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Favorite Witchy Things | Our Prairie Nest
Witchy Favorites

Favorite Witchy Things - Good Magic by Marina Medici | Our Prairie NestWhen you’re on a path for a number of years, it’s easy to accumulate favorites – things you’d never want to do without. Here are just a few of my favorite witchy things.

The first item is one that remains both useful and nostalgic and that is Good Magic by Marina Medici. This is among the first of several books I read about witchcraft when I was a teenager. My father provided me with some books, but a friend in high school discovered this one and it became an insta-favorite. Mine is going on 25-years-old now, so the edges of the cover have curled up a little bit with use.

But the book still transports me to the wonder of first discovering the ideas of witchcraft and magick as a teenager, of telling my dad I wanted to be a witch, and having him provide things like my first books, incense burners, candles and candleholders, and more.

This isn’t a spiritual approach to magick. It has more of a fanciful, Old World feel, and maybe that’s why I love it. The author treats witchcraft as if it’s just a normal thing in her life. No fuss about religion or  spirituality. Because I’m not Wiccan, but I am a Witch, this book is perfect for my practice. Yes, spiritually I am Pagan and embrace the idea of feminine creative energy (aka Goddess), however it’s not an intrinsic part of the practical way in which I use magick.

Another favorite not pictured here that goes into the idea of magick separate from religion is Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits. I love how he digs into the nuts and bolts of why magick actually works.

Favorite Witchy Things - Book of Shadows | Our Prairie Nest

When I lived in Delaware, there was a wonderful store that opened in Dover called Bell, Book & Candle. Sadly, the store is gone now. However, I have several items I purchased there, including the very first wood-bound book of shadows they ever sold.

At the time, this was a bargain at $50 for this handmade wooden book, filled with 8 1/2 x 11 pages. Later books were more elaborate and more expensive, but I adore this basic version with the pentagram.

The great thing about this book is it’s completely customizable. I’ve taken out papers to print spells, devotionals, rituals, and more on them.

Of course, you can handwrite on the blank pages, too, which comes with its own benefits. But my handwriting is terrible and since the pages aren’t lined, I found printing out rituals made more sense for me.

I’ve also customized those pages with various illustrations and borders, but I haven’t been afraid to write in notes after the fact, either. This book contains more than I often remember, until I open it, looking for something specific. Every public ritual I go to that involves a handout also goes into the Book of Shadows, so I can use them at home if the ritual really resonated with me.

Another nifty item I got at Bell, Book & Candle in its heyday a tin of blank cards, which you see above. Yes, they were all faery/fairy themed and so beautiful.

Though the cards are long gone, used at least ten or more years ago when I first got them, the tin remains. It’s the perfect storage container for seed packets. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything with an autumnal color scheme, so this tin has been a staple in my house for a long time.

Back when I lived in Dover, there was a gorgeous planner called the Seasons of the Witch planner, created by Victoria David Danann. I loved that planner.

Favorite Witchy Things - Tea and Tarot by Victoria Danann | Our Prairie NestSadly, the planner is long-since defunct and, while I miss it, I do have another piece of Victoria Danann that is timeless – this beautiful print called “Tea and Tarot.” I fell in love with it when it first came out and had to have it. In fact, back at my old house in Dover, I designed the entire color scheme of my office around it.

This print now hangs in my living room where I can enjoy it every day. It’s one of the first things you’ll see when walking into my house and looks great near the front door, where it can catch the light.

I also own the amazing “Traditions” silhouette print by Liza Lambertini (it’s at the very bottom of her website, but faded out, because it was limited edition and is no longer available). Unfortunately, I need to get a new frame for it, since the one I had it in really didn’t suit it. Next year, I plan to get a nice plain, black frame. Nothing too ornate and no mat, since it’s quite a large print.

Favorite Witchy Things - Goddess & Web Statute | Our Prairie NestThe last item here was a gift from a very special friend. Silver Lyons and I have been friends for nearly twenty years now (whoa!) and we keep in touch regularly. We’re both New Englanders, separated by far too much distance. She’s an incredible writer and teacher, and we dream of the day we’ll live next door to one another, where we can chat from side-by-side front porches.

Until then, we exchange ridiculously long emails and the occasional gift. This lovely little lady came at a time when I needed Her most. As Silver knows, I have a connection to Goddess as Spider, as the weaver of the web of life and fate. I am grateful that this called to her and said She needed to come live with me. So many thanks to Silver for my lovely Goddess of all that is infinite and yet interconnected.

These are just a few of the witchy things that adorn our household. As you can see, I really prefer function over form. I’m not into knick-knacks or things that don’t have an actual use or purpose, or stuff in general. If I hold onto something decorative, it’s because I love it. These particular items are extra special to me.

Wicca and Witchcraft | Our Prairie Nest
Wicca & Witchcraft

Now we come to our final (and a tad belated) post on the topic of vocabulary: Wicca and Witchcraft, Wiccan and Witch… These four words are often used interchangeably, yet do not have the same meanings to everyone.

I am fairly particular about these words myself, and must preface this by saying, as always, that this is my point of view on language. I am neither right nor wrong; this is simply how I have developed my ideas over the years.

1. Witchcraft is the practice of magick, alternative healing methods, and living in harmony with nature.

2. Wicca is a religion that embraces the practice of Witchcraft, espouses a belief in a Mother Earth Goddess, and a Father Nature God. Deities are also symbolized by the Moon Goddess and Sun God.

As you see by these definitions, Witchcraft is a practice, while Wicca is a religion. Witchcraft in and of itself is not a religion, but may certainly be a very spiritual practice.

Wicca is a religion under the umbrella of Neo-Pagan paths, alongside Asatru, Druidism, and many others. Some refer to Wicca as “the Craft of the Wise,” though I see Wicca more as embracing the use of “the Craft” than actually representing it. Wicca is not defined by the use of Witchcraft alone.

One may certainly practice Witchcraft without following the Wiccan path. This is true of Christian or Jewish Witches, or those who combine different religious traditions into their overall spiritual practice of Witchcraft. For example, I do not refer to myself as Wiccan, but rather by the broader term of Witch or simply Pagan. I know of many people who honor Mary as a Mother Goddess, or who follow a Buddhist path but believe they can actively change the world through magick, as well as their religious chanting.

All in all, how we express ourselves may change over the years. A person who delved into Wicca early on, may later find that they are able to refine their beliefs further into Druidism. Likewise, a person who feels too confined by the rules of Catholicism, may still appreciate and utilize its rituals, particularly in the context of the practice of Witchcraft.

We grow, we change; we are not meant to remain static. To do so is to stagnate. If we do not learn and grow (whether in our own beliefs, or in new ones), then what is there left to do?

Pantheism and Panentheism | Our Prairie Nest
Pantheism and Panentheism, Paganism and Neo-Paganism

In my last Witchy Wednesday post, I briefly defined and discussed monotheism, polytheism, monism, and dualism. I’d like to continue sharing my thoughts on this by delving into pantheism and Panentheism. These are probably the two most confusing words in the religio-magick lexicon, as they sound so alike, yet have two different meanings.


Pantheism is the doctrine that all aspects of the Universe are divinely inspired and that reality is only a manifestation of divine inspiration.


Panentheism is probably a word with which most people aren’t familiar. It is the belief that God/dess is immanent within the Universe, but also transcends it. In Panentheism, God/dess is viewed as creator and/or animating force behind the Universe, as well as the source of universal morality.

So what exactly does that mean? As my father always liked to say, “Think about it, Wendy…” (Of course, this was generally after he challenged me to not talk for 30 minutes.) The most basic way to explain it is that in pantheism, everything is God/dess. However, with regard to Panentheism, everything is a part of God/dess, yet also apart from God/dess.

Pantheism allows folks to simply say, “It’s up to God/dess” and leave life at that. Panentheism has the advantage of allowing us to be co-creators and participants in the Universe, and requires more of a sense of personal responsibility in that regard.

This is another pair of ideas that requires us to think for ourselves, to contemplate which makes more sense to us and our own spiritual view of “life, the universe, and everything”.

Paganism & Neo-Paganism

I’d also like to share some thoughts on Paganism and Neo-Paganism. There can be as much confusion with these core words of our vocabulary, than as any of the longer, more intricate words. For example, ask someone if they are Pagan, and you may get the response, “No, I’m Wiccan.”

Naturally, a definition of Paganism appears to be in order here, however it can be hard to define something that tends to be rather broad and abstract. Here is the definition I have come to over the years, which ultimately had to be broken down into three parts:

1. Pagan can refer to any of the non-Abrahamic religions: someone who is not Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. But would a Hindu or African tribesman refer to themselves as Pagan? Unlikely, so to expand upon this definition;

2. Pagans practice earth-based spirituality. This still does not fully explain Paganism, because Native American spirituality is also rooted in nature, yet not considered a Pagan religion. So the final criteria may be;

3. Pagans seek to revive or recreate ancient, pre-Christian religious practice, particularly those of western and central Europe.

This definition won’t work for everybody, but as I said before, Pagan is a difficult word to define. 

And just to muddy the waters, we also have the word “Neopagan,” which simply means “new” Pagan. People often prefer one term over the other, as Neopaganism may refer to a more modern and original spirituality with roots and inspiration in history, while Paganism tends to refer specifically to a reconstructionist point of view.

Please keep in mind that both Paganism and Neopaganism are proper nouns that describe a religion or religious movement; hence the first letters of both words ought to be capitalized when used. The same goes for an adherent of these religions (Neopagan and Pagan). Furthermore, remember that Pagans aren’t necessarily theistic. It is very possible to be an Atheist and a Pagan, just as one can be a Christian and a Witch.

And speaking of Witch, which is what I am, I plan to conclude my little exploration of vocabulary with a look at Wicca and Witchcraft, and how they fit under the Pagan umbrella in next week’s Witchy Wednesday post.

Thoughts on Deity | Our Prairie Nest
Thoughts on Deity or My Ism

Monotheism, Polytheism, Pantheism, Panentheism… These words can confuse and befuddle even educated people. There appears to be a fine line between some of these things, none at all between some, and a rift of immeasurable proportions between others. As a Pagan and witch, I’ve spent far too much time pondering what these mean to me.

It’s daunting enough for some people within the Pagan community to be told that “Gardnerian Wicca is the only way to practice Wicca,” because this immediately brings about the realization that there is not simply one, unified Wiccan religion. Likewise, being Wiccan makes one Pagan, however being Pagan, does not make one Wiccan.  So you’ve got that lovely bit to keep in mind.

But regardless of whether one is Pagan or Wiccan or a witch, these “isms” tend to be at the root of how one believes in deity (if at all). Yes, you can be a monotheistic or atheist Pagan. But, to be clear, here’s what those isms mean:


The belief in only one deity. One God, one name, end of story. Monotheism is fairly rare among Pagans and world religions, in general. The best example of Monotheism is, in my opinion, Islam, which worships God as Allah, with no other aspects.


The belief in a plurality of deities. And for my friends who constantly snap at me for using ‘big words’, plurality is “more than one.” Polytheists encompass Pagans, Native Americans, Hindus, Christians, and a large number of world religions.

The majority of religions today have a belief in more than one God or a belief in a God with many aspects. That is, they may see God as one being, but with different faces and personalities. For example, Christianity and Wicca both share the idea of a triple aspect of their deity. The Christian God is seen as “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (or Ghost), whereas the Wiccan Goddess is seen as “Maiden, Mother and Crone.”

To some people this idea is still monotheism, because God is but one entity, from whom these particularly beings emanate.

However, my personal view of this is that it is polytheistic because these entities take on very distinct and separate energies, as well as different names (i.e. Jehovah or Yahweh for the Father, Jesus for the Son, and Sofia for the Holy Spirit; or Artemis for the Maiden, Selene for the Mother, and Hecate for the Crone). I’m polytheistic, in that I believe there is a universal energy with various aspects and that the names we give it help “humanize” it for our limited comprehension.

Once a person makes up their mind to decide whether or not they believe in one deity or many (if any at all), next comes the question, where does deity reside in relation to you?


This places God/dess on the same plane of existence as the rest of us.


This places God/dess apart from us.

In coming to my personal monistic belief, I find that “Thou art God,” the statement of divine immanence we utilize sometimes in ritual, is what touches me. This concept stems from Heinlen’s Stranger in a Strange Land (a novel which characterized much of the 70’s American Neo-Paganism).

In terms of modern-day Paganism, it has come to represent the idea that we can share knowledge and so much more with God/dess, that divinity is immanent in all of nature, including ourselves.