an author comes out of the woodwork claiming fantastical things (*cough *cough* Lynn Andrews *cough* Carlos Casteneda) that they learned from a culture that had kept it previously secret, it’s a good sign to at least research the culture they claim to represent. Is it in line with what the culture openly shares? Do they have open backing from people in that culture? Does it actually reference a culture, or is it vague (marketing as “Native American,” “African,” or “Celtic” wisdom) without specific groups or regions (such as Abenaki, Ethiopian, or Welsh)?


Okay. This is something that one could write a book about. I’ll leave it at these three today, but I imagine I’ll revisit this topic in a later blog post. I’ll leave you with the suggestions of source checking and research.

On another note, you may have noticed that I have posted my blog on Saturday instead of Friday for the past few weeks. Friday seems to be an inopportune day to get a blog out. Henceforth, my blog day will be Saturday!

Also, if there is any questions you have, or a subject you’d like me to approach on my blog, please let me know! I’d love to take suggestions.


May your week be beautiful


-The Green Mountain Mage

The Wheel of Life

It took me far too long to get to my Winter Solstice ceremony this year. The time I kept setting aside for it kept getting sidelined one way or another. Long story short, my ceremony was a few days after, which isn’t too bad. It still happened, which is what is important.

During my personal ceremony, I opened my Mesa (the sacred bundle I work with) and use it as a central point, instead of a traditional altar. I had my things arranged, along with a candle for fire, incense for air, a small bowl of water for water, and garden soil for earth. In the center, I had balsam sprigs to offer the Earth at the end of the ceremony. After all the opening work and blessings, I sat down to attune to the energies of the Solstice.

In the Revival Druid work that I do, a part of the work views different parts of the year as a certain energy to work with in ceremony. When John Michael Greer was putting together the magical system I work with, he came up with a pathworking tool to help the aspiring Druid to attune to the year, calling it the Wheel of Life. For those familiar with Cabalistic and Western Ceremonial Magic, you may know the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is a sort of diagram of the emanating power of God (a quick definition that doesn’t do it justice). The Wheel of Life is similar, but instead sees certain points of the year as places of power.

The eight outer points of the wheel are the two solstices, the two equinoxes, and the four Celtic fire holidays commonly used by NeoPagans. They all are relatively evenly spread throughout the year, and make a great seasonal spiritual schedule. They all revolve around a ninth point, the inner grove. That is the sacred space we create in ceremony.

If you are looking at the photo I linked of the Wheel, you will notice that each circle is connected to the other with lines that seem to have tick marks on them. These are the Ogham, an old Celtic alphabet that has been more recently used as a system or magic and divination, much like the Norse Runes. There are 25 Oghams in the system that I use. 24 of the Oghams are paths between the different points of the year, with the 25th residing in the center sphere. The one in the sphere is Koad, the Ogham of the Grove of many trees (or, in other traditions, the Poplar tree… but those traditions make less sense in the context of the wheel).

The point of the connecting Oghams are to use them as a sort of meditation piece. Each sphere has its own visualization. In ceremony, you walk in your mind’s eye from one sphere to another via the Ogham. Let’s say I wanted to explore Alban Arthuan, the Winter Solstice. I would start in the Grove sphere. I’m seeing my sacred space surrounded by a mix of trees. There are stone doorways that stand before the trees. I go towards the doorway marked with the Ogham Ailm, the Ogham of the Fir (or Elm, in other traditions… but, again, Fir makes more sense in this context). I walk the path I find, and see what I see until I reach the other side, the sphere of Alban Arthuan. The visualization is a mountaintop on a clear starry night with a stone altar with a crown upon it.

The point of this exercise is to not only explore the energies of these two spheres and one Ogham, but to also explore the way these energies connect and interact. It is seeing the cycle of the year as sacred and powerful, while using tree archetypes to connect these powers. It is also a way of strengthening your inner space, fortifying it with the currents that run through the seasons. It’s an interesting piece of magic work that I’ve only begun to delve into. There are a lot more paths for me to walk.

This brings me back to my Winter Solstice ceremony. I had a hard time nailing down the feeling of Alban Arthuan at first, as I was in a weird space entering ceremony. I used the smell of the balsam fir I was offering to connect, and I think I found it. I’m still exploring some of the meditation, but an interesting point was how strong my sense of smell can control how ceremony goes.

Another interesting part of the Druid magic tradition I use is the use of stones to create sacred space. An aspiring mage acquires eight stones, one for each of the outer spheres of the Wheel of Life, and makes a circle to delineate the space you are working in. When you are celebrating one of the eight Holy Days, you bless the appropriate stone with the energy of its day. It’s a project that takes a year, but you get a cool set of stones to help set up sacred space wherever you wish. I tried to start this work during my ceremony. I took a few candidates for the stone of Alban Arthuan, and used my pendulum to dowse out which one would work best. I received a no on all of them. I’m not sure if I just need to find a new stone, or if I wasn’t in the right place to effectively do the work. Either way, it’s a project put off until Imbolc, February 2nd.

Sigh. Someday!

I hope that you had a beautiful Solstice, and you are staying warm. Nights around these parts are dipping below -20, and that, my friends, is cold weather. Perfect for staying inside with a blanket, some tea, and a good book.


Stay warm


  • The Green Mountain Mage

Chakras, Reiki, and History as I Understand It

Chakras come up a lot in energetic healing, and I thought that they might be an interesting topic to tackle. Chakras are points in the energetic body where certain energies pool, making a sort of vortex. If you ask someone in the spiritual community about chakras, a good portion will tell you that you have seven chakras, starting at around the base of your spine and ending at the top of your head. They are assigned different colors of the rainbow, red at your base chakra to violet at you crown. This model of chakras has been popular for a number of years, and people sometimes mistakenly believe that it is the only model.

The idea of seven chakras come from the yogic world, but is by no means the only chakra map from yoga. It has an interesting history that, if you are interested in it, you can read more here. Energy centers have a wider history than India, though. Chinese medicine works a lot with energetic meridians. Qi Gong works with a few energetic centers (that overlap with a few of the chakras). Different Western Occult traditions have their own energy points and pathways that they focus on.

When I first learned Reiki (the energy healing technique with which I began my training), I was taught about the seven chakras that are popular in many Western alternative healing modalities. I learned about body and emotional connections to each chakra. It’s an interesting marriage, Reiki and modern yogic chakras. When Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui, he taught specific ways to place your hands when giving someone Reiki. While there was an overlap in hand placement and where chakras are understood to be, I don’t believe any of his work had anything to do with the seven chakras. I surmise that they found their way into Reiki around the time it came to the states.

Because I was trained to feel them when doing Reiki, as well as trained to feel them in myself in my scattered early years of esoteric research, I still often use them when doing energetic work. I associate different energies with different points on the body. I am left wondering how much of that is how our auric bodies are, and how much is just how I associate energy and place on the body. I also use minor energy points in healing work, such as the ones found at your hands, feet, elbows, and knees.

I have also mentioned different chakra work I do in ritual. When learning the rituals of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA), the first two energy points we are taught to focus on are the third eye and the solar plexus. The third eye connects us to our spiritual senses, while the solar plexus has connections to self (and, as my teacher Adhi like to point out, service). After a while, AODA ritualists begin to store planetary energies where their sacral chakra would be located and solar energies where their heart chakra would be located. Eventually, you use those two currents to create a third, stored where your third eye chakra would be. John Michael Greer, the author that revived the work of the AODA, mentions the different chakra systems. He suggests that it is better to focus on select chakras as points of power, so your internal energies aren’t stretched trying to strengthen a whole bunch of power points.

I believe we have many energy points throughout our body, and it is our practice that strengthens some over the others. There are a few points that seem to be relatively universal. The sacral chakra is one that seems to crop up in other systems with different names, so it seems that it is rather important in our energetic bodies. The third eye, lining up with the pineal gland, is a hotspot for spiritual traditions trying to connect to the more etheric worlds. The heart

seems to also be a popular one, though some systems move that energetic point closer to the physical heart, on the left side of one’s chest.

Though I work mainly with the seven popular chakras, sometimes I’m directed to unexpected parts of the body or aura when doing energy work. Everybody is different, and everyone has their own certain auric quirk. My job as a healer is to roll with it, and listen to what my client’s energy is telling me. Let me know what your experiences are with chakras. I would love to hear a different perspective.

Stay warm out there. It’s frigid up here in the North. Winter has arrived.


-The Green Mountain Mage

Freedom To Breathe

There is a certain magic to working with herbalists in finding ways to stay healthy. You get to use plants, or extracts of plants to find a body balance. You’re working with someone who is (hopefully) setting time to really listen to you, someone who isn’t bound by the strict schedule a doctor has to work with. The medicine can be cheap, or even harvested by the person looking for a little bit of healing.

It’s not that people shouldn’t use our medical system. We have amazing ways to test for different issues. Antibiotics, when used appropriately, are a game changer and life saver. If I break a bone, or have a heart attack, you better believe I’m headed to my local hospital.

Both fields, though, have their failings. As anyone can call themselves an herbalist, it can be difficult to choose who to listen to. You can go the route of only trusting herbalists who have gone through specific programs, but that can discount a lot of knowledgeable folks out there. It is also sometimes difficult to get good information on herbs. With some sources being a mix of valuable information, and useless drivel, sometimes an herbalist has to figure out how to deal with a problem as they go.

I am having one of those situations.

I have asthma. Upon contact with the right mix of allergens and weather, my airways become inflamed and have difficulty getting in air. For those of you who have not had the experience, it feels like someone is sitting on your chest, and you can’t expand your lungs enough to get the air you need. The worse it gets, the less air you can get. In severe cases, without medication the asthmatic can die. My first asthma attack was when I was two years old, and it’s been a reoccurring problem ever since. I have gone as long as a year without an asthma attack. Sometimes it’s minor. Sometimes, if I don’t have the medicine I need on hand, I have to go to the ER.

This is one of the cases that is generally left to our general medical system. An albuterol inhaler is used for an asthma attack in progress, while steroids are used as a preventative method. I had tried a few herbal remedies, but for the most part they were relatively useless to someone with moderate to severe breathing problems. The closest I could find to something that helped was a mix of essential oils (peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, and thyme, if you are wondering). It would help, but it was in no way strong enough to get me through even a moderate attack.

The problem with the medicine is that not only do I have to jump through the regular hoops to get the prescription written out, they have jumped in price around 2009. This came about due to pharmaceutical lobbying using the movement to protect the ozone as a chance to make more money. It’s an interesting and frustrating story, which you can read about in depth here and here.

I recently had a scare with my inhaler where it looked like I might not be able to refill my prescription in time, meaning that I would have to hit up the ER, and pay the ridiculous bill that would follow. All to be able to breathe. It made me realize how vulnerable I am with this health issue, and how much I depend on the medical system to keep me alive. It definitely inspired me to continue my research about how I can be more self reliant in my medical care.

There is an herb that has shown to be actually useful in asthmatic care. In fact, the active ingredient in my albuterol inhaler is a modified version of norepinephrin, one of the constituents in this herb. It’s called ephedra. There are a few plants in this family that have the needed constituents in varying degrees, but the common one used is Ephedra sinica (Chinese Ephedra, or Ma Huang). At the turn of the century, supplement companies began to promote and sell ephedra, but not as a way to deal with asthma. They noticed that they could use it as a performance enhancing drug and a way to lose weight. While it was effective, the amount that was recommended for use started showing side effects, including possible death. It became enough of an issue that in 2004, the FDA banned sale of products containing ephedrine alkaloids. They didn’t want to deal with dosage safety, or supplement companies making dangerous miracle claims with a plant that needs to be respected.

We still use constituents present in ephedra. Pseudoephedrine shows up in allergy medicine and decongestants (now you know where the name Sudafed came from). Ephredrine and norephedrine, other constituents in ephedra, are still used in medicine. In controlled amounts, it is a helpful medicine. Used indiscriminately, it can be dangerous.

This is where the importance of research and experience come in. While products containing ephredrine alkaloids cannot be sold, the plant ephedra can be sold. Using it isn’t illegal, just selling it for use is. With continued research, and careful care of the plants when I get them, maybe I can find a little extra freedom from a medical system that has an uncomfortable amount of power in my life.

Interestingly, there are three other herbs that might be able to help. One is my all time favorite, stinging nettles (you can find out about it’s energetic properties in my store). It’s a wonderful herbal ally that I have never heard of having any undesirable side effects. It has the reputation as a tonic that will help the body’s response to allergens (amongst many other things). I find that it’s something that I need to take continually to reap any benefits in that department, but its help is there.

The second is a lovely plant called elecampane. It has been used in asthma lozenges in times past, and I find it does minorly help open up the airways. It’s great for someone with a little wheeze, but it is only so useful against major asthmatic issues. It’s a good ally in maintenance and minor issues.

The third is one that I’ve yet to experiment with. Around these parts, we have relative of the famous medicinal mushroom reishi. Reishi has a host of benefits. One of these benefits is helping with lung inflammation. I’ve read about supposed asthma help. I was walking through the woods with my teacher Adhi this past weekend as she stopped at the base of a dead tree. “Hey, that’s reishi!” she said as she pointed out a red, orange, and white glossy shelf mushroom. I picked the gigantic mushroom, gave thanks, and I am presently in the process of chopping and drying. Next step is to make an extraction, and see if it is any help. I can only hope.


Wishing you all a beautiful weekend


  • The Green Mountain Mage

A Tale of Rattles, Drums, and Hallucinations

In the Shamanic work that I do, one of the first things I learned from my teacher was to shake a rattle. No, not like an infant’s rattle (though I imagine you could use one, if you needed a rattle real quick). Something more like this. You take a rattle that makes the right kind of sound you’re looking for, and shake it until you start seeing things.

Okay. It’s a little more complicated than that.

When a healer is shaking a rattle (or drumming), they usually do so in an even beat, while channelling earth energy through their tool. The repetitive nature of the sound is to lull your mind into a different state (usually Theta brainwave state) to access more subconscious levels of the brain, as well as interact with spirits. It’s usually referred to as Shamanic journeywork. It’s a great healing tool, as well as a way to access knowledge not easily accessible to our conscious self.

I had heard of using sound as a way to access a sort of trance state before I took on my Shamanic apprenticeship, but I had only heard of people using drums. When I met my teacher, Adhi, I was surprised to learn that she used rattles more often. Her teachers had taught her that drums were for putting a person back in the body, while rattles were better suited for journeywork. Not that drums can’t have the same results, it’s just the two different tools have very different energy. So, I began to practice with what I found in my house's pile of musical instruments. I remember the first time I brought the tools that I had been using to Adhi’s. She did her best not to laugh at the cheap maracas that I had found. They were quite ridiculous looking, but they did the trick.

My first real rattle was the one I made on Assateague Island with Adhi and a handful of other participants. I was looking for a deep sound. What I made had a sound reminiscent of a box of quarters. Again, it did the trick, but it was not soothing. Eventually, I decided it was time to make another rattle with a more gentle sound.

I began with a goat rawhide Adhi had gifted me. I made offerings to the spirits in the water that the rawhide soaked in. I went to my Burden Tree, another part of my Shaman work. She’s a maple tree that is over one hundred years old that I work with to balance myself and connect to nature. She had lost a small limb, from which I cut, shaped, and sanded a handle. I stitched my rattle head from the now pliable rawhide. Once that was fully formed and dried, I poured kale seeds from a second year plant that I had grown in my garden. I sealed them together, tying them with the four colors I use to represent the four elements. It had a great, gentle sound. I loved it!

Within a week, I accidentally dropped it and stepped on it.

While still sounding great, it has a “unique” look. The beat up look has yet to discourage me in its use in healing work. It’s one of my favorite go to tools, unless I need to use a tool to move out blockages or dense energy from a client. Then, I resort to my loud sea rattle from Assateague.

Usually, journeywork is done by a client while the practitioner rattles or drums. When I do my daily rattling practice, I am aiming to go deep enough that I do see things that I can’t normally see. It’s been years of practice, and I just recently started seeing things while my eyes are open. When I have a client on the table, I can also use my rattle as a way to move energy. While I can (and have) done energy work without tools like a rattle, it does make the process easier.

And that is my rattling practice. If you ever have a session with me and you hear me break out my rattle, now you know what I’m doing.



Have a beautiful week. Stay warm.


-The Green Mountain Mage

Cutting The Ties That Bind

This has been an interesting week. Between Josh (aka “The Rune Goon”) doing a bunch of readings for people, and a handful of clients coming my way for healing work, we’ve been busy in the esoteric world. In fact, the joke that Josh and I had going that he lays down the hard truth and I do the work to help them deal with what they’ve learned seems less like a joke. A Rune Goon and Green Mountain Mage tag team? Seems like there might be something there.

I had the privilege to work with some amazing people these past few days. Interestingly, the work all seemed to have a common theme: unhealthy energetic connections. People in this line of work refer to these connections as cords, and that’s what I’d like to talk about today. We all energetically connect to others. That’s part of daily interaction. We talk about people opening up to us when they start really sharing where they are at, and that is exactly what is happening energetically. You’re opening up to another person’s vibes as you share yours. Opening isn’t an unhealthy thing. It’s super important to us as social mammals. We thrive on healthy energy exchange!

Energetic interactions can become unhealthy when there is an unfair exchange. We can unhealthily lean on someone. These people leave you feeling drained after every interaction. They talk about their problems without looking for a way to fix those problems. They just want your compassion and, usually unknowingly, your energy to replenish theirs. They leave the conversation feeling great, while the person they engaged feels wiped.

There is the other side to this coin. Unless a person is very good at taking your energy, they didn’t take it without some sort of consent on the giver's part. That’s usually someone with a big heart and with a knack for empathy. They feel the pain the other person is experiencing and, in an effort to help “fix” the person, they open up and give of themselves. Neo-shamanic practitioners talk about giving away pieces of your soul. I don’t know if you can give away your soul, but you can give away energy that you need for yourself. The thought that the person you are listening to needs it more than you is almost a subconscious thing. This is not true. It is also not helpful.

By the way, I used to be one of those people. I think that it’s an easy trap for people sensitive to the energetic exchange to fall into. In the end, though, it doesn’t do much to help the other person, and just leaves you unwhole and unwell.

Being in the role that I’m stepping into, it’s true that once a client steps into the room we are doing work in, it ceases to be about me. It’s all about the client and the spirits for the allotted time. My work is to open up my client so we can find what needs work. There is also an unequal energy exchange, though not unfair, as this is part of the process the client has signed up for. The difference is where the energy is coming from and the end point of the work. In Reiki work, we are taught to channel energy. That skill has been reinforced in my life with my ceremonial work. Tools, such as drums and rattles, also help me move energy without depleting myself. In fact, I often feel on top of the world after a session, as the energy nourishing my client is also nourishing me. Also, at the end of a session, I try to give my client homework. This is putting the ball back into their court, and reinforcing that we are our own healers. It is also part of cutting any energetic ties created in the session. I can ride the emotions with you, but at the end of the allotted time, they are yours and not mine.

Talking about energetic ties brings me back to the cords that I spoke of at the beginning of this blog. Sometimes, a strong, unbalanced relationship can form. When there is a repeated unbalanced interaction, it can create an energetic cord between people. This link feeds a person while draining another without the two being in the same room. A good energy healer can feel these cords on their clients, and sever them. Unfortunately, sometimes those cords are recreated the moment the client leaves the healer (why homework and post table work discussion is so important).

These cords, in rare cases, can also be consciously formed. There are people out there who are willing “energy vampires” and justify to themselves taking people’s vitality from them to use for their own purposes. You’ll know when you meet one of these people, and they’ve attached to you. You’ll feel drained and just weird, wondering why you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. If a person is making you feel like that, it’s best to cease interaction best you can with that person, and have strong energetic boundaries when you do interact with that person. It might also be helpful to head over to a healer you trust, and talk to them about it.

These cords are also something that you can feel out and fix yourself, with a little bit of visualization. Do you remember the elemental cross I was talking about a few blogs ago? A simplified version changed to deal specifically with cords follows:

Stand and breathe. Still your monkey mind. See the sun (or the light of God, or whatever celestial source of good juju you work with) in your mind’s eye shining bright above you. See a light descend. Pull that light into your head. Pull it down to your solar plexus (or heart, if that feels right to you). Light pools at the chakra you’re working with as the beam of light continues down to the heart of the earth. Feel that pool of light at your solar plexus or heart strengthen and expand past your body. Any cords attached to you is severed from your body by the expanding light. Soon, that light has enveloped you, moving any bad juju away from you. See those cords detach from the other person (no need to even visualize who it is, they’re just some shadowy figure in the distance). Offer it to the light above or the earth, whichever feels best. Know that is will be recycled by whatever you just gave it to. The sphere of light you are in is moving about you, moving all unbalanced energy around and away from you.

The easiest way to deal with cords is to not let them form. It can feel good to be needed, and I think that is part of the reason these cords are formed. Helping people is a good thing, but helping them stand on their own two feet is even better. You cannot pour from an empty cup, so create safe boundaries for everyday interaction. If you are feeling drained by a situation constantly, there are boundaries that need to be set. You can listen, and even experience emotions with others. That’s part of the work. In the end, though, don’t own it.

Hope this helps a little bit. With Thanksgiving coming up, the next week is crazy for me. So, I will not be posting a blog next week. Next blog entry will be up December 1st!!


Have a great rest of November.


  • The Green Mountain Mage

Naming My Shadows

Hello. My name is Isaac, and putting myself out there as a mage scares the ever lovin’ shit out of me.

Perhaps you have been fooled by my creation of Green Mountain Mage, and the blog you are presently reading into thinking that I am comfortable wearing the hat of an herbalist and occultist. If so, that’s good. That means that I created the illusion that being out there and talking about the work I do is something of a second nature to me. Unfortunately, it’s not.

I think that anyone reading that has followed an unconventional path like mine can feel for me. It’s kind of scary to talk to others about this sort of work. Worries of what people think, and how they react when I bring up ceremony, magic work, or any other topic of esoteric nature is a heavy burden to bear. People either know little about it, fear the idea of it, or dismiss it as the work of the delusional or mad. For me, add not being straight into the mix, and the fear of someone muttering behind your back “there goes that fag who thinks he does magic” is a real thing.

This, of course, does not serve me.

Perhaps it did when the worry of being understood when trying to talk about esoteric work pushed me to study it the best I could. Perhaps it did when it pushed me to understand how to view both magic and science, and to develop a thinking process to grapple with both in a way that they would not necessarily contradict. Perhaps it did when I worked with different teachers, and decided what held true for me, who was full of shit, and how I work. Now, though, is the time to move past it.

The process of owning this work that I love, and being open about what I do has been a long one. Working through my own doubts, while maintaining a healthy skepticism has been a strange balancing act. It’s easy to fall to one side, losing sight of the other. When someone questions my work with spirits, or “energy” (chi, mana, whatever), it can be hard to gracefully explain myself. To face others doubts, one must first face their own. The only way I know to face these doubts is to do the work.

I can tell you that I do ceremonial work all I want. I can tell you my experiences. I can tell you my logic for thinking the way I do about the world. I can tell you what I’ve learned from others. That will only convince you so much, though. It is through experience (usually repetitive experience, to really hammer it in) that we gain belief in a world that a good group of Americans don’t believe in (or, in the case of the religious, don’t think they believe in it).

This is one of the reasons I love walking the path I do. The deeper I go, the more I can offer others in experience of a world bigger than the one that we see. Every sincere esotericist offering to work with others is widening the doorway a little more for American culture, and it’s fantastic! Meanwhile, every skeptic pushes us to be better, think more clearly, hypothesize about our experience more accurately, and keeps us on our game.

Fear and unreasonable doubt are the things we must face and overcome to become better in the work. These are the demons that hold us back from stepping into our power. Our fear can push us to become better, but there comes a time to leave it behind, for with it comes disadvantage and weakness. This blog entry is part of me exposing mine and leaving it behind me.

So, this is me stepping into the role of hedge mage and herbalist. I’m trying to work out some workshops that I can offer at the beginning of 2018, as well as other ways I can do this work for the public. Keep an eye out. I’ll be announcing them in the next few months. There are also new items headed to the shop. Furthermore, please remember that I am happy to do custom orders.

I’d like to take a moment to thank you all who forced me to step into my role this week. Sometimes, we all need a nudge to step out of our comfort zones and face our fears.


Stay warm. Keep doing the good work.


-The Green Mountain Mage.

Above and Below

My first introduction to shamanic work was from a friend who tried to introduce me to journey work and a finding an animal spirit to work with. The plan was for her to drum, and for me to use the sound to imagine travelling to a sort of underworld. I would imagine myself entering a hole in the ground, going deeper and deeper until I found a different world where I would meet my animal spirit. It’s a common practice, especially for “Neo-Shamans”. Despite how actually traditional it might be, it can have a place in magical work.

It was later explained to me that many times these sort of Astral journeys can be broken up into travelling in three different worlds. The is an Underworld, a place of power and wild energies. There is a Middle World, the realm in which we all exist in. The third is an Upper World, the realm of knowledge and Guides.

Fast forward to me beginning to learn ritual through the AODA (Ancient Order of Druids in America). When beginning that work, the start is with the four elements, and their corresponding directions. Then, the three types of Spirit are introduced. There is Spirit Below, a realm of power and wild energies. There is Spirit Above, the realm of knowledge and the heavens. Then there is Spirit Within, the place where you find balance with the six powers that have been invoked before.

As far as I know, many of these shamanic traditions evolved quite separately from the Druid Revival, so the correlations interest me. In “The Druid Magic Handbook” by John Michael Greer, Spirit Below and its corresponding current, the Telluric Current, are compared to Kundalini practices and other practices that draw power up. Spirit Above and its corresponding current, the Solar Current, are compared to the many traditions that draw power down (including many mainstream religious work).

It is theorized in that book that these are the two major power currents that most religious and magical work draw from. Most of the time, groups will pick one to work with and ignore the other at best. At worst, the powers that be will demonize the other current, saying that their current is the proper one to use, while the other is evil. Druid magic, and a lot of the shamanic work that I’ve learned, believe otherwise. Instead, they try to utilize and balance both.

I have a clear memory of walking through the woods as a teenager trying to understand the energies that I was experiencing. On one hand, I could feel the wild energy that I associated with the forest around me, and the spirits that I experienced there. On the other, there was an energy that I felt when in an intense church service, experiencing what I understood as God. I remember sitting below an ancient pine tree, comparing the two, and marvelling at their very different feel. At the time, I believe that I felt this meant I needed to make a choice between the two. Now, I have a language for what I was feeling, and a way to deal with it.

In my Druid work, one of the things that I am supposed to be aiming for, through meditation and ritual work, is combining these two currents within me to make a third. In this tradition, it is referred to as the Lunar Current. I think that this may have been one of the deal makers in my decision to work with the Order’s system; a way to mediate between and use both planetary and celestial energy in my work.

The interesting correlations between my Shamanic work and Druidic work does not end there. Part of the Druid work is to do Pathworking exercises into the realms of the elements, and the different realms of the three Spirits. The method used is in ceremony, where you call in the help of the elements and the three realms of Spirit to help you explore the Astral realm of a specific element or direction of Spirit. Shaman work involves exploring realms like this, using repetitive sound to shift your brain into a Theta state. I enjoy using both these tools at the same time to explore these powers.

Another interesting connection between the work of using both the Telluric Current and the Solar Current, and other traditions is the presence of trees in sacred mythology and magical practice. Trees are often seen as point of connections between the worlds. With their branches absorbing solar energy and their roots drawing nutrients from the Earth, they make a great metaphor, if not example, of the work of both the Shaman and Druid. That is why they find their way into the work. One of my first tasks as I began my apprenticeship with Adhi was to find a tree to work with, my Burden Tree. My relationship to that tree would grow as the tree helped balance my energy, and acted as a spot that I could use in my journey work to access different worlds. In the Druidic tradition I work in, trees are eventually used as a blueprint to create a flow of the Telluric and Solar Currents within you as you use them to create the Lunar Current.

If you have any thoughts about the use of these currents, and see them in whatever practice you use, let me know in the comments here on the blog, or on Facebook. I love comparing commonalities in practice, and hearing what works for others.


Until next week,


The Green Mountain Mage

My Samhain Tradition

I apologize for the tardiness of my blog. I thought I would be able to finish it up before I headed to Connecticut this weekend to officiate my cousin’s wedding, but that didn’t quite work out. So, I’m back to the green mountains, in one piece.

A few interesting things from the weekend:

  • Ritual to help with stage fright is a fantastic tool. Even if it’s a little ritual. It can help give you a little boost in confidence.

  • Doing ritual in a strange place (such as your cousin’s bathroom post shower) is an interesting experience. I normally do my work in one room in my house, or outside, and I don’t notice much change in the space. When I did it in a space that has most likely never experienced that kind of work, the change was very noticeable.

  • Once you get over the fear of talking in front of a whole bunch of people, and the worry that you will mess it all up, officiating is a wonderful experience.

  • Finally, always do a pre-ceremony mic check.


I was going to go into more magic theory, but, in light of Halloween (or, as those crazy pagans like to refer to it as, Samhain) being tomorrow, I thought that I would talk a little about my tradition that I’ve done on Halloween for a number of years now.

Halloween may be one of my favorite holidays. I love the adrenaline rush of being scared in haunted houses. I love scaring people (safely!) with pranks. I love the creepy and weird. I love costumes and masks, how they are tools to step out of our own skin into someone or something else’s. I love how a largely celebrated holiday actually corresponds with one of the eight sacred holidays that I celebrate.

I don’t remember if my personal tradition started before or after I began my rambling Druid training, in which I am to commemorate each of the sacred holidays that I celebrate with some sort of ceremony. I do remember the thought process that brought me to my actions.

I was thinking about the origins of the tradition of the Jack O’Lantern.

The tradition of creating Jack O’Lanterns officially started in Ireland, a few centuries back. At that time, the preferred harvest veggie for carving out a face was a turnip. The purpose was to keep rogue spirits and unwanted shades from wandering to close to your house. If you want the longer version of the history of the Jack O’Lantern, the History Channel put out a little article about the story of Stingy Jack and the Jack O’Lantern (though I have a sneaking suspicion the tradition might be older than the story).

The story of the jack O’Lantern as a protective device struck a chord with me, so I took one of the pumpkins I grew, and started carving. After finishing my rather “handsome” fellow, and waiting for nightfall, I put in a candle, lit it, and began the trek up my road.

I know I have mentioned before that I live in the middle of nowhere. This is not an exaggeration. When I give directions to my house, the line “you’ll think you’ve gone too far, but don’t worry, you haven’t” finds its way in there. I live on a dirt road off a dirt road, in the middle of the woods. So, walking up the road, through the woods, with only the light of a Jack O’Lantern to illuminate your way can be unnerving. It’s not so bad when you’re close to full moon, but there have been some Halloweens where there was no light besides that candle. Watching it’s orange light dance across bare branches of deciduous trees and the drooping limbs of the spruces that line the edge of the woods does not help calm an overactive imagination.

Eventually, after about a half a mile, I come to the top of my road. Besides the top of the road is an old, small cemetery. I walk up to an exposed rock in front of the cemetery, and place my Jack O’Lantern. His job is to protect my road from any unsavory spirits out to create mischief on the night it is said the veil between the living and dead is the thinnest. Now, whether ghosts are closer to the world of the living at the end of October or not, I’m not sure. It does seem as good as time as any to honor ancestors, and those who have passed before us, especially with winter, a time of death and cold, just around the corner.

This brings me to the second part of my Halloween tradition. A drink with the dead. There are only about 20 graves in this cemetery, and I walk to each and make an offering of a drink to them. Usually a good beer. I then take a moment to remember people who were close to me who had passed. I make an offering of a drink for each name. I then make an offering to the spirits of the place, and the elements. I drink a few sips myself.

I don’t know exactly why an alcoholic drink feels the most correct to me in this situation. I often use tobacco and herbs as an offering in ceremony. Maybe it’s the informality of it. Maybe sharing drinks is something that has a lot of meaning in comradery, and just being generally alive. Maybe pouring good beer onto the ground is a serious sacrifice to me. It just made sense at the time, and still does.

It’s a very informal tradition. There are no symbols drawn, no tools besides a carved pumpkin and some beer. It’s a powerful thing for me, though. The artistic aspect of the Jack O’Lantern. The bravery it takes to walk up a dark road in the middle of the woods. The informal time with the dead, almost as if they never left. The honoring of their memory.

I didn’t grow any pumpkins this year, so I have to use the winter squash I grew, or buy a pumpkin tomorrow. Wish me luck on the carving and the walk. The ghosts and the drinks… that’s a little easier, though a little more emotional.


Happy Halloween. Merry Samhain.


-The Green Mountain Mage

Elemental Rituals

In Ancient Greece, about 500 years before the birth of Christ, philosophers suggested that there was a single material source of the world that we experience. Some suggested it was water, others suggested fire, and I imagine that there were quite a few other suggestions being offered. One of the philosophers of that time, Empedocles, came up with his own theory, one that still resonates in our modern culture. In his poem “On Nature” he introduced the idea that the world was not the product of one material source, but four. He argued that everything was made up by the process of air, water, fire, and earth combining and separating.

This idea has seemed to stick with us as a culture. From the rings in the cartoon Captain Planet (excluding heart, which would be compared to “aether”, or spirit, an addition to the elements from Aristotle), to the movie “The Fifth Element”, these classical elements seem to be well represented by pop culture. Perhaps the correlation between the elements and the states of matter help keep them in our collective mind. Earth is a solid, water is a liquid, air is gaseous, and fire corresponds with plasma.

The lasting awareness of these four categories of the material world might also have something to do with their persistent use in Western magic. The idea of four (or five, if you count spirit) elements seemed to have spread out from Greece, to be integrated in medicine, magic, and philosophy of other cultures. It found its way into Ayurvedic practice, Buddhist texts, Islamic philosophy, alchemy, and astrology. The alchemical and astrological uses of the four elements seemed to have deeply affected the magic of the Renaissance. European ceremonial magic used the four elements, and it seems that a lot of the correspondences that many mages use nowadays stem from their work.

The elements grew to be a bigger metaphor than the actual matter that is earth, air, fire, and water. Each was a handy way to categorize the spirit world, the natural world, and the human experience. Plants, planets, directions, and even archangels were assigned an element, and a lot of these associations live on in ritual magic. There were even beings said to be specifically from elemental realms; undines from the realm of water, salamanders from the realm of fire, sylphs from the realm of air, and gnomes from the realm of earth.

I personally use the elements quite often in my ritual work. In fact, the ritual format that I use relies heavily on it. In my work, I usually call on the four elements, and three different forms of Spirit (which I will cover in a separate post). For actual consecration work, such as blessing a tool or an amulet, I would have a full set up, tools to represent the four elements, a central altar, and a lot more invocation and blessing work than what I do on a daily basis to connect to the spiritual nature of Nature. My daily work doesn’t involve tools, it just involves me.

The ritual I perform daily is called the Sphere of Protection, and it is a practice from the Ancient Order of Druids in America, the Druidic order to which I belong. I like it’s use to connect to the natural world, and how well it translates into ritual for purposes beyond connecting to natural forces. I also like how adaptable it is. One could change it to fit whatever belief system they like, as long as they are interested in working with nature within the parameters of their belief.

The first step of the Sphere of Protection (or the SoP), is to calm your mind. The order suggests imagining that you are standing in a clearing of a forest, surrounded by standing stones. I find that part is optional. The only part important to imagine is the sun shining above you, and the heart of the earth shining below you.  You raise your hands towards the sun and imagine a beam of light streaming down to your hands. You pull the light to the center of your forehead, and intone an appropriate sacred name. Honoring my past with Christianity, I intone the name of Raphael, the Archangel assigned to Air. You then bring your hands to your solar plexus, drawing down the light to that part. There, you intone the second name. I use Uriel, the Archangel of Earth. As you intone the second name, the light shoots through you to the heart of the Earth. You bring your right hand out, the light following, and passing into infinity, as you intone the third sacred name. I use Michael, Archangel of Fire. Your left hand goes out, sending another beam of light from your solar plexus as you intone your fourth sacred name, or word. I use Gabriel, Archangel of Water. I then ask the powers of nature to protect me as I visualize two more light beams from my solar plexus, one before me, one behind me. I then chant the word “Awen”, a holy word of the Druid Revival.

Then comes the actual invoking of the elements. I start in the East, with Air. I draw a symbol for air, invoking it with the Druidic name of the Spring Equinox, Alban Eiler, and the animal that represents air in this tradition, the hawk. I ask for its elemental blessings. I also ask for it to be balanced in my life, as the elements can be destructive if not in balance in your life, physically and metaphorically. I move to face South, the traditional direction of Fire. I invoke it with the name of the Summer Solstice, Alban Heruin, and the white stag. Blessings and balance. Then I face West, the direction of water, and invoke with the name of the Autumn Equinox, Alban Elued, and the salmon. Blessings and balance. Finally, I face North, the direction of Earth, and invoke with the Winter Solstice, Alban Arthuan, and the bear. Blessings and balance.

One ends that by creating the elemental cross again (the bit where I used the names of the Archangels). At the end of that, you focus on the light of your solar plexus, expand it to a protective ball of light about you, and imagine it spinning forwards, sideways in a clockwise manner, and diagonally. This is to solidify the energies of the elements within your spirit body, and help protect you from harmful, unbalanced energies that you might run into.

The ritual actually continues into work with Spirit, but this entry is long enough already, and working with the elements for a while is a good start before moving into Spirit. If you find this ritual intriguing, I suggest looking it up on the AODA’s website, linked here, for a more detailed explanation, as well as other ways people practice it. You can also find it in “The Druidry Handbook” or “The Druid Magic Handbook”, both by John Michael Greer.


Until next week

-The Green Mountain Mage

A Little Tree Magic

I’ve recently been pondering my role as a mage in the Northeastern corner of the US. Every teacher that I have had the honor of learning from seems to eventually break down this work to relationship, with myself, and the world around me. As I deepen my work with the subtle world around us, I am constantly reminded that I receive certain responsibilities with knowledge.

This really began hitting me as I was driving through a few towns in my area, trying to experience and describe the vibes of these places. While there can certainly be wild variances in the feel of a town from one end to the other, I usually generalize from the town’s center and go from there. There are a few local towns that have quite the oppressed, unhealthy feel. There are a lot of things that play into it, including economic shifts, lack of jobs, the struggle of smaller brick and mortar retail, and drug issues (which are all interrelated). It feels as if the energy of place helps keep the town there, though. Some places, despite the obstacles I just described, seem to be thriving. Is the general feeling that the people of a certain town, mixed with landscape and the ways land energy move throughout the town play a role in sustaining a town’s depression?

There is one town in particular (the name isn’t really important) that, every time I drive through, I think “Damn! This place needs some major juju fixing.” It feels like this immovable heaviness that is way bigger than me, a problem that I can’t address on my own. As I was driving through that town, I was wondering how I could potentially nudge the town’s energy flow in a healthier direction.

Then, I remembered something that I read in “Natural Magic” by John Michael Greer. It was specifically a quick sentence tucked away in the part discussing the magical uses of Oak. He suggests placing an amulet or talisman beneath the roots of an oak tree you are planting. The idea is that the oak will then help with the work, exuding that energy as the tree grows. In this way, it continues its work long after the magician has died, assuming the oak is allowed to live out its years.

I can’t imagine that the magic exuded from this method is acute. Instead, I would imagine it as a slower working, gentle yet patient. The same way the energy of place seems to work. Imagine a grid of these magic trees planted throughout a place that seems to hold heavy, dark energy. Would trees planted with amulets created to change the energy it interacted with to healing energy effect the people around it?

To answer these questions, and to try and lift some of the heavy energy that is certainly not healthy for my neighbors, I propose an experiment that I need a little help with. I would like to create a sort of grid of these magically charged trees, especially in the local towns that need it. Do you live locally, and want to have one of these trees on your property? I would be more than happy to create an amulet to bury. All it would take from you is buying a tree, waiting for me to make an amulet and bring it to you, and letting the tree grow for as long as you are able.

I plan on experimenting with starting oaks from acorns. Once they mature to a point where I can transplant them, I will happily donate the tree, along with the amulet. Until then, you will have to supply your own tree. It would also be interesting to try out other trees besides oak, and see how the energetics of different trees interact with the amulets.

I wouldn’t be planting anything until the Spring, so you have about half a year to consider it. I feel that this might be a good way to do good work for the area. Worst case scenario is we plant more trees, which is still a great outcome. We might just change any oppressive vibes that might be lingering about, though, and that is good work.

If you don’t live close to me, or you want to do your own magic, play around with this work yourself. Make and bless an amulet for healing, abundance, love, or whatever you think your space needs a little more of. Plant it with an oak. See if you have any differences blossom around you. Like I said, worst situation is that you will have a lovely tree for shade and wildlife habitat.


Until next week


-The Green Mountain Mage

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