A Calling from Hades?

Hades and CerberusThe other night I was cleaning my altar and I decided to reconsecrate the space. I lit my candles, called the corners; earth, air, fire and water, the God and the Goddess and then I sat for a while in front of my altar with my hands around a piece of clear Quartz.

I was just sitting, meditating, my eyes shut. I was in total darkness, I was just relaxed.

Occasionally when I meditate I have images race through my mind; thoughts from the day or ideas put to bed. But for some reason I could see, quite clearly, my candles blowing out. I kept my eyes shut, I thought nothing of it.

So I kept meditating with the image of the blown out candles in my mind. Then, for whatever reason, I started to feel cold. I opened my eyes and I immediately thought “Hades”.

For some reason I felt the presence of Hades when I was meditating, a God I have never thought to work with before. I was unsure whether or not he was approaching me to start working with me, either temporarily or permanently, or I misread a sign from another God. I doubt the cold sensation was a sign from the fun loving Dionysus, my patron God. When I work with him I feel his happiness and I feel at peace. So if it is him and not Hades, why would I get this sensation?

If this is Hades contacting me, for whatever reason, what could I do to honour him? Do you work with Hades or similar Gods regularly? What are your experiences?

Thank you for reading, have a lovely evening. Blessed be.

My Experience with Prayer Blockage

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It is true that a persons relationship with the God and the Goddess is not measured by how often they pray, but how strong their belief is.

However, sometimes you feel obliged to sit in front of your altar and recite the same prayer morning and night.

From October last year until July this year I prayed every morning and every night. I thanked Mother Gaia for the life she had given me; a loving family, a belly full of food and all the amenities I required to live in this busy world.

One day, however, I didn’t kneel before my altar. And the day after. And the day after…

I found myself staring at my altar, wanting to kneel before it, wanting to thank Gaia for the life that I had. But I couldn’t find the words nor could I find the time. I felt like I was betraying her somehow, letting her down.

Yet still the words didn’t come. Despite my heart craving to sit in front of Gaia, my body still wasn’t doing it.

I was beginning to doubt my faith; had I made a mistake swearing an oath to Gaia? Was I truly Wiccan if I did not celebrate the Sabbats?

Then, not too long ago, I realised a correlation between events that happened in my personal life and my failure to pray. I realised at that point, as a defence mechanism, I had stopped praying. What good it did for me, I don’t quite know. As I stepped back, however, the cause was staring me right in the face.

The conflicts I had had with myself and my faith, the anger I had felt, was all caused by one catalystic event. I had had a depressed episode back in early July caused by stress from my previous job. My instinct was to push everything I loved away and that, sadly, included my beloved Earth Mother.

When I asked a question on the Youtube Pagans group on Facebook about prayer blockage I realised I wasn’t alone in my disconnection. Many who have been loyal to their Gods have been unable to sit down and pray, some people had gone for months without prayer and felt the same stress that I did.

That’s when I realised that, despite my inability to pray, I still have a strong connection with Gaia. I still care about her, I still believe in her. The people In the Facebook group still believe. They had not abandoned all hope, despite the struggle. Their love for their Gods was obvious. They still cared.

When people stop caring, that is when all hope is lost.

Someday I will kneel before my altar again, to recite my daily prayer. But until then I am quite happy to water my plants, stare at the trees and the flowers, listen to the birds sing and the wind blow and worship Gaia by admiring her unquestionable beauty.

The Death of the Wild Human

Hunting is a topic that has become controversial in the UK. The hunting of foxes has been illegal since November 2004 across England, Scotland and Wales yet somehow people manage to get around it with legislations about foxes being vermin.

However, prior to the fox hunting ban in 2004, the hunting of these animals was primarily for sport. The hunters would take their dogs and try and find the trail of a fox and would allow their dogs to tear the fox apart. If there was a child present and it was their first hunt, the fox’s blood would be smeared across their cheeks.

In my opinion this is a vulgar practice, however to this day people still partake in hunting foxes and other animals for sport.

In the wild, animals are only ever hunted for food. So what made humans start killing for sport?

wildWhen we were still living in caves, humans had to hunt for food. But is it possible that as civilisation grew and food became readily available from establishments such as butchers, humans began hunting for sport? We all know how bloodthirsty the Medieval English were with their hangings and their beheadings. Is the practice of hunting for sport one of the few remaining traditions that the British have that remains from long ago?

I appreciate many traditions, but hunting is not one of them. As an animal lover, the idea of a poor animal being killed because someone thought it would be fun makes me feel quite ill. If I was old enough and confident enough when the fox hunting ban was going on, no doubt I would have had my picket out and marched around Parliament Square. Sadly I was only ten when the whole thing kicked off and I doubt my parents would have allowed me to get involved. Things like protests tend to get nasty.

Hunting for food, however, is something I’m fine with. I eat meat as do many other creatures that live on this planet; cats, dogs, lions, tigers, birds of prey, badgers…

Wild carnivorous animals rely on hunting their prey. You don’t see a lion going to a butcher, do you? (Though that would be a sight to see!)
Before humans became domestic creatures, we relied on hunting wild sheep, bulls, sabre-toothed tigers (if they even existed before and during the stone age).

How our species has evolved was a natural process. But the way our civilisation behaves is, in my opinion, unnatural. When the first human was born about 100,000 ago, they would have been born into a family of what we see today as “savages”, people who kill to survive.

The wild humans were the most pure humans there have ever been. What we are today is a diluted version of what we are meant to be.

I don’t see the first humans as savages, I see what the humans have become as savages. Before the death penalty was banned in 1964, we used to be entertained by the blood shed of others, we still hunt innocent animals that have not developed over time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the life I have. I have a family that love me, amazing friends and beautiful pets. But I crave to be a wild woman, as I’m sure many people do nowadays. Get away from the technology of the modern age and just live in the dirt and breathe in the pure air of the trees.

Making my own shampoo!

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As you may have seen on Friday’s vlog video, one of my dreams in life is to have a self-sufficient farm; growing my own fruit and vegetables, my own wood for felling and keeping heat in the house, a water wheel to generate water for drinking and to use in the house, a wheat farm for making flour for cakes and bread and an acre of land full of different animals; cows, sheep and chickens. These animals would not be slaughtered for meat, but kept to produce eggs, milk, butter, cheese and wool.

Something I’m venturing into at the moment, however, is producing my own shampoo.

I have quite long hair (measuring about 29 inches from my forehead to the ends), and a problem that people with longer hair face is that most hair products contain a product called Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (or SLS). SLS can be detrimental to the health of the hair and scalp as it dries out the skin and strips the oil from the shafts of your hair.

Large manufacturers, such as L’Oreal, have produced products that do not contain Sulphates, however they still contain products such as parabens and silicones which can be damaging to the hair. SLS, however, is the one to avoid.

So the process of making your own shampoos… is quite difficult. I’ve only attempted it once so far, but will be trying it again. As difficult as it is, it’s a lot of fun as you get to enjoy making your own products.

If you want to do this, what you will need is:

  • A bar (or two) of Castile soap
  • Two mugs of a herbal or fruit tea of your choice to colour the mixture (I used lavender night time tea by Pukka and got a kind of biscuit colour)
  • Four teaspoons of olive oil
  • Two teaspoons of your desired essential oil(s) (I used eucalyptus and lavender)

A mistake that I made was putting the soap in the saucepan first. Next time I do it I’m going to boil the tea, let it brew, then put the tea into the saucepan with the soap. By putting the soap in first, I actually burnt the soap which I didn’t consider at first. I just thought it was going to melt. I know for next time, haha!

So how do you do it? Don’t put the soap in first, for a start.

Let the tea brew in the cups for about ten minutes, remove the teabags and pour into a saucepan. Once you’ve turned on the hob, chop up your soap bar(s) and put them in the pan as well. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to look a bit like a paste. Keep stirring until all the lumps have gone.

Once you’re happy with the mixture, start pouring in your oils. First the olive oil, stir that in. Then pour in your essential oils. This is for the scent as well as the nourishment that it has for your hair. Again, next time I try this I’ll most likely use oils such as jojoba oil, coconut oil and almond oil. The smell of the eucalyptus and lavender are lovely, but I found that they were quite drying for my hair.

It’s up to you how you want to present your shampoo, whether you want to present it as a shampoo bar (like Lush) or whether you want it in a container like your typical off the shelf brand. I put mine in a bottle. You have to act quickly as the product starts to cool as it does start to harden if you haven’t mixed the product properly.

If you want to have the product as a bar you will need to pour the cooling mixture into container such as a lasagne dish or a shoe box.

If, like me, you want to have it in a bottle you will need to work out a way of pouring your shampoo into the bottle. I used a tablespoon and twisted the product into the bottle. When I did it it looked a bit like cake mix, so if you can kind of manipulate the product to drip and twist into the bottle that’s the best way to do it.

Once it’s in the bottle put it in your shower, steep it under the water for a few minutes and shaking before use. Bob’s your uncle!

What I’ll be trying next time is probably going to be blueberry and apple tea with coconut and almond oil. That should produce a rich purple coloured cream with a lovely smell. But I’ll keep you guys posted about the results.

I know from my own experience how difficult it is to find a decent sulphate free shampoo, so why not make my own?

Let me know, if you try this, how you get on. Share it on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/florathepagan) or tag me in your pictures on instagram (@beckyboo93_) with the tag #florashippiehead.

And that’s it. I’m sending a hug from my couch to yours, and for now love and light, Blessed Be.

Catch up, Animal Testing & FluCamp!

Hello, hello, hello!

So I’ve been off the radar for the last few months so I thought it was time to give you guys a bit of a refresher.

So what’s been happening?

Well to tell you the truth, not a lot; just a bit of hassle at work, both personal and professional. Since this I have actually resigned. This is good news, really. It means I’m not letting myself get stressed out anymore and I can devote more time to my personal life and my practice.

All this stress hasn’t been great for my health. With my asthma, if I get stressed I start hyperventilating which triggers an asthma attack. There are other triggers for my asthma, but the predominant trigger is stress. It’s annoying but manageable at the moment and, although I don’t like using manmade medicines, my inhalers have been a godsend the last few weeks.

Whilst we are on the topic of manmade medicine, I think I’ll mention the fact that I’ve stopped taking my antidepressants. I’m quite happy with my progress so far, considering I went cold turkey when I decided to come off them. There’s been a couple of moments where I’ve felt a bit off colour, but apart from that I’m fine.

Now for my reason for posting; product testing.

Anika Garrett posted a video a few weeks ago about animal testing; which companies test on animals.

Although I do not agree with animal testing for cosmetics like lipsticks, eye shadows, etc., to some extent I do agree with it for medicinal purposes.

Now, you’re probably going to be thinking I’m some kind of demon spawn at the moment, but hear me out.

My beloved ginger tom cat Simba, who has sadly passed away now, suffered from kidney failure in his last few months. Because of his kidney failure, his blood pressure rose to a point where his retinas actually detached from his eyes and he went blind. He required tablets to lower his blood pressure; Ramipril, the same tablets my dad uses for his blood pressure.

Now sadly, we did lose Simba in the end, but for his last few months he was comfortable and we believe that he was able to see because his blood pressure had stabilised. It was sad letting him go, but he was suffering in the end. He wasn’t eating, he wasn’t going to the toilet. His bladder was blocked because of an infection caused by the kidney failure. The vet said his bladder was the size of a tennis ball.

As much as I loved him, and still love him, he was ready to cross the rainbow bridge.

Now, why do I mention Simba’s story?

Because the medicine he took would have been tested on animals for human consumption. However because the medicine had been tested on animals, if the animals were required to take the medicine they could take it safely with no repercussions on the rest of their health.

In that respect, although I don’t fully agree with animal testing I believe that if the medicine is not just for human use, but for animal use as well, then I support it.

Human trials however are a necessity and in instances such as cosmetic trials and medicine that will not be fit for animal consumption, I completely agree with human only trials.

In recent weeks, in the UK, there have been a number of websites and television shows (the One Show on the BBC being one of them) mentioning about a company called “FluCamp”.

It’s a medicinal trial aimed at people who suffer from asthma, to find out how our bodies react to the common cold and the influenza virus. What happens during the trial is you are given a strain of the common cold or the flu (or maybe even a placebo!) and are observed for a ten day period by doctors to find out how asthma sufferers deal with common respiratory infections.

You’re not getting ill for free, though. FluCamp give people money for taking part in their examinations.

FluCamp is something I have expressed an interest in, and have actually applied for. I should hear something back in the New Year about my application, so that’s very exciting.

It’s all very exciting, up in the air, at the minute.

Hope you are keeping well, but for now…

Love and light, Blessed Be.

44 Days of Witchery Challenge: Day 10 – My Sun Sign

Today is the day I talk about my sun sign; more commonly known as a star sign.

Your sun sign is what you find in the back of a magazine or newspaper. For those of you that are British; the Mystic Meg column.

For me personally, I never used to feel very connected to my star sign until recently when I started looking into it.

I am a proud Libran.

Probably one of the more submissive star signs in my opinion. I can’t win a shouting match with a Leo that’s for sure.

Librans are all about balance; if a Libran senses something is out of balance, for good or for ill, they will do their utmost to get it back to a perfect balance.

This star sign is normally associated with the element of air, but because of its location in the wheel of the year its qualities are more feminine than masculine.

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Now the qualities of the average Libran; balanced, tenacious, kind, loyal and passionate.

Do I possess these qualities? To some extent I do.

In my mind there is no good or evil. There is a universal force that keeps reality in balance. I like balance in my life. When there is instability I get agitated and moody. No matter how small that instability is I need to fix it or I just get more and more irritated until I explode. When a situation is balanced or I have control of it I’m comfortable. The only thing that I’ll allow to be unbalanced is my diet.
Being tenacious and passion kind of go hand in hand with the balancing. If you don’t keep fighting for something that you believe in, the situation isn’t going to be fixed. You may seem like a bull in a china shop, but in the end it will all come good.

Kindness and loyalty?
I am an incredibly generous person. The majority of the time I put the needs of others ahead of my own. I try to be nice to people, even if I don’t get on with them, just so I can keep my life peaceful. However, when it comes to loyalty I’m loyal until you stab me in the back. I would never do anything to harm the person who has upset me but I wouldn’t ever forget what they’d done.

So do I fit into the Libran category? I feel that I do.

Please let me know what your star sign is and if you feel that it suits you in the comments below. But until next time, love and light and brightest blessings.

44 Days Challenge: Day 9 – Favourite mythical creature

I wish I had an excuse as to why this post is a week late. I really don’t. Life just got in the way. Not to mention I’ve been putting this post off for a while because I’m fond of many different creatures. But one stood out to me after some deep thinking.

Fairies.

I don’t think there’s one little girl on Earth who doesn’t believe in fairies. I did, I still do. The way I see them has changed but I still believe in fairies (or fae).

When I was a little girl I would catch dandelion seeds and keep them. My mum told me they were fairies. I believed that they were fairies. To this day I still feel that they are, to an extent, a fae of some kind.
In my opinion, the fae spirit is the promise of new life. The dandelion seed is the child of a plant, a baby fae looking for its own home.

A lot of people believe that fae exist within nature, that they are a spirit unlinked to anything else.
I personally believe that fae live within plants. What many people refer to as tree spirits I actually believe are fae. There is something so magical about plants; trees, flowers… They are so beautiful and I believe that the spirits of the fae live within them.

Have you ever sat under a tree and felt like you’re with someone even though you’re completely alone? I believe that feeling is the fae watching over you.

I hope this was interesting for you. Hopefully there will be a couple of posts going up this week, all being well.

For now though, love and light. Brightest blessings.

44 Days of Witchery Challenge: Day 8 – My Favourite Magical Place Outdoors.

So today is day eight of the 44 Days of Witchery Challenge and that is a photograph of a magical place outdoors.

There are a million and one different places I can name, but none really compare to a place that I only discovered recently near my home.

When I take my dog for a walk we normally go down by the river. There are two different routes; one is to go down a bank and then pass by a school, or the other one takes you up to this beautiful secluded woodland and then up to the main road. Normally I go by the school because it leads up to our normal walking route. On Sunday morning, however, I decided to go the other way through the woods.

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My dog and I were strolling along, playing fetch and chase. Then for some reason Ziggy (my dog) stopped and was staring at a magpie sat on a tree. I followed his line of sight and then that is when I saw it.

There was a tree standing proudly before us. Its branches were stretched high like arms, its trunk curvaceous and elegant.

I stared at this tree for what felt like years. I couldn’t stop looking at it. I just wanted to stretch out and touch it (of course, I couldn’t

 because it was on the other side of the river). When I saw the tree I felt like Gaia was there in that forest. Her spirit was within that tree.

Since then I haven’t really been able to get that tree out of my head. I’ve even dreamt about walking the dog and sitting beneath it (a bit sad, I know).

But that’s it. I could have said Stonehenge, the town Robertsbridge, Brighton beach… But the place that I felt within my heart is the forest and that beautiful tree. So for now, have a lovely weekend. Love and light. Blessed Be.

44 Days of Witchery Challenge: Day 6/7 – My Favourite God/The Element of Air

Today is Day 6 of the 44 Days of Witchery challenge. Day 6 should have been Friday, but it has been a very tricky topic for me. It’s the topic of my favourite God.

The problem I have with this topic is that I don’t really have a patron God.

I feel connected to a number of Gods; Dionysus, Helios, Geb, Anubis, Osiris… All of them I feel drawn to, but there isn’t one that I can say really stands out. With the Goddess, it was quite easy. Although I have many Goddesses I honour, there is only one that stands out and that’s Gaia.

So unfortunately, I think I’m going to have to give Day 6 a miss.

We’re going to move on to Day 7, which is the element of air. Air is associated with communication, clearing space and the masculine energy of the Earth. Incense, bells and wind chimes are linked to the element of air. When doing an air spell, the spell works at the pace it needs to. With Earth spells they are very slow and fire spells are very quick. With air and water they go at their own speed.

I hope this was helpful for you. Friday is going to be a much more interesting article; a magical place in nature. If you follow me on instagram you may have already seen the place I’m going to be talking about. For now, love and light, Blessed Be.

44 Days of Witchery Challenge: Day 5 – My Favourite Goddess

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So today I’m going to be talking a little bit about my favourite Goddess. For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, it will come as no surprise that I’m going to be talking about Gaia.

It took me a long time to put into written words how I feel about Gaia because the impact she’s had on my life has been phenomenal. So I will write what I feel and I hope that it makes sense.

For a few years I felt like I had been lost. I felt like I didn’t really have a purpose and I was as stubborn as a mule. If it wasn’t my way I would be ripping someone’s head off in a screaming match. I wasn’t a very pleasant person. I was frustrated that I hadn’t found a place where I belonged. Even in my own family I felt like an endless stream of chaos was being blown at me from all directions. If my elderly relatives weren’t in and out of hospital my parents were having accidents. If it wasn’t my parents, it was my pets. If it wasn’t my pets it was my job. I felt lost and trapped. And I was absolutely terrified. Some days I hoped that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning.

It got to a point at my previous job where I was willing to end my own life because I was so sick of existing. I was overdosing on painkillers hoping that it would put me out of my misery. It didn’t work.
Eventually I was forced out of my old job and I think that’s when I’d reached an all time low.

Then one day I felt something I had never felt before. I felt a pure love inside my heart and the thought to seek help entered my head. I had never thought about getting help. I just thought I was a grumpy kid, but I was nearly twenty. A thought that I had foolishly denied myself had come to me in such a strong way.
So that night I went to the doctor and that night I prayed. That was the first time I had prayed for many years.

The following week I had been asked to go for an interview. On the day of the interview I wore my pentacle for the first time in months.

And I got the job.

I began to feel more in tune with the world around me. When I went on holiday I began to feel drawn to images of the Earth. I’d always found the Earth beautiful, but I’d never been so fixated and obsessed with it. It was all I could think about. It wasn’t just the planet though. I was gardening, I was going for walks in the forest nearby with the dog.

Then one night I was dreaming and I saw a green woman, the most beautiful being I’d ever seen. She wasn’t human, she was of the Earth. Her arms were made of ivy and her eyes were pure and clear like the deep blue ocean. She had a kind, loving face.

And that is how Gaia came to me. Since then my soul has felt complete. When I dedicated to her in November I knew in my heart that that was the right thing to do. Gaia is the mother of my soul. She caught me when I was ready to fall and give up, when I didn’t have the strength to seek help when I needed it.

And that is why she is my favourite Goddess. She is my matron, the mother of my soul. When I honour her everyday my heart warms up.

I hope you enjoyed reading. I know this is a bit unconventional, a lot of people go into the mythology of the Goddess. But because I have explained Gaia’s history in quite a few posts I felt it was better to go into how I found her. But as I said, I hope you enjoyed. Love and light, Blessed Be.