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(warning, lots of photos)

The past month or so has been fun of random bits of awesomeness, from the tracking of deer in one city to the finding of bones in another, to incense making and ritual preparation.

A while back, during my spring break, I headed out with my stepdad to explore the woods behind my mother’s home, a small house in the middle of the city that happens to border a wooded area. There, they get herds of 7-13 deer, some of which my mother can identify quite well. Since the area had seen so much deer traffic, the signs were everywhere.

Signs of bucks in the woods

Signs of bucks in the woods

Hoofprints in the mud

Hoofprints in the mud

The air was rich with a dash of wild magic, as I slowly learn to try and see the world with new eyes. Perhaps the tunnels of thorns are faery glens and to walk under archways of old spiny growth would be to walk into another land, never to return. Mushrooms form ladders and scale the trees, and the signs of life are everywhere.

A gateway

A gateway

Fungi ladder to the sky

Fungi ladder to the sky

Also, there was a LOT of deer poop. Just sayin.

I’ve been experimenting in different kinds of crafting, from clay (which I’ve used before) as well as beginning to wood burn.

A sculpy rose before baking.

A sculpy rose before baking.

Belladonna and death for my alraun, first experiment into woodburning.

Belladonna and death for my alraun, first experiment into woodburning.

A partially done box for my magpie smudge wing, 2nd attempt at woodburning

A partially done box for my magpie smudge wing, 2nd attempt at woodburning

Amarth and I got together on a Friday night and began crafting some incense, first a batch of for the dark moon and then one for the full moon, while burning some lovely bee propolis resin from Sarah Lawless. We drank tea and nibbled apple butter toast after, while watching the awesome movie with SJ and Bekah Kelso, Ember Days. We set up a small altar on the table and called the presences as well as calling my house spirits, who I figured would like to get in on some of the goodness.

Our altar for crafting and offerings

Our altar for crafting and offerings

Me grinding away. Excuse the tank top, I was in comfy clothes!

Me grinding away. Excuse the tank top, I was in comfy clothes!

Amarth huffing and puffing away!

Amarth huffing and puffing away!

Our finished products are drying and curing right now, perhaps we’ll test the full moon one soon!

First time making incense pellets. Hopefully they smell good. Used honey to bind them.

First time making incense pellets. Hopefully they smell good. Used honey to bind them.

The next day, Amarth and I, along with his boyfriend, headed out to the local lake. We ambled along the shoreline and found all kinds of goodies and dozens of holey stones, one of which I took home with me for my first! We also found some old red bricks we will scrape and turn into brick dust.

After, we journeyed into the woods. We had intended on harvesting some poplar buds (we were going to try to use eastern cottonwood instead of balsam, as we don’t have those pretties in the south) for balm of gilead, but we realized we couldn’t identify one in the midst of hundreds while just relying on bark alone. We’ll have to wait until next year after we identify more trees in the area. We romped around for a while and found a giant cedar. After some fun climbing, we found a small vertebrae at the bottom. We buried it, and when we returned a week later found flowers growing over it.

Later during the first visit, we found the most amazing thing- 2 deer skeletons! They were not intact, but we found a large portion of bones (no skulls, but jawbones), as well as some remains from a turkey. We gathered part and created a small shrine area of the rest, as we didn’t have room to take care of all the bones (we each live in apartments). We left hairs for an offering then and came back the next weekend, leaving corn and other foodstuffs as well as spending time cleaning up the woods around the bones. We are fairly sure coyotes were responsible. While I have no pictures of the bones (I will post after cleaning and whitening), I do have some of us being silly!

Climbing a deadwood tree overlooking the low shoreline of winter lake water

Climbing a deadwood tree overlooking the low shoreline of winter lake water

The shoreline and lakeside

The shoreline and lakeside

Amarth and Nym in a tree. I'm not a natural climber, so my feet look really awkward

Amarth and Nym in a tree. I’m not a natural climber, so my feet look really awkward

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