Monthly Archives: June 2011

Countdown to Lughnasadh……….

Merry Meet my friends!  Hope you all are well and enjoying your Summer (or Winter depending where you live 🙂 .  We have been having an amazing couple of weeks of cool, breezy, gorgeous weather.  I am not a fan of HOT weather so I am loving this so much.  We have had a nice amount of rain here too..enough to keep everything green and lush, growing and blooming.  I love sitting out on the porch in the evenings with a glass of wine and watching the fireflies flitting, hearing the frogs croaking and crickets chirping, the windchimes softly chiming.  The nights feel soft and gentle to me and all seems right with the world in that moment. 

 

“The summer air is hot and still, the afternoon hazy; crickets call relentlessly from among the brown grasses, and ears of corn are the same heavy, burnished gold as the late-day sun. Hawks circle in the blue-white sky overhead, and seedpods ripen where flowers bloomed just a month before. But shadows begin to lengthen along the garden wall, and the nights come, just a bit cooler, perhaps; a settling begins in the Earth, a gathering, a slow, quiet turning toward the coming darkness.”

From Simple Wicca by Michele Morgan

Believe it or not, the days are getting shorter and Autumn is on it’s way.  Soon, on  August 1, we will be celebrating the first Harvest festival of the Wheel of the Year.   It is Lughnasadh (prounounced loo-na-sa), known also as Lammas, or Lammastide, the first of three Harvest Festivals.   This Sabbat marks the ending of summer and the first harvest of the grain. It was known as the time when the plants of Spring wither and drop their fruits or seeds for our use as well as to ensure future crops.

Lughnasadh is named for Lugh, the Celtic deity who presides over the arts and sciences. According to Celtic legend, Lugh decreed that a commemorative feast be held each year at the beginning of the harvest season to honor his foster mother, Tailtiu. Tailtiu was the royal Lady of the Fir Bolg..an older race that was defeated by the Tuatha De Dannan.  After the defeat, she was forced by them to clear a vast forest for the purpose of planting grain. She died of exhaustion after it was completed.  She was buried beneath a great mound named for her,  the hill of Tailtiu.   The very first feast of Lughnasadh was held in there.  At this gathering there were  games and contests of skill as well as a great feast made up of the first fruits of the summer harvest.

When Christianity arrived in  the Celtic lands, the old pagan  festival of Lughnasadh took on Christian symbolism. Loaves of bread were baked from the first of the harvested grain and placed on the church altar on the first Sunday of August. The Christians called this feast Lammas or “loaf mass”.   

With the coming of Autumn, the Sun God is aging and he loses strength as the nights grow longer.  This  is a  time for giving thanks for summer’s bounty. Harvesting the fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs and feasting on them, thanking the Sun God for his transformation into the soul of the harvest.  This is the time of year that so many women are in the kitchen preserving and canning the produce from their gardens..putting it away for the long winter.  My daughter and I have just in the last couple of years tried our hand at canning and we are loving it 🙂 

Lughnasadh Correspondences

 *Element/Gender-Fire/female

 *Threshold-Noon

 *Symbolism- Celtic grain  Festival,  first harvest festival,  The aging of the Sun God,  Autumn’s arrival. 

 *Symbols/Tools/Decorations- Corn, cornucopias, red & yellow flowers, sheaves of grain,  First fruits/vegetables of garden labor, corn dollies, baskets of bread, cauldron,  Sickle, scythe, harvested herbs, bonfires, sacred loaf of bread.

 *Herbs- All grains, heather, apples, pears,  cornstalks, frankincense, sunflower, wheat,  oak leaf, hollyhock, myrtle.

 *Incense/Oils- Wood aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, safflower, corn,  passionflower, frankincense, sandalwood.

 *Colors- Red, orange, golden yellow, green, light brown, gold, bronze, gray.

 *Crystals/Stones- Aventurine, citrine, peridot, yellow diamonds and citrine, carnelian.

 *Customs/Activities- Breaking bread with friends, making corn dollys, harvesting herbs for  charms/rituals, feasting, gathering flowers, handfastings, games,

 *Foods- Loaves of homemade wheat, oat & corn bread, barley cakes, corn, potatoes, nuts, acorns,  summer squash, wild berries, apples, pears, elderberry wine, crab, grapes, cider, beer.

 *Gods-Lugh, John Barley Corn, Dionysus, Lieu, Dagon, Vegetation Gods

 *Goddesses-The Mother, Dana, Demeter, Ceres, The Barley Mother, Isis, Luna

 *Spellwork/Ritual- Astrology, prosperity, generosity, continued success, good fortune, abundance, magickal picnic, finishing projects

There is so many ways to celebrate this wonderful Sabbat.  Have a feast with your family and friends..outside while the weather is still nice.  Fix lots of fresh veggies and fruits, they are great grilled on the grill 🙂  Have a bonfire, drink wine!  Go to a medieval fair or craft show..this time of year they are everywhere.  Go on a picnic and enjoy the warm weather.   Lay on a blanket under the stars and find the constellations, watch for shooting stars.  Catch fireflys and let them go. 

Don’t have a garden of your own, visit a farmer’s market or produce stand!  Make a big bouquet of flowers and bring it in or better yet, give it to an elderly neighbor to enjoy.   Harvest herbs from the garden, and make flavored oils and vinegars to keep a taste of summer in your pantry all winter long.  They would make great Yule gifts as well.  Have a bread baking day with your family.  Put  grains, fruits and nuts in the bread  and send a loaf home with everyone.  Make corn dollys.  Make fresh fruit jams, jellies or preserves, or can veggies.  Plan a “tournament” of corn hole for the kids, or croquet, or kickball…playing games is just what the Celts did! 

 

 

 

Lughnasadh is a good time to start your Fall House cleaning, to finish projects you wanted to do over the Summer. Get your carpets cleaned, windows cleaned, take down and wash your curtains and linens.  Get your fireplace checked so it’s ready for the wonderful fires you’ll have soon.  I actually LOVE Fall cleaning…I call it nesting 🙂  Getting ready to be in, be home, be cozy, be more lazy 🙂

I will be posting recipes, rituals etc over the next few weeks for this Blessed Sabbat!  For now, Summer is in full swing so enjoy every minute of it….I hope your gardens are blooming, that you are active, outside, feeling energized, enjoying the Sun every chance you get!  Remember that time flies, so savor every moment 🙂  Grab onto that Sun and don’t let go!!

Blessings and Light, Autumn

*Sources  Simple Wicca by Michelle Morgan, my BOS, the internet.  Pics from the internet..Jam jar picture is my own.

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Filed under Autumn, Correspondence, Garden, God, Herbs, History, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Quote, Summer

Blessed Summer Solstice…….

Merry Meet friends!  Tomorrow is Litha or Midsummer or the Summer Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere.   I have written a lot here in the last month about Litha.   Pics of my altar, recipes for food and oil and incense, the Correspondences, Rituals for protection and ideas on how to celebrate this fun day.  Remember, it is the longest day of the year and now the days will start shortening as we head towards winter.  LOL..yes, though it seems we just came out of winter, it will be upon us quicker then we realize. 

 In the meantime, we celebrate the sunlight, the long, lazy, hot days, the blooming gardens and woods, fireflies at night, warm summer rains, and star-filled summer nights.  We celebrate with picnics and cook-outs, with swimming in pools, oceans and lakes, laying under a tree in a hammock reading a good book, wearing light clothes and eating ice cream.  Family vacations, drive in movies, being outside rather then inside.  Working in our gardens, eating fresh veggies and fruits like watermelon, catching lightning bugs and hearing the drone of crickets at night.  Screen doors and windows open, fans going to catch the breeze, porch sittin and lemonade drinking…..Summer!!  Wonderful Summer!

“Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….

 Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;

and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

When I was a kid, Summer was spent being outside and active.  The whole neighborhood was out and about.  Kids riding bikes together, roller skating, sitting on porch steps with popsicles, playing kick ball or tether ball or badminton in someone’s backyard. Playing in the sprinklers when no pool was available.  We would organize events such as lemonade stands, elaborate treasure hunts,  or plays put on with costumes and music for the adults to come and marvel over.   Fishing in the river that ran alongside us or hiking thru the woods.  I remember eating warm-from-the-sun mulberries, the tart taste of a crabapple, laying in the grass watching the clouds roll by, watching a caterpiller on a green leaf, the smell of burgers and dogs on the grill, the squish of biting into a ripe red tomato, the crunch of sweet corn on the cob, the butter running down your arm…..Summer was long and lasted forever back then 🙂

 

 

I remember spending a whole week with my grandparents where Summer was even more magickal!  I believe much of my love of Mother Earth came from my grandmother.  They had a very large garden, apple and crabapple trees, 10 acres to play on, hammocks for every grandchild, a tree swing.  They had croquet and horseshoes, trees to climb.  My grandfather would load us up in a tractor wagon and pull us around the yard in it.  We helped grandma shell peas and snap green beans.  Trips to the library resulted in hammock time with good books and pink lemonade and homemade cookies under the shade trees.  We almost always fell asleep.  I remember waking up on sunny mornings, doves cooing outside the bedroom window and amazing smells of breakfast cooking.  My grandma standing at the sink in her housedress and apron she always wore, the sink filled with sudsy water, curtains blowing in the window over the sink.  The table was set for a feast…with fresh veggies from their garden.  Sliced red tomatoes, green onions and red radishes standing in a glass  of ice water, rhubarb sauce and apple sauce, crabapple jelly with warm-from-the-oven bread. Every meal was like a 7 course dinner LOL.  At night, it was baths with a healthy pounding from grandma’s powder puff (nobody uses those anymore do they), clean summer jammies…then ice cream and a cookie before bed.  *Sigh*  It was so peaceful there…I will cherish those memories forever.

The best things we can do for our children?…to give them the same thing!   Nowadays it seems kids don’t go out and play.  I rarely see it anymore.   Kids are too busy anymore to just be kids.  They are sitting in the house in front of the tv or computer or play station instead.  Or they are so busy with extracurricular activities that they don’t have the time to just lay in the grass and look at the stars or to go play a game of kickball with the neighbors.  I think that is a real loss in our society.   I did the best I could to give my kids the same thing I had.  Those long summer day memories of doing everything..and nothing 🙂  My daughter is ensuring that my grandkids will have the same thing.  As they get a bit older, it will hopefully be memories of Nana’s house  (me!) in the summer that they will talk about in their future!  I know more parents, especially mom’s have to work these days and things have changed so much.  But I would encourage you to help your kids to find a bit of the lazy hazy Summertime whenever you can!  You will make the most fantastic memories for them and something they will pass on to their own children..so we never lose it!

Keep Summer simple, fun, outdoors….give your kids the time to be kids.  Summer passes fast and they will be back in school before you know it.  Summer Solstice is but the first day of Summer….a great day to set your mind to making it a great season for you and your loved ones!

Blessed Summer Solstice to all of you!  Much love, Autumn

 *Sources….all the pictures are from the internet…..

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Filed under Litha/Summer Solstice, Quote, Summer

Wordless Wednesday 6/15/2011……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed Strawberry Moon!  Love and Light, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Full Moons, Litha/Summer Solstice, Photography, Summer, Wordless Wednesday

Witches Protection Bottle…….

Merry Meet friends! Well Summer has hit here in Ohio with a loud HOT bang! We went from weeks of cool, stormy weather  to 95* Hot and steamy days. That is just the way it is here in Ohio.  The good thing about the hot weather though was that finally the ground dried up and we were able to get out and get dirty working in the yard!  I got my herbs planted in pots and scattered around the yard. We re-did a whole bed in our backyard adding a Weeping crabapple tree and some red-pink knock -out roses.  I planted patio pots with a red/white/blue theme this year that has the most gorgeous deep red geraniums.  There are now  rows of impatience in our front beds,  with  rosemary and lavender for protection and luck.  We still have some space at the side of the porch we want to plant some holly bushes and a couple of hydrangea bushes..one of my favorites.  I am trying to talk hubby into removing a few excess boxwood bushes in the backyard so I can plant a moon garden….white flowers and silvery greens that will glow in the light of the moon.  He isn’t crazy about the idea but I’m working on him LOL !  I will talk him into it for sure! Here’s a few pictures…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Litha or Midsummer is coming up fast now and I need to get busy getting ready.  I’m on the search for the perfect altar cloth to get my altar ready.  I also am starting to collect items I need to make my witch’s protection bottles.  I do these every year at Litha.  Because it is warm out and I can be out at night and be warm and comfortable, I think it’s the perfect time to set out new protection for my home and those I love who dwell within.  If you haven’t ever done a witch’s bottle, you should seriously think about it.  I feel part of my practice is to protect what is mine and what I love and as a Witch I have the capability of doing that.  I like to think of myself as a Warrior Witch..ready to do battle to keep evil away from my door! 

A bit of history….

Witch’s Bottles have been in use in England and the United States since at least the 1600’s. Spell bottles were originally created to destroy the power of an evil magician or witch thought to have cast a spell against the bottle’s creator. They were often ceramic vessels and some had a face on them. They were also walled up into new homes as magical guardians. Spell bottles of this type continued to be used well into the 19th century. These bottles were apparently of English origin. Still, one example made from a glass wine bottle dated at 1740-1750 was found in Pennsylvania in 1976. And so, such protective devices certainly found their way from England to the United States with the colonists. There are over 200 Witch’s Bottles in known museums and they continue to be dug up during construction or gardening projects. 🙂 I always hope I’ll come across one sometime! LOL! The ceramic type of bottle is not made anymore so now it consists of a container, usually glass, filled with various objects of magical potency.

Witch’s bottles are made for a variety of purposes, and are used in numerous ways. Some are buried or otherwise hidden, while others are placed in windows of the home or in other prominent spots. All are concentrations of energy, created and empowered for specific magical purposes. It is a very powerful means of protecting your space and is buried on your property in order to attract all negative things to it, where it traps them. If you move, by all means, then dig it up and either destroy it or bring it to your new home. Now I actually choose to leave mine in place and just put out a new one each year..I like to think of the future residents of this house, happily gardening and coming across my wonderful jars LOL Makes me laugh to think what they might be thinking. 🙂

This Witch Bottle ritual is really great to do on a Full Moon night..the one closest to the Solstice.  The first thing you want to do is decide where you are going to bury it.  I like to put one right at my front porch steps, and one by the back door steps. Some people will put them at the four corners of their property or at the entrance of their driveway.  Live in a condo or an apartment?  No problem.  Just store it in a closet closest to your entry door…out of sight or bury it in a big pot of dirt with a houseplant in it in your entryway.   Once you decide where you are going to put it, dig a hole big enough to sink a your jar into the ground and cover it up well enough that it isnt’ too obvious something is buried there.  Now, get a jar or two…I use  Ball canning jars.  But you can use a snapple bottle, a mayo jar, olive jar..use what you have by all means.  Now it’s time to start collecting your supplies. Put the items on a tray or something that you an keep them all together..don’t put them in the jar yet.   Here is the ritual and what you’ll need……                                                

-A Sturdy, clean, wide-mouthed bottle or jar with a tight lid.
-Soil or sand from the area surrounding your home.
-Something sparkly or shining like small tumbled crystals, beads, sea glass  *I use small crystal pieces with protective qualities*

-A rusty bent nail or two 
-Pieces  of broken glass
-Dried herbs-  Mint, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme
-A new penny or other coin
-Some loose hair from any pets in your home
-Some hair from all living in the home

-A magickal spell candle
-Salt  

 

 

         Create and open sacred space. Light your working candle while you do your work. If you haven’t already dug your hole,  Dig the hole in the earth, try to keep the top sod in good shape to replace over the hole. Sprinkle with salt. Ground and Center.   When ready, say these words:

With the Goddess and God working for and through me
according to free will and for the good of all.
I now fill this bottle.

*As you say the words, put the items in the jar…… 

Earth anchors this magick in the ground.
This rusty nail, bent, now repels anything and anyone negative or life-denying.
The sparkling, shiny small pieces of crystals hold the light for me and my deities.
A broken piece of glass to deflect harm to anyone it is intended for.

These herbs infuse the bottle with their living properties;
Mint for money and protection
Parsley for protection
Sage for wisdom and protection
Rosemary for love, healing, and health
Thyme for health, love, and courage.

This new penny manifests abundance in my home.
 Hair from my beloved pets to protect them.
Hair from my loved ones who dwell here, to protect and draw away negativity.

This home is divinely protected and effectively safe.
Nothing and no one can enter without my permission
Only those people and beings through whom the Goddess and God work
Can stay here, can visit, can touch this place.

Only Positive Magick lives in this place
In safety, protection, abundance, love, and joy
According to free will and for the good of all!

Put the lid on the jar tight.  If you like, you can use old candle wax or sealing wax to seal the jar closed as well. Start to bury the bottle, and replace the sod you dug up before hand and then say:

I now bury this bottle
It is invisible to all but me
And its magick continues
And so mote it be!

     By the time you have finished this spell, the bottle should be buried. Cover with leaves or something appropriate to make it truly invisible. Under the ground, it will continue to work until you choose to remove it.

I love this spell….on a Full Moon Night..burying a jar filled with lovely witchy items….it is magickal indeed!   After I’m done with this ritual I spend time with the Moon Goddess while the candle burns down a bit. You can also draw a pentacle in the air over the burial spot with your wand, or protective runes for some added protection.  

Now for some other ideas of what you can put in the jar.   I throw some sea salt in my jar as well.  I also like to put lots of little sharp things, like old pins or needles, used razor blades,  rose thorns etc.  For the dirt and nails, you can use graveyard dirt and coffin nails.  Some people will add holy water or wine to the mix.  You can use fingernails instead of hair.  You can use your own urine in the bottle or even blood.  I read in a book somewhere that you can use the broken glass to cut a finger a bit and drip some of your blood into the jar.   You can write down on parchment using dragon’s blood ink, the names of those who are in your home often, to protect them as well. In my case, my sister and married daughter and grandchildren spend a lot of time here too, so of course I want them to be protected as well.   Anything you want to put in there that you feel will add to the protection of your home or family is a good thing. 🙂

Another really simple Protection Jar Spell is this:

Gather rosemary, needles, pins and red wine. Fill a small jar with the first three, saying while you work:

Pins, needles, rosemary, wine;
In this witches bottle of mine.
Guard against harm and enmity;
This is my will, so mote it be!

Visualize these doing just that. Then pour in the red wine. Then cap or cork the jar and drip wax from a red or black candle to seal. Bury it at the farthest corner of your property or put it in an inconspicuous spot in your house. Draw the banishing pentagram in the dirt above it. The witches bottle destroys negativity and evil ; the pins and needles impale evil, the wine drowns it, and the rosemary sends it away from your property.

I hope you take the time to do this on this next Full Moon..right before the Solstice.  You will love the ritual of it and you’ll feel great about the Power you have as a Witch to put out protection for those you love most and the home you care for.  I will be out on that night ..right with you all….

Soon, I’ll post pics of my altar and I’ll post pics of my witches bottle items as well.  Til then, Have a blessed weekend!

Love and Light, Autumn

*Sources:  Scott Cunningham, my BOS, the internet and various other books I’ve read 🙂 I am not sure where the rituals came from I’m afraid..I’ve just had them for a long time 🙂

 

                                                                                                                                               

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Filed under Full Moons, Garden, Goddess, History, Litha/Summer Solstice, Our Yard, Photography, Protection, Ritual, Spells, Summer, Uncategorized

Wordless Wednesday…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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