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



How It Began…

RW Winter0002When the Land was first purchased, it had just been logged out so there was devastation everywhere left behind from the logging company. There were times when you could actually feel the pain the Land had endured from being pillaged and plundered by those who only cared about the dollars that could be made from the standing timber. Sad, hardly describes the sight and feeling as we began the work to prepare for the first Goddess Gathering to be held here.

It began just after Vernal Equinox, 1990. At first, it was just me and my High Priest/husband, the late Chuck Pugh. We both worked so, after we got off second shift, we’d pack the truck and make the 3 ½ to 4 hour journey across the state. As I’ve said before, there wasn’t even a driveway onto the property, so we had to park on the road, tote everything in and then set up camp so we could get a couple hours sleep before our day began. I look back now and wonder how we did that. In March, there was still snow so we slept on chaise lounges in sleeping bags and snowmobile suits to keep warm inside a 10’ x 10’ screen tent with the flaps down.

RW Misc0001What really became interesting was April when the rains came and came and came. I think it was the Goddess’s way of cleansing the Land from all that had been done to it. We got used to working in rain ponchos and slogging around in mud, as the work continued. Most of that work was done by hand with hand tools since there was little money after the investment in the Land and no electricity for anything beyond hand or gas-powered equipment.

scan0003It was sometime in April we did manage to get a driveway cut into the property by hand and enough gravel to make it up the driveway’s incline to the flatter land. By then, we were also getting some help from many, many dear friends and fellow Pagans and Witches. By the end of April, we had actually managed to get a small camper onto the Land so that we could at least rest comfortably. (That’s a whole story on its own!)

As the Earth began to turn green, we were hopeful that we could make this work – some how, some way. We needed at least two outhouses, but had no real money for materials. There was all that downed wood, so they started building with what the Goddess and God had given us. Very primitive, but it worked!

scan0022Did I mention it rained? And it kept raining. We kept working. By the time Summer Solstice came we were as ready as we were going to be. We continually told people what to expect – primitive. The weekend of Gathering…guess what? It rained! As I told you previously, it was miserable in some respects but a real blessing in that it brought us together as a community, even if just for that one event.

This is what this Land was meant to do – bring people together. It was meant to be a sacred space where we truly can connect with Mother Earth and ALL Her children…including each other. Gathering once a year is never enough when you meet like-minded people whose company you enjoy, in surroundings that you love. The rain doesn’t matter. The cold, the heat, none of it matters. What matters is the sacredness of tending to the needs of the Land and sharing the company of those who hold similar views and beliefs.

scan0002So now we begin again. The first work weekend approaches. Will it rain or will the sun shine? Will it be warm or will it be cold? I don’t know. What I do know is that an opportunity is being presented to any who care to be part of the rebirth and resurrection of some truly beautiful sacred space. Who knows what we could build this time? The new friendships alone could be worth the time invested in coming.

Come join us, rain or shine, won’t you? Oh, just in case, bring a rain poncho!

Once again, for those who have never been to the Land before, you may request directions by sending a SASE to: Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary, P.O. Box 61, New Straitsville, OH 43766.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Blessed Be,

Elder Maya


“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






Into the Woods!

Only 32 more days until Spring arrives! Only a few weeks after that the first work weekend will take place on Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary. For some of us, that means checking to make sure we have everything we need to work and camp on site. For those who have never been there or may have never been in a more primitive camping situation, you may be wondering what the necessities are for such an event.

Spring on the Land is unpredictable. “April showers bring May flowers.” It can be snowy, rainy and/or warm. A good warm coat and a sturdy pair of boots or work shoes will serve you well. If you get cold or chilled easily, you may even want to consider a pair of thermal underwear. Bringing along a rain poncho is always a good idea just in case those April showers show up. Warm gloves are a good idea but so are work gloves to keep your hands clean and protected.

Poison oak, ivy, & sumacRaven-Wolf does have poison ivy and poison oak on it. If you are allergic to either or both, you may want to start a regime of vitamin C to boost your immune system about a week before coming. Be sure to pack calamine lotion or any other treatments you use for such occasions, along with a small first-aid kit and something for headaches and just plain aches and pains from working hard.

If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend a great deal of time cooking. Bring foods that are easy: canned chili, baked beans, chunky soups, hot dogs that can be cooked over an open fire, etc. All these, and more, are quick and satisfying. Which also means you need to pack utensils for cooking and eating, matches to light a fire, and drinking water (until we get the hand-pumped well retested). We ask that whatever you pack in, you pack back out with you.
We’re hoping to have at least one “potluck” on these weekends, but that’s all very much in the planning stages right now. Keep watching for more news on this.

Be aware that if you plan on camping overnight, you will need a tent and a good warm sleeping bag. The few cabins that we have on the Land are in dire need of cleaning and repair so they will probably not be available for use.

Raccoon PantsBeing a nature sanctuary, there are wild animals on the Land. Although there are no bear or large wild cats, there are raccoons, deer, squirrel and bats. In the case of the raccoons, you will want to make your food supply unreachable either by placing it in your car at night, with the windows rolled all the way up, or in a storage trunk or container that is “child-proof”. Raccoons are very clever and can open many types of containers when they suspect food is inside.
We ask that you don’t bring any pets or animals with you. Our first priority is the animals that are already living and using Sanctuary Land. Besides, these are work weekends for humans. Bringing your pets along isn’t fair to them or to the other humans who may have allergies or fears concerning them.

scan0008Although plans for the future include composting toilets for several sites on the Land, right now we have outhouses. These also need cleaning up and fixing up. Something is better than nothing, but bring toilet paper with you!

Speaking of all this cleaning and fixing up, if you have any tools such as rakes, shovels, saws, etc. that you would be willing to bring with you, we would greatly appreciate it. This goes for chainsaws, weed-whackers, and lawn mowers as well. Right now, until we get firmly on our feet again, we will take all the help you are willing to lend us!

CampfireIt’s not all work though. We do have fun, especially after the day’s work is done. We gather around campfires to talk, laugh and get to know each other. I’ve made many a friend around those fires and gotten to better know the ones I was already acquainted with.

scan0003When you come to the Land, be sure to stop at the registration area – just inside the gate on the left-hand side, to sign in. The gates will be closed and locked at night to keep curiosity-seekers out, usually around 8 p.m.

For those who have never been to the Land before, you may request directions by sending a SASE to: Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary, P.O. Box 61, New Straitsville, OH 43766.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Until we meet on the Land…

Blessed Be
Elder Maya
Samantha Herron