After a morning epiphany during my meditation time, I worked my witchy ass off all day to give a huge turnaround at my art website. I realized that since I see no difference between the many manifestations of my art, and that I believe them all to come from the same source, they should all share the same space, and the same importance. I invite you to visit it, and enjoy the new galleries – plenty of magical, herbal, artsy eye candy!

http://carolinagonzalezart.weebly.com/

 

Visual Inspirations: The Island In January

Happy New Year to all readers and subscribers!!!

January is the greenest, most beautiful month of the year when it comes to our tiny islands. This year, after an unexpected (but deeply grateful for) very rainy autumn, Winter has started cold (by our standards :D ), sunny, and totally delicious.

The places where we wildharvest regularly become our gardens, our adopted areas; we know every tree that grows there, when they flower and seed, and when they are not to be cut. Many of the older trees hold very powerful Spirits, and they have become our friends through each visit, each offering, each time we clean the place from trash. We see seasonal plants come and go with the year, rejoicing by their return every single time. We are as attached to these places as if we owned them, and when civilization ends with them, our heart will be broken.  So, what you are looking at is not only pictures of pretty things – it’s our green family :). Enjoy!

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Hibiscus (above) and Bird Of Paradise/Strelitzia (below) are in full bloom during this season.

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Gorgeous moss textures on the bark of a bottle tree (Adansonia Genus, Baobab).

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Canarian Ivy (Hedera Canariensis) growing over a Pepper Tree (Schinus Molle).

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The Canarian Palm tree (Phoenix Canariensis) is giving fruit abundantly – only animals eat their dates, but the sap that is taken from the crown of the tree is the origin of the Canarian Palm Honey, one of the most delicious relics of Canarian cuisine, and sadly a disappearing tradition.

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Inside the branches of one of my “adopted” Dragon’s Blood Trees. This one is actually the biological mother of the one I grew from seed, and that lives in our garden.

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And finally, my beloved Juniper trees. These five trees grow around a well that is centuries old, and are the home to several families of blackbirds,  so they are quite magical indeed.

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Visual Inspirations: Magical Winter Crafts

In this post, I will go through three crafts for your Winter/Christmas/Yule decorations, all filled with magical symbolism but completely non-denominational, and all really discreet – if you have to hide your Bruja stuff from family, these are some good examples to keep your practise alive without feeling alienated from it because of judgemental visitors. The point of these examples is not to make them as I did, but to inspire you to find a deeper relation between you and your direct environment, your home, creating connection between the symbols of winter and your own experience and Ancestry.

Ancestral Candle Bowl

How To: Take a brass bowl, place a glass with a candle on one side, and fill the rest of the bottom with moss – this is Usnea moss, wildharvested. Add shells from your beaches, one vintage ornament for a little sparkle, and a couple of owl feathers from the giant owl that hunts on your neighbourhood.

Magical Why: we are islanders, so winter holidays are beach holidays for many of us, and since we both were raised on coastal towns, the sea is always tied to our family memories. Since most elements belong to our favourite places in Nature, it is energetically tied to them, and to our Ancestry. Shells are a symbol of love (not only for a couple’s love, but also family and ancestral love), feathers a symbol of communication, and the owl a symbol of wisdom. Every time the candle is lit, our Ancestry receives the message of how loved and remembered they are, and how missed they are during winter festivities.

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Lantern Of Blessings

How To: old and rusty garden lantern, bottom filled with wildharvested moss. Add a vintage ornament, a wildharvested pine cone, a huge cinnamon stick and lots of fresh lavender from the garden. On top, a lovely ribbon holds a bell and a smaller sprig of Lavender.

Magical Why: the lantern represents what guides us in the dark, and thus our goals and dreams for the new year to come. These elements of nature attract luck and opportunity (cinnamon), cleansing (moss), susteinance (pine cone), blessing (lavender), and the bell and the ribbon represent joy and family ties, respectively. As the season continues, we may change the contents accordingly, renew the fresh herbs, or add petitions in paper scrolls… options are many!

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Protection And Blessing Magic: Herbal Bundles

How To: In the pic below, you can see two bundles – the one on the left is eucalyptus (dry), and the one in the right, fresh Lavender from the garden. Both were ornamented with a vintage ribbon bow, a bell and a vintage ornament.

Magical Why: herbs own magical properties by themselves – eucalyptus is chosen for protection, and Lavender for a happy and peaceful home :). The ornaments represent our families (one comes from each side), the bells represent joy and laughter, and the ribbons what tie us together.

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And, of course, Herbal Sachets – filled with any combination of herbs of your choosing!

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Service Preparations: The Fortuna Tree

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As most readers know, we have started the preparations for our upcoming Service on December 21. I am very proud to present you our altar’s centerpiece – the Fortuna Tree.

· The tree shape was made entirely of twigs and wool (no nails, and no glue), just as the trellis for the last Noche De Animas Service. That took about three hours of very patient work, since it measures 1 metre tall/1,1 yards.

· The pyramid shape of the structure is a very magical one, that attracts beneficial energy and focuses it on the altar area. To raise energy until the 21st, it will be lit every day for a few hours, and candles and incense will also be added daily.

· I chose the colour scheme of red and gold, because those are the best for the purpose of the Service. Red is blessing and protection; gold is wealth and health.

· The Poinsettia flower grows abundantly here in the islands during the winter, and to me, it is a symbol of love and family.

· The multicoloured lights represent the participants’ wishes, and make for all possible purposes of the Service that may not be covered.

· Just so, absolutely everything is brand new; although I am all for recycling, this time it has a specific magical purpose – to bring in the new blessings with the new year. Also, what I spent on all decorations is my personal gift to my customers – because you are amazing and you deserve it <3.

If you want to participate in our Blessing Service, you can do so at: http://www.brujacarolina.com/product/new-2017-blessing-service-december-21

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Preparations For The Service: A Photo Post

This post is a selection of images of the preparations for our upcoming Noche De Animas Service that I have posted in the past three weeks in my social networks, for those of you who do not visit them often, or have been away for any reason. With it, I want not only to inspire you, but also to invite you to participate in the Service, and show how every detail is cared for lovingly. Spiritual Services are, for us, the top of our skill as Espiritistas, and a task that we take with the love and devotion it requires – as I hope this post will show you :).

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Herbal liquor (named Parra here in the islands), made with herbs from the garden. Once steeped for a few weeks, it will be sweetened with local organic honey and poured on a special bottle for the altar. On the sides of the jar, Sage and Lavender incense sticks, also made with herbs from the garden.

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The altar begins completely bare, and is purified with herbal waters and incense. A fresh tablecloth is placed, and just a candle that will be lit most of the day until the 31st. With fencing wood and handspun wool, I made a trellis to work as the background of the altar. That was really fun work :).

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A few days after, it was decorated with a garland of dry Bouganville flowers and Eucalyptus leaves, strings of beads, bones, a small horseshoe (probably from a donkey), owl feathers, and the incense sticks you have seen in the first picture of this post.

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A very special moment in the preparations for the Service – setting our Mother Africa statue and embellishing her. She will represent all Ancestral lines, ours and our customers’ lines. The energy in the altar, and in the whole room, changed as soon as she was finished.

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I got some vegetables from a dear sister’s family crop, and among them there was a couple of corn ears. Of course, I had to save the husk for a Corn Lady doll for our altar. A little wool for filling, red string for good luck, my amulet bracelets for her necklaces, and two keys in her arms, for opening and closing energies as she should :). The Corn Lady is abundance, prosperity, growth, medicine, susteinance. You can see how lovely she looks on the altar on the pic below.

dscn3100Our Noche De Animas service celebrates, empowers and strengthens your relationship with your Ancestral lines – and, this year, it has a totally irresistible price of 10$. Read all details here:

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Visual Inspirations: To Saint Michael, On His Day

Today is the feast of Saint Michael, and since he is tremendously important in the Canarian tradition of Curanderismo, and on our own personal practise as well, this post has the only intention of honouring him. He has performed true miracles for us and for our customers, and he deserves no less!

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Saint Michael By Cesare Dandini (1596-1657).

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Saint Michael By Guido Reni (1575-1642)

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Saint Michael By Rafael Sanzio (1483-1520)

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The Last Judgment, by Hans Memling (1430-1494), with Saint Michael weighing souls in the centre. Above, full piece and detail.

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Saint Michael Freeing Souls From Purgatory by Jacopo Vignali (1592 -1664).

May the protection and love of Saint Michael bless you always!

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Visual Inspirations: A Day In The La Vega Valley

The La Vega valley is one of the oldest inhabited areas of Tenerife – before the spanish invasion, it was inhabited by Guanches already, for its mild climate, fertile soil and abundance of water sources. Right now it is part of the county of San Cristóbal De La Laguna, and since it is quite near to where we live, it is often the focus of our wildharvesting excursions. Today we didn’t went in search of herbs, but just to explore new roads, but we came back with a wonderful harvest of pictures :).

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Today, we explored the mountain of Saint Roch, a tiny mountain by the side of the city. We chose the wrong road, got lost, and had to go back down, but it was fun anyway, and the sights of the city and the nearby mountains were beautiful. In this area you see in the picture above, one of the biggest battles between the Guanches and the Spanish happened. The battle led to the death of the Mencey (King), right in the fields you are looking at, and to the final submission of the last rebel Guanches of the area.

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Asters were blooming everywhere, making gold and green carpets in the abandoned fields.

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The gorgeous flowers of the Cerraja (Sow Thistle, Sonchus Oleraceus), a giant cousin of the dandelion.

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After breakfast on a favourite roadside cafeteria (which has the lovely name of The Sweet-Toothed Buddha) and a visit to the nearby plant nursery (with of course a purchase of new plants that I will be documenting shortly), we stopped by this very old house to take pictures for my future paintings. It is crumbling down beside a very busy road, and shut down completely to avoid people getting in, but Fernando managed to get some lovely and interesting shots. This house could be between 200 and 400 years old (it was built in several stages), and it’s a beautiful example of traditional Canarian houses. I wanted to capture it before it disappears.

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And, the Spirits were saving the best for last – our final visit was to gather soil for our garden at a regular wildharvesting spot (not in the La Vega Valley, but quite near), and we happened to coincide with the area’s goat shepherd family, and their 90 goats! We didn’t want to disturb them, so I took some pics and a short video, and we moved a little further in the road to do our work – but you can believe me when I say I was squealing like a teenager :D. The perfect end to our little adventure.

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Urban Gardening: Photo Post 1

Urban gardening can be an amazing experience, even in unforgiving weathers like ours – for me, it has been a life changing experience. And yes, it takes lots of work, patience, and dedication; but the result is SO worth it. To be surrounded by plants when you live among the concrete as we do, has been like creating a little piece of paradise.

The pics below were taken a couple of days ago in our roof garden. These photo posts have no other intention than to inspire you to create your own  :).

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Alyssum (Globularia Maritima), an endemic coastal plant, flowering beautifully on a shaded area.

Marigolds (Calendula Officinalis) in three different colours.

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Moorish Sage (Salvia Canariensis), another endemic and very rare plant, coming back to life after its winter sleep.

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Chocolate Mint (Mentha Piperita v.Chocolate) – delightful taste, but needs constant pruning.

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Wild Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris), one of my favourite cooking herbs!

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Wild Marjoran (Origanum Mejorana), another staple of Canarian cooking.

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Catmint (Nepeta Cataria) – we have four cats, so it is only natural that we keep them “supplied” with a few varieties of this plant.

Two days ago, I posted about how to make this wine box planter. The pictures posted were from the day it was made, around two months ago – and this one is from a couple of days ago. As you can see, everything is growing beautifully – all the plants have gone through a couple of prunings, and it looks like a third one is coming soon :).

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