The Old Ways

My mother taught me how to can fruits, vegetables, jams and jellies. It was one of the most enduring skills that I’ve ever learned, still with me after 50 years. I am proud that I can store the food that I’ve grown. In the coming winter months it makes me feel secure knowing every ingredient that we’re eating as the North winds howl. I carry with me the memories of sweating over a hot August stove as the product of our efforts come out of the canner gleaming and colorful; the delightful pop that tells me the lids have sealed.

My grandmother Verna taught me how to sew; on an old treadle Singer, believe it or not. I learned about life from those lessons. How patterns come in pieces, like puzzles, and how to use a discerning eye to fit them together to make a whole. How to use the tools available and stitch slowly with love to find the beauty in a particular piece.

Life experiences have taught me that “it takes a village…”. Elders hand down  knowledge of how to be self-sustaining and keep alive the inner workings of where our food comes from and how to live productively for the betterment of the community. Sharing our own unique skills to barter or buy those things that we ourselves cannot produce creates a web of inter-connectivity that expands our prosperity exponentially.

For me, Raven-Wolf represents spiritual community. For those who shed blood, sweat and tears to heal the Land, the gift of the healing of Spirit is given. We can touch the earth and hear Her singing, filling us with the joy of a job well done, and in the touching we connect with each other.

It is primitive camping when we stay overnight. There is no electricity, and only a hand pump for water. This may seem like an imposition, but it only seems that way. There is much to be said for the concept of struggle. Working hard at doing things the old way causes us to dig deeper within ourselves, to learn about where we come from. In turn we can begin to see where we are going.

A lot of the “primitive” skills are being lost to technology and convenience and I think a lot more than canning, sewing, hunting, building shelters and connections to Nature are going by the wayside. While it is easier now to buy our food in the stores, get our clothes off the rack, and watch “church” on tv, the interconnection and true interdependance are atrophying.

We are people of the Old Ways, worshipping the Old Ones through Nature and connection. Even though many of us are in a place where we can’t build our own furniture or can our own tomatoes, we can still remember to keep in touch with the concept of self-sustanence through community involvement. Whether it be shoveling gravel at the entrance to Raven-Wolf, taking a meal to a shut-in, or a donation to the local shelter, keep in mind that these are your fellow travelers.

We need each other. Our Mother calls to us as Her children to behold each other with reverence, as well as mirth; to share with each other our love for Her and with ourselves; to keep pure our highest ideals; and to Remember the Old Ways.

Blessed Be,
Lady CrowW

Earth Day- Recycle!

earth-dayConnecting to and taking care of our Mother Earth is a big part of what Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary is all about. Our little piece of Land is a sanctuary in so many ways, and it is so because we are focusing our intent on bringing it back to a place of worship and reverence.

We carry out what we bring in, leaving behind no trace of inorganic litter as a sign of that reverence.

But “church” is everyday, not just on work weekends and gatherings. Treating our own neck of the woods in the mundane everyday is just as important. Today I’m including some information, the act of reverence manifested in the simple act of recycling.

A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!

Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.

More aluminum goes into beverage cans than any other product.

Because so many of them are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1% of the total U.S. waste stream, according to EPA estimates.

An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now!

There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can be recycled.

We use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year.

At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold!

A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel. In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes!

Blessed Be

Lady CrowW

Being Prepared—First Aid

Raven-Wolf is definitely primitive camping and almost 20 miles from the nearest hospital or AMA doctor. Natural remedies are always best, but if you don’t have your comfrey leaves (for a poultice) or feverfew (tea for headache), the items below can be essential for a safe and happy camping experience.

I found the article below at for a simple and effective first aid kit.

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Packing a camping first aid kit and knowing how to use it is an essential element for a fun and safe trip. The adventures of living outdoors come with a fair amount of risk and it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to planning for these conditions.

Your camping first aid kit should be small and compact, while still being able to fix the injuries you may encounter. Take a moment to ask yourself some questions about your trip to see what items you should pack:

  • Are you doing a lot of walking?
    If you’re trip involves a lot of trails, hiking, and walking through the woods, you might want to consider items that treat blisters, twisted ankles, poison ivy, scrapes and cuts.
  • Will you have a campfire or other exposed flame?
    Burns can be extremely painful and serious if not treated and protected. If you’re camping with kids, it’s a challenge to keep them a safe distance from the fire and the fire ring of rocks can get extremely HOT! Having some burn gel, gauze pads, first aid cream, and tape is good idea to have if you’re around the camp fire.
  • What critters do you expect to encounter?
    Depending on when and where your camping trip takes you, you’ll likely be sharing the woods with some pesky little critters. Tweezers to remove ticks, alcohol pads, Benadryl cream for bug bites & bee stings, and any allergy serums are good things to have. If you’re going out into areas where snake encounters are likely, a snake bite kit may also be wise to pack.
  • Plan for the “what-ifs?”
    I’ve found that it’s always helpful to have some travel size pain-killers in my camping first aid kit. Things like Ibuprophen, Sudafed, and Tums can ease unwanted discomforts when you’re away from home. I’ve also got in the habit of packing a small bottle of chewable aspirin in my pack which can assist in clearing blockages of heart attack victims.

The list below is a list of recommended items for your camping first aid kit.

First Aid Kit

Item Quantity
Band aids, ¾” 5
Band aids, 1” 5
3” x 3” gauze pads 5
4” x 4” gauze pads 5
Triangular bandage 1
Gauze roll, 2” wide 1
Adhesive tape, roll 1
Antiseptic wipes, packets 10
Antibiotic cream, tube 1
Motrin, tablets 20
Chewable aspirin, small bottle 1
Sudafed, tablets 12
Antacid tablets, roll 1
Tweezers 1
Burn cream, packets 5
Benadryl cream, small tube 1
Caladryl lotion, travel size 1
Elastic ACE bandage, roll 1
Safety pins 7

Many outdoor and retail stores sell nice kits in zipper pouches that allow you to expand, like the one pictured above. You could also use something as simple as a zip-lock bag or small toiletry kit.

Whatever your camping first aid kit contains, put some thought into it, pack it, and hopefully you won’t have to use it!

Lady CrowW

Pagans, and Witches and….mosquitoes, Oh My!!!!

Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellent Ingredients:

  • 1 32 ounce bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 TBSP each of dried Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Mint
  • At least quart size glass jar with airtight lid

How to Make the Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellent:

  1. Put the vinegar and dried herbs into large glass jar.
  2. Seal tightly and store on counter or place you will see it daily. Shake well each day for 2-3 weeks.
  3. After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out and store in spray bottles or tincture bottles, preferably in fridge.
  4. To use on skin, dilute to half with water in a spray bottle and use as needed.
  5. Use whenever you need serious bug control!

[Note: This mixture is very strong and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can also be used as a tincture for any illness. For adults, dose is 1 TBSP in water several times a day,for kids over 2, dose is 1 tsp in water several times a day.


Yes, Virginia, there are mosquitoes at Raven-Wolf. They have their place in Nature, but they are irritating, nasty little buggers. For those of you who do not want to use Deet, the above recipe works quite well. It is really nice to wait till you need to use it, then add cold water (step 4). Very refreshing!

Speaking of water, until the well is tested, we will need to bring in our own water. Bottled water for drinking is always easiest but remember “carry it in, carry it out.” Take home any trash. There is no trash man that collects our leftovers. That includes no burning of plastic, Styrofoam plates or cups, diapers, or any non-biodegradable product.

Having a cleaning station already set up makes life a little simpler. We will be getting dirty! Here is a simple solution…

two laundry soap containers that have a spout and a spigot.
a roll of paper towels

Fill both containers with water, and put the soap of your choice in one of them (Dawn works well and can be used for dishes or hands). Fill the second container with clean water for rinsing. Set them up side by side on a table, a log, or the back of your pickup. Insert the paper towels in one of the handles. Voila! You can use another of these for drinking liquid. Just be sure to rinse it out very well (and label them) before filling it with anything you are going to ingest.

One more little tidbit. If any of you are like me, coffee in the morning is a must!! There is this wonderful little gadget called a Melitta. All you need is your favorite coffee blend or tea bag, and boiling water. Very simple, quite cheap, and almost as good as a Bunn!

Being prepared when primitive camping really makes life easier. Next week I’ll be posting more tips for work weekends at Raven-Wolf!

See you there!

Lady CrowW




“We look upon the sun and we rejoice in it’s renewal.
Come! Enter our Circle.
Be with us!”

This land, this nature sanctuary, this place of community, is sanctified by the blood, sweat and tears of those who have gone before. We are not there now; the snows and bitter cold gives the earth down time, a time of rest before renewal.

But I can imagine the first stirrings that signal the coming season. The earth shivers quietly, shaking awake those seedlings that came to rest in the fall. The renewal of the sun spreads a growing warmth to the tree tops, sending messages down through the trunk, through the roots and into the soil that holds the memories of our ancestors. Soon! Soon the awakening!

There is power in those memories waiting to be tapped and recycled, drawn up with our ritual and veneration, with our blessings and our work. Raven-Wolf is definitely a labor of love and as with the season, there is a quickening now. An anticipation for the rebirth of sanctuary.

scan0002 (2)By the time we open the Land, the trees will be budding. Grass will appear in patches and having been fed by the leaves of the fall, the brilliant green of Spring will be more than a promise of things to come. And through the still bare branches, the sun will warm us.

The excitement builds as the first tents are pitched. Checking in at the front gate scan0012we will be greeted with a smile and a hearty welcome home! On any part of the property the building sense of community can be felt. Old friends greet one another and new friends are gathered in with hugs.

scan0017During the day we work as a team to chop wood and carry water, all the while laughing over mishaps or crying for the loss of loved ones who could not make it this year.


scan0007And we will stand together in the Circle, giving thanks to the Holy Ones for the gifts of Nature and spirit, without judgement, leaving behind us, for awhile, the concerns of the mundane world and refreshing our bond to Mother Earth.


Spring is coming. My thermometer reads 0 degrees right now, but I know that Spring is coming. I’m digging out my gardening gloves, checking the tent to be sure it’ll keep me dry, and planning easy meals. The gates will open in just over a month.

Are you ready? Looking forward to meeting you there!


Lady CrowW






Countdown to Sanctuary!

Greetings, everyone!  Here we are in the second week of February and although many of us still have snow on the ground our thoughts are probably turned toward warmer weather and the opening of Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary!

Behind the scenes there is a flurry of activity. Our coordinator, Mary Borden, is bringing together all the necessary pieces that make up a cohesive plan. Board of trustees, Land Committees, and Maintenance are but three of the groups that will work together, along with those of us who are willing to put our energies into cleaning up Raven-Wolf and making it a safe place to worship and commune with Nature and those of like mind.

Many hands are needed in this effort. We are tentatively planning to open up scan0009 (2)work weekends some time in April and there are many projects to be accomplished. Downed trees need to be cleared and cut up for firewood, outhouses need rebuilding, buildings need repairing, mowing, weed-whacking; whoa, sounds like a lot of heavy labor!!

scan0009But wait, there’s more…if you, like me, have physical limitations that preclude helping with the heavy stuff, there are still many things that we can do. Cooking meals, coordinating raffles (goodies abound!), paperwork, sweeping, painting, picking up sticks; the list goes on. I was a part of the Land many years ago and I can attest to the fact that there is always something for someone to do on work weekends. And if you can’t be there, a financial donation is always welcome.

After a day’s work, sitting around a beautiful campfire next to old friends and new is a reward in and of itself. No sound of traffic, no nosy neighbors, and a place to speak freely about our spirituality, the next sabbat, or the latest ritual, this part of Mother Earth becomes a home away from home. ‘It takes a village’, so the saying goes, and those of us who have been around for a while look forward to those “new friends”. We hope you’ll join us.

If you are interested in working with us as we rebuild this community, send an email to ravenwolfnature at aol dot com for more information, or join us on our Facebook pages at Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary or Memories of Ravenwolf.


Many Blessings,

Lady CrowW
Selena Wolff-Mason