Categories
Word Witch

Boston Poetry Marathon 2022

Even though some of my literary endeavors may not be directly related to witchcraft and witchery, my own spiritual practice is closely tied to what I’m reading, writing, and consuming in arts and entertainment, so I will also include certain posts about those things here at Notebook Witch.

Bridget Eileen Returns as an Artistic Director and Organizer for the Boston Poetry Marathon

Since 2017, I have been one of the Boston Poetry Marathon organizers and artistic directors. The 3-day poetry reading festival is jam-packed with 100+ poets reading 7 minutes a-piece. If you think it seems like a lot of work, YOU ARE RIGHT! Hahaha. (Slowly loses mind…) Read all about this year’s event below! Hope you can make it or tune in!

Boston Poetry Marathon 2022

Aug 5- 7

  • Friday, August 5 – Online Only, 4-11pm
  • Saturday & Sunday, August 6 and 7 – In-person at the Community Church of Boston in Copley Square, doors at 12:30pm

Admission is free but donations are welcome and appreciated. Come to the Community Church of Boston on Saturday and Sunday. Tune in to our Facebook and YouTube channels to watch live all weekend long.

The Boston Poetry Marathon is an all-volunteer effort. 2022 proceeds will go to organizations that support reproductive freedom and abortion care, The Womxn Project and the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund.

Learn more at BostonPoetryMarathon.com

Social Media Information

Categories
Modern Witchcraft Word Witch

The Truth about Witchcraft Today by Scott Cunningham

Book Review: The Truth about Witchcraft Today by Scott Cunningham, first published in 1987

This is actually an “oldie but goodie” as far as #witchbooks go but I will never understand this cover. Ever. 😆

Someone said maybe it looks like this to convey that yes, even “young women in 1980s businesswear with jobs that require briefcases can be and are witches.” 🤔🤷🏼‍♀️

I guess back then, as now, there’s all sorts of people about with the misconception that witchcraft has anything to do with devil-worship? When anyone with an ounce of sense knows that the fictional entity called “the devil” is a purely Christian construct.

A poet friend, @gildedy made me remember this cover because she has a whole other cover to submit to the “Misleading Covers Sweepstakes” so thanks for the inspo, Gilmore. 

This short but comprehensive books, first published over 35 years ago, has a lot of information that is still relevant today. I think it’s a good place to start for self-described baby witches, or others who are magick/pagan/witch curious.

It’s is still available for sale, and I bought mine at Better World Books, but you can also find it on Amazon and other online book sellers.

Categories
About Sabbats

Happy Ostara! Spring into Notebook Witch: the Blog

To my Northern Hemisphere readers: Happy Ostara! To those in the Southern Hemisphere, I hope your Mabon is deliciously autumnal.

help yourself to using this Ostara graphic as a Facebook banner or Twitter post, etc, in order to mark the Sabbat. Please credit @NotebookWitch, or @TheNotebookWitch on Instagram, if you do use it.

Blog Now in “Soft Launch” Mode

I conceived of this blog around Samhain 2021, so we will count that as the Official Start Date for NotebookWitch.com. But I set up the “soft launch” of this actual website that you’re looking at in March 2022, so we’ll call Ostara the soft launch date!

Now that this website is built, I’ll be posting on witchcraft and related topics about my neopagan spiritual practice here at NotebookWitch.com.

Where the Posts “Spring” from

(Are you sick of my Ostara puns yet?) Before starting Notebook Witch, I had previously published witch-related blog posts at my long-standing arts and culture blog, AnArtsNotebook.com.

I’ll be migrating those posts here to “Notebook Witch by Bridget Eileen” as one of my many projects to build up this blog. So, you will see some posts that date to before today. That’s because they were originally published at An Arts Notebook. But the soft launch start date of Notebook Witch is Ostara 2022.

As I work on republishing the witch-related content from my other blog, you can read previous blog posts on witchcraft and witchery at: https://www.anartsnotebook.com/search/label/notebook%20witch

I’ll be moving those posts to this blog, and of course adding lots of additional content, as time progresses. Stay tuned for more content to come!

Categories
Sabbats

Reflections on Imbolc

How My Name Helped Me Find My Spiritual Practice and Identity

Imbolc graphic banner 16:9 dimensions for Facebook cover, Twitter post, and other social media. Feel free to use! Please credit @NotebookWitch on social media (or @TheNotebookWitch on Instagram)

Imbolc, the Festival of the Deity Brigid, Is Also My Spiritual Identity Anniversary

Imbolc is one of my favorite and most personally meaningful holidays. It is the anniversary of my realization that my spiritual identity, my “religion” so to speak, is as a solitary eclectic pantheistic neopagan witch.

Imbolc is also the celebration of the spiritual figure from whom I got my name–in the sense that my great-grandmother, and a whole bunch of other Celtic folk were named Bridget, Brigid, Brighid or some variation thereof, in the Saint/Goddess’s honor.

It was learning about the Catholic, and syncretized parallel Pagan, holidays celebrated on Feb 1 that got me down a click hole, in which I learned more and more about this spiritual practice, neopaganism and witchcraft, which is now such a meaningful part of my day-to-day existence. And every new thing I learned during all that reading on Feb 1 had me saying, “Yes, exactly! That’s what I’ve always thought! I believe that, too!”

And then =✨magic✨= just like that, I discovered I was a neopagan witch. And so much clicked, so much of the world and my place in it suddenly made far more sense than it had before.

My Name and My Destiny

My name became my destiny. Or my destiny gave me my name, to help me find out who I was. Either way, now I’m here and glad for it. I am grateful for the “meant-to-be”-ness of who I am, starting from the moment I was born and named.

This is a really special day for me. And it’s a great day for us all in the northern hemisphere, since it means we are halfway to Spring!!!

Blessings for #imbolc2022 💐 Happy Saint’s Day to all the Bridgets of the world. Spring is just around the corner!!

Categories
Word Witch

Our Mother (The Earth’s Prayer)

Poem Prayer for Neopagans to Recite During the Lord’s Prayer

A poem-prayer for neopagans, witches, and other people with an earth-based spiritual practice to recite during the Lord’s Prayer

A little while ago, I was at a wake for an uncle of mine and the service ended with the Lord’s Prayer. I wanted to pray, too, but I’m not Christian at all (I know some people identify as Christian witches). So, I decided I would write something I could say instead of the Lord’s Prayer.

I kept with the rhythm of the Lord’s Prayer and many of the words, if not the consonance of them, as often as I could. That way, it will be easier to either insert the variation into my head (& thus heart) or even say it aloud, without being intrusive to those who are reciting their prayer.

And now I’m sharing with you, in case you find it helpful as well! Please keep it however you need to in order to make it useful for yourself. If you share it on, I do appreciate the credit ♥️

Our Mother (The Earth’s Prayer)

Our Mother, who art within us
Honored be thy work
Thy loving light
Thy giving dark
This Earth, it is our heaven
Give us the strength to honor you
And help us listen, too
That we listen well the lessons you teach us
And lead us always with your nature
Which is neither good nor evil
For thine is a cycle
A power to be gloried
Forever and ever
Bless’d Be

poem by Bridget Eileen

Categories
Things To Do

The New Orleans Historic VooDoo Museum in the French Quarter

Zombies and VooDoo

It’s teeny tiny and tucked away but it’s rich with history and intrigue. The VooDoo Museum is just a few rooms on Dumaine St in the French Quarter, but there’s a lot to see in all the nooks and crannies from ceiling to floor. I recommend it as a unique New Orleanian attraction.

VooDoo Museum – Lady of Czestochowa

I don’t know exactly how I heard about the VooDoo Museum. A few guidebooks do mention it. I did not go in as someone spooked by voodoo, though.

It was 2013, and I was just settling into realizing I was a neopagan (a solo practitioner, pantheist, eclectic who observed the Celtic pagan holidays, to be exact, as I define myself now.) So I went to the VooDoo museum with more reverence and a desire to learn about the history of this practice.

New Orleans Voo Doo Museum – Banner Fabric Artwork, Man with Snake

When you first walk in to the little museum, the person at the front desk may have a large snake around them. That was the case for me. I think the guy wanted to shock me. But I’m a snake person. Heck, I’m going to the VooDoo Museum, you know?

Anyway, you give your admission and then you can walk through the rooms. Though it is small, it is packed from top to bottom with artwork, offerings, altars, and exhibits.

About VooDoo practioners and cemeteries

There is a small gift shop. I bought something, and I have to tell you: it worked. I bought some gris gris (talisman). A blue little bag, for wealth. I was on unemployment and only partially employed at the time. Later in the month, I got two full-time job offers. Coincidence? Maybe. But I still have my gris gris, and I’m still grateful for the fortune it may have brought me.

For more information on visiting the Voo Doo Museum in New Orleans you can go to New Orleans Online: https://www.neworleans.com/listing/new-orleans-historic-voodoo-museum/32662/

Categories
Word Witch

New Home Page for the Boston Austen Book Club

I’m making some “personal branding” choices right now, har har. I can’t type that and keep a straight face about it. Who talks like that in earnest???

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I’ve decided that NotebookWitch.com will be more than just home to its main purpose: a blog about witchcraft and witchery. It will also be home to everything else I am “up to” that I want to promote.

One other thing that I’m up to, though it is not directly related to my spiritual practice as a witch, is being the founder and leader of the Boston Austen Book Club.

The BABC started in Fall 2017. We are coming up to our 5th anniversary! We even survived a pandemic–and in fact expanded as a result. We have had three different Jane Austen authors join us in one way or another. And we have welcomed members from all over the county while on Zoom.

(Though we do miss the delicious food of our original home, The Pleasant Cafe in my old neighborhood of Boston, Roslindale. We hope to be back in 2023!)

And now the “home page” for the Boston Austen Book Club will be here at Notebook Witch, https://notebookwitch.com/bostonaustenbookclub/

Categories
About Sabbats

Samhain Announcement: Notebook Witch, a blog about Witchcraft

Announcing a New Blog by Bridget Eileen, “Notebook Witch: Notes on Witchcraft and Witchery,” online at NotebookWitch.com

An Exciting Halloween & Samhain Announcement…

I’m listening to the Patriots game and monitoring the street traffic for the signs of Trick or Treaters. It is Fall in New England, for sure. And this year, I have a new exciting endeavor to look forward to.

But first, I want to let you know you can use this Samhain sabbat graphic above for wherever you want to observe the holiday online! I usually use it as my Facebook banner, and I make a Twitter and Instagram post from it. Please just credit @NotebookWitch on most social media, and @TheNotebookWitch on Instagram.

Samhain Resolution – New Blog from Bridget Eileen: Notebook Witch

Throughout the coming months I’ll be building this new blog, NotebookWitch.com. It is a collection of notes on witchcraft and witchery.

As I build up the site, I’ll also be copying relevant posts from my other blogs which fit the theme here and re-publishing them on Notebook Witch, so that this site can be a comprehensive collection on all past posts on witchcraft and neopaganism, as well as new content I create along the way.

More about Notebook Witch

A bunch of circumstances came up that have happily brought me to this “Eureka” moment of creating a new blog solely dedicated to witchcraft and witchery.

While I love having An Arts Notebook, it presents me with the issue of being far too broad. In all my research on successful blogging, I repeatedly hear that a focused topic and theme for a blog leads to more views and engagement.

Though it’s fun to blog for blogging’s sake, I do want engagement. I want my writing efforts to be meaningful to any viewers who might encounter my posts, just as it is meaningful to me as an author of the posts to put in the effort to create and share the work.

When I found myself blogging most often about my spiritual practice at An Arts Notebook, I got to thinking. Since it is what I’m most motivated to write about–and in my offline life, it’s what I spend a lot of time on, because it is most meaningful to me–why not “lean in” to that?

So, I have come up with the really happy solution to the dilemma of creating a more-focused blog by starting Notebook Witch: Notes on Witchcraft and Witchery.

How to Create a Witch Blog

I started in “soft launch” mode. I’ve got:

  • social media accounts: @NotebookWitch almost everywhere except
  • @TheNotebookWitch on Instagram (long story about why its not the same as everywhere else)
  • a URL that matches the social media handle
  • a vague sense of a plan to launch and will develop it more firmly as I build it
  • an email address TheNotebookWitch@gmail.com
  • neopagan/witchcraft content from An Arts Notebook that I can transfer to the new site

The rest of the plan involves:

  • launching this new website using a WordPress.org template
  • hosting the site through Pair.com
  • gathering more followers
  • creating a contact list
  • building and scheduling a focused content plan
  • building and implementing a strategic communications plan

I’m excited about this new endeavor, more than I have been about any writing I’ve done in a while, whether for communications purposes for the orgs I work or volunteer for, or my blogging, or creative writing. This new project has me the most jazzed up and ready to work.

Social Media Handle @NotebookWitch

In the meantime, you can follow the new accounts at PinterestTumblrFacebook, and Twitter at @NotebookWitch, and on Instagram at @TheNotebookWitch (I’ve given up on getting plain old “NotebookWitch” back after I got inexplicably Zucced while developing my new account. Don’t know why I got targeted while all those white supremacist accounts thrive, but whatever; I digress.)

Follow “Notebook Witch: Notes on Witchcraft and Witchery” on Social Media

Stay tuned for more witchcraft and witchery posts on social media NotebookWitch.com gets developed.

Categories
Plant Witch

2018 Urban Patio Garden Tour

patio fairy garden with upcycled furniture container garden of herbs, flowers and succulents

A Tour of the Patio Container Garden with Herbs, Flowers, and Succulents Featuring Faerie Garden Accents and Upcycled Furniture

I’m in love. It’s real and deep. And we will spend so much time together this Summer! … It’s my patio garden — and it is amazing.

The Patio Garden – The Overall Effect

If this looks like it was a lot of work, it’s because it really really was! Hahaha. But worth every bit of effort because it’s like having an extra room of the house, when the weather is nice. I wanted to take pictures that showed what it looks like from the different sides of the patio half walls. I built up using veritical space with various “upcycled” items. More vertical space means more room for containers! Here are some ideas for building that all-important vertical space if you have a patio or porch garden.

The Modular Wire Cube Wall for Building Vertical Container Garden Space

modular wire cube shelving from target to build container garden vertical space
wire shelving for porch garden to help build space for container gardening
wire shelving for porch garden to help build space for container gardening

I have had these modular wire cubes from Target for a while. I brought them out of doors to use on the porch garden at my old apartment in Roslindale, Boston. I kept them for the same purpose for the patio garden at my new apartment in Federal Hill, Providence. Wire cubes are a great way to build vertical space if you’re container gardening, because the all-important sunshine can come through at all angles. The only trick with these ones is the height of them. I have to keep the tall-growing plants on the top shelves. I put the smaller growing plants in the inner cubes.

The Upcycled Headboard-as-Trellis Wall with Recycled Milk Crates and Childen’s Chairs for Building a Vertical Garden

Fairy Garden for the Patio Garden using upcycled headboard for trellis
children's outdoor chairs and milk crates help build veritical space for a container garden
using outdoor plastic children's chairs and old milk crates to build vertical space in an upcycled furniture patio container garden

Another way to build space is to use plant stands. Rather than use the traditional ones, I got creative. First I used old milk crates, accumlated from who-knows-where. Next I used these color children’s chairs from Ocean State Job Lot as plant stands. They were not only less expensive, but they add a bright pop of color and a great little whimsical touch to the container garden. They’re super cute!

The Totally Trash-Picked Wall of “Upcycled” Furniture

using old furniture as a plants stands and strorage space for an outdoor container garden on a city patio
upcycled wooden chairs to build vertican space for container garden in urban porch garden

Yep. I totally picked everything along this wall out of other people’s trash. I am happy to be an eco-friendly and extremely frugal upcycler. Old wooden chairs make a great addition to a patio garden if you’re looking for ways to build more vertical space. The wheeled plastic cart has three plants on the top shelf and the lower shelves work as a kind of mini-garden shed for storing mulch, cleaning supplies and garden tools.

The Little Front Garden

postage stamp from garden for triple decker apartment in federal hill
hanging plant and stained glass window detail from apartment in federal hill providence
russian sage and petunia with decorative garden stake urban small garden
peacock and butterfly garden stakes and petunias

The front of the house has a little bit of garden space, as well. I found a ton of clearance plants at Lowes and planted those for the “annual” part of the garden. I planted the Russian sage last year and they’re doing well. I’d planted a phlox plant last year but it didn’t come back, so I planted dianthus for a perennial this year. Hope it makes it back. It’s very pretty. I added tchotchoke from the Dollar Tree and Christmas Tree Shops to fil in space until the plants bloomed. 

Succulents in My Faerie Garden

Oh, you know I love my garden tchotchkes. Adding a little fairy garden magic in each pot of the patio container garden means marking the mischief managed with a little or a lot of faerie magic through decorations. Whether it’s old sentimental ceramics from my childhood, cute bargain store critters like owls and butterflies, old beautiful stones collected from past gardens and yards I’ve dug up to plant in, or actual fairy garden decorations, every container has a little something in it beside its plant. You know, to say, “a pagan who loves the earth planted this.”

Herbal Garden for Container Gardening

mojito mint container garden plant with fairy garden tchotchke
Mojito Mint from Muddy River Herbals. It’s THRIVING! The ceramic tiger was painted by my father.

I started off gardening season by going to the excellent herbal convention in Somerville, MA, Herbstalk. At that event, I bought a ton of herbs, including ones I hadn’t grown before, from my friend Jenny of Muddy River Herbals. Jenny and I worked together at Allandale Farm many years ago. She’s a great person and an excellently skilled gardener and garden/ herbal educator. Go to Muddy River Herbals for more from Jenny.

Here is the full rundown of herbs in this year’s patio container garden:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Calendula
  • Lavender
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Chive
  • Scallion
  • Mexican tarragon*
  • Tulsi*
  • Catnip*
  • Arnica*
  • Spilanthes*
  • Ashawaganda*

* denotes my first time growing these plants

I absolutely love fresh herbs. They make cooking and making tea in the growing season so much more bright and delicious. If you’ve never tried container gardening but always wanted to, I definitely recommend starting off with herbs. It’s very rewarding, and a lot of these plants are fairly low maintenance.

Speaking of low maintenance, I left an herb off this list. In fact, it gets it’s own section in the patio garden. Shunted, if you will, to the front end to the porch, because it is such an opportunistic plant (language permaculturists like to use instead of “invasive”), so it sort of has to be quarantined so as not to take over the other plants…

The Lemon Balm Melissa Quarantine

Lemon balm, also called melissa, is a really delicious lemon flavored herb in the mint family. It’s great in soups, teas and all kinds of other recipes where a lemon flavor would enhance the taste. Not only is it a delcious herb, it’s also really good for you. It helps with skin conditions, antibiotic resistance, anxiety — all kinds of possible health effects. Even if you doubt these health benefits, since herbal medicinal healing is often looked on with skpeticism, it doesn’t hurt to consume it, because it’s so yummy. It’s also the absolutely easiest herb to grow. These FIVE CONTAINERS started out from one little plant.

I planted this little lemon balm plant in my garden in West Roxbury, Boston, seven years ago. I dug it up and planted it in a container and brought it to the Roslindale garden in 2013. Now, in 2018, it takes up FIVE containers.

Flowers in My Patio Fairy Garden

I love my little garden gnome. He used to have a motion sensor that would make him say things like “Some gnomes get to travel the world. Look what I get? THIS?! Ugh.” Hahahaha

The little containers all have single annual plants in them. The plants were in the clearance section of Lowes, 6 for $1. This is my big bargain hunter tip. Always go to the back corner of Lowes and check the clearance section. Most of the plants just need to be deadheaded, but it’s easier for them to unload them for cheap than pay to maintain them. Kind of like how slightly dented fruit is totally edible but not perfect so it will leave the grocery store display floor (sadly). And then you just plant them, deadhead (as in pinch off the dead flowers), mulch, and water–and Voila! Thriving little plants for the garden as $.15 a plant!

Annuals in the garden this year:

  • Petunias
  • Begonias
  • Celosia
  • Marigold
  • Impatiens

Perennials in the garden this year:

  • Dianthus
  • Daisy
  • Coral Bells
  • Lavender
  • Spilanthes
  • Calendula

Weeds That Aren’t Weeds

I have three “weeds” that planted themselves in my containers: mullein, purslane and dandelion. Honestly, they’re great herbs! So I just let them hand out and stuck some decos in there for fun. Give some consideration to your alleged weeds. They may just be worth keeping around!

An Extra Room During the Warmer Weather

outdoor dining patio in urban patio garden with glass circl patio table and plastic chairs

The best thing about having a patio garden like this is it is making me a morning person…sometimes. I have been doing my best to get up early and make my tea and sip it in the garden to start off the day. It’s also a good place on the weekends to sit and read. I showed a friend the patio and he said, “If I had this, I don’t think I’d spend time anywhere else!” Even if I don’t get to sipping my morning tea out there, I still say hi to all the plants before I leave and check on them when I get home. They know they are loved, which is why I think they’re doing so well, so far!

Thanks for taking a tour of my patio container garden featuring fairy garden decorations, herbs, annuals and perennials. Hope you enjoyed and maybe got inspired to do your own. It’s one of the best hobbies during the growing season!