Update – Pestlework

WOO! Back to the grind!

(See what I did there? Ha, witch puns…)

I’m finally back to writing, and I’m spending today working on the manuscript. I’ve got a handful of oil formulae to concoct, several powder descriptions and suggested uses to write, and big swaths of the introduction to finish. It sounds like a lot, but really, it’s very manageable. The manuscript is probably about 85% finished at this point. Plus, my girl Lauren Goodnight ( @thelulusoldier​ ) is writing the foreword, and I’ve already got the cover art finished.

My goal is to have the manuscript completely finished and ready for editing by the end of July, so I can do a few weekends’ worth of editing and hopefully have everything ready to go in short order. The tentative release date right now is August 16th, but don’t hold me to that just yet.

Further updates as events warrant! 🙂

Update – Pestlework

Well, after a week-long break to adjust to my new day job, I’m back to work on the book!

Like I’ve said before, the book will include all of my recipes from The Witches’ Cupboard and from Grovedaughter Witchery. I’ve also created several dozen additional recipes to fill out the mix and make the new book worth purchasing. The total is up over 200, which was my goal, and the manuscript currently sits at a comfortable 150 pages. The price of the published book is tentatively set at $15.95 USD, and I am on track to have it published by the end of August, if all goes well.

At this point, I’ve finished with the creating and testing phases, and I’m working on descriptions and suggested uses for the various powders. I’ve finished a good deal of them, the two most recent ones being Rose Salt and Spirit Salt just today.

I’m hoping to spend this coming weekend just sitting and writing all day, if I can. It’s difficult to retain spoons for writing when my work day requires so much cognitive heavy lifting. Still, it’s a big relief to have the regular income again.

Further updates as events warrant! 🙂

Feedback Gives Me Life

Okay, I just want to take a moment here to thank my latest Amazon reviewer for Grovedaughter Witchery. I’ve gotten some amazing and thorough reviews in my time, but this one just might take the cake.

Verified Purchase Review from Jax:

Great for secular practitioners!

This is my favorite book to recommend to people about modern secular witchcraft. First, it’s the most secular book on witchcraft I’ve read to date. Second, it has a little something for everyone from the secular beginner to the more advanced secular witches. There’s really no dogma or deities to speak of in this book. Some of you might not realize, but there was just a collective cheer from the secular witch community 😜

First, her advice for beginners is practical. She assumes you’ve got no tools and no common sense. This is a good thing. We should be discussing fire safety, consent, curse positivity, and cultural appropriation with every new witch. Add in how to create your own spells, accumulate tools and materials practically, even make some of your own tools, info on color magic, and herbal guides, there’s some solid beginners advice.

Where beginners will come for the intro, others will adore the spells. The collection of oil, powder, potion, and incense recipes, along with witch bottles, charms, poppets, and spells (including curses) had me giddy. I was adding spells and recipes to my Grimoire left and right like a greedy witch. Sorrynotsorry. These spells are the kind you want to see in modern witchcraft. Sure, sometimes we want to feel like a 16th century witch stirring twigs, body parts, and herbs in a cauldron looking dark af, but other times I just want to use common herbs and use my glue gun and freakin microwave. Let’s be real.

Then, there is a great herbal correspondences section at the end of the book a la Cunningham, meaning listed by purpose/correspondence, including a herbal substitution list and notations on poisonous plants. There are even special lists for herbs used in warding/protection and curses. I literally copied the whole thing into my grimoire. I’m not joking, it took hours.

Lastly there’s a section on suggested books and texts, and a few suggestions on where to find herbs and spell materials online. Much appreciated.

Do yourself a favor, especially if you’re a secular witch, and get this book. It’s not very long, but it focuses on quality.

I hope this review was helpful to you. Happy reading!

Jax, I don’t know who you are or if you’ll see this, but I wanted to thank you. Seeing this today gave me SUCH a lift, and I’m so glad to know that my book is having a positive impact.

Thank you to all my reviewers for taking the time to give me feedback! You have no idea how much you help. 🙂

Witchy Things: Battling The Slump

The Slump is an irritating phenomenon that affects many practitioners. You wake up one day and your interest and enthusiasm for witchcraft is just…gone. No idea where it went, or why it went, all you know is that your books and crystals and herbs just don’t hold the same appeal that they used to.

I hear about this a lot. More than you’d expect, really. I ran into a similar problem five or six years into my own practice, and I’ve gotten similar messages from other witches at around the same general period in their own journeys. (I think The Fifth-Year Slump might be a thing, but really it can happen anytime.)

We all get to a point where we feel like we’ve stalled somehow. We’ve learnt the basics, we’ve run out of Witchcraft 101 books to read, we’re looking for the next step and not finding it, we haven’t had a reason to cast a spell in a while…it could be any number of things. And it’s very frustrating. Makes a witch want to hang up their boots.

For those of us with mentors or a local witchy community to offer guidance, it’s a little easier. There are extra resources and knowledgeable people to turn to, and that can help buoy things along until the slump passes.

For solitary practitioners, even with an online support system, we can be left feeling like, “Well….now what?”

What I’ve found to be helpful is getting back to my roots. By this I don’t necessarily mean starting over, but instead, going back to the things that made me want to be a witch in the first place, the things that made me turn my face to the autumn wind and wonder if I could fly.

Here’s a short list of suggestions to help you work through your slump:

Try something new. If your current line of study isn’t doing anything for you, branch out! Curious about the history of magical practices? Always wanted to try divination? Go for it! There are lots of places like Sacred Texts and Project Gutenberg were you can read books for free. See if something new grabs your interest. Nothing revitalizes a practice like having something new to explore.

Play in the dirt. For witches whose practice revolves around plants, getting into the garden and working the soil can make a world of difference. Go out and pull weeds for a bit, or plant something new, or just sit and soak up the sun with your plants. Pick up a potted plant or some kitchen herbs that are easy to grow. Tend them and harvest them. Seeing little bundles of drying herbs and flowers hanging about always makes me feel better.

Get out of the house (if you can). Stir things up with a little fresh air and a mini road trip. Go visit a local park. Take a stroll through the woods. Visit a sacred site. Is there a particular spot within easy travel distance that makes you feel witchy and powerful? Go pay it a visit and see how you feel.

Attend a gathering. If time and energy and finances allow, see if there’s a pagan (or at least pagan-friendly) festival in your area. The largest concentration of gatherings usually happens in spring and fall, so these might be the best times to go looking. It doesn’t have to be a full-on rite or anything elaborate; it can be as simple as a local street fair. Sometimes just seeing and interacting with other practitioners, even on a momentary basis, can give us a helpful and refreshing boost.

Curl up with an old favorite. This one is going to sound silly to some folks, but I swear to you, this is probably the most effective method on the list. If you’ve hit a slump and nothing else is helping, pull out the books and movies and music that make you feel witchy.

Doesn’t matter what month it is, it’s always a good time for The Worst Witch or Halloweentown. Loved Practical Magic or The Craft? Watch them again. (Don’t be ashamed, I love them too.) Reread that book that made you want to cackle over a cauldron. Harry Potter? The Abhorsen Series? The Enchanted Forest Chronicles? The Discworld Witches? The Black Jewels? Do it. Put on a playlist with a witchy feel while you’re running errands or cleaning or chilling on the computer. Anything that floats your broomstick. There are plenty of them to be found on Spotify.

Whether it was hearing “Seven Wonders” at just the right time, or a poignant remark from Granny Weatherwax that really hit home, or that one episode of AHS: Coven, these things affected you in a profound way for a reason. Revisit them. Say hello. Don’t be surprised if the magic is still there. Because it’s still in you too.

You just need to find it again. 🙂

Magical Powders & Why I Love Them

The nice thing about making magical powders is that once you’ve got a jar of something ready, it’s very easy to toss a pinch or two where it’ll do the most good, even on your low-spoon days.

Case in point – House-cleansing needed on a day when you have no energy to spare for gathering jars and blending herbs? No problem! Toss some dried sage or cedar chips into a burning bowl, light it up, and add a few pinches of Clean House Powder along with your intent. Easy peasy.

Granted, there’s some effort involved in making the powder in the first place, but it’ll save you a lot of time and energy later on.

(Incidentally, this recipe along with dozens of others will be available in my forthcoming book, Pestlework. Look for it this August!)

Book Sales

By the by, if anyone has any pagan festivals coming up, I do offer my books to faire vendors at 60% of MSRP with low-rate shipping anywhere in the U.S. or Canada.

If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact me via email at Bree NicGarran@outlook.com. I need to make at least three more direct sales in order to keep the lights on this month.

Thank you for your support!