Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie


Sweet potato pie is family staple in my household for Thanksgiving.  It is indeed a delight I would not want to be without on Thanksgiving Day.  Here is our recipe.

Prepare the pie crust.  Homemade is always best!
Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato (about a pound)
1/2 cup butter (one stick, softened)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs   
1 cup sugar
Fresh harvested sweet potatoes from  our garden
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake sweet potato whole in skin an hour, or until done. Let cool to touch and remove the skin.
Baked and peeled
Mash the sweet potato in mixer bowl and add butter.  Mix well with mixer. Next, stir in the sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Pour mixture into an unbaked pie crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool and set for about an hour before serving.
Mash and mix well
Pour into pie shell and bake
Enjoy and have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Paying For Graveyard Dirt and Asking Favors



There comes a time in every practicing witch’s life that you have to make a little trip to the graveyard.  For some I know this can be a very anxiety laden chore and for others it’s quite exhilarating.  I tend to fall into a different category.  Visiting graveyards for me has always been a very peaceful, calming and grounding experience.  There is a certain calm that exists only in a cemetery. I find that most reassuring.  Most people like to go to the park and relax, have a picnic lunch or just commune with nature.  Me, I would much rather enjoy and share my lunch with the spirits of those who have passed on.   I see this as a perfect way to establish a relationship with the spirits who live there in the cemetery. 
If you are new to this practice then this is a great way to ease into it and become acquainted with it.  Coming to the graveyard to pay a visit and ask nothing of the spirits at the time, but just to take the time to get to know them. Doing this breeds a relationship of trust.  Get to know those who have passed on before you.  Have a conversation, share a snack, sing a song and just be with them.  Over time you will have established a relationship of trust.  You will begin to know who you can talk to and who you can’t, who you can ask a favor of and who you can’t.
When the time comes that you have to do a little “work” in the graveyard then there are certain things you should do and certain other things you should be mindful.  Now, everyone has their own way of going about this.  Here is my method.
Upon entering the cemetery I ask Baron Samedi’s permission to enter.  Once granted, I proceed on.  The best time to collect or “pay” for some graveyard dirt is between the hours of 9:00 pm and 12:00 midnight.  There are occasions when you would need to do your work between Midnight and 3 am.  I usually reserve that time for my “dark energy” work.  Most cemeteries close at sunset so you would need to be very discreet in your actions.  Always bring flowers.  Most times if you’re caught at the gravesite after hours the simplest explanation would be that you are simply there to pay your respects to a loved one as you are on your way home from work.  At that point you would simply leave the flowers on one of the gravesites and exit the cemetery quietly and call that little trip a wash or a “water haul” as my Mama would say.  If you don’t attract the attention of those passing by or security then it’s time to get to work.  Locate the grave of the spirit you are most comfortable with and ask their permission to collect a little bit of dirt from the site.  Upon getting that approval then proceed to collect a small bit of dirt into a clean bottle.  Don’t be greedy, take only what you need.  After collecting I usually deposit nine dimes in the disturbed dirt and gently cover it back over.  Thank the spirit for the help and quietly leave the site.
Collected graveyard dirt from my store.
If you are at the grave site to ask a favor of the dead or to solicit the help from a spirit then the payment is slightly different.  If you are trying to bury an item in the grave (asking the spirit of the passed over one to help you with this certain chore) then ask the permission of the dead and ask them to help you with this matter.  If permission is granted then quickly bury the item.  I usually deposit petition paper in a small hole that I make with a spoon at the site and fill the hole up with a little rum and a cigar.  Afterwards,  petition Baron Samedi for his help, thank him, tell him of the offering you left and exit the graveyard.  Do not look back.
There are numerous reasons you can go to the cemetery to do work, this was just two reasons I shared in which I visit.  As you become more comfortable with communing with the dead you will develop your own ways of doing this blessed work.  As a general rule however I make it a point to thank Baron Samedi as I enter and as I leave the graveyard.  He is after all the keeper of the graveyards and of the crossroads.  Also remember to never look back.  Don’t doubt.  Trust that the work you have done is sufficient and you trust that your will be done.  

Michael Jackson as Baron Samedi
On a side note I like to share this picture of Michael Jackson.  It is one of my favorite pictures of him and to me I think he is imitating Baron Samedi.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Altar/School Room


So I can hardly believe it’s time for school again.  Where did the summer go?  It seems like literally yesterday that I was out tilling the garden and getting ready to plant our first seedlings in anticipation of a warm spring.  But with the turning of the wheel another season has come and gone, and we are excited to start this new school year.  My baby girl will be entering the 5th grade this year and so it is an exciting time for her.  She is officially a “tween” and a “middle schooler” as she so constantly reminds me now.  This is a time of transition for her and I look forward to seeing her make this next step.
Now 5th grade will also test me.  Am I smarter than a 5th grader??  Let’s hope so, LOL.  Time and tutors will tell.  I’ve heard other homeschooling parents say that 5th grade was their hardest grade.  We are a week into the new school year and I have to say so far so good.  I will however supplement her curriculum with Khan Academy.  Every little bit helps.
I have for some time now been meaning to upload a video or pictures to show what our school room looks like.  Several people have asked for such.  Just as many if not more have inquired about what my altar/ witchy room looks like.  Well, these rooms are one and the same.  I teach out of my witchy room.  Since I have a working altar in there it really comes in handy as a teaching tool when I am explaining the craft to her and we are covering metaphysics.  I have one side dedicated to the school room and the other side of the room for all things “craft”.  She loves it and so do I. 


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sweet Melissa Banana Bread

Lemon Balm from my herb garden

This recipe is a traditional favorite of my family’s.  It has become a true staple in our home especially during the spring and summer months.   The lemon balm herb (we always call it Melissa) that this recipe calls for really brings out the sweetness of the bananas in this bread.  In the hot summer months our herb garden is overrun with lemon balm and so this makes good use of our darling Sweet Melissa.   Serve this sweet bread along with a cool glass of milk and it makes a great offering to the Fair Folk, too.

            3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 ¾ cups of unbleached all purpose flour
            ¼ cup whole wheat flour
            1 tsp baking soda
            ½ tsp salt
            ½ cup xylitol sugar (wood sugar) or agave nectar
            2 eggs, beaten
            1 tsp minced up fresh lemon balm
            1/3 cup almond milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour loaf pan and set aside.
In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar.  Once that is done blend in the eggs one at a time until creamy.  Add in the bananas and lemon balm.  Set aside.  In a different mixing bowl sift the flours and baking soda, and salt.  Slowly incorporate this mixture into your sugar mixture.  Do this a little at a time while adding your milk.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for about an hour or until toothpick test comes out clean.
Enjoy and share!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Garden Update in Pictures

 I have been wanting to do a garden video update, but the weather here in Nashville has been unforgiving.  There has been tons of rain and a thunderstorm at least every other day.  So instead of a video update I thought I would just snap a few photos to let you see how well everything is thriving this year.  In spite of the rain or maybe because of it the garden is producing well.
The scarecrow is busy protecting our corn


The first corn silk buds coming through

The first of the cucumbers


Crook-neck squash...my favorite





Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hail Damage to Garden

Yesterday's hail storm was awesome and terrible at the same time!  Here in Antioch, which is a suburb or Nashville in Tennessee, we had a thunderstorm which produced 1-2 inch hail stones for the greater part of an hour.  While I knew that my car might suffer some random dings and perhaps even scratches I didn't think about the garden.  I guess it could have been worse but my crops did suffer some damage.  I am hoping that this is just minor damage and that it will not endanger the plants production.  Mainly affected were my squash plants and cucumber plants.  A couple of peppers sustained damage as well.  


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Setting Lights Altar Service for Free

Setting lights is the traditional practice of candle magick which involves the burning of a charged vigil candle or oil lamp and writing your wish, intent or petition on a slip of paper and placing it under this candle or lamp to achieve your magickal goal. 
Here at Terra Traders we always have candles and lamps burning on our altars with petitions under them. This is a free service I offer to all of my clients as well as for those just needing help.  If you are in need and would like for me to set a light for you just send me your name as well as your need and I will personally set a light for you under the appropriate candle. Please be brief in your description.  Your petition will remain under the candle for 7-9 days depending. It’s that simple. 



Visit TerraTraders and click on the FREE SERVICES link on the top right hand side of page.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Natural Dyes for Ostara (Easter) Eggs

Ostara is fast approaching and you can feel spring in the air. Well here in Tennessee you can feel spring coming especially with the temperature forecast to be in the mid 70’s toward the end of the week. This year my family and I are going to have an egg dying party. I haven’t dyed eggs with my sisters since we were little kids and I look forward to resurrecting that tradition this year for the first time in over 20 years at my parents house along with our own children. This time will be a little different though. Instead of using commercially bought food colorings for the eggs many of which have petroleum in them, we will be endeavoring to make our own natural food coloring using various natural plant and vegetable extracts.
There’s several ingredients in your kitchen that you can choose from. Here’s a small list of suggestions to get you started.
•    Beet juice will give you a lovely shade of magenta. You can juice a raw beet or drain the liquid from a can  of beets.
•   Turmeric gives a golden yellow color to your eggs.
•   Chlorophyll drops (which can be purchased at any health food store) will turn the eggs a deep shade of forest green. You can also juice any green leafy vegetable and achieve a similar result. Experiment to get the shade of green you want.
•   Carrot juice will give a pale peach color
•   Coffee will produce a soft brown color
•   Blueberry juice will give a violet color
Adding vinegar to these colors and bringing the mixture to a boil will help the colors adhere to the eggs better. The longer the eggs sit in the color mixture the bolder the color will be. Remember, that these colors will not be a vivid as those of the store bought food colorings, but hey Ostara is all about the pastels anyway.  Happy Coloring!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Figure Candles

 
Candles have always played a part in humankind’s celebrations, rites and rituals. Once Prometheus stole fire from the gods/goddesses and presented it to us, we have honored that gift in one way or another. Whether it be that of a birthday party, a wedding, church service, prayer vigils or even a romantic dinner for two, candles have always held a special place in marking and observing the milestones of our lives. When we do this we honor Prometheus and let a little magick into our lives.

I believe you can never have too many candles and what type of candles you use helps to give your magick that special boost. There are several types of candles that we use in our rites and rituals such as pillar candles, jar candles, figure candles, tapers, chimes, etc. So what does it all mean? Here is a simple guide for you.

Figure candles. These are candles that have been carved or shaped into the figure and likeness of a person, deity or symbol. They come in various colors. Each color also has its own meaning. The color of the candle combined with the shape of the candle will greatly enhance your ceremony, ritual, spell, etc.

Keep in mind the most common colors and you’ll know how to use each candle.

  • Red usually deals with romance, sex magick, and passion.
  •  Green is luck, money and finances.
  •  White is for purifying and blessings. I use this color to substitute for any color I’m lacking also.
  •  Black is banishing, protection and reversal of bad fortune
  •  Blue is for peace, tranquility and calming a situation.
  •  Orange is for attracting energy your way.
  • Yellow is for communication.
  •  Purple is for connecting with the divine
  •  Lavender is for divination.

 Those are just a few of the colors, but combined with the correct candle you’re on your way to making some powerful magick.


Skull candles. These candles can be used in ancestral magick, to call upon the power of those who have transitioned on to the next phase of existence. This candle also carries the vibration of commanding, compelling and persuasion. It is oftentimes used to bend someone or situation your way.

Cross candles. Although older than Christianity, those with a Christian or catholic background find these candles easy to work with. I have found that these candles are good for working with and calling on the angels. It’s the candle of sustainability. They will keep a situation flowing. Use green for continuous money flow, red for continuous love, blue for peace, etc.

Cat candles. Call on the energies of the Egyptian Goddess Bast with this candle. Use the black candle to return negativity and hexes back on the one who sent them. Use the green cat candle to bring good luck and money. The red bast candle is for sex and romance. Ask Bast to help with all these things when burning this candle.

Coiled Snake candle. Although commonly used to break things apart and cause destruction, this candle can also be used to call upon the kundalini energy to rise. On the flip side this is an excellent candle to use to break apart relationships.

Devil candle. I don’t necessarily believe in the existence of the devil so to me this is a representation of Pan. I use this candle for banishing (black) and to bring about a situation quickly such as fast money (green), fast love (red), etc. Also a good candle for breaking hexes, removing jinxes, and aiding in exorcisms.

Seven Knob candle. Choose the color candle of the candle according to your purpose and burn one section or knob a day for seven days.

Witch candle. Burn a candle to bestow a witch’s blessings on your spell or ritual.

Naked Male or Female candle. This candle represents a person, either you or the target of your spell. Red will bring back a lover, green will bring back the person that owes you money. You can also use petition papers under these candles to better clarify your intent.

Couples candle. This is a candle of a man and a woman standing side by side. Looks like a cake topper. Perfect candle for use in marriage spells and binding two people together spells.

Entwined Couple candle. This is a figure candle of a couple locked in an intimate embrace. This is best for sex magick and to spice up your love life. I also use this one for binding couples.

Divorce candle. This candle is of a couple with their backs turned to each other. It is really self explanatory. Use this candle to break up a couple or to aid in an unbinding spell.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Imbolc Activities

This year most of the United States will be under a blizzard warning for Imbolc. So the weather limits the activities we can do for this Sabbat, but there are still plenty of activities that you can do for this day.


The book Circle Round, which my family and I absolutely love, has several ideas for Imbolc such as making Brigit Dolls (Bride Dolls) using the last sheaf of wheat or grain from the last harvest the previous summer.  We used corn for our doll this year.  After crafting the corn doll, my family and I write down on small slips of paper what we would like to see accomplished this year.  Things we want to acheive or come to pass.  After we've all written these down, the slips of paper are then folded and stuffed into the doll.  Later on in the evening at the conclusion of our Imbolc ceremony and feast, we have a small bonfire to the goddess where we light the doll and let her carry our wishes, hopes, and desires to the Goddess.  If the weather doesn't permit an outdoor fire we will do a small indoor cauldron fire.

Chakra rainstick from
last year
 Another activity to do is to make a rainstick.  Rainsticks are an excellent item to have this time of year. Shaking the stick, we call the Spring rains forward to hasten spring and chase away the winter snow.    This is also a good time of year to make candles.  We always replenish our candle supply during the week of Imbolc.  We block aside about three days of just making candles.  Tapers are the easiest to make, but all types will come in handy for the year.  Be creative and create a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.  A witch can never have too many candles.  Have a blessed Imbolc.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fertility Spells for Imbolc

This is a good time of the year to craft and conjure fertility spells. Gaia is about to give birth to spring which makes this a perfect time to harness that energy and use it for our own purposes.
There are several things you can do for your fertility workings, starting with the bed itself. Your bed is a sacred space. In many ways it acts as an altar whereupon you perform your sex magick. Treat this space as you would any other altar and keep it free of negative energy. Smudge this area regulary.
One of the simple things you can do when it comes to the bed is to hang I-Ching coins strung on a red silk cord around your bed or tied to your bed post. You can also use cowrie shells strung on a red silk cord if I-Ching coins are not available to you or if you feel a greater affinity to the shells over the coins. They both work well. It’s just what “feels” right to you.
You can also dab the post of the bed or the head and foot board of the bed with Astarte oil. Also use this oil to dress and anoint candles and charms that will be place near the bed.
Figure candles work well for fertility spells. You can use a single figure candle that represents you or you can use a male/female joined figure candle.
Take the figure candle and anoint the genital and abdomen area of the candle with Astarte oil. Carve your name and your desire into the candle and roll the candle in a mixture of ground up mugwort and high john. Light the candle right before you make love.
Another fertility idea that can be tried is a fertility mojo bag. It’s a conjure bag filled with various herbs, roots, stones, and charms. I craft these bags myself and offer them at my webstore Terra Traders . For best results take the mojo and wear it around your waist or hang it in between your breasts. Hang it over the bed or under the mattress when you make love.
So try any or all of these spells/charms to see what works for you. The important thing is to be positive and stay focused on your goal and above all enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Homemade Butter for Imbolc

This is my recipe on how to make homemade butter. Kids love to make this also. So get your little ones to lend a hand. They will enjoy helping out.

It’s a very easy recipe. The only things you will need are: a jar with a tight fitting lid, a couple of marbles and heavy cream. The size jars I like to use are the small canning jars or just little baby food jars. The size is perfect for the little ones to hold onto and shake without dropping. You can even use the big mason jars for the bigger children and adults.

First, fill each jar about 2/3 of the way with the cream and insert a marble or two depending on the size of the jar. Screw the lid on tightly and start shaking. At first, the marbles will easily glide through the cream (begin to churn), but as you continue shaking, the cream will thicken. After a few minutes the cream will thicken considerably and you won’t feel the marbles move as much or at all if the marble is stuck in the cream at the bottom of the jar. Once this happens you will begin to see butter form at the bottom of the jar and liquid rise to the top of the jar. This liquid is buttermilk. You can pour this off and store it for later use. We use the buttermilk to make Irish Soda Bread which is another great recipe for Imbolc. You now have unsalted butter. To make salted butter, just add salt to the jar before you start shaking. You also add various herbs to the process to make a nice herb butter or a little honey to make a sweet butter.

This is a great activity to do with the family in celebration of Imbolc. Press butter into molds (sun shapes are great) and refrigerate.  Enjoy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Imbolc

We’re over halfway through this winter season. The days are starting to stretch out again and the nights are getting shorter. The Sabbat of Imbolc or Oimelc is drawing near. This day comes about when the Sun is 15 degrees in Aquarius making it the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. This usually falls on or around February 2nd.  It is the first rite of Spring and it’s also one of my favorites. Oimelc means “ewe’s milk”. The literal translation of Imbolc is “in the womb”. The earth known as Gaia, being pregnant right now is starting to feel the first stirrings of spring. This is called the quickening (the first movements a mother feels in her womb). It is the time of the year when the sheep which are pregnant start to lactate and give milk. This was always a definite sign that spring was around the corner. Other names for this day are Candlemas and Brigit’s Day.
Although this is a day to honor the coming spring, most places in the northern hemisphere still have snow on the ground and it’s bitterly cold outside. Some places may be seeing the first hints of spring such as the return of certain flocks of birds, early buds on trees and the first blades of grass.
Since Imbolc is one of the four fire festivals, my family usually has a small bonfire in honor of the returning warmth. So even in the cold snow we gather around our fire and look forward to the return of spring. During this time it is also our custom to make milk dishes such as custard and ice cream. My daughter has a blast helping us make fresh butter during this time of the year. We then press the butter into little sun molds in honor of the day.
For me, this is a time to rededicate myself to my craft and to the path I have chosen to walk. So whatever your magickal or mundane background ( wiccan, pagan, witchcraft, hoodoo, christian, etc.) this is the time for you to enjoy spending time with your family and friends and looking forward to the bright days ahead. This festival or holiday carries the vibration of hope and it is a time when we all feel optimistic about how the rest of the year will turn out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My New Website

Okay, it's been a while since I have last updated my blog, but I have been busy working on the redesign of my website Terra Traders.  It was a much needed change.
I know how hard it can be sometimes to find occult, wiccan, and witchcraft supplies and services so I am hoping to make Terra Traders the one stop shop for all of those witchy and magickal needs.
Not only is this the shop for your basic and not so basic spiritual and esoteric supplies, we also offer our services such as tarot card readings, psychic readings, astrology readings, custom spell castings, rootwork, setting lights and house blessings/ house cleansings. We also handcraft mojo bags/gris-gris bags/medicine bags, also known as lucky hands, as well as crafting dream pillows, and poppets/voodoo dolls. I also make my own jewelry version of the mojo bag called a mojo necklace. These necklaces are made to order with your specific need in mind.
Here you will also find the odd curios such as brick dust, graveyard dirt, coffin nails, and other ritual supplies for your entire hoodoo, voodoo, occult and esoteric needs.