July Moon: Thunder Moon

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More bone council…

Been working on finishing projects during this ‘super moon,’ of which for me was aptly named ‘Thunder Moon,’ – some are in the store, some… are private.

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Mule Deer Antlered Knife, with riveted sheath. Knife is wrapped in elk-hide.

 

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Hardened utility knife, in riveted sheath. I love the 550 cord wrapped handle, I have its twin and I use it frequently!

 

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During the Thunder Moon, I made many oils to work with.

A short post, mostly of action, and not much to report on – preparing for more tattoos, and finishing up some staffs. I’ll post those photos soon.

 

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Re-Wilding

I read an awesome post by The Scarlet Imprint, of which I’ve spent some time thinking on. I have felt out of place, a bear in a china shop as it were, when meeting other Pagans. My little tradition has received sneers, raised eyebrows, and cold shoulders because it is so different from their own. My tradition is not apologetic, hard to describe, and primal. Even my own Daughter of the Bear and Her consort (She being a smithy, and hearth goddess; Her consort is the Sacred Ploughman) in their domestic atmosphere are not anywhere near the tame rituals of many practitioners I’ve met in person lately.

There is no counted ritual measures, no formal set up or take-down. Working magic with me is accepting blurred lines, of mundane life and ritual, the use of everyday objects in ritual and ritual objects in everyday life. The local spirits are still angry, and I have been working for years to at least have a relationship of sorts with Them. There have been ups, and downs. Many Pagans do not like my bones, they think the idea is something heretical (Really? Seriously?), and the fact that I do not have categorized mythology, or strict lines anywhere frustrates many. It has been difficult to word my practice coherently, and it’s even more difficult to introduce others to my Gods and Spirits – I have been called a bad influence so many times I just expect it sometimes. Yes, alcohol, flying ointments (Thank you Ms. Lawless), and home-made herbal smokes appear in my practice. You have to let yourself go, become a blurred line yourself – to cross the veil.

When I have tanned skins hanging in my bathtub, skulls being macerated in water in my kitchen, dead animals in my fridge, herbs steeping in rum, whiskey, gin, and vodka… Hearing my violin at 3am, chanting until dawn, seeing a dark-haired woman donning a black bear skin – her pupils lost to this world and her breathing deep and long, covered in ash and her body painted – speaking to Those that she sees clearly yet looks at you confused… Yea, it has been a challenge to meet people. I leave offerings often to the local spirits when I feel them close, even if it is a bit of my own lunch and a cigarette, an offering is an offering. Taking my hat off and escorting the toads out of the shop to prevent injury (toads are an animal protected by one local spirit) has earned me quite a bit of jest, and at the same time I’m given my own space.

My tradition is based on the wilds, I do not live by an agricultural calendar, nor pastoral one. I live on the fringes of it, and I have blessed animals and fields. I offer whiskey to the crossroads that are so dark the stars are a form of light. I watch as the sun wanders the earth as the Antlered Weaver’s deer wander, I listen in the midnight hours to the whispers of the Avian One’s moon; I work my rituals by my Bear Mother. The next morning, I wake up, go through my morning rituals to prepare for work – and off I go.

I felt so odd for being on the fringe, as if I was missing something. Turns out, probably not – I’m right where I need to be. I really hope this post made sense. And, I hope I wasn’t too much of an asshole.

 

 

 

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Litha

Ah, summer. Normally filled with bugs, heat, and barbeques; this year it has been filled with tornadoes, torrential rain, floods, hail, lightning, and winds that knocked a few of the neighboring porches over. So, in normal years I create an effigy to parade around my home and douse with water to bring in nourishing rain. This year, I decided that this wasn’t necessary!

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30 min after this storm raged overhead, one of many!

I built a fire when I was given a short break in the weather, of six woods loaded with paper wishes to attract my heartfelt desires. Leaping over the fire ensures one’s wishes come true – so in a low container I did just that, after a few shots of whiskey. Fishermen, hunters were out and about and I managed to talk to several of them, as I waited for my wood-fed smoker to heat up. I feasted on smoked meats and vegetables, with local fruits and locally grown salads. It is normal to give gifts this time of year, as it is at the Winter Solstice, seeing as I am alone now I treated myself to a few gifts and hours of retail therapy.

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Prayer, songs, strong drink, and laughter. Good times, even on my own!

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Delicious local fish – marinated overnight and smoked… Oh my giggles it was wonderful!

This time of the year was filled with a balance ritual of fire and water – of floating a small candle on a paper float in a silver bowl of clear blessed water. Sorry, no photos of the sacred rituals (no offense). After all of this was said and done I put out the fire with the blessed water and let the steam cover me, and several leather pieces to add to my ritual blacksmithing, to be imbued with the ritual’s potency.

Giggled and sang to my garden, as my seeds are growing strong:

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Basil, lavender, green bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, and more – I am delighted to see them grow!

During my break from the weather I wandered neighborly private property and wild-crafted several herbs and wildflowers to bedeck my home. My home was filled with the scent of cedar, juniper, pine, sagebrush, wild mint, and the gorgeous flowers of milkweed and bright wildflowers were set on my kitchen table. During this time I heard a strange mewing beneath my floor – and rescued Gertrude Munchin, an abandoned kitten in the care of a surrogate mother cat:

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Doing great and growing like a weed! Was stuck between the floor boards and the insulation.

 

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Such a despised weed, makes such lovely blooms..

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Bright sunny flowers for a sun-oriented solstice!

 

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After my hike, I began to make more rauchstocks.

 

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Pine, cedar, sagebrush – I’m quite excited to use them as fuel for the fires of Herbst!

 

I marveled at the various delicate blooms that were growing around in the area:

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And since I am detained indoors for the time being, I have also been focusing on finishing several folk art pieces to place around my home, and I finished the day with a cream offering to the Good Neighbors who are at their apex at this time of the year:

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Copper, green, gold, and white – sang by a shaman as she worked the rite.

 

This solstice was surprising productive and a wonderful experience, even though I was on my own and the storms raged with The Avian One’s wrath. I hope your own solstice was filled with magic, mayhem, and laughter.

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The Birds

Been doing quite a bit of reading, and with the power outages, the tornadoes, the hail and winds it has been a humbling time. Several tornadoes have touched down within the past few days alone. Hearing the wind howling and the hail as I turned the page, reading by a hurricane lamp because the town lost power – really connected me to times gone by. I had been working with wind magic, and trance work in the Upper world – but I was not expecting the weather to drop by!

But, here are my notes thus far; I have found numerous blogs and articles on ravens, crows, owls, eagles, etc. But what about songbirds, geese, ducks, and other not so popular birds such as turkeys?

Goose:

Associated with the Celtic Mars, it is a bird that is tied to war due to the Celts noticing their watchful and aggressive temperament (how many of us have been attacked by geese in a park?). Also, of the ‘wild goose chase,’ because as a hunter myself – geese are notorious birds that can out-fly, outwit, and even trying to capture domestic geese is a monumental challenge. Because the lead goose ‘cuts,’ the air for his fellow flyers the goose’s connection to war, and the martial arena is deepened by the role of leadership.

Many dieties have ties to the goose, from war gods to Mother Goose. It is said that when Hulda shakes her bed it causes snow. With my own tradition, the goose  is associated with society, the home, and marital fidelity. Hanging goose feathers or sleeping on a bed or pillow filled with their down feathers can bring fertility and fidelity to a couple (geese mate for life). The Avian one protects the township, the home, and the family unit itself. Also, geese are representatives of wealth, and comfort (hence why the ‘christmas goose,’ is a hard engrained tradition for many families) and was an offering to Thor and Odin for a successful harvest. Serving stuffed fowl at Yuletide is a long standing tradition, not just geese, but turkeys, ducks, and yes even peacocks. In my house, goose is served to bring in health, wealth, and (hopefully) wisdom. Geese have been associated with the Wild Hunt (Thanks Dver for reminding me!) due to the connection of the baying geese with the hounds of the Hunt itself. The Märchen, or fairytale, or fable behind it, has the baying being explained as the migration of geese.

The goose is also connected to traveling (physical and otherwise), the journey, and one’s own spiritual path (migration). With the weather in mind, geese are associated with winter prognostication: a red or dark breastbone means a stormy winter; a light colored one foretells a mild winter. Also, how they waddle across the yard, east to west means storms, north to south means sunshine.

 

Turkey:

This bird earned it’s name by a variety of ways, from being mis-identified to slurs in Native language.  In Native folklore they play the role of the overly proud trickster, as well as being shy and elusive. Male turkeys gobble, females emit this ‘clicking,’ noise. Ben Franklin called this bird ‘the bird of courage,’ who thought that this bird should be the national bird, not the eagle. This bird is associated with usefulness, every part of the bird has a purpose. They are tied to the oak tree, their varied diet has a large intake of acorns. Because of that turkeys are connected to wisdom, adaptability, and finding hidden wisdom.

 

Ducks:

As a water bird, not only fresh but salt water these birds are in our imagination from folklore, to movies, cartoons, and then some. In folklore, the duck is often the fool. They fall for the trickster’s tricks, they have a good heart but usually are gullible. A famous fable is the ‘Ugly Duckling,’ remember that one? The Celts were known to keep chickens, geese, and ducks for their eggs. But wild ducks (along with geese, and swans) were hunted frequently.

Ducks are pretty frequent in sacrificial offerings in several temples for the Celts, as evidenced with archeology. Ducks (like many water birds) are associated with the spirits of the dead, because they are water, land, and air creatures they tie the living with the dead. Duck motifs have been found on horse harnesses, as well as many drinking vessels (and bowls) show rows of ducks, sometimes with solar symbols, sometimes not.

Ducks, like most water birds, have ties with our own emotions, as well as community. As a migratory bird, they too can be guides and aids on our own path, or in trance work. And, the phrase “Like a duck to water,” is used as an omen (from what I’ve learned) in augury for a sign that we’re doing or going somewhere we were meant to.

 

Songbirds:

Nightingale: The bird of the Poet, the myth of Philomela and Procne is connected to the Nightingale, as well as the bird associated with love (not always with a happy ending).

Robin: Usually called the RedBreast, and the rhyme :

   “The robin and wren

     Are God’s cock and hen.

     The spink and the sparrow

     Are the deil’s bow and arrow.”

 The spink is possibly the chaffinch. In British mythology the robin is not to be harmed, and if a robin dies in your hand, that hand will shake uncontrollably. This bird is keenly tied to thunder and is sacred to Thor (and in my tradition The Avian One as well), and is very popular in iconography around Yuletide. The first robin of the season can grant one wish – but make it quick otherwise it’ll take your luck with it for twelve months!

Throughout history this bird has been associated with charity, compassion, good luck, as well as fire and death. It is said that if the robin raps at your window then death will follow soon after. However, it is extremely unlucky to kill a robin, and to do so invites the shakes, fire to one’s home, or bring lightning to you. Breaking a robin’s egg is to have someone or something dear to you be broken in return. Rain is said to follow a robin sheltering in one’s home or nearby tree, or the chirping calls in mild weather.

 

It’s a start, and I’ll post more the more time I get to read. I will be associating the summer thunder with the robin, and the winter storms with the goose, that’s to be sure! There are several robins nesting in the ash tree next door!

 

 

 

 

 

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Bone Council, Dangerous Winds

Forgive me for not being online for a bit – dangerous weather has forced me to keep the computer off due to lightning within walking distance of my house. Winds have raged here for weeks off and on, and tornadoes have danced around my town. Many offerings to the Avian One (Lord of the Winds, Rain, and weather in general) were given as my heart raced more than once during my down time. Hearing the unleashed angry winds was humbling, and I used my time to divine, and even journey in trance.

Seeing the birds of the winds was a terrifying experience, following a large bird that the roar of it’s wings caused the thunder and His deafening scream had my head spinning for most of the following day. I couldn’t make out clearly what sort of birds they were, but I will not be forgetting them any time soon. So for the past week I’ve been scouring my books to learn more about folklore and myth surrounding birds.

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While I remain dubious of Animal Speak, I’m reading it for a starting place (better than none at all!).

The books I have digitally are “The Folklore of Birds,” by Edward A. Armstrong; and “Wings and Tails: Learning about Birds Through Folklore,” by Jennifer L. Kroll. Lots of reading! From the snowy owl that is seen in the Trois Freres cavern, to the Birdman Lascaux… My mind has been spinning.

In some parts of the US, the Owl’s hooting foretells a change in the weather, crows are also called ‘rain birds,’ as is the yellow-billed cuckoo (in fact this bird is also called ‘storm crow.’) Watching the direction of the geese during autumn and winter were sure signs of a blizzard, or a clear day. Flight to the east has shown me blizzards, flights more westward heralded calmer weather. But what of the summer?

Birds of wind, and thunder – I’ve been reading that the glint in their eyes cause lightning. There is much to think about, and there is sure to be plenty of wind, rain, and thunder in my future.

Held several Bone Councils, fed and shared with a Red Meal:

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Used my bone tapper and worked the rite, and listened to their wisdom. Bones see, hear, and sense things that we cannot, though to many they are creepy, macabre, and silent – to those who can ‘hear’ them, they have volumes to say and show us. Bones are the White Fruit at the Tree that stands at the Crossroads, and to pick of their knowledge is to open yourself to a reality that only folklore can hint at.

Forgive me for not posting more – making notes for a major blog post about bird folklore. Given the angry winds – I hope it’s in the next week or so. I hope you all are safe, and comfortable where ever you are.

 

 

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Worldview and Travel

I have been doing quite a bit of traveling lately, and it’s been focused on my deep contemplations on my worldview. Every practitioner I think should take stock of how they approach the world, why, who’s there, and how they approach. Mine has been changing.

The sun is still an hour-hand, the moon is the minute hand of  the clock that belongs to the Avian One, or a ‘Father Time,’ figure. The world around me is woven moment by moment, and the Underworld still echoes in my ears when I find a moment of silence, or stillness. Places, and even inanimate things have spirit because of the hands that imbued it, even modern ones that are still functioning today. Even a new home that was build with mindful hands already has spirit born into it.

The land is what moves me, the ghosts of memory and then some, the newly forming ones that are born tomorrow. Feeling out of place with society, yet understanding it better from the fringe. Walking along the river, to hearing the fluctuations in the songs of the birds as the seasons change. Being able to predict the geese as they migrated, and I flew as a goose myself (got shot for my efforts).

I have been traveling, not just locally. I’ve had vivid dreams lately, of traveling on a horse, but my compass was shattered. But I needed to press on. The land around me was so full I couldn’t take it all in despite trying. I wake up with nosebleeds, headaches, and my ears ringing. I’m not sure, but these past four moons have been intense. Have they been for anyone else?

 

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Working, Thinking

Been working full time, and coming home to forge. Every night this week I have gone to bed with tired arms and legs with a smile on my face. There is something so satisfying about answering the call of the Bear Mother and her Daughter. Gained some good headway on constructing the Daughter of the Bear’s hood-lamp:

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Not finished yet, but getting there!

 

Been working on forms, iron jewelry, a hatchet, horse shoes (which will be popping up in the store later on this week), and finishing up some other knives. Finally got the steel to begin ritual swords too! WOOT!

 

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Torcs, bracelets, and steel for fire-making kits. Felt good to forge.

 

As well as other rituals once the sun goes down:

 

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Tonight I will convene the council of bones for hours of divination – check back soon!

Oh! Tried my hand at making a Tyr (sp?) rune necklace.

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Steel, cotton, and silver. Thoughts anyone?

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Working with Mink

The anniversary of my first work with Mink is coming up!

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His shrine is coming, in the meantime He’s in full view of the main living space.

I have my beloved Mink skull that was consecrated to Him at the first light of the waxing crescent, with the morning sun shining at dawn. Granted, this was just before I left for work, but I digress (Practicing practical rites does not require bells, whistles, or even long stretches of time. I’ve seen a potent ritual carried out in 30 seconds!). He is to me my white sentinel, my ‘silent’ witness. I am working on building a mini shrine for Him to reside in, and between Him (I won’t confess His name, it’s private), and Grandfather Raccoon, I think my up and coming counsel of bones should be very revealing!

I also plan on performing the Red Rite with them at the next full moon.

I have learned quite a bit about life from Mink’s quiet lessons. Also, about being freed from hoarding. Not just physical things, but thoughts, emotions, and people as well. If you take a hard look at your life’s inventory, you may be surprised how much hoarding you’ve been doing without realizing.  I sure as hell was!

He has taught me about being relentless, in my pursuits. Not just for happiness, but security, freedom, and that which I need for simply living. Just because I may be quiet, doesn’t mean my mind is, or that my spirit is mild. Not hardly.

Mink is an excellent spirit for divination work. Relentless in it’s search, and bold in it’s honesty. In my underworld work, the Mink has proven to be a formidable ally, and a handy guide. In legends, it is said that members of the Weasel family (such as the Mink) could kill the legendary Basilisk. On the 21st of September I set aside part of my Herbst meal for Him, reflect on what I’ve learned.

Mink does nothing in half measures – it’s all or nothing. No guts, no glory. He has taught me how to live life with all of my senses, in the moment. To listen with all of my senses while I cast the bones, because a message doesn’t have to be with one sense, but it can come with many. There are meanings within meanings, if that makes sense.

I heard a story about Mink, which I include here:

The Mink is a great theif. One night the animals held a council to discuss his antics. It was decided to burn him, to teach him a lesson. They worked together and finally caught the ellusive Mink, and they marched him to their fire. They threw him into it, and fanned the flames. The fire grew and grew. It wasn’t long before the smell of foul flesh filled everyone’s nostrils. When it was too much to bear, it was decided that he had been punished enough. So they pulled the poor Mink out of the fire, to cool him off. At this point Mink had turned black, and changes his coat color through the year due to this fire. When he is excited, nervous, or threatened he emits his foul odor that he gained from his trauma in the fire. It didn’t help however, because the Mink is as clever and as thrifty as he ever was. Now, he’s just quiet about it!

 

 

 

 

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Clearing Out the Den

Due to unforseen events today (and weather) pushed me back a bit in getting the auction up and running. But, here it is! The email if you want to contact me is bottledhammer@yahoo.com.

The way this works is if you want something – email me and we can go from there. I do hope these items find new homes, they should be used, not stored away and never touched.

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Tortoise incense burner. Measures 3.5 x 4 inches at the base, and is aprox. 3.5 inches tall. Worked wonderfully. $8

 

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Pewter knife. Measures 10 inches long. $8

 

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Claimed.

 

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Star of Babylon. 2 inches. $3

 

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Random lot of deer bones and horse teeth. $10

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Small 2 inch velvet lined bone box. $5

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Ceramic goblet. Measures 7in tall. $10

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Random lot of copper knives. They are 8 inches long. $10

 

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Claimed.

 

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Antler. Aprox. 12 inches long. $10

 

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Antler. Aprox. 12 inches long. $10

 

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Horse jaw I found in a field. 13 inches long. $13

 

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Terra Cotta pot. Aprox. 5×5 inches. $9

 

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Random lot of painted deer bones. $10

 

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Two tined antler tips. $9

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Gearing Up….

Gearing up for summer – which is looking to be my most active yet. Finished the first of a set of six knives, two of which have antler handles (for utility knives) and the oaken handled one will be finished this weekend, with the others.

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Two utility knives, the other sheath is coming, out of the remnants of elkhide I have left. The one on the right should be in the store by tomorrow.

Went to a historical Heritage fair, and walked amongst the accurate campsite, the historically re-built fort, and I picked the brain of the all too patient smithy on site.

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I loved the site, the dedication to not just national history – but local. It was as if having a living history museum in my own backyard. Oh yes, I will be going again!

And, I’ll be trying my hand at historical axe forging. WOOT! I’m stoked to be branching out from knives to axes now, and I will post them in the store as I finish.

Spent the growing moon with a blood ritual by the light of the crescent. Due to private recent events and my desire to want to connect to my fellow Pagans, I remade and consecrated my bear claws for protection from trade beads I retrieved from the Heritage Fair. Red is the color of spiritual protection in my tradition, and, well – it is a protective measure for me being around others in a ritual context.

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Not the best photo, but it works. Touching history in this modern age is wonderful.

Also, got my fermenter santitized, and I will be making a batch of mead that should be ready by the Litha (June. 21). Here’s hoping. I’ll have the must started this weekend, and.. Well, we’ll have to wait and see.

Saturday, starting at 2pm MTN, I will be hosting my own ‘Clearing of the Den,’ post for finding ritual items new homes.

Lots going on, this weekend should be filled with activity!

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