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san diego, ca

Designer of high end fragrances and body care products in the San Diego area using natural ingredients. Specializing in soap and ritual products. 

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Journal

This journal is about all of the things that inspire me to keep making my bath and beauty products; including but not limited to books, herbs, plants, places, art and music.

Filtering by Category: esotric studies

Creating Meaningful Rituals - Personal Ritual Ideas

Luna Apotheca

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What is a ritual?

I’ve been asked by customers and friends “what is the best way to perform a self-care or personal ritual?” 

First, let’s define the word Ritual. One of Dictionary.com definitions is “a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.”

There are many actions and parts to any ritual. They are usually performed daily, can last 30 seconds or several hours and are done over the course of many months. There are small acts, honoring a favorite deity, to larger time consuming ones, the ritual of inner contemplation or mindfulness. Based on this, the best answer I can give is  “performing a ritual is a very personal experience.” Broad answer I know, but that only means the ritual you create will be more meaningful to you. I also want to note here that the true power of ritual is to do these rites as often as we can. Our rituals gain power from repetition. Ritual acts (unlike spells) are to create and maintain the alchemical connection of “as above, so below.”

Start with a question

Before you begin to build your ritual, start with a question. I find the following questions helpful.

  • What is the intention of my ritual?
  • What do I feel would enhance the power of the ritual, a certain type atmosphere or scent? 
  • Do I feel a connection with the cycles of nature, if so, how can I bring these energies into my ritual?
  • What type of energy am I trying to manifest within myself?

I think once you have the answers to these types of questions the time and place will become obvious to you.

Decide on the energy or action

We already start our day with “morning rituals” and end with “evening rituals,” putting some intent into these already habitual acts is a great place to start. We daily rise and set like the stars and planets in our galaxy, tap into that energy. Let’s also not forget that there are many different kinds of energy, and all energy, if approached with respect, is beautiful and deeply moving. I encourage you to consider all parts of the day when performing rituals, not only when the moon rises or sets or what current phase it’s in. Don’t limit your personal power to what’s trendy. I like to perform bathing rituals with the evening light. I find water is healing and calming. I prefer the time between day and night, because it provides a natural doorway to the energies I try to connect with.

Another easy and quick ritual we can perform is in the shower. As you stand under your own personal waterfall, let the water cleanse you spiritually, hold a bar of natural soap to your nose, take three deep breaths and consider the herbs and intention that have gone into it... think about the symbolism as it glides and bubbles across your skin and draw that energy to yourself. You will subconsciously take in those powers. You may not walk out of that shower able to conquer the world (or maybe you will!), but you will have a better sense of what you need to do and embody to get through the day. The symbolism can also act as a helpful reminder when manifesting your wishes and needs. Listen to your intuition – it’s there speaking to you.

Scent in ritual

Why is scent such an amazing enhancement to ritual acts? Scent is a great memory and emotion trigger. Our sense of smell is one of our most primitive and under-utilized super powers. It has an almost direct path to our brain. Using scent in ritual allows you a base to recall, recenter, and reignite your intentions. For example, during a self-love ritual, you use rose petals in a bath and the scent of rose fills the air. After the ritual, if you start to feel that energy sap away, you can recharge by pulling out a rose perfume and applying it to your wrists. The scent will trigger a reconnection to your ritual’s original purpose. The more you practice and use scent in ritual, the easier and more comforting it will become.

Plants and their scent all have associations within the symbolic world. With aromatherapy studies we even have documented proof of their ability to change or enhance our moods. A truly powerful ritual ally. 

Taking part in a meaningful self-care ritual can help to elevate and reconnect you to your stronger self. One that’s ready to face cultural and societal challenges. Remember, take a deep breath, listen to that inner voice (even if it’s saying something negative), hear it and acknowledge it. Then work on reminding yourself that you already are a Timeless and Extraordinary Cosmic Being.

Books I found useful in creating my own rituals:
The Way of Four, Deborah Lipp
Water Magic, Mary Muryn
Spiritual Bathing, Arvigo & Epstein
The Magical and Ritual use of Perfumes, Richard Alan Miller and Iona Miller

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

 

The Queens of Tarot in Personal Ritual

Luna Apotheca

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Queens in a Tarot deck represent both feminine energy and influence in society. This isn't to say that this court card in the Tarot deck only represents females. This post intends to take an open-minded look at feminine energies. It's not a way to create unequal gender roles. 

The Queens of Tarot can manifest in ritual practice in many ways: as themselves, as symbols, and as tools. Below is a very general guide and one that I hope inspires you to make the Queens of Tarot an important part of your next ritual.

The Queens as themselves in personal ritual

I prefer to think of this court card as a personification of emotions and feelings. Bringing those emotions/feelings in (or letting them go) create balance. Finding balance in our everyday lives is such an important action, and yet self-neglect is something all to common in the modern world. Listed are a few words describing feminine energy: nurturing, compassionate, intuitive, loving, and receptive. These feelings and states of mind are what we may need to embody or face in our quest to identify what we may need for ourselves.

Which queen will you draw on today?

  • The Queen of Wands (or Staves) focuses on a strong, proud, free, adventurous, wild, and untamed nature.
  • The Queen of Pentacles (or Coins) focuses on a loving, sensuous, open-hearted, stable nature.
  • The Queen of Swords focuses on purity, devotion, caution, serenity, grace, and calmness.
  • The Queen of Cups focuses on compassion, love, and concern for ourselves and our fellow human.

The Queens as symbols

The queens can be used to symbolize the 4 elements, the building blocks of spells. For example, in a spell for Creating a Path to Success they can symbolize a way to nurture creativity (water), receive energy (fire), and calm emotions (air), to bring realization to your dreams (earth). 

  • The Queen of Wands (or Staves) is the element of fire. 
  • The Queen of Pentacles (or Coins) is the element of earth.
  • The Queen of Swords is the element of air.
  • The Queen of Cups is the element of water.

The Queens as tools

In ritual use the tarot deck is a powerful tool. It helps us look at our actions and thoughts and bring to light what may be influencing us subconsciously. More than just a divination tool, it can help us determine where we need to focus our energy. A few ways to use the cards as tools other than in a traditional tarot reading may be the following:

  • The different suits in the Tarot placed on an altar (or in your hand during travel), can represent the 4 elements without the use of more traditional tools that may not be at hand (knife, cup, candles, fire, water, and/or incense, etc) when manifesting or creating spells.
  • Placed at the four corners, they can represent the cardinal directions. 

I hope this post has helped you find new and different ways of bringing the Queens of Tarot into your personal rituals and enhances your ability to draw on these strengths, and open the gateway to the endless, nostalgic, wild, and mystical self. You are timeless and extraordinary.

I would love to discuss this topic further and hear your ideas on the Queens of Tarot and what they may represent to you. I am still an active learner and love hearing about other's experiences. 

Love and Light,

Tess

Pictured at the top are the some of my favorite Queen Card representatives, UUSI (Pagan Otherworlds Tarot), Morgan Press (Aquarian Tarot), David Palladini (The New Palladini Tarot)

While Wildharvesting at Palomar Mountain, San Diego County, CA

Luna Apotheca

Southern California Botany is beautiful, rich and more diverse than you may believe.

I went wildharvesting with a wonderful guide last Sunday. I learned A LOT about the medicinal plants of my area and I even got to harvest some Mugwort! My guide's name was Shana Lipner Grover. Her site is Sage Country Herbs and I encourage anyone in the San Diego area interested in local botany to take one of her hikes. I admire and applaud her ideas on native plants and our relationship both physically and spiritually to our home, Southern California. She made an inspiring speech while overlooking a chaparral covered valley that I wish I had recorded... but didn't, so you just gotta take her class. Ha!

Posted are some pictures I managed to take... in between my brain occasionally shutting down from too much information and thinking "oooooh pretty" while looking at a flower (thank goodness my boyfriend was along and took excellent notes). Please click through them all!

After this hike I understand that everything that we learn going forward only enriches and nurtures the ideology behind La Luna Bruja, and that makes me happy.

Cheers!

Now go out and learn about the plants in your area. You might learn that "weed" growing in your backyard, is actually great for your health.