Stones for the Season: Spring Equinox

Stones for the Season: Spring Equinox

by Sarah Lyn

Stone has a beautiful language. Anyone who has ever had a rock jump out at them has heard it. Pick me! Pick me! Before you know it, you have either slipped it into a pocket, or you find yourself holding it in your hand, uncertain of how long it has been there.

Deep stone sleeps but the closer to the surface it gets, the more connected it is to us and our life cycles. Some rocks just want to introduce themselves and have a conversation. Some rocks will bite and want to be left alone. And some rocks have been looking for you to take them on a quest to some unknown corner of the world they have only heard about in the whispers of the deepest bedrock (even if that’s just your front yard).

[ALWAYS respect places that ask you NOT to take their rocks.]

The Trio

Different stones I encounter have different energies to them. Each sabbat, I put together a trio of stones to focus on for the following six weeks. It’s divination to me. I reach out into the web and see where we are in the world, creating a recipe of stone allies, and then I send that energy back out into the web.

I don’t usually use the same grouping of stones every year, but a couple of times I have. I will work with the stones I choose in my night meditations until the next sabbat, sometimes individually and sometimes as a group.

Spring Equinox is one of my favorite sabbats. Even before I understood that I was pagan, I would thrill as the early flower buds littered the yards with splashes of color. And there was always that first day when you noticed the first bud on a tree; and then the next day, it seemed, every tree would be bursting with them.

Three tumbled stones, Moss Green Agate, Snakeskin Agate, and Amazonite, sitting in the soil at the base  of a potted plant.

It’s time to start thinking about the Work we have done through the winter. It’s time to take those new pathways and take action to set them in motion.

We must all become the young shoots pushing up out of the rich soil.

So many of my beloveds are undergoing transformations and growth cycles right now. Some of them have even bravely chosen a new path.

The stones I chose for Spring Equinox this year have heavy growing properties: Moss Green Agate, Snakeskin Agate, and Amazonite.

Why the two agates? I always joke that if you don’t know what one of your stones is, it’s safe to guess that it’s either an agate or a jasper. Yes, they are that common, but they are also the extreme work horses of the metaphysical stone world. And agate, over jasper, reminds me of glass, which brings to mind the idea of lightning striking sand to create it. What a great representation for growth and change. Agate, the mineral, is a form of chalcedony, a form of quartz.

In my spellwork, Moss Green Agate always represents the Earth, the planet we were formed from and live upon; it’s an exceptional gardener’s talisman. It is semi-translucent, with inclusions of blue and green. Each one is different from the next. It helps me to use it as a foundation piece for any type of growth work—an anchor of who I am and where I am.

Remember where you come from, moss green agate says.

A particular stone that is important to transformation work to me, is Snakeskin Agate. It’s usually similar in orange color to carnelian, but the surface is broken up, giving the appearance of scales. I have heard that it can come in browns and whites, too, but I have yet to come across any in those shades. This stone is about movement and change. Its energy is like the kundalini energy rising up through your chakras, readying and preparing you to take action. It also has an undercurrent of joy and wonder at life that helps boost the positivity of the spell.

What doesn’t change, stagnates, it buzzes.

I often use the other two stones for Equinox work, but this third stone is important to this year. So many of my loved ones are struggling. Amazonite is the perfect addition to this trio. I have it in multiple shades of blue/green with white banding and markings. It is a creative talisman, and a good stone to add to work on change and transformation. It’s a creative stone that is also protective. Think of it like a shield you hold out in front of you. It adds a touch of grace to the mix, too.

Know what you want, it says.

Together this trio creates a well of energy you can tap into and access. We’ve been working on healing through the winter. Now it’s time to take what we’ve done and step back out into the world, with slightly different eyes. What growth are you bringing into the world with you this spring?

For Advanced Work

As Equinox is a sabbat of balance, one of the stones I use to work with balance is the Shiva Lingham. This egg-shaped rock is a sacred stone in India. Its shape is the phallic shape of Shiva, but it is formed by the waters of a river where seven currents merge. This stone is seen as a balanced piece. There is a village at this river that has spent generations hand-polishing the rocks they pull from the river for delivery to temples across the country.

My personal note—beware the shiva lingham that someone drilled a hole through to make into a pendant.

[Notes from Sarah Lyn: I never purchase rocks from people who do not know where they are sourced from. It’s important to know where your rocks come from so you can make informed decisions about where to put your money. For those of us buying tumbled stones at rock shows, we’re picking up the chips of what has already been cut from the earth, we are not part of the demand that influences the mining world. But know where your stones come from.]

All photographs © Sarah Lyn.

Gardening with the Sacred Earth

Gardening with the Sacred Earth

By Katie LaFond

The abundance of life and webs of nourishment in the land where I live are fascinating and ever changing. Whether we are tending a hardy houseplant or doing our best to grow much of the food we eat, we are forming relationships with plants, critters, and fungi, and it is a wonderful way to deepen our relationships with the Sacred Earth.

The first thing to do is to become acquainted —and comfortable—  with failure. 

The ability to fail successfully is incredibly empowering. If you’re just getting started with a garden, you will make mistakes. The way you dance with those mistakes may determine how deep your relationship with your garden will be. I have grown so much from my gardening fails. 

“Listen” as much as you “do.”

Spend time just observing in the garden. Sit in it, make it a beautiful comfortable place with flowers and plants you love, and have a comfortable chair. I have a section of the garden that my toddlers were allowed to dig in and it became a place we all wanted to be. I would notice what plants were doing well (those sunflowers really love that sunny spot!) and what plants didn’t seem too happy (is it too hot for those peas?). Before you even decide on a spot to plant things, spend time outside, observing how the light and water move through the day and seasons, and where the snow melts first. I also enjoy planting phenology, or watching for signs for when to plant things. Blooming crocus means it’s time to plant spinach. Daffodils are blooming when it’s time to plant beets.

Honor your boundaries and needs. 

Some of us have a lot of time and energy, and a large garden with orchards and a flock of chickens makes sense. Others feel stressed out just by the thought of maintaining all of that. You are part of the relationship you’re building with the land. Listen to your needs and desires as you make decisions. 

Enjoy your first date.

Speaking of desire, plant things that will bring you joy. I love eating tomatoes, I love fresh flowers on the table, and I am amused by fast growing plants, so the first year we lived at our home in the Hilltowns I planted tomatoes, flowers, and peas, and I mulched my plants because I don’t enjoy weeding. Listen to yourself, and get your hands dirty. 

Commitment and perennials

Perennials are fantastic; herbs, asparagus, berries, and walking onions are some of my favorite friends in the garden, but they take time to establish. Take time to listen to where the plants want to be, think about where you can realistically commit to tending them regularly, and make the decision together. You can always replant, but it will take a couple years for them to sleep, creep, and then leap again. 

Plants have friends and frenemies too

We all have different needs and wants, and some needs conflict. If you observe and remain open to your plants, they will often let you know if things are (or aren’t) working for them. I had a close call with planting some trees one year; the town offered a group rate on purchasing black walnut trees, and I liked the idea of nut trees on the land where I live. After I placed an order, I had a strange dream and a gut feeling that I should google walnut trees, and in fact, tomatoes won’t grow near walnut trees (walnuts create juglone which is toxic to tomatoes). My friend was two trees richer, and my tomatoes were glorious that year.

Begin to think in circles and webs. 

So often, we think of input and output, and cause and effect, as if things have a beginning and an ending. Healthy relationships, like the ones we’re building with the land, are often more complicated. Listen and open to the Earth, nourish your relationships with it, and let it guide you as you plant, feed your soil with organic matter, encourage mycelial webs to stretch out their fingers to tickle roots, and dance with water flow in your garden. Notice what grows well and look up what it is telling you; different plants grow well in different conditions. If you notice that chickweed is abundant, perhaps your soil is compact, and you might want to grow some daikon radish to loosen the earth a bit. Have tea with the bees and plant flowers, bringing cycles of fertility to your garden and beyond. Feed the worms and microbes with compost, and then let them be; digging disrupts the fascinating and fertile communities that live beneath the surface.

As we in the Northern Hemisphere turn again towards the bright half of the year, I’m looking forward to the sleeping land waking up and stretching new green to the sky. I’m looking forward to warm sweaters and looking for the first snowdrops poking their heads through the snow. I’m looking forward to seeing how huge my heat-loving pepper plant will grow in the microclimate I have near the bricks and asphalt, and I’m looking forward to my children’s faces smeared with dirt and raspberries, with spinach in their teeth. Our relationship with the Sacred Earth is a blessedly messy one, and I wish you all the luck with your plant relationships this year. 

In the Spirit of the Earth,

Katie LaFond

Massachusetts, March 2023

Paganism, the Self, and How to DIY Your Spirituality

Paganism, the Self, and How to DIY Your Spirituality

by Irene Glasse

One of the things that drew me to Paganism early on was its emphasis on sovereignty: our path through this spiritual form is a self-governed one. We are our own priests, liturgists, omen-readers, and teachers. The edges of our Path gradually form themselves out of the different approaches and techniques we try. Over time most of us find a pattern: a set of practices that link up to a natural rhythm that works for us. The only problem? Where once there were three paths through the woods, there are now thousands that intersect and double back on themselves in an ever-growing array of potential routes to follow. We have reached the point where beginning the Pagan path, or simply choosing where to go next, can be an overwhelming prospect. 

The good news is that everyone has their own individual True North: a spiritual and energetic alignment that is unique and leads to the best paths for each of us. We can think of this True North as supporting our autonomy – our ability to choose what is right for us. However, in an over-culture that prioritizes conformity and obedience, the voice of our True North can become muted. This deep voice is the voice of spirit rather than logic, and too often we lose that voice when we’re weighing options through the lens of logical, linear thinking. 

One helpful tool for getting a clearer message from our True North, and the practices that will support it the most, is understanding our core self. We can see that self in the choices we’ve already made, the relationships we’ve cultivated, and the activities we’ve loved. I’ll use my own life as an example: I’m a creative: a writer, a musician, a poet, and an artist. I’m a helper human: I am drawn to situations where I can lend a hand. I’m an adventurer: I like to try new things and visit new places. The path of Paganism offers me many ways to address this core: devotional litanies and poetry, spell and ritual creation, shrine building, healing techniques for body and spirit, community work, festivals and conferences, and pilgrimages to sacred sites. Notice what’s not on the list as well: the more math- and science-based paths within Paganism. My core is fluid: word based, art based, intentional-connection-with-others based. Areas of focus within Paganism that fall into those categories are the most nourishing for my own spiritual growth. My True North nudges me toward those paths, even if the logical part of my brain wants me to get better at Astrology or Sacred Geometry. Although Astrology and Sacred Geometry are both awesome, I also know they’re not a good fit for my core self.

Knowing our core self and its alignment helps navigate another gap many of us encounter at some point along the path: the space between academic learning about the deities/pantheon/cultures we are drawn to, then pulling together a personal practice that works for us individually. The first part is vital, especially as all of us strive to step away from the cultural appropriation that was common in the early years of our movement. Learning about the history, mythology, and culture of deities and pantheons we feel attracted to should always be step one. It’s the second step where we need to include our core alignment in order to create a nourishing, sustainable spiritual practice.

Again using my own alignment as an example, the way I approach a new spirit or deity I wish to connect with is to learn where in that being’s comfort zone my own alignment fits. During a Deity Internship (a way of practicing devotion and connecting with a deity outside my regular spiritual “circles”) with the Kemetic goddess Serqet, I first learned everything I could about how Serqet was honored, what her stories were, and what her culture was like. I performed a divination to make sure she welcomed a connection with me (remember, the Gods and spirits have opinions — always get consent). I acquired incense that was reminiscent of the kind used by Serqet’s people and created a shrine for her using colors and items that would be familiar. Then, I brought in my own core nature: I created a litany of praise to Serqet that could be sung or spoken, and offered it to her when I burned her incense. I spent time journeying to visit with and speak to her. I brought my connection to her into my wanderings in nature so she had the option of seeing a very different landscape than her own. I combined what works for Serqet and what works for me into one practice. Serqet responded through signs and symbols in the mundane world and dreams and visions in my spiritual practices. Although my internship with Serqet is over, we still communicate regularly, and I value my time in service to her. 

Spiritual practices are meant to grow. It’s important to remember that without the break in veneration due to the rise of other religions, our understanding of —and our relationship with— the gods and spirits of the ancient world would have continued to evolve just as we do. Using history as a starting point is good – it gives us context and prevents cultural appropriation – but history should be the base of a practice that extends upward and outward. People in 870 C.E. and 1290 B.C.E. experienced an entirely different world than we do now. We can only make guesses as to how they felt and what their cultural norms were through fragments of evidence. The gap between academic research and building a personal practice is a careful, conscious effort to place the history and mythology into our own world, our own lives. 

The Pagan autonomy and sovereignty of path is both blessing and challenge: it calls us to know ourselves deeply so that we can choose wisely as we navigate our way in the world. It teaches us to learn first, but to adapt those learnings to our own individual nature. It is the ultimate DIY spirituality, but it is built on a solid triad of self, history, and practice. 

So, what is your core? Fluid, smoky, fiery, earthy, edgy? When you connect to it, where does your True North tell you to go? Hit me up in the comments. You never know when your own ideas are exactly what illuminates the path for another. 

Irene can be found at

Heathen Holidays: Æcerbot

Heathen Holidays: Æcerbot

by Trey Wentworth

This is the second blog post in a series on the topic of Heathen Holidays.

Chase Hill Æcerbot ritual

In February, we really begin to notice the lengthening daylight hours. Posting the seconds and minutes on Facebook no longer matters, because we can actually see it each day – and we, along with the plants and animals around us, begin to think about the coming of spring.

In Old English, the word for this time of year was lencten, which was then applied to the Christian observance now called Lent. But its etymological origin is in the “lengthening” of the day, and simply meant spring. Different traditions within Heathenry celebrate this time differently – but whether it is marked as Disting, Charming of the Plough, or Æcerbot, observing the shifting light is a sign of hope for those who live in cold, northerly climes.

On Chase Hill, we perform our Æcerbot ritual at this time of year. Named for an Old English charm to encourage field fertility, it is a time for us to honor all the beings that feed us – plant and animal – and wish them growth in the coming season. Despite the heavy snow and coldest temperatures of the year, this observance heralds the beginning of the growing season. In only a matter of weeks, the tree sap will begin to flow and the first harvest of New England will begin – maple syrup.

Reflecting on Food

Honoring the spirits of the land is core to the practice of Heathenry. In our modern culture, we are divorced from our food sources and it is easy to forget that we owe our lives not just abstractly to the land we live on, but literally to those beings that die so that we may eat.

In preparation for the Æcerbot, many of us spend a week thanking (out loud!) the animals and plants that make up our food each time we sit down to eat. That might be as simple as turkey, tomato, lettuce, and wheat before taking a bite of a sandwich – or you may find yourself researching the actual source of the preservatives or flavorings in your favorite bag of chips. No matter what, taking time to recognize all the things that make up our diet – a breadth of variation heretofore unimaginable in all of human history – brings awareness to how connected we are to the earth and so many other species.

During our community’s Æcerbot ritual, one of the offerings we give is to all the beings we eat. We pass a pitcher around the circle, naming beings that give us food and pouring water for each.

Offering of Cakes

This is also the time that Heathens shared cakes with their gods. The Venerable Bede tells us that February was called Solmonath (Cake month) in Old English because of the offerings given at this time of year. Recorded in Swedish and Norwegian folklore is the practice of gathering around the hearth, each member of the family taking a bite of cake in turn, and the remainder going into the fire. The Æcerbot charm, too, involves baking a special cake and laying it in the first furrow ploughed.

You can give your own offerings of cakes to the earth as she awakens from her sleep. There are many recipes already associated with this time of year – for many years I made fastnachts (Pennsylvania Dutch doughnuts) for Æcerbot from a family recipe. In Heathen practice, we always share our offerings with the gods and spirits – be sure to give a portion to the land, and a portion to each person in your house or at your ritual.

Blessing the Tools of Work

Blessing the plough for the coming year’s work is another important undertaking at this time of year, as shown in the Æcerbot charm and the surviving English folk customs on Plough Monday. But since most of us will not be taking a plough to the north forty when the ground thaws, how do we honor the tools that will sustain us through the summer?

If your work is at the computer, perhaps it is time to bless it. Or if you crochet or knit, those needles or hooks are tools you will be working with throughout the year. Pens, pencils, planners, or bullet journals can also be blessed. Nothing is too mundane – in fact, the idea of blessing these common objects is to ensure that the things you use every day are honored as sacred.

In Heathen ritual, we often pour our offerings into a bowl, allowing us to sprinkle the offerings on the space and the attendees as a blessing before returning it all to the earth. Be sure to sprinkle the tools of your trade before you pour out your offerings (ensuring any electronics are covered by something water-proof first!).

Or if you choose to focus your observance on the hearth instead, you can bless your tools with flame, another traditional Heathen blessing practice. Light your hearth – a simple candle on top of the stove will do – and pass your tools over the flame (carefully, so as not to burn or melt anything, including yourself!) before extinguishing it.

However you choose to welcome the returning light at this time of year, make sure to find time to give gratitude to all the plants and animals that have kept you alive over the last year and send your blessings out to the land that the coming year be one of plenty.

Single-handled ox-drawn ard; Bronze Age rock carving, Bohuslän, Sweden
By Lidingo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
tiny white flowers, a sequence of winter haiku

tiny white flowers, a sequence of winter haiku

by Eric Arthen

Photo by Eric Arthen


    tiny white flowers
    cover the windshield
    a long wait for spring

        the snowblower
        finally starts
        blue sky

    the western glow
    before moonrise
    field of white

Deeper still

    foggy night
    a twisting step
    to test for ice

        snow drifting
        off the hemlocks
        frozen pond

    winter moon
    shining white curve
    instead of stairs

        after the blizzard
        between barred owl hoots


    walking the dog
    to where the snowplow stopped
    late winter sun

        expanse of white
        loading firewood
        from the bottom row

    forsythia —
    vase of branches and buds
    forcing spring

Credits: Six of these poems have been previously published in Frogpond 2009 Sp/Su; HPSWM 2012, 2018; New England Letters 91, 117; Nor’Easter 19; Stone Walls II v1.

Indulging in the Dark Time

Indulging in the Dark Time

by Katie LaFond

Now that the Yule season is over, a lot of my friends have a hard time as they wait for spring. The days are getting longer, but we still have a stretch to get to Spring Equinox.

Here are some things my family and I like to do this time of year, in case they help you. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comment section below.

  • I set up hot chocolate or tea to be ready when I come back in from some bundled fresh air, yes even when I’m tired.
  • We light candles, even if overhead lights are on. It’s surprising how they can change the mood in a room.
  • I always have three or four books going. You don’t need to hold yourself to false moral reading standards. I usually have a comedy, fantasy, and a couple nonfiction books going on in the winter.
  • Stillness. We use winter to encourage myself to slow down, monotask, and to say “no” to lots of things. This is one of the ways we try to tap into the natural cycles that are so easy to forget with modern technology.
  • Darkness. I love it and I’m unafraid of it. I shower in the dark all the time and turn on as few lights as I can, both out of silly, childlike “can I manage to put my earrings away, find my pajamas, and get to bed without being able to see anything?” and because the dark allows other pieces of me to surface and flex.
  • Extra sleep. My Nan talked about how our Nordic ancestors told stories of how people would sleep more in the long dark and less in the endless day, so I often indulge in nine hours a night. I have a lush relationship with Dreams, and when I sleep as much as my body wants, it nurtures that relationship, and it is deeply nourishing to me. This is where the power of “no” comes in handy, because if I said yes to everything, I would not have the time to get this much sleep.

These are just a few ideas that carry us through the dark, cold days of Winter. What are some of your favorite activities, whether playful or self-care-ful?

waking coyote

waking coyote

Rose Sinclair

What is it to grieve?

What does it Feel like?

The air of me gasps

The earth of me trembles

The fire of me pushes my blood

The water of me falls in a torrent

They ask it of me, these elements of creation

This full presence

This authenticity of self which includes them

This fullness of humanness not limited to the edges of my skin

When the sunflowers bow their heads to the rain

When the trees crack and break and fall in the wind

When the volcano erupts and the lightning strikes and the grasslands burn

When the rocks tumble and break to become new beings

My fullness of life is not limited to the edges of my skin

The earth holds it all, holds me all

Holds all of me

Gasping, trembling, pushing, falling

And rising again.

January: Purification, Divination, and Hitting the Reset Button

January: Purification, Divination, and Hitting the Reset Button

by Irene Glasse

The very first pre-Christian Deity I served was Brigid, an Irish goddess.  As a young musician with a military background, she was easy for me to relate to. “A musician AND a blacksmith? Sign me up! I want to make music and hit things too!” I still consider my time in service to her to be incredibly valuable – it laid strong foundations for my spirituality. 

One of Brigid’s holy days is Imbolc, February 1st – 2nd, and in my own devotional practices for her, I found the time between Yule and Imbolc to be very potent. I wore my hair long at the time and would style it in braids every day, an outward sign of an inward focus. My practice was centered around deepening and clearing, creating space for the light to come. 

Although the center of my own beliefs has shifted to the Heathen gods of old Norway, I still consider this time of year to be perfect for getting my spiritual “head” straightened out. There’s a simplicity to these cold days, to a natural world streamlined to reveal its core shapes and colors: brown branches, gray stone, faded grasses, white snow. As the world reveals the structures that support the growing season, we can follow the pattern by looking more closely at our inner structures. 

I like to start with purification. If it’s been a while since your last smoke-bath, break out some purifying herbs and resins and waft that sacred smoke around your body. It can help to have a partner to assist here. If you’re working alone, consider carefully placing a smoldering cauldron on the floor and allowing the smoke to drift upward to cover you. If using smoke isn’t an option where you live, take a salt bath/use a salt scrub in the shower and remember to completely rinse the saltwater off your body when you’re finished.

Then, sit down with a journal or your preferred note-taking medium. This reflection is based on underlying structures, so the questions I use for my own purposes are simple.

1)    What’s working right now? What practices or patterns help you stay centered? What are you already doing that feeds your sense of spiritual connection? When are the moments when you feel calm, and what’s happening during them to cause that experience?

2)    What’s getting in the way? What patterns, behaviors, and obligations are distracting you, or keeping you from spending time and energy where you’d like to? What practices or patterns got jostled by the rush of activities around the winter holidays?

The movement of energy at this time of year is downward and inward flowing. The culture of the United States tends to encourage wild expenditures of energy under the guise of “New Year’s Resolutions,” but to do so is to fight the stronger, older pattern of the natural world. If we shift to purifying, streamlining, releasing, and going deeper, we work with the prevailing flow of energy rather than against it.

Bearing that in mind, look at your reflections. The practices that are already working can be ones to take deeper whether that’s daily devotionals, meditation and journeywork, walks in the woods, or yoga. How can your existing practice(s) become even more centered, even more stable, even more rooted?

Look at your reflection on what’s getting in the way. Are there obligations or patterns that you can let go of? Are there any “shoulds” you can release? Many areas of life where we experience stress, tension, and frustration are unavoidable, but there are also some funny little places where we tend to make things harder for ourselves.

We often think of purification as a practice for our bodies, or spaces. We’re familiar with spring and fall cleaning, with smoke and water purification, with fasting and vigils, etc.  But purification is a practice for our lives and patterns as well. In my own experience, the small daily patterns we engage in often arise due to necessity or by accident and then perpetuate themselves simply because most people follow patterns once they’re set. Looking more closely at those repeated behaviors and making a few adjustments can help us get recentered.

My last step is a simple three-card divination. I hold my Tarot deck and think about what the natural world around me is doing. I visualize the land around my home, the clean lines of the winter trees. I think about the way they’re focusing on their roots, on the energy pooling deep in the earth.  Then, I draw cards:

First card: What can I do more of to go deeper?

Second card: What can I let go of to create space?

Third card: What message do I need to hear this winter?

This method would work for any sortilege-based divination system: Tarot, oracle cards, runes, kahina stones, etc.

Balancing the results of the reading with my own reflections, I then choose a few small shifts to make. For my own part, I’m letting go of pushing so hard. I have self-imposed creative “deadlines” that aren’t serving me and ultimately create more stress. One thing that’s working well for me right now is a 20-minute yoga practice at the end of my workday. It got jostled by my schedule and then by a case of covid, so I’m prioritizing that return to the mat. I’m fortunate enough to live in a part of the world that experiences a mild winter while still seeing a true seasonal shift, so I plan to support both of these adjustments by continuing to spend time outdoors. For me, it really helps.

So, what do you want to streamline and recenter right now? What’s working for you? And what do you want to let go of? Hit me up in the comments. You never know when your own ideas are exactly what another person needs to read.

Stones for the Season: Yuletide

by Sarah Lyn

Stone has a beautiful language. Anyone who has ever had a rock jump out at them has heard it. Pick me! Pick me! Before you know it, you have either slipped it into a pocket, or you find yourself holding it in your hand, uncertain of how long it has been there.

Deep stone sleeps but the closer to the surface it gets, the more connected it is to us and our life cycles. Some rocks just want to introduce themselves and have a conversation. Some rocks will bite and want to be left alone. And some rocks have been looking for you to take them on a quest to some unknown corner of the world they have only heard about in the whispers of the deepest bedrock (even if that’s just your front yard).

[ALWAYS respect places that ask you NOT to take their rocks.]

The Trio

Clear Quartz, Selenite, Citrine

Different stones I encounter have different energies to them. Each sabbat, I put together a trio of stones to focus on for the following six weeks. It’s divination to me. I reach out into the web and see where we are in the world, creating a recipe of stone allies, and then I send that energy back out into the web.

I don’t usually use the same grouping of stones every year, but a couple of times I have. I will work with these ones in my night meditations until the next sabbat, sometimes individually and sometimes as a group.

The stones I chose for Yule this year are: Clear Quartz, Citrine, and Selenite.


If they’re familiar with crystals, most people are familiar with Quartz, a hard mineral composed of silica. It’s a crystal that everyone can tap into and connect with. It comes in a wide variety of flavors, so to speak, but I am working specifically with Clear Quartz. Many beloveds in my life right now are seeking the kind of clarity and focus that Quartz offers. I think about Quartz like this… I have a friend who went hiking on the glaciers in Alaska and on the journey they drank some of the running water from the center of a glacier. She tells me that we have not tasted real water yet… I believe her. Quartz is like that for me— a powerful crystallizer of intent. 

See clearly, it says to me.


Another stone most people are familiar with is purple Amethyst. This year, I chose its kin Citrine, a yellow crystal. When Amethyst is exposed to extreme heat and pressure over time, it becomes Citrine. You can often find pieces of Ametrine, showing both purple and yellow coloring.

Citrine is rare in its natural form. Most Citrine on the market is heat-treated Amethyst. Still technically Citrine, and much more affordable, but not nature-made. And most heat-treated versions turn a dense yellow-brown.

As another variety of quartz, Citrine joined with Clear Quartz radiates joy and opens the mind for new beginnings. If Quartz is a focuser, then Citrine is its laser pointer. I associate it with the solar plexus chakra, and as a stone of decisiveness and courage. On the longest night of the year, it is a useful tool against the darkness.

Strike the match within, it whispers steadily.


A favorite stone of mine is Selenite. It is made of gypsum and its structure is 70% water. And like water, it helps you with letting things go. I associate this stone with the emotional body and often use it for healing. It also looks like ice and is helpful in soothing energies associated with stressful family scenarios at the holidays. I decorate heavily with them and they feel peaceful. Even though they are constant workers, I associate them with the joyful stillness of the season.

Float with the current, it says.

Together this trio creates a peaceful clarity. They also remind me of light we carry through the darkness as we wrestle and/or dance with our shadows, and wait for the days to lengthen.

For Advanced Work

If you want to go deeper into this season? I recommend using a piece of Rutilated Quartz during vigil on the longest night of the year. There’s definitely a plethora of quartz this season, but it feels important to this year’s transition. The rutile inclusions are a mineral called Sagenite, which amplifies the Quartz energy. It’s an excellent stone for divination and for peering into the unknown while planning the next step on your path.

A Grief Balm

If your heart is heavy with grief this season, I would normally recommend keeping Rose Quartz nearby. But the holidays can be so heavy and may need something stronger. This year, I recommend Jade, a solid to translucent green silicate mineral. It can also be found in other colors but is most commonly known as green. It is a powerful heart protection stone, which fortifies your spirit at the same time as it works defensive magic.

[Notes from Sarah Lyn: I never purchase rocks from people who do not know where they are sourced from. It’s important to know where your rocks come from so you can make informed decisions about where to put your money. For those of us buying tumbled stones at rock shows, we’re picking up the chips of what has already been cut from the earth, we are not part of the demand that influences the mining world. But know where your stones come from.]

All photos © Sarah Lyn

Heathen Holidays: Mothers’ Night

Trey Wentworth

This is the first blog post in a series on the topic of Heathen Holidays.

The season of Yule is upon us, and though many pagans share the word yule these days, celebrations by the same name may differ widely from one tradition to the next. Here we’ll be talking about how Heathens celebrate Yule, particularly traditions practiced by the Chase Hill community in Vermont.

In Heathenry, Yule is always a multi-day celebration. (Ever hear of the twelve days of Christmas? That wasn’t a Christian innovation!) Historically, it may have been celebrated for a span of days, weeks, or even months! Many modern Heathens celebrate Yule starting at sundown the night before the winter solstice and ending at sundown on January 1st. This holiday marks the ending of one year and the beginning of the next – with the span of 12 or 13 days belonging to neither, but instead a potent in-between time for resting and setting intentions for the coming year.

The first night of Yule is often called Mothers’ Night after the Old English tradition as recorded by the Venerable Bede. This is a time when we honor all the goddesses and female ancestors – the Good Ladies – when they at last take a break from their yearly work and wander the earth, traveling from home to home during the night. As the start of the almost two-week Yule celebration, it is also the time when we bless and ward our homes to protect them from the many dangerous beings that live in the long dark nights between years.

Celebrating Mothers’ Night

Leading up to Mothers’ Night there is a flurry of house cleaning. When the host of the Good Ladies comes, we want our homes to be orderly, and it is customary to finish all fiber arts projects before they arrive. Because spinning, weaving, and other crafts are so sacred to the Good Ladies, we set them aside for the span of Yule and don’t pick up new projects until the New Year. Working on fiber arts while the Good Ladies themselves take a break from that work would be hubris indeed! All this should be done before the sun sets, signaling the start of the Yule holiday.

Once the house is clean, all your knitting projects are done for the year, and night has fallen, it is time to bless the house. We “kindle fires in every corner of the house” by turning on every light – even that rarely used closet or basement light. Light every candle and oil lamp that is out and in use (you don’t have to pull out that backup box of 20 tapers and light them all!), and turn on all your flashlights. Any woodstoves or fire places should be lit – even if only by an electric tealight. The house should be fairly glowing in contrast to the dark winter night. Then gather up some bells (yes, bells!) and step outside to recite this prayer to all the unseen beings that move through the night between years:

Come those who wish to come,
stay those who wish to stay,
and fare those who wish to fare,
harmless to me and mine.

(adapted from Our Troth, vol. II, Second Edition, compiled by Kveldulf Gundarsson)

Ring your bells and walk a circle around your house, welcoming in good luck and all kindly spirits, while driving away bad luck and any beings that mean you harm. When you are finished, your house is blessed, and you can turn off all the extra lights and blow out the candles (make sure you don’t forget any!)

For a holiday dinner, I often make dishes that fit the theme of the Good Ladies – potage bonne femme (a French leek and potato soup whose name means “soup of the good woman”) and hexenschnee (a Dutch dessert of applesauce, gelatin, and whipped egg whites called “witches’ snow”) are two of my favorites.

And beyond feeding ourselves, it is also time to feed the spirits. On Yule eve, the house spirits of the Heathen world are given their yearly pay in the form of cream porridge — with a big dollop of butter on top. The hob, tomte, nisse, or whatever regional name you use for the being that protects your home will find your offering if you place it on the hearth or the doorstep. If your house spirit isn’t particularly hungry and the bowl is still full in the morning, the contents can go to your garden via the compost.

Lastly, before bed, we lay out the Feast of the Good Ladies, because tonight they will come to the house, checking to see that all is in order and all spinning for the year is finished, and we must welcome such august guests with a meal. This food stays on the table until morning when we eat it ourselves for breakfast, taking in the blessing of all those kindly spirits as the first act on the first morning of Yule. It is important to leave the food uncovered so the Good Ladies can take part in the feast and lay their blessing on it. But be aware that some breakfast foods don’t survive well exposed to warm, drying air for hours. This is a great time for foods with rinds, peels, or crusts – fruit (a bowl of apples or clementines), cheeses (which are often stored unrefrigerated in countries outside the US), and uncut loaves of bread, pies, or pastries. There are some European recipes such as the Italian La Befana Cake that do well sitting out, as they are made for traditions just like these in their areas of origin (la Befana is an Italian witch who similarly enters homes looking for a meal, though she rides at Epiphany on January 6 — a date in common with some other Heathen versions of this practice, especially in the Urglaawe tradition).

However you celebrate it, here’s wishing you all the blessings of Yule, and all the protection of family, home, laughter, and light in this dark time of year.