Category Archives: Altars

The Wheel turns to Mabon 2019…..

Blessed MabonMerry Meet and good afternoon!  I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying a great weekend.  In my time zone, Mabon or the Autumn Equinox is during the night tonight at 3:50am.  It’s officially Autumn, and the time of equal balance of day and night.  My favorite time of year, as those of you who know me or have followed me any length of time, know! I’m normally squealing with glee, but here in Ohio we have had incredibly hot, dry days for way too long, with no real end in sight.  Upper 80’s and even 90’s are in the forecast clear up into October.  This is not normal and I for one feel really disgruntled by it.  I need Summer to be gone!

The dryness especially will effect our Autumn color.  The leaves are seriously just turning brown and crunchy and falling off the trees like crazy.  Garden beds look dismal or empty as people have given up on watering and just yanked everything out.  Including me.  My last herbal harvest will be pretty pitiful.  It’s just been too hard to keep them watered and growing.  People seem to be grumpy and dragging in energy etc….me too. It’s all very sad and disheartening.

However, despite all this, I’ve decided to pretend it’s Fall.  Candles are lit instead of fires.  I’ve Fall cleaned my house.  I’m decorating the house this week, and will go buy my mums, pumpkins and apples and just try to pretend it’s in the 60’s instead of the 80’s.  The flannel sheets will have to wait but otherwise this house is going to be all Autumnal, damn it!  LOL! I also am doing some baking, some crockpot cooking and of course, preparing to celebrate Mabon.  My sweaters are ready to be worn as well!

Some of my discouragement has been that I’ve injured my left knee pretty badly.  It’s been about 8 weeks now and despite resting, elevating, icing, x-rays and cortisone shots there’s no real improvement.  I can hobble around ok but too much of it puts me down for too long!  So now I’m off for an MRI this week…..some talk it may be a torn meniscus, or seriously torn tendons/ligiments that aren’t healing.  But, being laid up in this heat isn’t the worse thing.  I’ve read, crocheted, caught up on shows, organized, purged, worked on my BOS and also just seriously rested….all of that is a good thing.  See…..you can always find the positive in most situations ūüôā

So Mabon is here and it’s pretty shocking in my older age how fast that wheel turns.  Though we’re hot and dry, I can still see all the signs of Fall.  Mostly in the cooler nights, and mornings.  The critters are gathering like crazy.  Birds gather and feed at feeders.  Kids are settled back in school and all the after school and weekend sports are in full swing.  The Sun and Moon and have moved their positions in the sky.  The winds have changed. There’s some color on some trees.  This brings me hope that soon temps will drop and I’ll have those lovely crisp, Fall days and cool, inky dark nights. I can’t wait!

My Mabon Altar 2019

My coven isn’t gathering for this Sabbat but we will meet up soon just to visit with each other.  Too many of us couldn’t make it or had other plans.  So my celebration will be solitary.  I’ll greet the Sun which will start slowly spending less time with me each day.  I’ll greet the lovely Moon Goddess who will spend MORE time with me.  I’ll make an apple dessert and plan on a good healthy meal.  Altar work will recognize that it’s the Witch’s Thanksgiving.  I’ll thank Goddess for the blessings in my life, and despite my complaining about life right now, I am very blessed and know it.  As I come up on the 2nd anniversary of my daughter Sara’s passing, I also send my love to her in my altar work as well. Goddess carries those messages to her often. How do you celebrate this lovely Sabbat?

So I promised you all a recipe.  This is a new recipe to me I tried and it’s yum.  Mabon and September just scream apples and this fits the bill! It’s super moist and the streusel topping is to die for!

ApplePieBread

Apple Pie Streusel Bread

¬Ĺ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
¬ľ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded, peeled apple (about 4 medium)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
¬Ĺ cup raisins
1 Recipe Streusel-Nut Topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar until combined. Add buttermilk and baking powder; beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour and salt; beat until combined. Stir in apple, nuts, and raisins.

Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle Streusel-Nut Topping over batter. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

*Um…I did not let it cool completely and did not wrap and store overnight before slicing lol.  It just was a bit soft and didn’t do a firm slice….but who cares!

Makes 1 loaf

Streusel-Nut Topping
¬ľ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
‚Öď cup chopped walnuts or pecan
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts or pecans.

I wish for each of you a beautiful, magickal Mabon.  May Autumn be in your heart if it hasn’t yet arrived in temperatures.  Fall WILL come.. even if it’s only a few of those glorious, crisp, blue sky, colorful days.  Relish them when they arrive!  Blessings to you all!

Autumn Fires

by Robert Louis Stevenson

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall! 

 

autumn fire

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn ‚̧

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mabon Blessings 2017…and Recipes!

IMG_5679[559]Merry Meet friends and a very Blessed Mabon to you all!¬† I love that Autumn is finally here but….we are in the middle of a huge heatwave!¬† 90* all week….ugh!¬† That is most definitely not normal for Ohio.¬† Oh, we’ve had some hot September days for sure, but a 10 day streak of 80’s and 90’s is not normal..and not fun…and not conducive to Fall activities lol.¬† Oh well, I’m still working on some Fall cleaning so I’m finding ways to celebrate the season anyway.¬† This too shall pass as they say ūüôā

Hubby and I have started cleaning up our garden beds.¬† Cutting back spent flowers, harvesting the last of the tomatoes and herbs, and prepping soil where needed.¬† As I mentioned, I’m still working on organizing and purging drawers and closets.¬† I love getting rid of things no longer used. It just makes my house feel so much cleaner, allows air to move, and less clutter helps my mind as well.¬† I’ve decorated the house for the most part for Fall.¬† Still need mums and pumpkins but that will wait until weather cools down again.¬† And I LOVE going to the apple barn and the garden center for those things on a cool, blue sky day.¬† So I wait!

Today I started my day off with a walk in the grass around my yard, some time at my altar,¬† (which I’m sharing a picture of here)¬† lit candles and incense for healing and to honor the day, I plan on doing some baking later as well.¬† I like also to focus on balance in my Life on this day.¬† Mabon is the Autumn Equinox, when night and day are equal.¬† As I said in my last post, so many of us seem tilted, out of sorts, grumpy.¬† This has been me.¬† So tonight I will go under the Moon…the early crescent, and do a little ritual to help me find balance again in my life. I have found I’m starting to feel better simply by realizing I’m not feeling right and focusing on fixing it by meditating more, finding more quiet time, and practicing my Craft more!¬† It’s helped!

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My altar, since this picture was taken, has apples sliced with honey and bread added, and a few items from nature…acorns, leaves, pods etc.¬† I always try to add bits of nature of from my walks to my altars.¬† Brings gifts from Mother Earth indoors ūüôā

As promised, I’ve found a couple recipes to share with you.¬† One so simple and so good, the other…well it’s the best apple bread I’ve ever had and not overly hard to make either!

 

luxeFood-1

Apple Crostini

3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped  (try Honeycrisp, Fuji or Granny Smith)

3 Tbs unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

French bread, sliced and toasted

Brie wedges

fresh chopped rosemary for garnish if you have it.

Preheat oven to 350*  Combine apples, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a pot over low heat.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until apples are soft and mash easily, but leave some apple chunks.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temp.

Place French bread slices on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Top each piece of bread with a small wedge of Brie cheese. Bake for about 5 mins to soften cheese.  The spoon apple mixture over cheese and sprinkle with rosemary.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

 

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Praline Apple Bread

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided

8 oz sour cream

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 Tb vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups finely chopped, peeled apples

Preheat oven to 350*  Toast 1/2 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6-8 minutes, stirring occastionally; set aside.

Beat sour cream and next 3 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer for 2 mins.  Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients.  Add to sour cream mixture, beating just until blended.  Stir in apples and the toasted pecans.

Spoon batter into a greased and floured 9″x5″ loaf pan.¬† Sprinkle with remaining cup of pecans and press into batter.

Bake at 350* for 1 hour.  Cover with foil the last 10-15 minutes to keep from burning pecans.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.

While cooling, bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Pour over bread and let cool.

*also delicious to eat warm.

Delicious!!

 

I hope that you all give these recipes a try.¬† Oh and the bread, make extra..it goes fast! Also great to treat a neighbor, friend or family member with a loaf.¬† You’ll get rave reviews!

I hope that however you celebrate today, you spend some time focusing on yourself.¬† Try to find balance in your Life, even if just for a day, but you should really try to make it a priority. It’s a crazy, busy world for most of us these days and we need to take care of ourselves.¬† Prepare yourself for the dark days of Fall and Winter that are coming..much as Persephone did as she journeyed to the Underworld.¬† Build yourself a cozy cocoon, find things to do for yourself…learn something new, read those books you’ve not had time for, start a new project, spend more time with loved ones, and definitely find more time to yourself! Pamper yourself with long bathes, good meals, walks in nature and time under Grandmother Moon!¬† You’ll feel soooo much better!¬† This is advice I need myself and intend on taking!

Blessed Mabon dear readers! May Goddess Bless you this beautiful Autumn season!

 

“the air is different today
The wind sings with a new tone
Sighing of changes coming
The harvest is gathered, a flower, a nut
Some mead, and bread
A candle and a prayer
Returning the fruits in thanksgiving
To the grove and receiving it‚Äôs blessing again‚ÄĚ
-Rhawk, Alban Elfed

 

Love and Blessings, Autumn

 

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The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2016…..

A brooding calm in all the air,
A dreamy quiet everywhere…
A golden glow to light the day
That fades in purple mists away‚ÄĒ
This soothing calm, this presence bright,
October’s sweet and mellow light.
~Phebe A. Holder, “A Song of October,”

samhain12

Merry Meet my friends! ¬†How is your Autumn going so far? ¬†Autumn weather has finally arrived here in Ohio in the last week or so, and it’s been re-vitalizing, beautiful and wonderful! ¬†As you all know….my favorite time of year and I seem to just wake up!

I apologize again for a longer -than- usual absence. ¬†My life is really busy these days and I’ve had to prioritize what I can get done. ¬†As much as I love to write, and I do write in my journals etc, I just had to put my blog aside…again. ¬†Between my in-laws moving here, losing my only day nurse that helps me with my daughter, a trip to Sleepy Hollow (which was fabulous and I’ll write about that trip here in a day or two) plus preparing the house for Autumn/Winter, and the usual every day stuff like family, time with my grandkids etc etc. ¬†Please know, I know you ALL are just as busy….but I’m explaining why I’m not writing here as much.

Having said that all, Samhain is coming fast and I wanted to be here with you all to show my enjoyment of this most special Sabbat time of year! ¬†As our summer seemed to linger longer than usual this year, I’m busily jarring dried herbs from earlier in the year, and making room for the last harvest of herbs to hang and dry. ¬†My herbs are still thriving and huge so my last harvest will be abundant! ¬†Hubby and I have been busy cleaning up the garden beds, cutting back, protecting, and preparing the beds for next Spring. Also, things in the house, like washing rugs, curtains, windows, having furnace inspected, fireplace cleaned and a cord of wood ordered so we are ready for the dark months! ¬†Despite all the work, I so love this time of year and take the time for walks, Moon basking, apple and pumpkin baking, and a little shopping for new jackets, and sweaters etc. ¬†I’ve also been busy crocheting scarves and blankets which I find incredibly Zen. ¬†What are you doing to prepare for the dark time of the year?

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The veil is thinning and all Witches can feel it. ¬†My mind often goes to my loved ones who have passed onto the other side of the veil. ¬†I can’t bake without thinking of my grandmother, hear a song on the radio that reminds me of a good friend, or visit the cemetaries, adrift in falling leaves to feel close to those who are still with us in mind and spirit. Witches prepare their altars to honor their ancestors and loved ones during this most magickal season. ¬†But we also look back on the last year, as Samhain is our new year after all. ¬†What worked for us, what didn’t, what we keep and what we throw away/let go. ¬†We make plans for our New Year, knowing that we have the dark time of the year coming, when we may be a little less busy, have more time to reflect by fires, read, organize, dream, learn, and decide what we may do to improve constantly on our lives, our minds, our bodies and spirits.

My coven will gather on the 29th for soups, breads, desserts and a fire. ¬†A ritual to honor the New Year and our ancestors. ¬†It’s a wonderful time of wearing our witchiest garb, and while fun, we are also very dedicated to the night…the time…the veil…..the looking forward and backward…helping each other if needed. ¬†We all celebrate solitarily as well….but our combined energies make it an amazing night!

I’m a true believer in constantly learning and expanding my knowledge base. ¬†So I’ve begun to think about what books I’d like to read over the Winter. ¬†What are some of your favorite witchy books, or learning books you’ve read lately? ¬†I’d love some suggestions! ¬†I have some books on tarot, crystals, reiki, certain goddesses etc I’ll be reading…along with good fiction of course! ¬†Any suggestions most appreciated as I’m always looking for something I don’t know about ūüôā

October is crisp days and cool nights,

a time to curl up around the dancing flames

and sink into a good book.

~John Sinor (1930‚Äď1996), in San Diego Union-Tribune

I’m off to enjoy a bit of time outside today…perhaps starting to harvest those herbs, or just taking a walk. ¬†I’ll be back in the next day or two with a post about that trip to Sleepy Hollow and as always, some wonderful recipes for Samhain. ¬†Also, a bit of news I should be ready to talk about in the next week. ¬†In the meantime, It’s Autumn!! ¬† That wonderful blue sky, sunny days and crisp nights, woodsmoke and falling leaves, sweaters and scarves, pumpkins and apples, witches and black cats, all things spooky and wonderful, Time of year!! ¬†Autumn passes so fast…enjoy every beautiful moment!!

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2016……

 

IMG_5855Merry Meet my friends. ¬†I know…you are probably thinking..where have you been? ¬†I know I know! ¬†I’ve been very neglectful of my blog and I’m sorry. ¬†I could tell you everything that has been going on in my life…..but frankly, there’s so much going on in the World these days..it would just sound like petty reasons. I have missed writing but at the same time I tossed around the idea of not writing here for a while. ¬†I guess I accomplished that…a needed break. ¬†But I’m back I think and look forward to writing here again. ¬†I thank you for your patience..if you have indeed been wondering ūüôā

I HAVE been busy …as many of you have been, I know. ¬†My gardens are keeping me happily busy….planting, mulching, weeding, watering, thinning, deadheading etc etc. ….but I find that a lovely chore ūüôā ¬†My in-laws have moved from California to be near us, as my FIL is developing dementia and my MIL requires more help. ¬†This has been a challenge I won’t go into, but we are managing to the best of our ability. ¬†I’ve been still recovering from two surgeries in February that rocked my world too. ¬†Suffice to say that I don’t think I’m going to get back all the way to where I was, but I’m doing as good as it gets lol. ¬†Nothing serious, just irritation stuff. ¬†I have a lot of irons in the fire, and that is why, mainly, that I haven’t written. ¬†It was just an iron I let go for a while.

Let’s see, I haven’t written since Ostara. ¬†Wow. ¬†So I missed Beltane and Midsummer postings but to my delight, I see that many have still come to read my posts and snatch up some of my recipes etc. ¬†I’m glad! ¬†There is some great info there in the last 6-7 years. ¬†I plan to continue sharing recipes as those seem to be my most popular posts.

Now, we are moving quickly toward Lughnasadh or Lammas on August 1st. I so love this Sabbat as it’s that first sign that my favorite season, Autumn, is coming fast! ¬†The first Harvest festival! It’s been so hot here lately with way more high temps coming yet, that it especially makes me long for cool, crisp days and knowing they are coming soon makes me happy! ¬†I have already been perusing recipes..mostly recipes for breads, fresh veggies, canning, and uses for my herbs in oils and vinegars.

Many of us are harvesting yummy produce from our own garden beds. ¬†Red tomatoes, green peppers, peas, beans, zucchini, squash, melons etc etc. ¬†Also, I don’t know about you, but I’ve harvested some of my herbs more than once already! ¬†Big bundles of lemon balm, fever few, catnip, oregano, mint, parsley, sage etc are hanging and scenting my kitchen in a lovely way. ¬†My coven sisters have benefitted a bundle or two as well ūüôā ¬†For those who don’t have big gardens of veggies, like me, a farmer’s market is the perfect place to stock up! ¬†They are abundant around your town I’m sure and farm stands dot the corners as well. ¬†Be sure to indulge yourself this time of year.

I have already made a couple of new recipes I’d like to share. ¬†One is for a simple yummy bread that I’m now calling biscuit bread! ¬†The other, a delicious cheese-filled mushroom appetizer, however, it would make a lovely light lunch too. ¬†I think you’ll like them!

 

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Butter Crust Beer Bread

2 cups self-rising flour

3 Tbs sugar

12 oz regular beer (not light)

1/4 cup butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 350* In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and beer until well blended and a sticky dough forms, about one minute. ¬†Spoon dough into a greased 8″x 5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. ¬†Remove from oven; pour melted butter over the top. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes more, until lightly golden. Cool bread in pan before removing.

 

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Cheesy Mushroom Caps

8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (the good stuff, not shaker)

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 tsp garlic salt

24 large mushrooms, stems removed and cleaned (I used baby portabello)

1/2 cup butter, melted.

Preheat oven to 350*  In a bowl, combine cheeses, whipping cream and garlic salt; blend well.  Fill mushroom caps with mixture.  Dip bottom of mushrooms in melted butter and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.

*The cheese mixture would fill more than 24 of the baby portabellos.  If you use a larger mushroom, it may fill less than 24.

Enjoy!!

I have put together for the most part my Lughnasadh altar. ¬†The harvest altars are always my favorite to do. ¬†I love the warm colors of browns, golds, rusts, reds, and oranges. ¬†This is my altar this year. ūüôā

 

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Lughnasadh or Lammas is all about the last days of Summer, the coming of Autumn, the first harvests, the days shortening, and a reminder for us to appreciate the warmth of the Sun, while it may be too hot some days to be out under that same Sun. ¬†Our ancestors had more to do and worry about…putting “up” food for the winter, praying that Mother Earth, the Goddesses and Gods smiled on their crops and brought abundant enough food for them to survive the long, cold Winter. A good crop and storing said crops was hard work and meant life or death! ¬†For us, putting “up” food perhaps reminds us of our grandmothers or mothers who fantastically canned tomatoes, sauces, veggies, jams/jellies, pickles etc and filled their pantry with colorful jars all in a row. ¬†I sure have memories of my grandmother, in her ever constant apron, doing just that…with grandchildren underfoot trying to help and learn. ¬†To this day, I still like to do some canning…..even if it’s just apple butter or strawberry jam. ¬†It’s lovely sitting on the shelf, to pull out in the middle of a cold Winter day , and slather onto a piece of homemade, hot bread. ¬†Sigh..so good.

Don’t forget to use your fresh herbs to make lovely flavored oils and vinegars. ¬†Baking bread is a big part of Lammas/Lughnasadh as well. ¬†Watch the sunrise or set, sit under a tree and watch the Sun dapple through the trees. ¬†Garden and feel the warmth on your back. ¬†Have a picnic with your family. ¬†Take a walk and enjoy the brilliant flowers in full glory. Heck…even play Pokemon Go if you want…just be sure that you’re walking to catch those little monsters and enjoying being outdoors. ¬†There will come a time when you’ll be indoors watching it snow and you’ll be glad you enjoyed that warm Sun!

Blessed Lughnasadh my friends. ¬†May the Sun warm you. Oh and Blessed Full Moon too! ¬†May She shine on you also. Also, if I may say a word, in this very angry, sad world we seem to be living in right now…..open your heart to others, spread love, be kind…don’t judge. ¬†Be part of the cure, not the problem. ¬†We are all just here to live our lives, in our way, with respect and love for others. ¬†Blessed Be.

“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,

ripening fields lush-bright with promise;

Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing

Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn”

¬† ¬† ¬† -Michelle L. Thieme, August’s Crown-

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

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Winter Love……..

Winter is the slow-down
Winter is the search for self
Winter gives the silence you need to listen
Winter goes gray so you can see your own colors…
~Terri Guillemets

 

Merry Meet my friends! How is your New Year going so far? ¬†Is it Winter where you are? ¬†Winter was very slow arriving here in Ohio! ¬†We had crazy warm weather, to the point that plants were re-blooming, grass was green and birds and squirrels were very content to enjoy an extended warm season for gathering. ¬†We had only seen one day of snow flurries in late December…I mean come on!! ¬†ūüôā ¬†However, finally Winter had arrived with snow and frigid cold and blowing winds and I’m a very happy Witch! ¬†We haven’t had a huge amount of snow, but we did have some accumulation that looked like this:

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Then we warmed up, got rain and washed it all away. ¬†Today, the cold came back and it flurried very prettily. ¬†I love Sundays as many of you who know me, know. ¬†But add snow flurries, the need for a fire in the fireplace, no need to go anywhere, a project to do, something simmering on the stove….and it’s really a Perfect day!!

I’ve been very busy doing my Imbolc cleaning which also involves major purging of unwanted and unneeded items. ¬†It feels so good to see all that “stuff” going out of the house! ¬†I take one room at at a time. ¬†Empty drawers, cupboards, cabinets, closets etc and really sort through. ¬†I find myself getting more brutal about what needs to go ¬†as I go along too.

When we moved to this home three years ago, we came from a much bigger house that held a lot more “stuff”. ¬†We got rid of so much stuff then ….out of necessity of not enough space since we had downscaled. ¬†But after 3 years, as I’m looking through things, I realize there are things I haven’t touched in the 3 years we’ve lived here. ¬†So…out they go!

It’ll take me a while. I’m maybe half way done. ¬†I may not be done by Imbolc but that’s just fine. ¬†I’m actually, unfortunately, having surgery the day before Imbolc so that will slow me down a bit. ¬†I was hoping to be done before my surgery, but I don’t think that will happen. ¬†We shall see ūüôā ¬†By the way, I’m fine…just something that needs to be fixed and will take the usual 6 weeks to completely heal, but I’m fine ūüôā

So far this Winter, along with Imbolc cleaning, I have read a LOT! ¬†Especially since the holidays were over. I adore getting lost in a book, and I am so happy to have the time to do it to my heart’s content. It looks a lot like this:

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I have also been working on some BOS pages, journaling, working on my herbal course a bit, spending more time with my grandkids who are homeschooled and more available, and really just nesting. I am about to dive into my Witch cupboard to give it a thorough cleaning, cleansing, and re-arranging. ¬†I have bought some gorgeous, new oil bottles and herb jars and I’m anxious to get them set up inside my cabinet..to replace the mish mash of stuff that’s there now ūüôā ¬†I can’t wait to start blending oils for each pretty bottle! ¬†I have a list of what I’m making from simple rosemary oil to Sabbat blends to my favorite altar oil. ¬†I so love doing that! ¬†Planning on starting tomorrow! ¬†I’m also going to make some salt blends as well.

Right now, for Winter, the dark time, I’ve got my altar set up to honor my beloved Goddess, Hekate. ¬†I find myself drawn to it several times a day and that is a good thing. ¬†I’ll keep it up until I’m ready to set up my Imbolc altar, which won’t be too long now.

 

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Winter…I know so many who find it to be their least favorite season. ¬†But other than Autumn, I find it to be especially beautiful. ¬†I love hearing the wind blowing. ¬†There is great magick there, in the Air that is either cold, still and quiet, or blowing and frigid. ¬†On quiet nights, I love to stand outside seeing the inky black skies with bright stars, see my breath on the Air, smell the woodsmoke from the chimneys in my neighborhood, see the lights shining in the windows, feel the quiet of the ground beneath my feet. ¬†The silence is often palpable…and beautiful. ¬†I know that Mother Earth is resting, renewing, preparing to awake in the Spring and bring Life back to this wonderful Earth we call Home.

I especially love the trees in Winter.  There is something so mystical about a tree, bare of foliage, standing dark and stark against white snow and dark skies.  Or blue skies for that matter. Either still and quiet, or standing strong against blustery winds and snow. The shadows they cast long over the snow, always catch my eye.  You can feel that they too, are resting, waiting.

In my garden beds, there are still plants that had re-bloomed in our late warm days, and now stand snow covered, withering, but leaving the promise of returning bigger and stronger in the Spring.  Some of the tall ones provide shelter for birds and ground animals which I love.  There is beauty there as well.

Some of my favorite things about Winter? ¬†Fires, woodsmoke, fuzzy socks, a stack of books, coffee or tea or cocoa, colorful scarves and mittens, sleds and ice skates, hot meals in the oven or on the stove, bread baking, soup simmering, hot rum toddies, flannel sheets, piles of blankets, wind blowing, snow falling, candles burning, more time to rest, Moon rises, Sun sets, squirrels gathering, birds feeding, and so so much more. ¬†If you love Winter, you know everything I’m talking about. ¬†If you don’t love Winter, well, I bet you love a lot of the things I’ve talked about. ¬†So maybe Winter isn’t so bad? ¬†But don’t fret, as you know, Spring will indeed come. ¬†And look what has come to my mailbox:

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LOL…I so love my seed catalogs! ¬†And yes, I’m already planting my herbs and flowers in my head. ¬†How about you?

I’ll be back soon with a post for Imbolc and some recipes ūüôā ¬†For now, be safe out there, remember to take in the beauty of the season, find something you love to do, and slow down and enjoy!!

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

*All the pictures in this post are my own.

 

 

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Merry Yule/Winter Solstice 2015 and Recipes!…….

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Where I’m sitting right now!

Merry Meet my friends…I’m sitting by the fire on this the longest night of the year, in my pj’s with a glass of mulled wine at hand. ¬†My daughter and I are watching “A Christmas Story” and I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t written my post yet for Yule! ¬†I’m so sorry, but better late than never ūüôā ¬†I really did want to share some recipes with you that will come in handy the next 10 days or so.

It’s pouring rain, gloomy and windy here and we are on another week of unseasonable temperatures! Record highs in the mid 60’s are expected! ¬†I so wish it was snow and not rain! ¬†I ran my last couple of errands to do today and I have about 10 packages to wrap and I’m officially all ready for the holidays….. except for a trip to the grocery early tomorrow morning. I’m hoping I can avoid some of the crowds doing that. ¬†I’m looking forward to a more quiet Christmas as my family gatherings will be over the weekend rather than the eve or the day of. ¬†So reading and relaxing is high on my agenda lol. ¬†And yes, those who know me, know that I do gather with my family for Christmas. ¬†It’s not a religious holiday for me at all, but it is for many of my family members that I love, so I celebrate with them, but in my own way. ¬†As a family time together, celebrating with gifts and food and love and joy!

Tonight, I will do some altar work, use my hearth fire to burn that which I wish for, and those things I wish to let go, and I will make time to honor my favored Goddess Hekate. ¬†Tomorrow morning, I’ll be up early, toasting the rising of the Sun (whether I can actually see ¬†him/her or not) and make my offerings to Mother Earth. ¬†The day will be spent partially with family, and then quiet and introspective tomorrow evening. The fire is burning merrily. The house is smudged and candles are lit. I have bayberry, frankincense, pine, orange, clove and cinnamon scents going with the help of incense, candles and a simmering potpourri. ¬†Our feast, which we’ll have tomorrow night, will just be soup, salad and bread. Simple and good.

Foods for Yule are traditionally:¬†¬†Nuts, apples, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pears, ginger tea, roasted turkey, fruitcake,¬† cookies, eggnog, mulled wine, and pork dishes. ¬†But there are other foods as well associated with the season such as gingerbread, ham, cranberries, pomegranates, mince pies, and frankly, whatever else your family tradition is! ¬†What are your foods that your family just MUST have on the table for your Yule/Christmas/New Year’s feast? ¬†Well, I’ll share a couple of recipes here with you that my family loves, as I have in past postings. ¬†I see through my blog stats that MANY of you are checking out all my previous posts for Yule/Solstice and I so appreciate that. ¬†Thank you! ¬†Hope you like these too!

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Red and Green Pear Salad

1/3 cup walnut pieces
3 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz mixed baby greens
2 pears, such as Bartlett, cored and sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 oz  blue cheese, crumbled

Toast walnut pieces your favorite way. Pour onto a plate to cool and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth.
Add the greens, pears, pomegranate seeds and walnuts to the bowl with the dressing and toss gently to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates, garnish with the cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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Merry Yule Fruitcake Bars

*even if you hate fruitcake..try these!

3/4 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped candied pineapple
1-3/4 cups red and green candied cherries, halved
2 cups pitted dates, halved

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and walnuts; mix well. Spread evenly into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with pineapple, cherries and dates; press lightly into dough.
Bake at 325¬į for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Yield: 8 dozen.

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Solstice Mulled Wine

2 (750 ml) bottles of dry white wine
2 oranges, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup brandy (optional)
1/2 cup honey or sugar
16 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise

Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer (not a boil..it will boil the alcohol right out of it!) over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes.

Yum! ¬†Sounds warm and cozy doesn’t it?!

I hope you give these a try over the holidays. ¬†Don’t forget, you can do a search in the box over there ——> under Yule or Winter Solstice to find more from previous years.

Remember that tonight and tomorrow night if you wish, is all about the longest night of the year and knowing that the Sun returns and the days will lengthen once again. ¬†Think about what our ancestors were thinking on this night. ¬†They were hoping they had enough food put away for the long, hard Winter. ¬†Winter was hard, no doubt! ¬†Isolation, hard work, chopping wood for warmth, and making sure that their livestock survived the long, cold, dark season..along with themselves, had to be a scary time for them. ¬†We are so blessed these days. But for tonight, perhaps pretend what it was like to be them. ¬†Light a fire and keep it stoked. ¬†Light candles all over the house. Turn off the tv, get off the electronics (which I will do as soon as I’m done with this writing ūüôā and perhaps just sit quietly and think, ponder, remember, cherish or make new memories. ¬†What do you wish for yourself and your loved ones in the coming months? What do you need to let go of to be happy and content in your life. ¬†Are there relationships to repair or depart from? ¬†Is there a project you want to take on over the Winter? ¬†Do you have a huge stack of books you’ve been dying to read? ¬†(I do! ) ¬†Well, now you will have the time…most likely.

Blessed  Yule/Winter Solstice my dear friends.  May Winter be kind to you, may Goddess bless you with all the good things in Life, and I thank you so much for your friendship and interest in reading my little blog and letting me know you enjoy it.  I so much appreciate it!

I share this poem most every Solstice time because I love it so much.  This year is no different! Enjoy!

The Shortest Day

by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

 

Love and Blessings, Autumn

 

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to the Winter Solstice/Yule 2015…..

 

 

To celebrate the Sun, the Land, the Ancient Ones, the great Circle of Nature.
To welcome in the Winter and the New Year.
To bring forth renewal, peace, and joy.

-Selena Fox “Saturnalia”¬†

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMerry Meet my friends! ¬†It’s a Monday evening, quiet in the house at the moment after a busy day. ¬†It rained today and we have been un-seasonably warm here in Ohio. ¬†Too warm for my tastes actually lol, but we will start cooling down in the next few days!

The Solstice is coming fast…just a week away! ¬†Yule, or the Winter Solstice is all about the return of the Sun. ¬†It will be the longest night, and then we celebrate the rotation and the days lengthening as we eventually get to Spring again. ¬†Having said that, here in Ohio and many other places on this wonderful, good Earth, we have a long Winter ahead of us yet! ¬†I have been preparing for it for some time now. ¬†From putting away the garden tools, and getting the garden beds cleaned up and mulched, to pulling out warm blanket throws, making elderberry syrup and of course, shopping for Yule and Christmas gifts and all the things associated with the holidays!

 

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My elderberry syrup brewing

 

I also have planned for projects to do over the dark time of Winter. And my list gets longer lol. ¬†Books I want to read, house projects to do, projects associated with my Craft such as getting my herbalist class going, working on my BOS, and some witchy crafts too. ¬†I often feel that Autumn is too, too short of a season, it goes by so fast I think because it’s my favorite. ¬†Winter, to me, often is a very long season…which I think is a good thing! ¬†I have already found myself staying indoors more, except on these really warm days we’re experiencing right now! ¬†As I said before, it’s nesting…..loving my home and being in it!

For my Solstice celebrations, I most definitely clean the house well, make sure I have lots of candles and firewood, stock up the pantry for cooking and baking, and do as much ahead of time as I can. ¬†For me, and for many I know, the Solstice is not so much about families and friends gathering, not about gift giving, not about a huge feast and loud, noisy parties. ¬†It’s more about a simple meal, quiet introspection, offerings to our Gods and Mother Earth, ¬†and dwelling in the darknesss, in a content and joyful way. ¬†It’s about quiet meditation, reflecting on the year ahead and what we wish to leave behind. ¬†I often will get up early to toast the Sun as he/she rises. ¬†I say he to cover those who think of the Sun as the Male God rising again, and I say she for those who think of her as Sister Sun. ¬†You can fill it in as you wish ūüôā Whether you toast with a mimosa, ¬†a cup of coffee or a glass of water, the ritual holds meaning. ¬†It’s representative of the days starting to lengthen and we know there is hope that after Winter we will have Spring. ¬†My coven has decided to meet on January 3. To allow everyone time with their families at this busy time of year. ¬†We all look forward to it very much. ¬†It’s a feast of desserts, coffee, hot chocolate and our fun gift exchange..all around a fire. ¬†Perfect!

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My Yule Altar 2015

My Solstice/Yule altar is always one of my favorites I do each year. ¬†I set it up early in December and have enjoyed using it each day. ¬†I have a new Goddess statue..Elen of the Ways which I’m in love with. ¬†I’ll be talking more about her in another blog soon. ¬†Not the statue, but Elen herself. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I love my real deer antler, my YULE log my hubby drilled holes in for me, and of course all the red and green crystals, candles, and my elemental representatives. I’ve had the beautiful deer for years now and it brings me joy every time I see it. ¬†The vase is filled with Rosemary…a gift from the garden of one of my coven sisters. ¬†Her Rosemary was still going strong with all the warm weather we’ve been having and she made sure I had some. ¬†It smells so good! ¬†I’ll be adding more greens on top of my Yule log and some cakes and ale the night of the Solstice.

For crafty things I like to do this time of year.  Feed the birds with peanut butter covered bagles dipped in bird seed.  String cereal like a garland.  Gather bits of yarn, fur, dryer fuzz and put everything out for the birds..they will love it!  Make orange pomanders. Make beautiful oil blends and use them to anoint candles, your altar, yourself.  Gather some dried herbs and make herbed salts, oils and vinegars for gifts.  Bake bread and take a loaf to a neighbor.  Gather the grandkids or kids and make lots of cookies.  Even better, make dog biscuits and share them with all the dogs in your life.

Don’t forget to donate! ¬†Clean out your closets and cupboards and take them to Goodwill or a homeless shelter or a battered woman’s shelter. ¬†Donate dog and cat food to your local shelter..better yet, take home a pet that needs a home! ¬†Give to Toys for Tots, Books for kids, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, adopt a family, send a military shoe box, and/or volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry. ¬†You’ll be all the better for it! Give, give, give to be truly grateful with what you have!

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My hearth fires burning

I love to burn candles all over the house, and to keep off of all electronics! ¬†I’ll often journal, read, scry in the fire…Oh..there MUST be a fire in the hearth of course! That goes without saying ūüôā ¬†Soup and bread are often my preferred meal (my family loves that too) and we just have a quiet peaceful night. ¬†Stepping outside to make my offerings, absorb the energy from Earth and Grandmother Moon as well. ¬†And to listen…listen to the quiet of Winter…it’s so peaceful. Keep in mind that our Mother Earth is also resting, rejuvenating, and readying for when Spring blooms again. ¬†Then, a good night’s sleep and I’ll be ready to hop back into the much more chaotic holiday of Christmas that comes a few days later!

Ritual for any Sabbat doesn’t have to be organized or methodical. ¬†When I first started blogging, I often shared actual rituals that I had found online or in books. ¬†Now, I just tell you what I do. ¬†What I do at my altar..well, that’s between me and my Goddess as they say. ¬†The words I use, the tools I use, the feelings I emote and the goals I’m trying to manifest are my own. ¬†I have many friends who are new to the Craft, or maybe aren’t so new, but get bogged down in worrying about rhyming words, what color the stones should be, or where the candles should go on the altar. ¬†I say…..it’s YOUR Path….do what feels right to you. Period. ¬†Your intentions and your inner Magick and your relationship with your God/Goddess is all that matters. ¬†You’ll be heard!

I’ll be back in a day or two with a few recipes I thought I’d share. I’d like to remind you that you can search for Yule or Winter Solstice in the search box on the right ———> for more posts like the correspondences, recipes, poems and quotes etc. ¬†I see many of you are finding them already. ¬†ūüôā ¬†In the meantime, have a wonderful week!

Love and Blessings, Autumn

 

 

 

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