Enchantment Learning & Living Blog

Welcome to Enchantment Learning & Living, inspirational blog about the simple pleasures, radical self-care, and everyday magic that make life delicious.

Magic Is a Hard, Gritty Thing (Part I)

With my book coming out in just a few short months, I’ve decided to write a few blog posts exploring the heart and soul of Everyday Enchantments, my writing life, and my life life: Everyday Magic. This is the term I use to explore the mysticism inherent in our daily lives, the sacred simple pleasures that heal the soul, and the radical self-care that keeps us vital.  

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

And it is.  But magic is also a hard, gritty thing.  It takes its own time and works in its own way.  You ask the Universe for something and it waits and watches and looks to see if you are, in fact, doing your part to make that desire come to fruition.  It asks for blood and sweat, time and tears, focus and energy.  So that when you ask for your Heart's Desire, the Universe first considers whether it is a wise wishing or an unhealthy infatuation.  In time, if it's the right thing for you, then the wish whispered on a dandelion head will make its way back to you.  Just as soon as it pleases and no sooner.

Let's face it, if magic were easy, more people would be doing it.

The hardest part about magic is that you have to let go of any notion that you can control all the variables in your life.  Surrender.  Listen to the Universe and your heart of hearts.  They will tell you where you need to go--and it's often not where you think you should be headed.  Magic is tricky that way.  Revealing its wisdom only when you're committed not to a specific outcome but to the art of learning yourself and the cosmic world around you.

It works kind of like this:  When you ask for light, you might expect fireworks to go off in the night sky immediately.  In reality, after hard labor, constant focus, and everyday conjuring, you get a small spark which you then nourish into a healthy fire to warm your home.  Still, you get the light, but in order not to take that conjuring for granted, you have to continue to work to keep it alive. 

Magic is a lot like self-care in that way.  When we taking about taking care of ourselves it’s often about pampering—lighting scented candles, sinking into bubble baths, taking afternoon naps.  Rarely do we talk about the hard work that goes into actual self-care, like waking up before sunrise to workout because that’s the only time you know you can realistically get it in, or swearing off processed sugar because you know that as good as it might taste, it’s no good for you.  Self-care is letting go of toxic situations and people regardless of what outsiders might think of your actions so that you can feel at peace.  It asks you to prioritize yourself without guilt in a world that sees that as a selfish act.  In short, self-care requires some serious adulting! 

As does magic.  You walk the fine line between infinite belief and hard labor.  As the common saying with writing goes, inspiration will never find you unless you're working.   Neither does magic.  It doesn't give anything away for free or shower you with unearned gifts.  There's always a price and the best magic, your own conjured magic, tastes all the better because it was birthed from your own sweat. 

So you plant your soul seeds and you tend them without rigid expectations.  Then one day those seeds sprout, blossom, ripen into delicious fruit if that is what is meant to happen.  Those that don't, find their purpose in feeding the worms in your compost bin.  But the fruit you do harvest is nothing short of divinity.  It tastes of your backyard, kissed by your sunlight.  Fed by your dirt and watered by your sweat.  It is summer in your mouth, the promise of eternal sweetness.

You get the idea. 

Magic is a hard, gritty, beautiful thing. 

Magic is ahard, grittything.png

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Join Me for #TarotTuesdays

This time last year, I was finishing the final manuscript (minus several rounds of edits) of Everyday Enchantments. It marked the beginning fo the end of what had become a six-year project. What followed was a year of editing, blogging, and dreaming about my next writing projects. I could finally return to fiction, my first love, and explore everyday magic in a whole new way. I could also experiment with new writing forms, like the 55-word story format that I'm using for my new EcoErotica series on Instagram, which I kicked off with the piece Seeds

My next project came to me at the end of the school year in a synchronous flash involving the tarot, 55-word stories, and a conversation with the universe.  I love the tarot and have often wanted to learn more about it. My own tarot practice is fairly simple--a basic question, a shuffle of the deck, and a card chosen from the pack. I don't do the elaborate readings or the layouts. As much as I appreciated them, I'd rather leave them to the professional mystics. 

Much of the work I do, on the other hand, is dependent on synchronicity--those meaningful coincidences--and the daily routine that speaks to me through the deck. I have to keep it simple, otherwise, the cards won't speak to me.  Not even my magic will speak to me if I make life too complicated. Believe me, it's an ongoing, ever-evolving art-form for me to learn how to keep things simple!

Another integral part of tarot to me is storytelling...which leads me to the second synchronous event that me to my latest writing project: #TarotTeuesdays on Instagram. I was at my favorite herb store, thinking about how much I wanted to learn more about the most famous tarot deck, the Rider-Waite, and remembering the centuries-old tarot cards I saw at the Morgan Library a few years back when I visited New York. Then I saw it: A Radiant Rider-Waite tarot deck sitting almost out of eyesight on the top of the bookshelf I was perusing. 

It was a sign. Time to learn more about the tarot.  I bought the deck, saged it when I got home and spent the next week getting to know it by repeatedly shuffling through it and examining each card. I decided that I would develop my emerging love of the 55-word story, a fun exercise I often work on with my creative writing students, into a 78-word story for each of the cards in the tarot deck. 78 words for the 78 cards that make up the tarot.

My plan is to draw a new card every Tuesday and write a 78-word story based on its meaning and the synchronicity inherent in each draw of a card.  Although there is no official tarot deck, I'm using the Rider-Waite edition because it is considered one of the oldest and most popular decks. I use another type for my own personal use, which I automatically knew I didn't want to use for this writing project because they are so sacred to me. So I needed a new deck just for the purposes of writing and exploring.  I love that this is the radiant edition because, well, so much of what I write about is bringing light to dark places and nourishing the synchronicities that illuminate our path. This is a cheerful deck, a hopeful collection of cards perfectly in line with the type of magic I seek to conjure.

In short, I'll be writing weekly 78-word stories based on the tarot. I draw a new card every week and let it tell me its story. Look for #TarotTuesdays on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to read them as they are posted each week.

Here's to new writing projects and the meaningful coniencedences that led me to them!

Tarot Card Deck

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Midnight Meteor Shower Picnics

This has been the summer of picnics.  At the park.  In the backyard.  Midday under a shade tree to beat the heat or post-monsoon afternoon searching for rainbows and sipping iced tea.  Any summer occasion is a special occasion and so worthy of its own picnic.  Naturally, when I found out that tonight marks the start of the annual Perseids meteor shower, four little words entered my mind: Midnight.  Meteor.  Shower.  Picnic.

Seriously, what could be better?

Earlier this season, I wrote about how to plan the perfect picnic.  But it has now occurred to me that midnight picnics are their own kind of event mostly because the focus is less on good food and more on the night sky, especially for such a special shower we should expect to see tonight.  

What makes it so special this time around?  Well, we are likely to see twice as many shooting stars this year (almost 200 an hour compared to the average 100) as in previous ones.  This is because of an "outburst," which is when the earth's previous orbit debris mixes with our current debris (yeah, I'm not sure quite how it works either...but you can read more about the specifics here).  The bottom line is that we will be gifted with a spectacular meteor shower that can't be missed!  So make sure to plan ahead, pack plenty of creature comforts, and prepare for a lovely night of stargazing. The show starts at 10pm Thursday and goes into early Friday morning.

1.  Bring blankets.  While all picnics require a thick blanket to sit on, a midnight picnic requires other wraps of soft throws to snuggle under as the desert night turns cooler.  Maybe even a few pillows to lie back on as you stargaze.  Think of it as making an impromptu outdoor bed.

2. Plan to stay awhile.  Looking for shoot stars is like fishing--you have to be prepared to sit and wait in order to catch something good (either a fish or a star, wink wink).  If you rush the experience, you miss out on witnessing the beauty of shooting stars. Treat it like a meditation--truly, there is nothing more lovely on a summer night than stargazing, even without a meteor shower.  So pass the time by trying to map constellations like Perseids, where the shower originates, or make up your own.  What matters is that you take the time to converse with the stars.

3.  Pack a thermos (and a flask if you're feeling risqué!).  A mug of hot tea will keep you both revived and awake while you stargaze.  Fill it with an energizing (but caffeine free) herbal tea and bust it out when a case of the sleepies hits. You'll keep yourself awake for the big event without hindering your ability to get some Zzzzs once you're ready for bed.

4.  Pack easy snacks.  As with any picnic, you should keep your food delicious and simple; that goes double for a midnight meteor shower show.  Think blueberries, nuts and edible treats that won't distract you from your stargazing.  The point is to nosh as needed without tearing your gaze away from the sky.  

5.  It's all about location, location, location--this is especially important for shooting star viewing. Now we can't always get to the perfect location, but if you can, find a spot away from harsh city lights that drown out the glittering stars.  Or, if you're like me, and going to stargaze in your backyard, turn off all the lights and notice how many more stars you can see.  

Summer is by far one of the best times to forget about the clock and spend some time communing with the universe, getting lost (found?) in the constellations adorning the night sky, and keeping an eye out for those elusive shooting stars.  Happy stargazing! 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Summer Solstice & the Strawberry Moon

I went moon bathing last night.  

I wanted to coat my skin in the rosy glow of June's strawberry moon on this of all days: the summer solstice.  You can love the light of the year's longest day.  You can enjoy the way the sun's rays stretch from dawn until the last whispers of dusk, straining to reach the farthest corners of waking experience.  You can admire the way the unabashed luster of the fading daylight makes the mountains blush deeply as if anticipating things best tasted at night.  But you must not forget the moon.  Or the stars. 

And that is why I moon bathed last night.  I wanted to honor how the full moon brought more light to this day of light, illuminating the thoughts and forgotten corners that would otherwise remain in shadow.  Better to know what lingers under the stardust and hides under the moon-kissed rocks.  It is bliss to find that half-forgotten memory buried amongst my herbs; catharsis to finally rid myself of the pests that take advantage of the cover darkness offers.  This is my chance to ask the moon for answers (it will not be this receptive again for another 70 years and then-- where will I be?).

So I asked my questions--and she gave me answers.  She filled my mouth with the full sweet taste of ripe strawberries until their seeds burst on my tongue.  She washed my hair in a waterfall of her silvery light and rubbed my skin in the promising perfume of rose petals.  She confided that now, midway through the year, is the ideal time to find my story within a map gifted to me by the constellations.  She asked the cicadas to sing so that I may dance.  And she told me--as the moon always does--to remember to dream. Deeply. Tenderly.  With wild abandon.  She bid me stain my fingers and thoughts and beating heart with her lunar liquid, tonight the color of berries pressed between lovers' lips.

Dream.  Always.  For the best things begin in moonlight.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Leap Year: Or the Magpie and the Time Thief

It can't help itself.  There are so many shiny little seconds, like copper pennies, buried in the sand. And all those fat marbled minutes that roll downhill and find themselves half-submerged in a puddle.  Then there are the hours, glittering gears forever moving forward one plodding step at a time.  The magpie must have them all, plucking them from their gutters and trash bins and other places time goes to be forgotten.  

The thrifty bird plucks a lost second from the bottom of your pocket--a strand of silver tinsel in its black beak.  Broken-down minutes are trapped in its wings as if stardust were woven into each feather.  It greedily clutches and grabs for the heaviest and most elusive of treasures: the hour that slipped away from you, frittered away or just lost when you forgot to look for it.  The bird hooks its claws through the gear's hollow center, careful not to let the teeth bite into its scaled bones.  

Back to the nest.

The scavenger's home becomes a museum of so many beautiful moments.  So many grains of sand that escaped the hour glass.  So many sparkling instants that could have sprouted another story, a different path.  They all belong to the magpie.  It wants to gloat over its hoarded treasure buried between rounded twigs and moss, revel in the delicious possibility of lost time.  

But the temptation of finding more--bigger--gems lure it from its nest. 

That is when the time thief strikes.  She waits and she watches the magpie fondle discarded clock faces and rusty numbers that used to mean something.  She hides in the shadows cast by the brilliant light of those silver timepieces and memories swept away with the seconds between blinks.  And when the magpie shakes the last of the stardust from its wings and flits off in search of more sparkling tick-tocks, she makes her move.

Gathers all the dazzling lost instants and stuffs them into one day so that she may bask in the warm promise of extra time.  (She knows too, that this borrowed time will always fetch a high price at the market.)  Like the magpie, she cannot resist the glittering cogs that insist there is a past and a present and a future.  Who can withstand the rotation of two hands on a circular face?

Certainly not the magpie who returns to its nest, drawn by the luminous day built from its hard-scavenged treasure.  It will take back its precious collection, drive its sharp claws into the thief's spine--but the thief knows better than to turn her back to the nest.  She instead hides in the shadows of the waning light, attempting to pull her stolen loot along in her wake.  The bird tugs back, wrapping tinseled seconds around its beak and claws for better purchase; the thief refuses to let go, holding fast to a handful of minutes.  

Push-pull, push-pull, until the moments and hours and seconds and minutes shake loose and scatter themselves over the earth, once again disappearing into gutters and drainpipes, under rocks and tree roots.  The magpie has no choice but to start its work once more.  The thief returns to the shadows, waiting until the bird's nest is once again full of lost time so that she may feast upon it herself.

The earth circles four times around the sun.  Four sets of four seasons sweep through the land. And the cycle begins anew. 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Everyday Enchantment

Enchantment.  A spell wrapped in a noun.  Three syllables.  One state of being.

To live with Enchantment is to see beyond the brick and mortar that make up your home and into the magic infused within its frame.  It is to peel back the layers of your day-to-day and search for that elusive energy that winds its way up your spine and outward into your life.

To learn from Enchantment is to listen to Coyote's call when he plays his tricks.   He is a messenger really--there to make you listen.  To trust in the power that is you, that is the earth; the power that is the beating of your heart, a rhythmic tattoo that forever pounds out your path regardless of how many times you try to stray from it.  It is to absorb the wisdom of the moon and the stars, and the prophesying of the seeds burrowed deep in the dirt.

It is to conjure.  To create.  To believe that the bulk of your day--the most important parts--occurs in the moments and spaces others can too easily overlook.  Because when you are looking for everyday enchantment, it finds you.  Always.  It nourishes you.  It makes its home inside your skin and feeds your soul. 

Yes.  That's Enchantment.  A spell wrapped in a noun, planted in the earth and nourished with moonlight, roots stretching to the underworld and leaves unfurling towards the heavens, creating a waking dream in the here and now if only you are open to it.

woman moon.jpg

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Wings

You felt them growing underneath your skin right along your shoulder blades.

At first, your thought it was only tight shoulders, muscles that needed to be loosened.  But at the pain grew and little bumps began to form on either side of your spine, you knew.  And when the skin broke revealing bits of blood and bone and feathers you could no longer deny your wings.

They grew out of hope and lessons learned the hard way, out of holding on and letting go.  They are nourished by the warm caress of the sun and a growing sense of self.  Delicate, yes. Ephemeral spans of imagination and bone.  But strong, unbreakable as they unfurl from your back and stretch wide, parts of them still coated with the blood and skin they took as they pushed their way out of your back. 

They are an almost weightless pressure now against your shoulder blades, a whisper of feathers and tendons behind you that will only grow stronger, bigger each time you dare to be just a little more you.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Best Hits: Everyday Magic

Over the course of my year of regular blogging, I have come to discover (or perhaps re-learn) that real magic--the kind that is felt deep in your bones, courses through your blood, and fills your soul--is in the everyday.  It's in the thoughts we nourish and the ones we don't; in the things we choose to enjoy and the things we choose to let go of; it's in the synchronous moments that cross our paths and the dreams that guide us.  Everyday magic is, ultimately, about learning to live and love as our most authentic selves.

Here are some of the most popular posts this year that highlight this--enjoy!

1.  On Belief

2.  On Burning Old Man Gloom

3.  On the Blood Moon Eclipse

4.  On Letting Go of Past Lives

5.   5 Things I've Learned About Everyday Magic from Blogging

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Summoning the Dead

Necromancy.

The dark art of summoning the dead.  Why not use those hollowed-out shells of life to divine the future?  Why not use them to piece together mysteries long-since passed?  Those ephemeral corpses would serve her best if they earned each slammed door and floorboard creak or their right to their shallow home beneath the earth with the information only the dead could give.  After all, necromancy is a craft that is strangely akin to the ancient practice of calling on your ancestors for strength.

...but there the similarities end, though she was too proud to admit it (the ghosts, however, knew the truth of it all too well).  Your ancestors are of you, blood of your blood, with you always in your bones and dreams.  They offer guidance and reassurance in times of need, hover over you in peace--on their own terms.  Always on their own terms.  

But the necromancer?  She calls upon energies not her own, summons up demons to twist fate for her own purposes; conjuring ghosts to glean secrets she was not meant to know.  She is a perversion of magic.  

Balance must be restored.  Slowly, one ghost at a time, this necromancer begins to give herself over to the world of the dead, to feed the souls she preys upon.  Soon the world she once hoped to bend to her will is no longer hers, and the realm she exploits will devour her whole.

And so she might feel powerful now.  She might win her small battles drawing on the shadows and forcing stories from freshly-awakened souls.  She might even reach a parody of contentment in her life, happy under her illusion of control.  But the dead are listening.  The dead are always watching.  And they will exact their price.

seance.jpg

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Witching Balls

witching ball2.jpg

I hang you above my doorstep and in the light of my windows, a perfect little orb of blown glass, glittering in the sun, reflecting bad energy back on itself.  You chase away evil, your history suggests, luring in witches with your beauty and sucking them inside your smooth shell; they are trapped, like a bug come too close to a flame.  They can harm no one.

That's one version of the story.  The other is from the witches themselves--harmless enough, they insist, no more prone to darkness than any human, as if that would reassure us.  Humans, after all, are culpable enough. This is the witches' story: 

I keep you on my writing desk, ready to peer into your opaque gaze, searching for a glimpse of my future, a peek at another world.  Divination, the true purpose of the witching ball.

But I wonder if the truth isn't somewhere in the middle, depending on the story, depending on the witch.  Perhaps these glass orbs do deflect darkness; perhaps they trap it within them, containing the powerful magic of a wayward soul--and it is this soul, this magic, that reveals the images you so desperately search for on the surface of the misty glass ball.  Perhaps a witch uses it on humans, to ward away their fear and superstition, to protect her home from those afraid of the unseen forces that guide our lives.  Perhaps it is just a glass ball, like any other trinket or ornament--though I doubt it. 

All I can say for sure is that when I see them stacked haphazardly in a dusty box or hanging on display windows in antique stores, now nothing more than used up superstitions, I can't help but wonder as I watch the dust float and drift over their surfaces, forming vague shapes.  I can't help but think be careful: don't mishandle them, don't break the glassWho knows what might come out of it.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Self-Hexing

It is so easy to hold yourself back, to smother yourself in the safe cottony comfort of being just where you are.  Planted in buried guilt--for moving on, for exorcising old ghosts, for having the courage to move blissfully and boldly into a new chapter of your in your life. Nourished by the dark barbs sent your way--a flash of envy, a spiteful glance, a hasty judgment--that you cannot deflect in your current state of Doubt.  It is then that these psychic weeds emerge, not full blown thoughts or even articulated in spoken word, but they snake through your mind like a whisper of an idea, a haunting of something you won't completely admit to telling yourself: best not to isolate yourself from the rest.  Best not to create ripples.

Yes, so much easier to just keep yourself in your place.

You walk in the daylight, true.  And yet you are still learning to protect yourself from the shadows splayed across your path.  They come for you, ready to feed--an accidental by-product of your brief stint in Catholic school, a side-effect of living out loud.  Guilt for living your creed, guilt for being living proof that life is a feast for the senses, not a sentence of penitence in over-work or a study in shame.  Guilt for not giving away your hard-earned bliss.

But what is the use, really, in holding yourself back?  What is the purpose of not walking your path? 

It is cruel to hold yourself back...but somehow safer, more comforting to be like the others.  These thoughts swirl together to form a terrible thing--an unspoken hex--that blossoms in the silence of your mind.  A hex to stunt your growth.  A hex to buy you the satisfaction (at least for a moment) of being one of them. But like any spell, a hex can be broken.

The cure is at once simple and so, so difficult: it is recognizing that you, ultimately, can cast a curse upon yourself worse than anything others could create.  It is in knowing that you could easily turn your power of life against yourself through your own fear of your limitless potential.  It is honoring your true self; it is facing down that guilt with the teeth you were born with.  So you unravel those dark threads of your self-inflicted hex, crushing them to dust with your heartbeat. One by one those traps fade from your path, no longer feeling the pull of your Doubt.  You resume your journey, once again walking in the daylight, fearful of no shadow, not even your own.

Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 X-NONE 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
 table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin-top:0in;
	mso-para-margin-right:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
	mso-para-margin-left:0in;
	line-height:115%;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:11.0pt;
	font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
	mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
    

 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Everyday Gothic

I am grateful for the flash of lightning and the crash of thunder; the ghostly hauntings, the prophetic ravens, and the skeletons found deep within closets--all remnants of Gothic tales we read late into the night, indulging our seemingly perverse pleasure for dread. These bursts of darkness remind us that terror is a real force in our lives.  It mirrors the trauma and violence that afflict us when we stray from our paths, compromise our instincts or become exposed to the hurtful intentions of others. 

But the real Gothic is in the everyday, made all the more terrifying for its seeming normalcy.  It is in the unexpected shudder we get after shaking hands with what seems like a perfectly normal acquaintance; her shell is intact, but inside, something is not quite right.  We acknowledge this cringing feeling deep down even as we are afraid to violate social niceties and voice it.  It is in the goosebumps we get when we enter a home not our own.  We can feel the years of day in, day out that the walls have absorbed, the history of the family ingrained in the beams that give a room its shape.  Take, for example, the picture perfect home that reveals its truth in the coldness and emptiness you feel when inside those stuccoed walls as if the spirit of the place has infected you with the emotional disconnect of the family.  It is haunted by the unspoken words and muted feelings of its inhabitants.

This uncanny energy is also found in waking up in the middle of the night for no reason.  There in the silence and darkness is the whisper of things you haven't been willing to see--and then, the tick-tock of the alarm clock that you never wind, but still somehow finds the strength to remind you of the passing time late at night when no one else is around to hear. 

But most of all we experience everyday gothic in our relationship to others.  Far more terrifying than things that go bump in the night and monsters hidden in shadows is the dark seed nestled behind the breastbone which some are tempted to nourish.  Evidence of this foulness are like puckered scars marring the skin of human experience.  The flash of the envious evil eye directed your way through a passive aggressive comment, a proverbial hex; the consistent energy drain and doubt you experience after talking with a supposed confidant, a psychic vampire; the collective pressure to numb yourself out to your inner voice, zombie infection.  And the true evil is still deeper than that: it is the ease with which we see this psychological violence as normal.  It is so seductive, so easy to ignore wickedness--in ourselves, in others--and drown our instincts in the soothing balm of a sugar-coated world view that suppresses the full spectrum of human understanding.  

This world is made up of dark as well as light and only in acknowledging its darkness can we be the candle flame that chases away the gloom.  

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Meeting My Niece

You were always a strong spirit.  The first time I met you, you were an elbow pushing against my sister's stomach in time to country music, happy after a red chile enchilada dinner.  You were a strong baby, even then, forged in the fires of love and hot yoga.

I witnessed your strength again as you pushed your way into this world, the monitor showing your accelerated heart rate each time you were about to take another step into the unknown.  Even the nurses were in awe of your strength as you kicked and wiggled and moved your head a little.  Yes, you are my sister's daughter.

I tried to remember your strength again as I held you for the first time.  Yet when you were in my arms, I could only feel how small you were, how tiny and soft and new.  I did not want to squeeze you too hard, although I was full to bursting with love.  Once again you reminded me that you would be no fragile flower: your longer fingers, so perfectly formed down to the fingernails, latched onto my index finger and squeezed hard.  Your grip was firm; now here is a woman unafraid of her strength.

Here we are, I wanted to tell you, creating our first memories together.  Here we are getting to know one another.  This memory will be distilled with time and crystallized in love.  With more to follow.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Being Tia, On Being Auntie

download.png

For the first time, I am Tia. I am Auntie. For the first time, I have a little niece to care for and love and offer Tia Wisdom--if that is what I can call the handful of knowledge I've gathered so far in my own journey.  They are only small bits of conclusions I've drawn from the world as I've made my way through it.

There is so much I want to teach her. Things that only an auntie can.  She will learn to walk gracefully in this world and to be the force of nature that she is--everything, in short, that it means to be a woman of strength.  But that she will learn from her mother.  She will also learn how to stay grounded, the importance of quiet, the necessity of the wilderness. Lessons she will learn from her father.  

She will learn how to throw pots and garden from her grandma; in this, she will learn the value of playing with mud, of conjuring playfully.  She will learn the world of symbols and dreams from her grandpa, a gift of insight and instinct in the form of quartz crystals and lumps of turquoise threaded through leather and love.

But what will I teach her?

The pleasures of a cup of tea, certainly.  And the alchemy of blending herbs, so that she may know the healing power of her curanderisma roots. I will show her the magic of a polka dot dress to chase away doubt and inspire courage--and a little flirtation.  

And books. Yes, books. With Tia, she will learn the necessity of a good book, the soothing balm of words on a page, the imaginative wonderings and wanderings a well-stocked library can inspire. Most of all, as Tia, I wish to show her that life is a delicious exploration, a boundless adventure, an indulgence for the senses.  I wish to show her the importance of living her creed--whatever that may be--and following the call of her fox spirit wherever it may lead her.

This, this is what it means to be Tia.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On the Blood Moon Eclipse

The blood moon.

Symbol of the abundance we draw towards ourselves. Harbinger of the final harvest before the hush of winter overtakes us.

The lunar eclipse.

You cast into darkness that which was once filled with light, not to dim our sight but to reveal the things we bury in shadow.

Together you create supercharged healing, an extraordinary revelation for those willing to listen; your alignment on this harvest season is a gift, a reminder of the blood that makes us, the life that sustains us, the spirits that guide us.

Awash in the red glow of your light, I draw abundance to me; I call life and love and creativity into my home; I open myself to you, blood moon, to cleanse me of my tiredness and recharge my soul.  I bathe in your blood light to better feel the strong bones and sinewy flesh and soft skin that makes me, well me--that make me human.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Rethinking Everyday Magic in October!

Speaking of celebrating my one-year anniversary with this amazing and super easy subscription contest in which you can win a fabulous prize, there are some other great things going on in the realm of Enchantment Learning & Living.  Not only can you continue to enjoy plenty more recipes and musing on the good life, but you can also enjoy a month of special Halloween themed blog posts in honor of the things that go bump in the night.

I've spent a lot of time on my blog talking about everyday magic--it's a central part of my writing--but with Halloween just around the corner, I began to wonder about the darker aspects of that energy. This type of magic is about more than just synchronicity and hobbit wisdom (as great as those things are); there is an equally important shadow side, if you will, to enchanted living.  What about the proverbial vampires and zombies we encounter in our day? What about hexes and nightmares?  These too are a part of everyday magic--as are their antidotes. 

You may have seen me moving in this direction already with posts like Descending into the Underworld and the Curse of Normalcy.  These too are about the darker aspects of everyday enchantment; this shadow side is not necessarily 'evil', but the realm of hidden desires, wants, fears, potentials that make up who we are; the waiting-to-be revealed wisdom just beyond the reach of our consciousness; and the violence that emerges when we cease to be true to ourselves.  There is a certain amount of chills and thrills to be expected when venturing into the unknown shadow realm.  It can be just as frightening as dueling with daily demons for all its ability to offer us insight into ourselves, our lives--or perhaps because it has so much potential to reveal our limitless ability to grow and change.

Sometimes the most terrifying thing in life--and the most empowering--is recognizing our full potential.  So join me for this monthly meditation on the shadow realm for a more well-rounded insight on everyday magic!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

One Year Anniversary Subscription Contest

Wow! I can hardly believe it but is was one year ago today that I started this blogging adventure (see how it all started here).  And to think a few short months after that, I committed to a year of daily blogging. Nine months along on that road and I can't believe what an inspiring journey it's been! One of My favorite things about this project is the fact that I get to carve out time every day to simply reflect and enjoy the life lessons and simple pleasures that make up my life.  It has also been a treat to share this journey with you readers and hear your stories. 

To celebrate this wondrous milestone, I'm hosting a subscription contest!  Here's how it works: simply subscribe to my blog by entering your email into the space provided at the end of this post or click here to enter your email address to be eligible for a gift card to amazon.com.

The 50th subscriber will receive a $15 amazon.com gift card.  The grand prize of a $25 gift card will be for the 100th email subscriber!  They can use this card to indulge in some simple pleasures that make their everyday life just a little more magical.  I'll be announcing the winners at the end of this month. 

It's as simple as that!  

Why not spread the word while you're at it?  Tell your friends, your family, your colleagues, your pets, your spirit guides and anyone else you can think of to enter the contest for a chance to win an amazon.com gift card.  It seems to me the best way to celebrate everyday magic is to spread the love...with a champagne bubble bath as a distance second, of course!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Another Harvest Moon

You went moon gazing last night.  You sat on the front lawn of your family home and simply gazed at this perfectly ripe orb, full of the promise of harvest, of cleansing and rebirth, of inward reflection.  You watched as it grew more golden in the late-night sky, covered only by thin, stray clouds like frayed ribbons drifting over its upturned face.

You let its light wash over you, bathe you in the mythology of the moon, settle your mind and refresh your soul.  And when you finally turned your gaze from that moon and made your way home, it was to dream deeply, letting its light filter through your window and into your dreamscape.

It has been almost a year since you have opened yourself to a better way of living, of dreaming, of being.  A year since you began diligently working on doing less, on recovering from the addiction of busyness.  A whole year since you learned to have time for the moon and embrace the bounty of its wisdom.  Each month it waxes and wanes in its own time, its own pace. So you too continue to learn how to grow into the fullest expression of yourself and take the time you need to take to listen to who you are.

And who you are is a woman who bathes in the moonlight and cultivates the quiet essential to her well-being.  The moon, as if to emphasize this realization, is there to greet you on your waking.  It has watched over you as you dreamed through the night and is there looking over you again in the morning; heavy and golden in the sky as you make your way to work, only the two of you are awake in the city.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

A Celebration of Kitchen Magic in 5 Flash Essays!

There is something almost ephemeral about the magic that is conjured over a simmering pot of beans or a shallow pan slowly melting butter for ghee.  Somewhere between rinsing and sifting the beans and the hours they spend cooking on a hot stove--or the brief moments it takes for your melted butter to separate its contents--magic occurs.  It is in the way tinkering in the kitchen can sooth us and in how we nourish ourselves not just by the food we make but how we make it. A pinch of this.  A dash of that.  Food is intention, a pure embodiment of how we chose to live, heal, nourish, love.

In many ways, the kitchen is also the most intimate space in our home; it reveals everything about us, from what we consider essential to our everyday life to how we connect with family and those we love.  In honor of this kitchen magic that keeps pulling me back to my stove, a new recipe, or a fresh kettle of hot water, I present to you five musing on the wonder and healing energy of the kitchen:

1.  Under the Influence of M.F. K. Fisher

2.  On Baking

3.  On Grocery Lists

4.  On Cooking and Onion

5.  On Cooking Dinner

What do you love most about the kitchen?

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Burning Old Man Gloom

Zozobra. 

Old Man Gloom.  The giant effigy of darkness and despair that gets eaten up by flames once a year--when the sun begins to turn its light from this earth, and we descend into the depths of the inward-turning months--since 1926 they say. 

But I know better.  Though I've never been to the iconic burning in my homeland nor stuffed the gloom boxes scattered around Santa Fe with my burnable past, I know better.  Yes, I know better.  Each and every day I burn Old Man Gloom with my own fire, my own light that fuels me and cleanses my spirit from the shades and whispers of doubt that seek to make their home in me.

It is not enough to sit and wait and watch someone burn Old Man Gloom for you, for he can return at any time---and can, with your flame, be sent back to the ashes of his existence.  This burning is a tribute to the fire we must keep within ourselves year round the better to chase away the daily dreads that seek to turn us from our path.  To turn from the shadows that seduce us with their gloom like a cloudy blanket--comforting in how it keeps us in our familiar past. (Though move on we must, for some, it is easier to embrace the gloom than venture into the unknown.)

But not for me.

So goodbye, Old Man Gloom, today and every day.  With my light, I banish you.  With my light, I banish stagnate energies.  With my light, I banish old-selves that no longer serve me.  With my light, I banish the woe others cast my way.  I let the flames of my soul burn them alive until they are nothing but ash and charred bits of history good for nothing but fuel for my cosmic compost.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!