Unexpectedly Magical

finding the magic in everyday life



Seven Years Toward Healing

Stopping to enjoy a cup of homemade, vegan hot cocoa in this cute little vintage mug from the thrift store (hopefully there’s no lead paint 😳). Yesterday I spent most of the day recharging: I managed to meditate multiple times (yay!), I covered my head whenever I felt my brain going foggy or my stress levels rising, I read some in my new book (Tarot for the Healing Heart), and I watched Poirot on Netflix (my favorite!). Today I’m feeling the benefits of my day of rest and have managed to balance out productivity and pleasure. It feels good! I’m a far cry from where I was seven years ago when I first fell ill with fibromyalgia. 

Seven years ago I was a second-semester Sophomore at a small Fundamentalist Baptist college, over a thousand miles away from home. A year before, I finished treatment for my acne with Accutane, a high-powered drug originally used as chemotherapy; it’s now banned in the USA. While on Accuraine I was required to take hormonal birth control. For almost two years I worked as a janitor on campus and constantly came into contact with strong chemicals. I was also involved in multiple highly stressful friendships at the time, in addition to the stress that is college life and the extreme stress of living in a cultish environment. I believe these things, on top of my (undiagnosed at the time) Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (which predisposes one to fibromyalgia), combined to make me sicker than I’d ever been before. 

I thought I had done weird case of the flu, except it never went away. My joints felt like they were on fire and I suddenly had what felt like shin splints. I began having the most awful headaches and lived on Excedrin. I was constantly dizzy for a year straight and still have difficulty with my equilibrium. I began suffering terrible abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome. My hormones were out of whack and I developed insulin resistance. 

Seven years later I’m greatly improved but not as “normal” as I was before. It took a year  of tests and scans to receive the diagnosis offybromyalgia; it took three years to find out my underlying condition is Ehlers Danlos. Along the way I’ve developed intolerances to gluten and sulfurous foods (eggs, onion, garlic), highly-acidic foods, and developed an allergy to casein (the protein found in dairy products). I’ve also experienced pregnancy and an emergency cesarean section, followed by postpartum depression and subsequent treatment by antidepressants. 

I’ve spent seven years figuring out what was “wrong” with me and how to “fix” it; my views now are so different from my views as a scared, ignorant Sophomore. This journey of living with chronic pain has truly taught me how to live, even if my life is not as easy as expected. The hours upon hours of research and study I’ve logged have taught me so much about my body, the modern state of humanity, and both the compassion and corruption that simultaneously exist amongst medical professionals. I’ve learned to think for myself  and take NOTHING for granted. I’ve figured out my problems over and over again when the average doctor had no answers for me. I’ve tried many kinds of treatment and am still learning how to create a state of healing. So, what has worked for me?

1. Reducing stress as much as possible. Life seems bent on sending me stress, but I feel best when managing it through meditation and activities like walking, yoga, and dance.

2. Eating a solid diet. I focus on eating as free of chemicals, preservatives, additivites as possible. I also try to balance between a vegetarian diet and a traditional foods diet. The less sugar I eat the better, but I struggle with this area. 

3. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants.

4. Use herbs to make nourishing teas and infusions. The more I study plant-based medicine the more I seek to use it to keep myself well. 

5. Maintaining a steady treatment of an antidepressant. This has been surprisingly helpful and has allowed me to sleep better and be far more active than before. I currently have no plans to remove this treatment from my life, even though I would prefer not to be taking a prescription. I find this medication to be extremely helpful and value my state of health over the “purity” of using only all-natural treatments.

6. Covering my head. This is a tool I have only discovered within the last year and have been surprised at how helpful it is been for my fibro-fog. Securely wrapping up my head, thereby covering my crown chakra, has eased my anxiety, lifted headaches, and helped me maintain a general sense of calmness. Feeling balanced and calm is hugely important for someone with fibromyalgia because how you feel mentally/emotionally is so readily translated into pain, fatigue, and malaise. 

7. Ditched hormonal birth control for a fertility awareness method of family planning. I’ve used hormonal birth control for two different periods of time in my life; never again! I felt terrible on the pill! Synthetic hormones = 👎 (thumbs down).

8. Remove emotional blockages through talk therapy, writing, and spiritual practice. 

This is a brief overview of the last seven years and what has helped me survive those years. I plan to revisit this topic at a future date. Thanks for reading; I’d love to hear your stories and what has helped you find healing.


Be Careful What You Say in a Witch’s Kitchen 

Hubby stood in the kitchen, gearing up to wash some dishes, and began to grumble about our tiny kitchen. “I hate this kitchen!” he declared. I immediately knew this was unwise and told him not to say such things, but he didn’t take his words back. 

Later, as he washed dishes, he sliced open his knuckle on a spatula(!!!!) and had to go get stitches. After he left I walked into the kitchen, curious to see how a spatula had managed to do such damage. I briefly considered chiding the sink and dishes, but then I recalled Hubby’s sharp remarks and understood. 

My tiny galley kitchen may be less than ideal, but it’s still a sacred space full of magic; don’t mess with a witch’s kitchen!

Birthday Blessings

Recently my dear husband completed another circle ’round the sun. He’s not one for big to-dos and fuss, but the kids and I made sure the day was observed with joy and love. Big Brother was beside himself with anticipation as he made big plans: he scoured the house for trinkets he could offer as a gift and then placed them in a special gift box; he drew up birthday hats that we taped onto hats I made using construction paper and yarn; he told me we had to bake a tall cake and decorate it, so we settled on a Legend-of-Zelda-inspired tri-force cake (Hubby loves the games and has enjoyed sharing them with me and the boys). 

I used this recipe for gluten, dairy, and egg free sponge cake; Big Brother added love to the cake batter by blowing kisses as he stirred the batter. ❤️ I’m not a cake-baker or decorator by any stretch of the imagination, but I was pleased with the end results. The chocolate frosting was blessed with finely-ground parsley (for traveling around the sun another year) and the golden frosting was dyed with turmeric and blessed with chamomile (for health). Hubby was pleasantly surprised by the Legend of Zelda theme and felt very loved thank to Big Brother’s sweet efforts. ❤️ I look forward to the joy of celebrating many more birthdays to come with my precious family.

Sacred Spaces

I’ve maintained a sacred space ever since I moved into our current apartment, two years ago. My first altar decorations reflected my journey into motherhood as a pregnant womban:

The rosemary wreath I wore at our handfasting as well as hubby’s boutineer.

My altar has changed with the seasons but I apparently have failed to take many pictures. To be honest, I’ve struggled to maintain this space beyond adding new trinkets from Mother Earth and regularly lighting the candle as a peaceful light during bedtime for the kids. 

But now I have a new space in my kitchen – my prime witchy space. 

I’m very pleased with my kitchen altar. ❤️✨ I got the inspiration from one of my new favorite reads: 

Let It Rise

Making pizza from scratch has always been one of those things I oooed and awed over – crafty, gourmet people did it; home baked bread (not pan bread, but the REAL stuff) and from-scratch pie crusts are in that category too. I’ve tried making these from-scratch goodies before, but found I wasn’t naturally good at it (unlike my husband!) and am downright impatient. 😁 

About a year ago I was looking at various educational methods and found myself enchanted by the Waldorf model. Fairies and gnomes dance about while angelic children make watercolor paintings, knit, and play with their all-wood toys. Okay, so I realize it isn’t all as picture-perfect as that. It sounded like heaven and still kind of does, but my family as a whole definitely didn’t mesh with it. I’ve learned (and am still learning) a lot from the Waldorf ideology, though. One thing that stuck out was the practice of regularly having children make bread – the yeasty, amazing kind that has to be kneaded by hand. Can anyone say sensory play? Also, hurray for valuable life skills and children being involved in making their food!

In the present, I’m trying to include my boys in the food-making process. We don’t have a garden this year, so we aren’t involved in the growing, but we do talk about farms and farmers and how our food comes to us. I’m teaching them (and myself) how to respect what we’ve been blessed with by using it in a nourishing way with as little waste as possible. They help me grocery shop and we talk about what we’ll make with the food, and sometimes they help make it. 

Today we all made pizzas! There were blood, sweat, and tears involved, but the kids loved it and the end results were delicious. Big Brother, who has sensory processing disorder, particularly enjoyed kneading his dough. I foresee much more of this sort of baking in our future. 😊 Our pizza crust recipe came from The Vegan Family Cookbook.

As an aside: I am intolerant of gluten but the rest of the family are not. They used regular wheat flour for their pizzas, so I taped down some wax paper to form a safe surface for me to knead my dough on. Some people are more sensitive than me and require a 100% gluten-free household. Thankfully my body’s sensitivity is not as serious as that! Since the rest of my family eats dairy and I can’t (casein allergy), I’ve realized I need two cheese graters to prevent cross-contamination risks. 

Introduction to Kitchen Witchery

What is a kitchen witch? What do you do? Who is a witch?

I grew up very confused about what a modern witch was – insert scary stories about Satan worship, human sacrifice, and general evil. I didn’t personally know any Pagans and/or witches so I was unable to learn the truth until I was a free-thinking adult. It was about four years ago, during a tumultuous time in my life. I was busily researching a myriad of beliefs and found myself interested in Paganism. The simple earthiness I read about was tangible, grounding, and somehow familiar. I had always been deeply connected to the Earth in a spiritual way, I just hadn’t understood that because of the parameters of my previous faith. Within the Pagan umbrella of beliefs I found room for both mystics and skeptics, polytheists and atheists, and everyone in between. I learned about shamans, Druids, Wiccans, witches and many others. A witch is someone who practices magic. Magic is simply directing you will, intent, and energy to accomplish what you want. This is what I love about witches – they don’t wait for things to happen, they work to make them happen! 😊 There are many different Types of witches; I found the description of kitchen witch most befitting my chosen spiritual path.*

A kitchen witch turns the everyday tasks of hearth and home into opportunities to practice magic. Carefully choosing the correct herbs and seasonings for a meal, choosing an essential oil to diffuse or use while cleaning, and preparing things like herbal infusions for medicinal purposes can all take on spiritual ramifications for the kitchen witch. I see it as my spiritual responsibility to keep my apartment’s energy clean and safe, so I burn beeswax candles and periodically smudge the place with sage. Big Brother loves to have a turn smudging and used to ask to smudge the bedroom each night to help him calm his bedtime fears; he also enjoys adding love to the things he helps me bake. Little Brother regularly joins me as I sing while grinding herbs in the mortar and pestle while cooking. Sharing a pot of tea with my husband is a ritual of love and connection. If one of us is sick, that pot of tea is probably full of herbs specially chosen for healing (catnip tea is a favorite). And then there’s food. From planning a meal to eating it, I seek to be very intentional. My kitchen witchery brings me and the family great joy!

Recommended Reading: 

Kitchen and Green Witchery

Types of Witches: What is a Kitchen Witch and How to Be One

*edited 7/9 to add: I’ve struggled with my spiritual path quite a bit ever since learning about Paganism. I initially felt at home and quickly recognized my identity as a witch, but outside pressure and fear drove me away for a time. I’ve explored other spiritual paths over the last few years, but I always came back to earth-based spirituality. In recent months I finally re-acknowledged my witchiness and released my fears; I’m happier for doing so.

Little Brother thinks cooking eggs is the best pastime ever. He also likes to cook while nude. 😂 I realize that’s not the best attire for being in the kitchen; we do our best to keep him clothed and diapered but he rips it all off. 
Someday I’d like to have a better solution for our kitchen scraps. Apartment living makes composting very… difficult? In theory we could save the scraps and take them somewhere else, but that would result in piles of stinky rotting peels waiting for the right time. 😁 We actually did that for a summer, but we couldn’t keep it up. 

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