Monthly Archives: November 2011

Blessed Thanksgiving!……

Merry Evening my friends.  After a busy day of errand running, house readying, cooking and baking, I’m stopping by to post my wishes to you all for a Happy Thanksgiving Day!  I know how busy those of you who are hosting the day are …. and how ready Everyone is to enjoy the day with their family and friends, good food and good cheer! and of course Football! 🙂  No matter how simple or fancy your meal, whether you are two or twenty-two at your table…don’t forget to give thanks to the Universe…whatever you call the Divine….for the blessings in your life.  It will make your day even better. For me, I thank the Goddess for the Blessings in my life and Mother Earth for her bounty that will be on my table this year. 

In these economic times, many of us are struggling more, may have lost jobs etc.  There may have been a loss in your family or you feel alone or ARE alone. I know sometimes it is very hard to find anything to be thankful for.  But even if things aren’t as you wish them to be…there are things you can find, I’m sure!   Most of the time being grateful is the last thing on our list of what’s on our mind…but try, for this day at least, to think about it.  Your soul will be soothed when you do.  If you are blessed like I am to have a wonderful family, loving friends, a roof over your head, food to eat, and maybe a furbaby or two who loves you uncondtionally..then you are wealthy in all the ways that are important! 

I am most grateful to my family, my friends and my facebook family…I love you all!  I’m going to leave you  with a few quotes that are amongst my favorites, for both Thanksgiving and thankfulness.  I use them as reminders to myself to be grateful…to find something everyday to be grateful for..no matter how bad the day may be going.  I hope, however, your Thanksgiving is a marvelously happy day, that it is fun and drama- free and that you have to unbutton  your pants because  you are so full of great food!  

 

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as

frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”

 ~Edward Sandford Martin

 

“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful

 that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.”

 ~E.P. Powell

 

 

“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast”.

 ~William Shakespeare

 

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~Melody Beattie

 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation

 is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

 ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

“It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for. He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast.”

~W.J. Cameron

 

Blessings of Love and Light, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, Quote, Thanksgiving

Season of Yule 2011 Begins…….

Merry Meet friends!  I would imagine many of you..like me..are very busy this weekend.  Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I’m in the midst of planning the meal, cleaning house,  grocery shopping, cooking and baking….all while having the first flu bug I’ve had in 5 years! But I love this time of year so I’m plugging along  🙂 Thanksgiving is just a simple traditional meal with my family and extended family.  Easy and laid back and I give Thanks for the blessings in my life.  This year, it also happens to be my granddaugther, Lily’s 3rd birthday, so we’ll be celebrating that as well!  Happy Birthday Lily darlin!!

 

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,

for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:

 it is the time for home.”

 ~Edith Sitwell

 I love Winter and after a beautiful Autumn, I’m ready for it to be here.  I love everything about this time of year.  The hustle and bustle of busy stores and restaurants.  The music piped in the stores and thru the radio and blaring in my home.  I love the first snowfall and anticipate it coming every year.  Sweaters, coats, scarves and mitten…so colorful and cheerful to see.  The shops all decked out in lights and greens and trees! It’s cooking and baking goodies to give as gifts and to stock the cookie jar.   Making plans with family and friends for Yule parties or  lunches out or seeing a movie together.   Shopping for gifts I know my loved ones want or need and doing my best to make it a beautiful time of year for those I love the most. I feel alot of joy this time of year!

The Winter Solstice though, to me,  is a whole different thing.  Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year,  is about quiet, peace, introspection.  It’s time with family.  It’s a nice dinner with lots of candlelight throughout the house.  It’s about lighting the Yule log and watching it burn.  I spend time contemplating the last year and what I’d like to change in my life in the next year. It’s spiced wine under the Moon and if I’m lucky it’s softly snowing. It’s spending time at my altar in solitude.  My altar will be bright with candlelight and greens and I’ll welcome the coming of the Sun God because though there is still a long winter ahead of us, we know the warmth of the Sun will return.  Yule, the Winter Solstice….is pure magick!

Picture this….The first snows have fallen and cover the earth. The nights are dark, the air is cold and sharp, trees are bare, smoke is pouring out of chimneys, the windows in our homes spill light from our warm, candlelit rooms onto the cold, snowy ground outside.  Our  homes are decorated with twinkling lights and fragrant greens and candles everywhere. A tree covered in glass globes and beloved ornaments stands in the corner. Perhaps cider or wine is warming on the stove. You may be sitting in your easy chair, soft wooly socks on your feet, a blanket thrown over you, a fire burning in your fireplace, a good book on your lap. soft music playing or a favorite christmas movie playing. It’s the Winter Solstice Night. *sigh*  🙂

Yule Correspondences

*Element– Earth

*Threshold– Dawn

*Symbolism– Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, TheWinter Solstice, introspection,  death of the Holly King (Winter), reign of the Oak King (summer), night of the greatest lunar imbalance, death & rebirth of the Sun God, shortest day of the year.

*Symbols/Tools/Decorations– Yule log, evergreen boughs and wreaths, holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, bayberry candles, lights, gifts, candles, clove studded fruit, wassail, Christmas cactus.

*Herbs– Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense, holly, laurel ,mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, cedar, moss, bay, ginger, juniper, myrrh, pinecones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon.

*Incense/Oils– Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, hollyberry

*Colors– Red, green, gold, white, silver,

*Stones/Crystals– Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds, cat’s eye

*Customs/Activities– Caroling, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging presents, kissing under the mistletoe, feasting, wassailing, burning candles, ringing bells, honoring Father Yule, family and friend bonding, generosity.

*Foods– Nuts, apples, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pears, ginger tea, roasted turkey, fruitcake, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine, pork dishes.

*Gods– Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, the Oak King, The Green Man, Jesus,

*Goddesses– Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaia, Diana, The Great Mother, Mary

*Spellworking/Rituals– Peace, harmony, love, happiness, personal renewal, meditation, honoring family and friends, Festival of light.

The above correspondences will be a help to you for decorating your home, setting up your altar, and for ideas on how to celebrate Yule.  I was raised celebrating Christmas and raised my children the same way…though it was secular..not religious for us.  It was about Santa, presents, family fun…. christmas cards, movies, music. It was secrets, and wrapping, and sneaking peeks, The Night Before Christmas, Rudolf and Frosty. It was shopping, and caroling (yes, caroling), cookie baking, laying under the lit tree in the dark, looking at the beauty of the lights and shiny ornaments.  It was time with grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles.   To this day we celebrate Christmas with our extended family.  But celebrating Yule, in this house, has enriched our lives with so much more. It is truly a beautiful, magickal time and I really look forward to it.  So as you are curled up in your jammies in your favorite chair, perhaps internet shopping or making lists or watching a holiday movie….start thinking about how you can honor this Sabbat..in a different way then the typical “Christmas” day you may have celebrated as a child. If you have always celebrated Yule..I truly envy you for being raised in such a wonderful magickal way! I wish I had been.

My family likes to do a one! gift exchange that night…something witchy for our cupboard…to make the night even more fun!  Smudge sticks, incense, crystal or stones, essential oils, dried herbs and even a piece of jewelry are favorites to give and receive 🙂  We also like to think of the birds and critters who are holing up for Winter…put out nuts, fruits, birdseed…keep a water supply for them.  We love to do up an outdoor tree with bird seed “ornaments” and cereal “garlands” and watch all the activity it brings 🙂 We make a Yule log centerpiece for our altars.  A piece of white birch, 3 holes drilled to hold a red, green and gold candle, then decorated with holly, greens, star tinsil, berries, ribbon..whatever you like.  Mine is always on my altar throughout the Season. Other ways to celebrate….. Burn bayberry candles for prosperity, or write wishes on bay leaves and throw them into the fire. Bake cookies or bread using cinnamon, a traditional spice representing the Sun. Make a wreath to symbolize the Wheel of the Year, and decorate it with pinecones to represent the God and fruit to represent the Goddess. Spray pinecones with “snow” or glitter, attach a red or green or gold ribbon and hang it on your tree.  Don’t forget the mistletoe, holly and ivy…traditional greens for the Solstice.  Lots and lots of candles are a must!  Burn your dried herbs from your garden in your fireplace to scent the room.  Anyway you can bring nature into your home..do it 🙂 

This is a Winter Sunrise from my porch last Winter!

There is one other thing I love to do for the solstice, on the morning after the longest night of the year, I like to either stay up or get up and watch the sunrise and toast the returning Sun King with spiced cider or a good hot cup of coffee! Welcome Him back and enjoy the feel of the cold morning Air! 

I’ll be back soon with recipes, altar pics and any thoughts I feel like writing about 🙂  During this busy time, take the time to BREATHE!  Don’t get overwhelmed so much that you don’t enjoy this holiday season yourself.  Take care of yourself first so you can care for your loved ones.  Enlist help when needed and always remember to connect with Mother Earth..She will give you energy renewed everytime. Oh and I’ll be back in a few days with a Thanksgiving greeting too! 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

Sources- My BOS, one pic is mine..the rest from the internet, my words 🙂

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Filed under Correspondence, Family, God, Goddess, Granddaughter, Holiday, Mother Earth, Photography, Seasons, Sunrise/Sunset, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

My Smoky Mountains…….

Merry Meet everyone.  Hope all is well in your world and that you are still enjoying a beautiful Autumn weather.  I have just returned from a short 4 day trip to the Smoky Mountains.  It was a girl trip..went with my daugher Sara, my sister Sunny and a friend Shawna.  We have gone to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area for years..a couple times a year at least.  I LOVE going there and know it pretty well.  Now I’m a girl and I love shopping as much as the next one, and places to shop are abundant there….but for me, it is all about seeing those mountains and spending time in them, enjoying what they have to offer…which is pure beauty in nature!

 

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

 ~John Burroughs

 

This quote  puts into words exactly how I feel when I first see those mountains, as I’m going south on I-75 from Kentucky into Tennessee.  The minute they come into view my heart just soars and my soul lets out a huge *sigh* of contentment…and recognition.  There is something ingrained in me that makes me feel at home there.  I often think it may be that my maternal grandfather was half Cherokee..my great grandfather coming from those mountains.  Maybe it is just that my soul knows how connected I am to nature and the beauty that is found here.  The trees, flowers, animals, and streams that thrive and survive there, are all connected to the Divine..as am I. 

 

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

~Eleonora Duse

 

I love seeing the mountains in the different seasons.  All of them are beautiful there.  I have seen snow clinging on the top of the mountains with the black shadows of the leafless trees pointing to the sky majestically and the frozen streams.  I have seen the greening of those trees in the Spring, with purple and white wildflowers covering the ground, and the streams flowing with cold, icy water as the snow melts.  I’ve seen full, leafy, green trees with the dappled sunlight hitting the forest floor, animals scurrying about and the streams filled with people cooling off.  My favorite season, Autumn..trees Glorious with reds, yellows, rusts and browns, the ground covered with the fallen leaves and still, the water ever flowing in the streams.  And always, always, the smoky mists that envelop the mountains, during all the seasons, that give them their name…that make them so magickal at any time of day! 

 

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”

 ~John Burrough

 

As a Witch, I find the elements in abundance in the mountains.  I can call them to me easily and they respond immediately. Earth, Air, Fire and Water..yes, I find Fire there as well, in the flame red of the leaves and berries, the heat from the Sun during the Summer, the glare off the snow, and in the warmth of the wind as Winter gives way to Spring.  I find magick in my mountains..always!  The Divine is there is well.  Nature is my church…always. The Full Moon over the mountains….A sight that everyone should see at least once!  Magnificent!!

“A wise man can do no better than to turn from the churches and look up through the airy majesty of the wayside trees with exultation, with resignation, at the unconquerable unimplicated sun.”

 ~Llewelyn Powys, The Pathetic Fallacy

While I was there, I visited one of my favorite stores..The Rock Shop.  As I was buying up crystals & stones, I came across a display of Tennesse Mountain Jasper.  Both polished stones and in large natural untouched chunks.  They look exactly like the rocky walls found in the mountains..quite recognizable.  I bought a nice piece both for myself and my two daughters.  This piece of stone will help me to keep those beautiful mountains, and that sense of peace and contentment I feel there…with me at all times.  *sigh* 🙂

“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay attention to the story.”

~Linda Hogan

Those Smoky Mountains have stories to tell, and I do my best to listen to them. Wherever you go in Nature, to feel the Divine, to commune with Mother Earth, to calm yourself, to let out a big sigh of contentment…go there!  Often!!  It’ll do your heart, body and soul good.  Another thing that will do you some good?  If and whenever you get the chance, get a hug from a facebook friend, Do It!  I was blessed enough to get to do that on this trip..with TWO friends….. and I am so happy that I did!  Hugs Cynthia and Angelique!!  It reinforces that our facebook friends are real indeed and that hearts DO touch across the miles and thru the internet 🙂 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Full Moons, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Seasons, Smoky Mountains, Woods

My Dumb Supper Table…..

Merry Meet my friends and Blessed Samhain!  I hope that all of you had a wonderful Sabbat, I know I did.  From the beautiful weather, to seeing my grandkids in their adorable costumes, to a beautiful ritual at my altar last night.  My daughter Kate and her hubby Matt,  had my hubby Jim,  brother Chris, daughter Sara and I over for a chili dinner.  Chili and cornbread muffins were enjoyed and I took a yummy Peanut Butter Cake.   The weather was really perfect…cool and but not too cold and clear skies with a gorgeous crescent Moon!  Just a magickal evening in every way.

When I got home, I spent time at my altar, doing the ritual I wrote in my last post.  I also scryed for a while with wonderful results and then drew a 3 card tarot layout.  I learned alot from the cards and they were very meaningful to what is going on in my life right now.  Then I went out and spent some time with the Moon and went to bed very happy and contented. 

Tonight, I had my Dumb Supper and though the only participants were my daughter and I (could not get the guys to join in LOL) …we enjoyed the quiet and the candlelight and felt that we had company indeed.  I kept my table a simple black and white theme and I was sooo pleased with how it came out.

 

Ok..I’ll talk a little about what I did…I set my whole table..though Sara and I were the only ones who sat at the table..that left 4 seats for anyone who wanted to come join us 🙂  (Ok I really thought my hubby and brother would join us…but they were wrapped up in a show LOL) !  I  brought in lots of candles and white pumpkins and  crystal glassware and a touch of silver.  The silver julep cups hold fresh cut rosemary from my own garden (still hanging in there despite several frosty mornings! )  It smelled wonderful!  Keep in mind that rosemary represents remembrance….perfect for my ancestors.  The rosemary will dry great in those cups too, then I’ll put the stalks in my BOS..as a remembrance for myself. 

My table dark and candlelit!

There was wine for everyone and I put out my peanut butter cake for dessert.  Now this peanut butter cake is a huge hit with my family and friends who have had it and it was requested for Samhain ..so of course, I made it.  Thought you all might like the recipe??  so here it is:

Autumn’s Peanut Butter Cake

*Be sure and read all the way thru it…the ingredients are spread thruout the recipe 

 Mix in a large bowl:

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Set aside.   In a med saucepan, bring to a boil:

1 cup water

1 cup peanut butter

1 stick butter

Stir often..when it comes to a boil remove from heat and add to the dry mixture and mix well with a spoon. 

Then stir in:

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

Blend well.  Pour into a greased jelly roll pan.  Bake at 375* for 20 mins or until golden brown.

While cake is baking:

Bring to a boil in the same saucepan:

1 stick butter

1/3 cup milk

Remove from heat and stir in:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 lb. confectioners sugar 

*Hint–add the peanut butter first, when melted well, stir in the sugar 1/2 at a time, to keep frosting from getting lumpy!

Pour over warm cake and spread evenly. 

This cake is sort of like the Texas Chocolate cake..dense and almost like a brownie ..and YUMMY!

If you’ve never done a Dumb Supper before..put it on your “Must Do” list for next year..it is really a very special thing and most magickal.  Remember as I posted before, you want a  dark room, lots of candles and NO talking! Now I’ve heard several say that with kids the silence would be impossible..of course!  But have it anyway..your ancestors will love spending time with the kids too!  Listen and Feel for them to come to you..give them the respect they deserve.  When we felt it was time, we said out-loud our messages for our loved ones who had passed on ..for those we knew and loved and miss to this day.   

“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are

 and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. 

 No matter what our attainments in life, ther is still a vacuum,

                                an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.”                           

 By Alex Haley

I believe there is an inherent wisdom and knowledge within that is passed down to us in our DNA.  That we literally  carry a bit of what they did and what they knew deep in our psyche. We are connected by the threads of love, life, time and the Universe.  So, for me, this meaningful ritual is very important!

So I say again, Blessed Samhain to you all! 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

Sources: me! 🙂 

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Filed under Family, My Writing, Quote, Ritual, Samhain