Category Archives: Books I’m reading

The Wheel Turns to Imbolc 2016……

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” 
–  Stanley Crawford

 

imagesMerry Meet!  I hope this writing finds you doing well.  There has been some crazy weather everywhere.  Big snowstorms, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes..you name it..it’s been out there.  We’ve had none of that lol.  As a matter of fact, we’ve had very little snow, still, which is unusual for Ohio and we are warming up into the 50’s for the next few days.  But, still, I know Imbolc comes.  If you truly watch nature..the rising and setting of Moon and Sun, the habits of birds and critters, the trees and plants…you know.

I have been a very busy Witch preparing for Imbolc.  It’s been all about a serious purging of un-wanted and un-needed items from this house.  It feels so good to have less things taking up space in drawers, closets and cupboards. Even knick knacks, things hanging on the walls, and old throw rugs and blankets are going.  I can’t recommend this enough.  I’ve talked about it before, and I’ve done it many times.  But this is the MOST I’ve ever done.  I truly believe I could become almost a minimalist lol.  It’s a great way to cleanse and clean to prepare for Imbolc and well…just Spring cleaning if you prefer.

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I’m unfortunately having that surgery Monday, so I’ll be celebrating Imbolc on Sunday. Imbolc by the way is February 2.  There will be a fire, lots of candles, a feast, and offerings.  I do honor Brighid for this, Her Sabbat, and will do both altar work and another ritual I’ve talked about before.  Before midnight I turn off all the lights in the house and have lots of candles going throughout.  At midnight, I throw open the doors, invite Brighid to come in and bring all the good things that She does…protection, craftsmanship, prosperity, inspiration, healing, growth, renewal and light.  She is always welcome on my Path and in my home.  I then use my broom to sweep out all the negative, old, stale energy from my home and turn on lights as I go along to each room.  It’s such a lovely ritual, gives me a sense of peace and joy. I will often read a bit of poetry, be sure to wear my silver jewelry, and send out healing energy to those I love in need.  Brighid is an amazing Goddess.  If you aren’t familiar with Her, you might want to be.  I’m reading the book “Tending Brighid’s Flame” by Lunea Weatherstone and highly recommend it! You’ll learn a LOT!

The foods that represent Imbolc are seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flax, sesame. Also raisins, dairy foods, spicy foods, pork, lamb, spiced wines, breads, cakes, muffins, pancakes, scones etc. I would add anything made with milk as Imbolc means “ewe’s milk.”   I’ve posted lots of recipes for all the Sabbats, including Imbolc.  To find them, just use the search box on the right side of this page and type in Imbolc recipes or Imbolc.   I thought I’d share a few more here.

 

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Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400*. In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk. In a small bowl, combine the egg, brown sugar and oil; stir in oat mixture. Combine the dry ingredients; stir into batter just until moistened. Fold in raisins.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Yield: 1 dozen.

 

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Slow Cooked Hot Spiced Wine

2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
3 whole cloves
2 bottles (750 milliliters each) dry red wine
3 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place cinnamon sticks and cloves on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string.

In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine remaining ingredients. Add spice bag. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings

 

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Honey Wheat Sunflower Bread

2 cups warm water (120° to 130°)
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted sunflower kernels

In a bowl, combine the water, 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, yeast and sugar. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. (Mixture will be spongy.)
Stir in the whole wheat flour, oats, milk powder, butter, honey and salt; mix well. Stir in sunflower kernels and as much of the remaining all-purpose or bread flour as you can with a spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
Punch down and divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into two loaves; place in two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Cover with foil; bake 15 minutes longer. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

My recommendation…make soup with the breads!  Especially nice on a snowy day, or your Imbolc cleaning day or even just for the day itself.  For some great soup recipes, you’ll find them in that search I talked about for Imbolc 🙂 There is nothing better than the scent of soup and warm baked bread on a Winter day…truly.

I wish you all a very blessed Imbolc for you and your loved ones.  May the rest of Winter be kind to you, may you find peace and joy in the quiet times, and know that Spring isn’t too far away.

 

“I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was not other creature
That saw what I could see,
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.”
– Sara Teasdale, February Twilight

 

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!!  🙂  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 🙂  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 🙂

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 🙂  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 🙂  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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Blessed Samhain 2015 and Recipes!…………

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s Thursday morning and Samhain is Saturday. I can’t believe how fast October has flown by! Too fast!  I’m sitting in my family room, listening to a Halloween Radio staA-BLessed-Samhain-To-Yoution on Pandora, watching leaves blowing around my yard, the Sun shining and birds at the feeders and chipmunks and squirrels gathering.  It’s a gorgeous day after two days of much needed rain.  Quite cool, quite autumnal, and I’m feeling happy and blessed.

My gardens are a wild mess. The last of the Autumn flowers are spent.  The tall grasses are brown and dry.  Some herbs have re-bloomed like parsley, thyme and lemon balm.  (I’ll be grabbing those yet)  My rosemary and lavender are still healthy and useful as I trim some rosemary for my ancestor altar and Ancestor Supper table. There are dried leaves gathered in the beds that will remain to keep warm the plants over the long Winter, and fresh, bright colored leaves are still falling, littering the ground and beds with reds, oranges, and golds. I took a walk in my favorite park that has a beautiful pond.  Watching the geese fly over under blue, clear skies,  the leaves floating in the pond, the bright trees and Sun casting mirror images on the water, I’m reminded of how Mother Earth is winding down to the dark, stark season in a blaze of color and beauty. I never have the feeling it’s a death and dying thing..but a show of how beautiful the seasons are.  No matter the season, they each have their own beauty.  While Autumn to me is the most beautiful, Winter too can be stunningly filled with beauty and I am not sad that Winter comes.

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I have enjoyed the energy of the Full Moon these last few nights, even though I couldn’t see Her the night she was at her fullest.  The foggy, rainy days reminded me of the thinning veil. The mystical, quietness of this time of year, if you’re still enough to notice it.  I’ve been having strong, vivid dreams and vacillate between sleeping hard and feeling restless in the night. How are you feeling? Perhaps tired and restless?  Or calm and filled with energy? I find I’m energized most of the time in Autumn, but an evening by the fire can make me feel drowsy and content.  I find my loved ones who have passed on are very much on my mind and I’m trying to be aware of any messages they may be bringing for me, to be aware of their being close to me, and to leave myself open to any other guides/spirits who may be needing my attention as well.  I keep a dream journal and I’m jotting down anything I remember when I awake. My scrying mirror, tarot cards and candle and fire flames are readily available to such purposes of receiving any messages. As I said in my last post, I find being still and meditative, even drowsy, can bring me closer, easier to my loved ones.

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My coven gathers tomorrow night. Always such a high energy, loving, magickal night. We’ll be doing an ancestor ritual, welcoming in the New Year together, with feast and fire. While we enjoy every Sabbat gathering, and every other gathering, Samhain is always just the best one.  The energy of Samhain is very much within us as a Tribe.  I love my sisters!

I have been visiting some books lately for the Season.  Classics like Edgar Allan Poe poems and “The Halloween Tree” and getting ready to read “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.  I also have been enjoying movies like “Hocus Pocus”, “Sleepy Hollow”, and “The Good Witch” movies.  My daughter, our friend and I saw “The Goosebumps” movie last night and enjoyed it very much!  I love both books and movies during this entire holiday season, from Samhain to Yule.  Music too.  They just put me in the mood!  What are your favorite spooky books or movies?

Cooking and Baking also is such a big part of the holidays for me.  Autumn is especially lovely with warm soups and breads, apple and pumpkin desserts, and hot drinks with cinnamon and spice.  If you do a search in the box on the right here —–> you can find previous Samhain recipes for the last 5 years.  I’m going to add a couple more today.  Also, if you saw my last post, you may have been checking out Samhain’s Sirens and The Sunday Stew for other recipes from myself and others for the Season.  For many, All Hallow’s Eve will bring to mind a witch stirring her cauldron 🙂 Well, yes, that’s me!  Conjuring in my kitchen! I may have a soup or hot cider in my cauldron, or I may have herbs and a smoking charcoal just as easily. If you don’t have a nice cauldron to actually use in your kitchen..I highly recommend a Potje pot.  They come in all sizes and are wonderful!

As a reminder of the foods for Samhain, they are :  Apples, pumpkin pie, pomegranate, pumpkin, squash, hazelnuts, corn, bread, ale, apple cider and herbal tea. Here are a couple of new recipes to fit the bill. One is healthy and one is just sweet and yummy!

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Spinach Pomegranate Salad

3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces spinach leaves (about 2 lightly packed qts.)
3/4 cup finely shredded radicchio (from 1 head)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 large firm-ripe Bartlett pear

In a small saucepan, boil pomegranate juice until reduced to 1/4 cup, 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool. Whisk in lemon juice, oil, salt, thyme, and pepper.
In a salad bowl, gently mix spinach, radicchio, pomegranate seeds, and hazelnuts with dressing. Divide among 6 plates.
Quarter pear and core. Thinly slice crosswise, then stack slices and cut in matchsticks. Arrange pear on salads.

*To make this salad a full meal, add grilled chicken strips onto the salad and a good crusty bread!

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Sour Cream-Apple Pie

a 9″ pie crust…your own homemade or refrigerated store bought

2 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped (use your favorite baking apple)

1 cup sugar, divided

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tb ground cinnamon

2 Tb butter

Place pie crust in a 9″ pie plate; arrange apples in bottom of pie crust.

Combine 2/3 cup sugar, 2 Tbs flour and salt in a large bowl; stir to mix.  Add sour cream, egg and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.  Pour mixture over apples.

Bake at 425* for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350* and bake 30 more minutes.

Combine in a small bowl the remaining flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Sprinkle over top of pie.  Increase heat back to 400* and bake 10 more minutes.  Remove and cool.  Of course, eating it warm is perfect!

*If you’d rather use thinly sliced apples, that is okay too.

Well there you go for a couple of great new recipes.  Again, you can find so many more of my recipes in previous postings.  Whether you’re looking for a simple soup meal, a big feast or just something sweet, you’ll find it here 🙂 Enjoy!

I want to wish you all a very Blessed Samhain and Happy Witchy New Year.  May your ancestors be blessed by how you live YOUR life, how you honor them and how you loved those you knew who have passed beyond the veil.  And may YOU be blessed with a full new year of wonderful things ahead!  Remember to let go that which no longer suits or has meaning or purpose, and find joy in what is to come.  Make it GREAT!

“Between the heavens and the earth
The way now opens to bring forth
The Hosts of those who went on before;
Hail! We see them now come through the Open Door.

Now the veils of worlds are thin;
To move out you must move in.
Let the Balefires now be made,
Mine the spark within them laid.

Move beyond the fiery screen,
Between the seen and the unseen;
Shed your anger and your fear,
Live anew in a new year!”
– Lore of the Door

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Ostara Recipes 2015………..

IMG_0857Merry Meet everyone and Happy Sun day!  It’s been a busy day here today.  My hubby is working on projects around the house and I had the laundry and the grocery to do.  Also, yesterday we had our ugly beige hallway and guest room painted in beautiful shades of green and “Vast Sky” blue, respectively.  So I had to put pictures back up on the wall, put everything back in it’s place etc.  The boring beige in the whole house is GONE and my home is warm in color as I like it 🙂  The Sun has been shining and we were in the mid 50’s…a lovely day but a bit chilly when the winds blow.  Tomorrow however we can look forward to hitting 70*! How wonderful!

Spring has sprung here..I believe it truly has!  Our bird and squirrel feeders are active.  I’ve seen cardinals, finches, mourning doves, and even two gorgeous male blue jays!  The squirrels are having a feast as well lol. There are tulips coming up in some areas, snow is all gone, and of course the days are getting longer.  I don’t see trees budding quite yet.  Now I live in Ohio, and I KNOW that we can see snow yet in April lol…but I think we can put Winter to bed pretty much 🙂  How about where you live?

I was perusing a few Spring issues magazines today.  I just love them don’t you?  There are always flowers and green and pastels on the covers.  So light and airy.  While I was looking thru them I found a few recipes I thought would be perfect for Ostara and thought I’d share them with you. They would be great to put in jars and take to the park for a picnic on a Spring day, great for your family gathering, and well, just for something light and healthy for every day!

 

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Fresh Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbs lime zest

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup water

3 cups fresh orange segments

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, and next 3 ingredients.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat, strain through sieve into a small bowl.  Let cool completely.

In a large serving bowl, combine fruits and mint.  Add lime syrup, stirring to combine.  Cover and chill for at least an hour. Sprinkle with almonds before serving.

 

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Spring Pasta Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

8 oz package orecchiette pasta

1/4 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into into 1 inch pieces and blanched

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup diced yellow bell peppers

1/2 cup Dill Vinaigrette *see below

Garnish:  Fresh dill

 

Cook pasta according to package directions.  In a large bowl, stir together asparagus, carrot and peppers and pasta.  Add Dill vinaigrette stirring gently to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Garnish with chopped dill.

 

Dill Vinaigrette

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbs white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp Dijon mustard

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 3 days.

*I happen to think this recipe would be great with a greek or italian dressing too 🙂

 

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Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon-Lime Glaze

*makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 Tb lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup buttermilk, divided, room temperature

Lemon-Lime glaze *see below

Preheat oven to 350*  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add egg, and mix until blended.  Add vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice, and mix until well blended.

*be sure to read this closely before starting 🙂  Working in batches, add 1/3 of flour mixture. Beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl.  Add 1/4 cup buttermilk; mix completely; scraping bowl.  Add second batch of 1/3 of flour mixture; scraping down sides of bowl.  Add remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk.  Finish with last of flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl until all is fluffy!

Pour batter into baking cups, filling each about 2/3 full.  Bake for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely.

Lemon-Lime Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 tsps fresh lemon juice

2 tsps fresh lime juice

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.  Pour by spoonfuls over cupcakes.

Don’t they all sound wonderful….so fresh and reminding of Spring 🙂  Hope you give them a try! Remember to stir in some magick while cooking!

 

I want to talk about one more thing real quick.  I have a dear friend, Deb Sunshine Hillman who has written a wonderful book…a small book filled with beautiful tales relating to Women and the Goddess.  As a follower of Goddess, and I’m a woman…..lol…these stories speak to me.  I hope you check it out…I’m so proud of you dear Sister Deb for making one of your dreams come true….publishing a book!

Here is the link for my readers if you’d like to check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Cauldron-Full-Tails-Such-Stories/dp/1508600775/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426463556&sr=8-1&keywords=A+cauldron+of+tails

 

 

I hope that you all have had a great weekend…..we are just 5 days from Ostara!  Have a very Blessed Ostara and may Mother Earth awaken and Spring break forth soon if it hasn’t already where YOU live! ❤

 

“March bustles in on windy feet
And sweeps my doorstep and my street.
She washes and cleans with pounding rains,
Scrubbing the earth of winter stains.
She shakes the grime from carpet green
Till naught but fresh new blades are seen.
Then, house in order, all neat as a pin,
She ushers gentle springtime in.”
– Susan Reiner, Spring Cleaning

 

Love and Blessings, Autumn

*All pictures are either my own or creative commons images.

 

 

 

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My favorite Herbal Resources……….

Happy Sunday! This is a post that is a continuation from my post in The Sunday Stew! Find The Stew here  http://networkedblogs.com/V9cIw      Enjoy!!!

The Witches Cupboard by Autumn Earthsong

My Favorite Herbal Resources

I hope that you all had a very Blessed Ostara and that Spring is springing up around you! This week I decided to share with you some of my favorite sources for herbal information. I have been reading and studying about herbs for many years now and some of my books are well loved and read and some not as much. Here is a list of those I love and use!

Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar

book 1

Rosemary is my herbal guru. I love all her books but this is my favorite. It’s chock full of herbal info, recipes for each stage of life..children, men, women and the elderly. There is info on how to store, dry, grow and buy good quality herbs. How to make syrups, tinctures, balms and salves, teas, infusions, oils etc etc etc. It’s a great book! I think every ailment you can have is covered in this book! I’ll talk more about Rosemary again later in this post

The Wild & Weedy Apothecary by Doreen Shababy

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This book is another dog-eared book of mine and I’ve had the added pleasure of getting to know Doreen as a facebook friend which thrills me to no end. Doreen comes at her herbal craft from a magickal point of view and the importance of Plant-spirit. She encourages you to use local herbs and to wildcraft them..to gather them yourself which I love. She has tons of recipes..arranged in an A-Z fashion for your tastebuds and your body. Delicious breads, main dishes, salads, vegetables etc. …. along with creams, salves, salts, poultices and shampoos! I adore this book and Doreen!

Mugworts in May by Linda Ours Rago

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I came across this darling little book in a used bookstore…looking brand new and I fell in love with it. It is the Wise Woman’s little book of charms and folklore. It’s a delightful book filled with magickal herbal info, poems, quotes and charms. The charms range from protection charms, healing charms, tree, love, plant protection, herbal divination etc etc. Even Fairy charms! There is a nice section on Hedgerow herbs…poisonous herbs that witches are fond of using…with great care. I use her charms when I’m planting or sowing my herbs. You’ll love it!

The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green

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This is a huge book which I think I will never get thru completely! This is the most complete book of how to do everything herbal I’ve seen. Everything from collecting herbs, what you need in your kitchen and pantry, safety precautions etc. How to make decoctions, infusions, hydrosols, flower essences, tinctures, wines, vinegars oils, ointments, syrups, baths and it goes on and on and on. A real how to..to understand the process well. Not that the other books I love don’t..but this book is really big and thorough!! I think every herb lover should have it on their shelf .

The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood

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This is another very complete and big edition of herbal info. This book also has lovely stories and personal experiences of the use of herbal medicines which I love. He talks about the wisdom of the plants…that they have a purpose, an inner life that is Divine given and shared with our own energy and essence can bring us knowledge and healing. I love that!! I think it’s so so true!

Other Honorable Mention books:

Jude’s Herbal Home Remedies by Jude C. Todd

The Herbal Home Remedy Book by Joyce A. Wardwell

The New Age Herbalist by Richard Mabey

Now for some magickal herbal books by more of our favorite Witches/Pagans.

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

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I don’t think there is a Witch around who doesn’t have this book on their shelf and for good reason. It is a complete volume of how to use herbs for magick and very well done! I especially love the folk name section, the Elemental ruler section and the breakdown of what herbs to use for what ailments. As I said, it’s a great book for every Witch!

Bud, Blossom & Leaf by Dorothy Morrison

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A most magickal book filled with spells, rituals, & recipes for the Garden Witch. Sections on predicting weather using moon and wind, how to handle the Fae in your garden, even how to plant your garden in a magickal shape! The rituals are amazing and for every season and reason. I love her easy way of talking to us like she’s in our kitchen with us having tea. Just love her and this book!!

Garden Witch’s Herbal by Ellen Dugan

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The first herbal I read and still a favorite. Ellen is quite the gardener herself and bestows us with a beautiful book on folklore, magick, wildflowers, herbs, and flowers from a Witch’s point of view. The herbs are listed with physical description, and spellwork correspondence. There are beautiful botanical drawings as well. I especially love the section on trees and wildflowers! A lovely book!

Honorable mention:

The Green Wiccan Herbal by Silja

Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by Catherine Yronwode

Now for some of my favorite magazines!

Herb Companion
Herb Quarterly
Mother Earth Living

Favorite Herbal website and Youtube stations…….

Mountain Rose Herbs
Favorite Source for buying organic herbs and oils and the necessities for making herbals at home. If I haven’t grown it myself, or wildcrafted it, I get it here. I also highly recommend their amazing Youtube videos as well, some which feature Rosemary Gladstar! The videos along with all my books is what got me finally kitchen witchin several years ago. While I love Mountain Rose Herbs..there are many wonderful other online stores. Check them out!

HerbMentor
Another great Youtube station for how-tos of all things herbal! Includes also videos from Rosemary Gladstar, Kiva Rose and John Gallagher. Really great stuff!

and last of my favorites….herbal home study courses.

I am working thru Rosemary Gladstar’s home study course as I have posted here before on my blog. But there are many others out there including from Susun Weed and John Gallagher. Do your homework, check prices and be sure that you will be certified when you’re done if that’s what you want to be!

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I hope this info gives you something to think on. I have been interested in herbology for a very long time and it grows in me more and more every day! If you think you have an interest..any of these books will get you started! Have fun and Learn!!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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The Wheel Turns to Late Summer…….

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 

Merry Meet my friends!  I am long in writing a post here and have no excuse other then a busy Summer, home improvements, family in from California for 2 weeks, and my own lack of thinking what I could write about. 🙂  I appreciate so much the messages I’ve received wondering if I’m ok…it means a lot to know that you missed me here. All is well!!

It’s Saturn day, a quiet one here at my house. My daughter Sara isn’t feeling well so we are being lazy and resting today.  Here in Ohio, as I know many of you have experienced also, we have had a fairly mild Summer and in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a taste of early Autumn, it’s been quite cool and gorgeous!   I have LOVED it!  As you know of course, Autumn is my favorite time of year, but I have no complaints about this wonderful Summer we’ve had.  My gardens have loved this weather, my grandkids thrive playing outside when it’s not so hot, and I too, have loved hanging clothes on the line, working in my garden or reading on the patio.  It’s been wonderful!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Lughnasadh.  I did, though my Circle wasn’t able to meet. My fault, I had the flu 😦  I did make bread and berry flavored water and we had a simple dinner that included tomatoes and cucumbers from my own garden. It was a beautiful night.  I have not yet harvested my herbs or the last of my garden as some of them are still growing strong. Some are finished for the season though and I’ll clean them up this weekend.

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While I’m talking about Lughnasadh, I’d like to let you all know about a great book.  Witchy Magick by Australian Witches Lucy Cavendish and Serene Conneeley.  I LOVE this book for more reasons then one (which I’ll get to in a minute). This is a very complete book that I think EVERY Witch should own and read.  It starts out with interviews with about 20 of our prolific Witches who are authors, heads of covens, healers, herbalists, young and old alike.  Interviews on what being a Witch means to them.  Then it goes into lots of Witchy info, from the history of witchcraft, myth busting, the how to’s, rites and rituals, and a great amount of info, recipes etc on the Sabbats.  It’s really a wonderful book!  I again highly recommend it!  Oh, and if you happen to get to the recipe section….on Lughnasadh…pages 364 and 365…you may recognize …me!!  Yes!  I am in this book…a bit about me and a couple of my favorite bread recipes for Lughnasadh! I’m not bragging please understand, but I was most honored to be asked if I could be included in the book.  Thank you Serene and Lucy!!  Let me know readers what you think of the book, because I KNOW you are going to want to get it and dive into it! 🙂

The end of Summer is almost always a joyful thing for me as I thrive in the cooler air of Autumn and I always look forward to Winter as well.  This year, I have a vacation to look forward to in mid September.  A much needed trip for my husband and I…yes, just the two of us! A rare thing!  I could use some time on the beach, for my inner Sea Witch to come out and relish in the beauty, sounds and scents of  Mother Ocean.  I’m excited about it and so is my husband.  We are celebrating 34 years married, tomorrow actually, so it will be a grand anniversary present to each other 🙂

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By the time we get home, Mabon and Autumn will be arriving.  It will be time to get the chimney cleaned, order our cord of wood, clean out the garden beds, pull out the Fall decorations and hit the garden centers and pumpkin farms for pumpkins and mums and such.  *sigh*..that will be grand!

In the meantime, I’ll try to get back into writing here more.  I plan on doing a LOT of baking and cooking in the next few weeks…I’m involved in a very cool project, where I am the kitchen Witch, sharing my recipes.  I’ll tell you about that in my next post, and share a recipe or two for the upcoming Autumn season!

Until next time, enjoy the last of Summer….don’t wish away these last days, these  lazy, hazy, crazy last days of Summer.  Go barefoot lots, enjoy fresh veggies from your gardens or the Farmer’s market,  put your feet in a body of water, lay under the Moon and Stars on a hammock or blanket, invite friends over for a end-of-Summer cook-out, read a book in the shade or just sit on your patio and listen to the birds, crickets and cicadas.  Make the MOST of it for it will be gone soon!

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Many Blessings and Love

Autumn

*Pictures from the internet.

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Filed under Autumn, Books, Books I'm reading, Family, Flowers, Gardens, Grandchildren, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Mabon, My Writing, Nature, Ocean or beach, Our Yard, Poem, Quote, Seasons, Summer

Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays!……..

Merry Meet friends!  I am in the middle of enjoying a quiet Christmas Eve at home. My hubby Jim, daughter Sara, and brother Chris enjoyed a less busy day today.  Football, holiday movies, an all day fire in the fireplace.  My sister came by for a while.  Tonight we enjoyed a variety of appetizers for a simple dinner.  It is cold outside, an ink black starry sky as it is the New Moon,  and it’s been just awonderful day in every way.  Tomorrow, it will still be just us…. until the evening when all the rest of the family will be here for Christmas dinner.  During the day there will be music playing, fire going, cooking, and fine tuning the house for company.  Our gift giving day isn’t until monday morning for my family so we still have to wait for that (to accomodate my daughter Kate’s family and all the functions they are expected at…we pick a different day altogether!)  I love that things are under control and I can really enjoy these days and evenings.  My cup runneth over with peace and joy this night 🙂 

As a simple way to give all of YOU a gift…I’m going to repost my favorite post I’ve done for Christmas in the past.  It still pertains to today very much!  Merry Christmas to you all dear friends!  and to your loved ones!! 

 

 

Today I watched “A Christmas Carol”…my all time favorite book and movie…all versions..ever! Today happened to be the musical version..which I happen to think is excellent. Has Kelsey Grammar as Scrooge and many wonderful British and American stars.   My favorite version..for the record..is probably George C. Scott…he was a most excellent Scrooge! Or maybe Patrick Stewart…or maybe even the Muppets and Michael Caine 🙂  I love all the versions..even the bad ones…because I adore the story so much!!

 “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”

……..Scrooge…Charles Dickens

 I am sure many of you will recognize this quote. I am a huge lover of Charles Dickens and I think he writes beautifully and from the heart and his words are still ringing true all these years later. He was indeed teaching a lesson in this Novella. What is the lesson? I would imagine most people would say the same thing…”goodwill towards men”. I see it as more than that.

My understanding is that Dickens was appalled at the poverty he saw around him, and that the middle and upper class were doing nothing to help them at all. His Scrooge talks about the work houses and the programs set up by the government to aid the impoverished…but it was nowhere near enough. He wrote this book to open the eyes of those who were not “seeing” what needed to be done. For people to open their hearts and their wallets to help the less fortunate and it would make them happier and more blessed in their own life.

As a pagan witch, I believe that God/Goddess, the Universe, the Creator, whatever you believe in… put us here to learn lessons..with the ultimate goal being LOVE. Our goal in life should be to discover that..LOVE. And to love means to care for our “fellow man”. To me, “goodwill towards Men” means just that. We should love our family and friends as I’m sure we do. But we should also love those we don’t know, help those who need it, love and care for Mother Earth and the creatures who inhabit Her… No judgement, no greed, no setting standards for others in our own minds, equality for all, acceptance of all religions, courtesy, kindness….Love.

To me, Dickens hit the nail on the head so to speak…he saw a vision of how the world should be. More of us could learn from Scrooge’s Christmas Eve night. Scrooge was not an evil man..he was afraid. His father did time in debtors prison..causing him to have to slave in a work house at 11 years old. He never wanted to do that again..but he lost track of his self, his soul..so focused was he on never being poor.  Hoarding his money, working long hours, never enjoying the money he had; even for himself. He didn’t have a relationship with anyone except his business partner, Marley. He lived a very “poor” life in every way…because of his fear. Until he learned what dying a lonely old man would truly be like..did he become a truly rich man.

 There are many positive wonderful characters in this book..I love so many of them.  Old Fizziwig, who gave a huge party, sparing no expense, to show his gratitude to his employees. There is the clerk, Bob Cratchit, so lowly in Scrooge’s eyes, but greatly loved by his large poverty stricken family, especially Tiny Tim. Then there is Fred, Scrooge’s endearing nephew. He was the epitome of a good man who’s life was abundant in family, friends, love , joy, and blessings. He showed love at every turn. All he wanted from Uncle Scrooge was for him to come to Christmas Day dinner. He came every year and requested it every year. He never gave up on him. and when Scrooge had his life altered…he welcomed him with open arms..holding no grudge for all the years of rejection. Though he was not a rich man…he was rich in every other way. I don’t know about you..but I want to be like Fred….I want to be rich in friends. I want to be rich in experiences. I want to be rich in appreciation for the blessings that come to my life. At the end of my days, I want to know that there will be people who will mourn my passing for all the right reasons..that I LOVED! This is the lesson that Scrooge learned..luckily while he could have some time to truly appreciate it.

The version I talked about above..the musical…has a song in it that is the main theme song thruout the movie.  I have looked up the lyrics because I love the song so much..it brings tears to my eyes everytime I hear it.

 

God Bless Us Everyone

 

Let the Stars in the sky

remind of us Man’s compassion.

Let us love til we die

and God Bless us everyone.

In your heart there’s a light

As bright as a Star in heaven

Let it shine thru the night and

God Bless Us Everyone.

Till each child is fed

Till all men are free

Till the world becomes a family…….

Star by Star in the sky

and kindness by human kindness.

Let me love til I die and…

God Bless us everyone! 

 

Look into your own Past, Present, and even into your Future. Have you done well by others? Can you do better? I think I can ALWAYS do better.  Something to strive for everyday.   A Christmas Carol will always mean a lot to me…and I will try to keep Christmas in my heart all year long. and as Tiny Tim says……God or Goddess!  Bless Us Every One!!

 

 Blessed Be and Merry Christmas!   Autumn

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Filed under Books I'm reading, Discussion, Family, God, Goddess, Holiday, Movies, Music, My Writing, New Moons, Poem, Seasons, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas