Photo Post: A Magical Life (2)

Images from everyday magic and everyday life, that I hope will inspire you and delight you!

In The Sacred Garden

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A new variety of Lavender for our garden, Lavandula Stoechas – doing well for now. Summer temps are already here, and all plants will be put to the test.

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Mealy Sage (Salvia Farinacea), flowering this week. A Mexican variety, favourite of butterflies and bees.

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It’s corn harvest season here, and every year, I make a husk doll with the first ears that we get from Fernando’s parents’ crops.

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Lovely Lady Corn got a headdress of Lavender flowers, and offerings of bread and honey. Making the garden Spirits happy is a total priority when you live in the SubSaharan area – temperatures are already very high, regular sandstorm season has started, and we need our green babies protected, for us and for all the customers who benefit from this garden through their candlework and spellwork. As you all start enjoying warmer weather and blooming gardens, we begin the slowest season – the first harvest is done, the land goes dormant, and we retreat inside most of the day.

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Gorgeous Fiesta Gitana Marigold – this variety of Calendula is doing so much better in our weather than any other I’ve planted before. Hopefully I will be getting lots of viable seeds to plant next year!

Magical Outdoors: Sacred Places

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One of the most beautiful traditions of May 1 is the Cruces De Mayo, which celebrate the foundation of the capital of the island, Santa Cruz De Tenerife. Accross the entire city, neighbourhood associations, schools, and the ciry hall, decorate huge crosses with flowers and fruits. A beautiful example of spiritual traditions crossing lines into civilian life, and blending with it unnoticed – since the cross is a powerful symbol of protection, these decorated ones protect and bless the entire city. We found this gorgeous examply while driving to the plant nursery to get some new plants for the garden.

The Craft Of A Bruja

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I took this picture only to promote the Tarot Forecast Newsletter, but it’s so pretty that I wanted to add it to this post. The lovely Italian style deck was a gift from my mother. By the way, you can find the link to join the Newsletter below.

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Photo Post: A Magical Life

I have not done one of these photo posts in a while, so here is one with my favourite images from the past months. Images from everyday magic and everyday life, that I hope will inspire you and delight you!

The Magical Outdoors: Wildharvesting And Sacred Places

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Seeds of Mustard (Sinapsis Alba, Sinapsis Arvensis) and of White Lupin (Lupinus Albus), wildharvested. Both species are part of our traditional cooking – Mustard is very well known, but the beans of the Lupin are not so common as human food. In several countries of the North Of Africa and the Mediterranean, they are boiled and brined, and eaten as a snack. These two will be part of our garden after the summer is over – a very lucky find.

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The sacred Ceiba, tree of knowledge, tree of wisdom, tree of sacrifice, one of the most important of our Tree teachers. At the La Granja park, Santa Cruz De Tenerife.

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Beautiful grafitti of Our Lady Of Candelaria, on the city that bears her name, this week. One of my favourite places in the world, home of our Holy Mother Chaxiraxi.

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Fumigation sticks made of wildharvested endemic varieties of Wormwood and Sage. These will be used on our cleansing rituals, and as offerings.

The Magical Home (And Its Sacred Garden)

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Beautiful pine wood cross, made by Fernando using a piece of wood found in a very magical area of our town, historically known for being home to Akelarres. A Spirit of the area told us to make the cross for protection, and this Bruja is old enough to not question that kind of intuition :). Not for sale.
In case you don’t know, Akelarre is the Basque word for a reunion of Brujas. It literally means “field of the male goat”.

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A sunflower for my beloved Ochum, as every year. I have many plants (and I mean specimens, not types) that are devoted to a specific Spirit: a Rosemary for Saint Michael, Guava trees for Eleggua, Chrysanthemums for the Ancestors… they make gardening a sacred task, and the garden a temple.

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Friends who fish – and owe a couple of favours to this Bruja – make the best magical gifts!After a few weeks under our very unforgiving sun, these will be dry and ready to be used in magic work – claws and shells for prosperity amulets, and the rest will be powdered for protection/defense work.
Please notice that a) supermarket crabs; b) cooked crabs; c) farmed crabs will not have the power required to do the work. There are many reasons for the success of my work, and one of the most important is the extremely high standards of each one of the ingredients I use. These crabs have been fished using traditional methods, in an extremely small scale, and without affecting the environment – be very, very wary of occult shops having a constant supply of rare/exotic supplies, because that is simply exploitation of resources.

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Burning a few of the fumigation sticks shown in a previous photo from this post.

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The first Cosmos flower appeared a few days before the Spring Solstice. Such a joyful flower.

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A special craft to celebrate May 1, made with a Christmas decor wreath, dry flowers, ribbons and bells.

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My Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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New Series: Pictures Of The Week – 2018, Week 39

This post series features the best and most magical pictures I post during the week on social media (check links below). Hopefully, this will show how varied and devoted our work is, and how many different things we do in only seven days!

The Autumn Equinox brought us a lovely gift – this gorgeous Colonial-style piece of furniture for our altar, with plenty of storage space and room for all statues, and fabulous carvings of fruit wreaths. Courtesy of Romani neighbours who were throwing it away, which always means an extra pinch of luck :).
The week had a busy start, shipping the weekend’s orders, running errands, and preparing for the work of the week. Stopped by the local candle shop to get some Tres Reyes incense, a mixture of resins that they make for the churches of the island, and probably my favourite incense in the world. The first serving is, of course, for the spirit family.

Captured this lovely fat orb yesterday while taking pictures of the lovely gardens in the road of San Diego. It is one of my favourite places for walking, since it’s known as an area where Akelarres happened – in case you don’t know, Akelarre is the word for a reunion of Witches, a word from Basque language. FYI – the photograph was taken without flash, in the shade, and on extremely hot and dry weather. I am a very decent photographer, so I can assure that this is not a lens reflection of any kind. Not that I need this as a sign of Spirits around us, but it’s always nice when it happens :).

Flowers for the Spirit family, from the city’s farmer market. Fresh flowers and herbs are food for the Spirit, and a staple in Espiritismo’s practise. The carnation is one of the most cultivated flowers in the islands, and to me, a flower that represents joy and abundance – perfect to let Spirits know how much we love them.

A very happy addition to our herbal garden – this beautiful Laurel specimen. A tree of protection, banishing, and cleansing – a true holy warrior, and one of the most sacred trees of the islands; we have several endemic species of Laurel, which give their name to the Laurisilva forest, a unique type of prehistoric forest that is part of the Macaronesian islands (Canary Islands, Azores, Cape Verde and Madeira).

The end of the week caught us sorting and processing last week’s wildharvesting bounty, which was already dry.  In the pic above, Mastic Tree (Pistacia Lentiscus); in the one below, Canarian Wormwood (Artemisia Thuscula, endemic).

And finally, the weekend, which was spent working on the creation and consecration of a completely new Spiritual Bath for the shop: Siete Poderes. The purpose of this bath is to balance and restore your entire spiritual power, cleanse your energetic channels, and re-energize you completely. I am so happy with this product, and I’m sure our customers are just going to love it as much as I do. Check it HERE!

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My Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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New Series: Pictures Of The Week – 2018, Week 38

This post series features the best and most magical pictures I post during the week on social media (check links below). Hopefully, this will show how varied and devoted our work is, and how many different things we do in only seven days!

Sunday found us at the beautiful Mesa Mota mountain, gathering herbs. First wildharvesting trip of Autumn. Harvested Eucalyptus, Heather, Saint John’s Wort, Juniper, Mastic Tree, and Fig Tree.

The wildharvesting bounty, being sorted in bundles and baskets to be set to dry. In a few days it will be ready to be part of our Apothecary, and of course of our spellwork and candlework for customers. What a blessed life.

New holy cards for Saint Cyprian and Saint Barbara – as I have posted before (check this post), I make them as part of my ministry as an Espiritista, and give them away to anyone who wants one. Of course, all orders this week have got one of each :).
As the summer ends, the lovely Alyssum is finally growing back, making the bees happy with its gorgeous honey-like scent.
Despite having an extremely busy week, we managed to make time onThursday to visit the mountains of Las Mercedes, an area that was seen as the land of the dead by the Guanches of Tenerife. We don’t do any wildharvesting there because it’s a protected area, but we regularly leave offerings and connect with our Ancestors.
And, there was a very lucky wildharvesting score – a Cedronella Canariensis plant full of seed heads ready to be harvested! This is a very rare and endemic plant, and one of the several plants called Balm Of Gilead in the Bible. I will be more than happy to welcome in into our garden this winter!

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My Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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Feeding The Spiritual Frame

A big portion of everything we make goes to our daily spiritual work – keeping the Cuadro Espiritual (Spiritual Frame) happy and well fed is one of the most important everyday duties of an Espiritista. In the pics, you can see one of today’s offerings – a good sample of our new Kyphi incense, along with a Cinnamon scented candle, and fresh herbs from our garden.

Why is this important? Because it keeps the Espiritista protected against harm (both human or spirit-related harm); it keeps the correct flow of energy to perform divination, spellwork and any liturgical duties the Espiritista has; and, empowers and cleanses the Spirits that are still in the process of elevation. Without this foundation, us Espiritistas cannot do the work that we are meant to do, guiding and helping our customers and community.

At the moment of posting this, there are still four packs of Kyphi left in the shop – don’t miss your chance!

My Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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New Series: Pictures Of The Week – 2018, Week 37

This new post series will feature the best and most magical pictures I post during the week on social media (check links below). Hopefully, this will show how varied and devoted our work is, and how many different things we do in only seven days!

Hydrangeas at the San Benito park. A very powerful plant for love magic, but one that I also relate to ancestral worship, as it was my grandmother’s favourite.

A new batch of Kyphi, that will be placed for sale on packs of 20 pellets on Monday Sept. 17 at the shop. Kyphi is a type of incense that was made in Egypt since the time of Pharaohs.  It is made with herbs, barks, roots and other natural items, and a paste made with raisins steeped with honey and wine. It is burnt on top of a charcoal, like you would do with frankincense. It smells delicious, and Spirits LOVE it!

Salvia Microphylla, a new addition to our magical garden. This type is a Mexican variety of Sage that hopefully will do well in our weather. I’ve never seen it growing here in the islands, so this is really exciting! As all Salvias, this is a plant of healing, blessing, and cleansing. It has a really spicy scent, so I’m sure this will do wonderfully in one of our Kyphi recipes.

The first Lavender flowers of the season, so tiny and fragrant. Lavender is a herb for blessing, that brings peace, forgiveness and understanding to your home and relationships, and that helps healing through grief, recovery from illness, and other long term healing processes. Angelic entities and any Spirits related to healing/medicine will gladly take it as an offering, as well as any Spirits who protect children. Infuse it in olive oil for a very easy, but really effective, blessing oil for anointing.

Cutting fresh Ginger root for future medicine, magic, and food. If you want to know how I preserve it, check this post.

New altar setup, so we could keep all statues together. In our tradition, altars are a very personal choice, and can be as eclectic as the Espiritista chooses, and can afford. We work with 21 full Cortes (groups of Spirits), so it would be impossible to have them all represented; we work with the statues that Spirits put in our way, and do the best we can to keep them all happy :).

Saturday morning’s harvest – Lemon Balm, Basil, Fennel, Spearmint, Argentinian Sage, and Lemongrass. The root in the lower right corner is also from Fennel; once dry, it will be a very potent ingredient for my herbal spellwork powders. This plant was grown from seed, and has been loved and nurtured for two years before harvesting, growing in a completely sacred environment – can you imagine how much power such thing can harness? And, aren’t you happy that this is what goes on your spells and candles?

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My Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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Service Preparations: Pictures

A bundle of artisan cigars that have gone through the Sobado ceremony last week, wrapped in fragrant Lemongrass leaves and ready to be offered on Saturday, in our upcoming Spiritual Empowerment Service.

Smoked, burnt as incense, or used as an offering, tobacco is a sacred plant that opens the channels of Spirit, empowers the connection between worlds, and cleanses away negativity and parasitic entities – all perfect properties for our Service!

A small batch of Kyphi – we serve our regular Kyphi in almost every Service, but this one has been prepared with a custom recipe for the purpose of the Service – to strengthen the connection with Spiritual Guides, cleanse the channels of magical energy, and helping all participants achieve more control and power over their magical practise.

After spending the weekend cleaning the house from top to bottom, it’s time to begin the magical cleansing that will purify and empower the energy of the altar room. In the pic, over twenty herbs, barks, and roots, to be used in a floor wash daily until next Saturday. 100% of the ingredients were either homegrown at our sacred garden, or wildharvested in Nature – our customers deserve the best, and nothing but the best!

Remember, participations close on Friday 20! To purchase yours: https://www.brujacarolina.com/product/april-21-spiritual-empowerment-service

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My Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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Herbalism: Drying And Preserving Ginger Root

Ginger root is just amazing – it has so many properties, for both medicine and magic, that you would need a whole book to put them all together. I use ginger in my food, as part of herbal teas, and of course on my magical work – it is a perfect choice for Road Opening, Empowerment, Protection, Love, and even Hex-Breaking magic.

In my opinion, there is no comparison between starting with a fresh root, and purchasing the tasteless shit the supermarket sells on the spice section. But, a root is quite big, and if you leave it in the fridge, it will start wrinkling and losing taste and power very quickly. Here is a post on how I preserve and store ginger root from fresh – enjoy!

The root is pieced in chunks, the skin is peeled off as thinly as possible with a short and very sharp knife, and the root is then cut into thin chips or dices. If I only used it for magic, I wouldn’t peel it and just go straight to chopping it, but a lot will be used in the kitchen too, so peeled is easier to measure and powder if needed.

Note 1: Don’t throw away the peels! These are perfect for incense, infusing oils, for natural potpourri or amulet sachets.

Once the root is peeled and chopped, you must place it in on a shallow layer in a tray, and let it to dry on the warmest place in your home. Every day, you will turn the layer over to prevent it from molding until it is fully dry, which can take up to 2 weeks or more, because of the high water content roots have. It is a very good idea to place a layer of absorbent paper under the root chips, or a tea towel, to gather humidity – but the important step is to turn them over every single day.

If you live in a very cold and/or humid environment, you can place the root to dry in the oven. Keep it at the lowest setting for 3-4 hours, and keep the oven door slightly open so it doesn’t actually bake. Note for beginner Brujas: if you can smell it while it’s in the oven, it’s too hot!

Note 2: do exactly the same with the peels if you are keeping them.

This is how the root chips look when dry. Now, a part will be powdered in a coffee grinder, and placed in a small jar in our kitchen; the rest will go as is to our magical apothecary to be used in spellwork, oil lamps, etc. If properly stored, its scent and properties will last for many, many months!

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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Free Printables: Gardening Calendar

Do not download this pic – the downloadable PDFs are at the end of the post!

This two-page printable Gardening Calendar is based on the one I use myself, and will be very useful for beginning gardeners and wildharvesters. I write only the main monthly tasks, and also record what we have wildharvested (and where), so next year I can go back to it, and plan our wildharvesting trips in advance. It is a very efficient way to keep up with the cycles of the year, and once you have filled the first year, it is incredibly easy to stay prepared and organized. Below, you can find two versions for downloading, one in full colour, and one in black and white. And remember, as always, personal use ONLY.

Download The Full Colour Version

Download The Black And White Version (Printer-Friendly)

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

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Magical Herbalism For Beginners III: Wildharvesting And Guerrilla Gardening

Beautiful mountains in the area of the Valley Of Colino, which crosses our town.

The third post of this series is about herbalism outdoors: Wildharvesting and Guerrilla Gardening. For those unfamiliar with the terms, Wildharvesting is the practise of identifying and gathering herbs that grow in natural areas, and Guerrilla Gardening is the planting of beneficial plants in abandoned urban areas.

We practise both – we live in a quite poor urban area, with very few green spaces and very hard climate conditions; and, since we have only an urban garden on the house’s roof terrace, we need to wildharvest to get plants that we cannot plant in pots. I hope our experience helps you and inspires you!

To read the first and second part of this series, please click Here (Part 1) and Here (Part 2).

Wildharvesting

· Wildharvesting requires the utmost respect for Nature and Her generosity; harvest just what you need, harming the plant as little as possible and leaving enough of the plant for it to regrow and feed the local fauna. If possible, harvest from several plants, instead of from one. Learn how to prune herbs correctly so you encourage growth

· Get a quality hand scythe, and keep it as sharp as possible. There is nothing that causes more accidents than a dull blade.

Our scythe – old, but very loved :).

· Protect your hands with gloves. We use the gloves that are sold for electricians and other construction workers – they are quite thick while allowing excellent movement, and have a non-slip cover on the palm for a better grip.

· For urban wildharvesters, a few ziplock bags and a good pair of kitchen scissors will be enough; for those who wildharvest with a car, and need bigger quantities of herbs, this is our car’s kit: besides the scythe and the gloves mentioned above, we keep ziplock bags in several sizes, trash bags (for actual trash left by others), a couple of big and sturdy plastic bags for bigger amounts of plants, cotton cord, a sturdy rope, water, food, and a small first aid kit.

· And speaking of trash – don’t make any, and if you find stuff left by others, pick it. The land Spirits will love you for it. Become the guardian of the place where you harvest, and you will always be welcome to the land and its secrets.

· Always leave a payment for what you are taking, and thank the spirits of the place for allowing you to find and harvest plants. You can take seeds, fruit, milk, tobacco leaves, honey, bread or cake… the list can be endless. Take something of quality, and only biodegradable items. No candles, plates, or anything that can poison animals like chocolate.

· Do NOT wildharvest endangered species, on public parks, on preserved areas, or private properties. Ever.

· Do NOT wildharvest right off the edge of the roads where there is car traffic, if you have any intention of ingesting the plant, or to use it topically. Those herbs are poisoned by the cars’ fumes.

· And, this is very important: wildharvesting can be a dangerous activity. Don’t be the guy from Into The Wild, please; stay safe at all costs, never go wildharvesting without telling someone, and never ingest any plant until you are sure you know what you are putting in your body. Nature is NOT harmless, and neither are plants.

In this area (I will keep the place private), we have replanted several Dragon’s Blood trees, a Fig Tree, and several Canarian Lavender plants.

Guerrilla Gardening

Guerrilla Gardening is the act of planting useful, edible and endemic plants on abandoned urban spaces. Guerrilla Gardening looks forward to give back to Mother Nature, to make our urban spaces more beautiful and useful, to offer sources of free food for anyone who needs it, to educate others in honouring the Earth, and to give the urban bird and insect fauna more sources for food and shelter.

· We gather all the seeds from our kitchen scraps along the year, extra wildharvested seeds, and any overstock of seeds from our garden, dry them and mix them in a bag – once dry, you can keep a small amount in your purse/backpack in a ziplock bag, and just spread a pinch whenever you have the chance.

· You can also mix your seeds with clay and make balls/discs with the mixture; make sure it’s natural clay with no chemicals added, like potters’ clay, and do not use heat to dry them (in both cases, so you don’t kill the seeds). Once they are dry, not only you can plant them anywhere, they make great gifts for friends and family, or for anyone you want to turn into Guerrilla :).

· Remember not to spread invasive plants, and use only varieties that are native to your environment – this is extremely important! Always choose useful over beautiful, food and medicine over pretty.

· Plants that are butterly and bee favourites should always be among your choices – the more we help beneficial insect populations, the healthier and stronger our ecosystem will be.

Offering of honey and Anise cakes, for a very special Spirit friend in one of our favourite wildharvesting areas.

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

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