Podcast Episode 6 – Gifts from the Trees

Did you know that unicorns like ash trees?  That the locust tree represents strength and the will to live? That planting a juniper by the front door is said to protect the home from thieves?  What magical gifts do the trees in your neighborhood offer?

Autumn splendor in New England forest

Gifts from the Trees is a ritual I created from myths, legends, and facts  surrounding trees. It’s a good ritual for fairy– or woodland-themed weddings, milestone birthdays, retirement celebrations, or croning ceremonies.

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Want love in your life? Be like an apple tree!

Have you listened to Episode 6 of Ritual Recipes – a podcast full of practical magic to nourish your inner life?  This little video enhances the message and offers a simple ritual to attract love, deepen love, or celebrate self-love. The power comes from your intent and an apple!

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Podcast Episode 5 – Spirit Spoons and Garden Gifts

Do you need protection? Eat basil.

Do you seek abundance? Have some mint.

Do you want to help your family find peace? Serve coriander.

Herbs and spices are full of magical properties and lend themselves to rituals.

 Spirit Spoons

I believe food tastes best when the chef works while holding loving thoughts for those who will eat the food. That’s the idea behind spirit spoons. The spoon itself can be made of any material. The spirit is added by the cook. Continue reading

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Podcast Episode 4 – Oathing Stones for the First Look, the Wedding Ceremony and More

Layered, piled, buried, jutting up from the ground, stones weave the tapestry of the earth. They symbolize the old, the everlasting…the ancestors. What does it mean to make a oath on a stone connected to the realm of the departed? A lot!

Hearken back now to a time long ago when the land was always viewed as the home of the ancestors. Everyone knew that the spirits of loved ones who had died now guided and protected those still walking the earth. Everyone understood that physical survival in this world depended on spiritual connections to the Other World.

A full moon caught in the bare branches of a tree

A stone that came from the land bridged the worlds of here and beyond. To swear an oath with your hand on a sacred stone forged an invisible link to your ancestors. Break your oath and you break your connection. You risk survival in this world and the next. If your clan knew you’d broken your vow, their support would also be in jeopardy. At best, you’d be shunned. At worst, you’d be driven from the village. If you didn’t honor a commitment to your ancestors, how could you be trusted? Continue reading

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Podcast Episode 3 – BABY BLESSINGS: Celebrating the new branch on a family tree

Have you seen Walt Disney’s The Lion King?  One of my favorite scenes is when the witch, Rafiki, presents the newborn cub, Simba, to the gods while Simba’s parents beam with pride. That scene is what inspired a baby blessing I created.

 

Owls for Baby Blessing

In my work as a ritualist, I create rituals to help individuals, couples, families, and communities navigate rites of passage – weddings, new home blessings, baby blessings, as well as funerals, memorial services, and other milestones along the way. Most of the people who work with me are not members of a church. That no longer presents an obstacle for couples getting married since there are several legal alternatives for someone to perform the ceremony. Couples might choose a justice of the peace, a generic officiant, or a specialist in family and community rituals – a Life-Cycle Celebrant. That’s what I am.

Baby Blessing Ritual for the Unchurched

Not being a member of a church or other organized spiritual community can present a challenge when the couple has a baby. Continue reading

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Podcast Episode 2 — Root Vegetables and the Mid-Winter Ritual of Imbolc

What do root vegetables, horseshoes, the groundhog and the Celtic Goddess Brigid have in common? They’re the ingredients of two mid-winter rituals I want to share with you.

Photo by Abigail Lynn for Unsplash

I live in Connecticut. Winters are long and cold. In early February, folks look to the groundhog to predict the coming of spring. Early on February 2, he pops up from his underground den. If he sees his shadow, it’s because the sun is weak. It hasn’t risen high enough to warm the land. We can expect six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, the sun is strong and has already risen high enough to begin warming the land. Spring will come early. Instead of consulting the groundhog, my Celtic ancestors looked to the Goddess Brigid for signs of spring.  Continue reading

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Podcast Episode 1 – Drink Your Words ~ Intro to Practical Magic DIY

Water bottles labeled with words for the Drink Your Words ritual

“Words are but pictures of our thoughts.” So said England’s first poet laureate, John Dryden, back in the 1600s. His words inspired a simple ritual I created called “Drink Your Words.”  I’ve done this ritual in various forms for several years. It’s a good way to begin each day. It’s especially powerful at the beginning of an important activity, and at the beginning of a new year. In beginning a relationship, this simple ritual can prove both playful and revealing.

A little background first. Every December at the Winter Solstice, I choose three words for the coming year. Every single day in the new year, I give energy to those words. My goal is to absorb their essence, to draw their power into my marrow, so deeply that every bone feels the strength of the words. I don’t choose my words lightly. It takes weeks for me to decide. Continue reading

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A Holiday Dinner Ritual – Give These 4 Gifts from Your Heart

A dinner ritual – 4 Bowls of Abundance

The holiday season is known for both generosity and commercialism. As you gather around a dinner table with friends and family, here’s a simple ritual you can use to share gifts from the heart with those you love. Continue reading

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Want a meaningful way to celebrate the holiday season?

A wintry scene taken by my brother-in-love Len Lipp

It’s early-December. Here in the northern hemisphere, the days shrink as darkness, unstoppable since the Summer Solstice last June, relentlessly nibbles the light. This battle between night and day is as old as time. And things are about to change. Continue reading

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An Officiant’s View of Ceremony Music

Centuries ago, the word dream meant “to dream” as we know it. Spelled d-r-e-m-e-n, it also meant “to make music.” The music a couple chooses for their wedding ceremony doesn’t simply entertain or provide atmosphere. The music calls everyone present to dream.

Statue of a beloved pet

Having officiated at more than a hundred weddings and written more than a hundred love stories, I’ve been trusted with more than a hundred dreams. Sometimes a couple’s choice of music might never be considered by another couple and yet be perfect for the couple who chose it. I’m reminded of the bride who had lived through more than her share of hardship. She walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of Florence + The Machine’s Dog Days Are Over.  Even without the lyrics, those who knew the music knew the bright future it symbolized for that bride. Continue reading

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