Category Archives: Books

Happy 2015 and Winter Blessings……….

Merry Meet my friends!  I’m a bit later writing a blog post for the New Year than I should be. My muse left me I think while I recovered from the holidays! I hope that you all had a very happy Yule, Christmas, and New Year with your loved ones and friends.  I know I did.  It was even a slower paced holiday season for us this year and much enjoyed.  We ate too much, relaxed, visited with friends and family, had gift exchanges and watched the ball drop quietly.  The holiday decorations are packed away til next year and the house has been cleaned and cleansed and the fireplace often has a crackling fire happily going. There’s often something baking in the oven or simmering on the stove, and my stack of books I want to read this year actually has had a dent put in it 🙂

Today is a beautiful, blue sky, sunny day but it is also a deep freeze out there!  We got about 5-6 inches of snow a few days ago and since then we have had a lot of negative temperatures as well.  I don’t mind it too much though.  I love nesting in for cold Winter days..cause I can.  I know not everybody has that luxury of not having to go out, I’m blessed that way. Freezing wind that takes your breath away and watching snow fall isn’t bad at all when you’re cozy and warm indoors. But I also like to go outside in the Winter. There is something bracing and beautiful about the quietness of Winter.  The skies when clear, are so clear as to hurt your eyes.  At night, the inky, cold black of the skies makes the stars and Moon shine so brilliantly. Don’t you think so?  Taking walks while a soft snow falls is such a wonderful thing to do too.

I posted this picture the other day from facebook on my page.  I have seen it before and love it.  I don’t know who the original poster of this picture is but credit is given on the picture itself for this one.

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Earthing…..a concept I’ve always been familiar with but didn’t know what to call it.  When I was a kid, it was for me “getting out in nature” or “sinking my feet in the ground” or “connecting with Mother Earth.”   I love the term Earthing and have adopted it.  When I posted this picture I asked my friends how they go Earthing in the dead of Winter with snow on the ground.  I got some great answers and had a few of my own and thought I’d share them with you.  For many people, Winter is a depressive time of year. The “Winter Blues” is a very real thing.  Oh sure, some of us just grouse and complain about the cold and missing Summer etc (not me I don’t LOL) but for many it’s a real depression that sets in.  For Witches, being outside with our bare feet in the dirt is a necessity of Life.  It’s a serious need.  It centers us, grounds us, lifts our spirits physically, mentally and spiritually.  It’s a huge part of our spirituality.  This connection to Mother Earth….not just seeing her but FEELING her.  In the Winter, needless to say, being barefoot can be an issue.  So here are a few ideas for those who need that connection..no matter what your Path is.

*Go ahead and go barefoot.  For however long you can handle it 🙂  I got that answer several times from my friends.  Feel that mushy earth and cold snow under your feet.  Or the hard, cold ground.  Come in and soak your feet in a nice warm salt bath and your spirits will be lifted and your feet will feel great!

*Go out and hug a tree.  Another popular response.  Feel that connection to Earth through a strong tree that stands stark and dark in the cold weather.  The vibrations are there for you to absorb and feel.

*Take a walk.  This seems obvious to me but a lot of people don’t like walking in the snow.  Of course, if there’s an inch of ice out there don’t go and hurt yourself. But bundling up and taking a brisk walk is good for you anytime. Collect some things from nature while you’re out.  Pine cones, acorns, rocks, feathers, greens etc.  Bring them home and place them in a bowl with a lit white candle.  The scent will fill your house with outdoors.  Light a roaring fire and have a hot chocolate or coffee.and you’ll feel exhilarated!

*Get out your gardening books, magazines, catalogs and start planning your gardens for Spring. Perusing them, dreaming of working in your gardens will help you to remember that Spring will be here before you know it.  Perhaps you can plant some seed starters and get started inside.  The scent of green things growing in rich dirt in little pots should help you a lot and you’ll have an early start on your gardens.  I was at Lowe’s the other day and they already have their seeds and pots out!

*Keep indoor plants.  Watering and tending to indoor plants keeps your hands in the dirt.  Some herbs on your kitchen window sill, some large tropical or tree plants in the house are always nice.

*Take a class on gardening or herbs.  I’m working over this Winter and however long it takes me, on an herbalist class. It  keeps me thinking of being outdoors growing my herbs, their scent, cutting and drying them etc.  I still have herbs hanging in my kitchen I have dried. Rubbing my hands over them and smelling those wonderful scents keeps me in mind of warmer days with the Sun on my back, feet on the ground and hands dirty from digging.  Happy thoughts indeed!

* Get some Sun!  There are a LOT of gloomy, overcast days in the Winter.  If I get the blues over the Winter, it’s often because of lack of sunshine. I don’t care how cold it is outside if the Sun is shining.  Find that sunny spot in the house and sit there for a bit, face to the Sun.  Absorb it into your skin.  You’ll feel better right away.  On those gloomy days..light candles, turn on lights, put on upbeat music.  Do something to make yourself feel light!  Cats and dogs are a perfect example of how much fun laying in the Sun can be.  They search out those spots don’t they? 🙂  Do as they do 🙂

*Go outside and do something fun..something adventurous!  Go sledding, skiing, ice skating, ice fishing or play hockey. Get that sense of snow days that kids have. Remember that?  As kids weren’t snow days just the best things in the world?  We didn’t sit around bemoaning the cold….nope…we got bundled up and stayed outside until our toes and fingers were frozen, our noses were running and cheeks were bright red.  But our eyes too were sparkling and our energy was abounding and we had FUN!!   Do that!!

*Give yourself a project to do.  Perhaps de-cluttering and organizing your house. Cleaning out closets and drawers is so satisfying. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to write a book, paint, crochet, spin wool, throw a pot, play with clay, start a blog, learn yoga or meditation, etc etc.  Witches can work on their grimoires or book of shadows. Keep yourself busy doing something you love. Or learn something new. You get the idea.

Well, these are just a few ideas, I’m sure there are many more.  Don’t let Winter become something dreary and hated that you just have to get through before the days of Sunshine and roses come back.  Winter is a long season and that is a LOT of days to feel bad, feel sad, to dread.  Every day is a gift, no matter the weather.  Make the most of it. If being lazy and reading is all you want to do ..then good..do it. But do it cheerfully with a smile on your face okay?

Blessings of the Winter season to you and may 2015 bring you all the joy and happiness you deserve! I’ll be back soon with bits of magick I’m working on here and there and of course recipes etc.  Imbolc will be before we know it!

Blessings and love, Autumn

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Filed under Book of Shadows, Books, Cleaning & Organizing, Family, Friends

Summertime!……………….

10357532_740761952633883_8781510162816551980_nMerry Meet my friends!  It’s a gorgeous Saturn day here in Ohio! We’ve had a few beautiful days of cooler weather….50’s at night and 70’s during the day.  This whole Summer has been fairly mild.  Sure, we’ve had a few days that hit 90* or near it, but we’ve had good breezes and enough rain and though Summer isn’t my favorite Season, I’ve enjoyed it.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Litha/Summer Solstice.  I know I did.  I was busy that day as we were leaving for the Smoky Mountains the next day, but I harvested my first harvest of herbs, worked in the gardens a bit, and had a simple Summer feast.  I made offerings to the Fae, and welcomed the Sun on the longest day of the year! It was a beautiful Sabbat.

 

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The next morning, my hubby, daughter Sara and our friend Shawna, left for the Smoky Mountains.  My daughter Kate, her hubby and my 3 grandbabies left at the same time as we were all vacationing together.  I booked a couple of wonderful cabins at our favorite resort area.  The weather was HOT, the traffic was terrible, and it rained every day….but it was a wonderful trip!! LOL.  Anytime I can be with my family, in the mountains that call to my Soul…..I’m a happy Witch!.  Ah the mountains.  They call to me and I never tire of seeing them, of being in them, and seeing how Mother changes the mountains with Her Seasons.   We even had the pleasure of seeing a momma bear and her very small cub learning to climb a tree 🙂  We ate well, spent some time by the pool and relaxed in our cabins while it was raining when it did.  We made some memories for the kids 🙂

 

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

~Sam Keen

Now, Summer!  Everything here is still green and lush.  Gardens are blooming at full bloom, birds sing and critters scamper, the 4th of July was celebrated yesterday. Fireflies, butterflies, and bees are busy.  I have so many fond memories of Summer when I was a kid.  The adage….lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer..was true then.  I spent a lot of time playing with my friends in the neighborhood.  Kickball games, tether ball, riding our bikes or roller skating, going on hikes in the woods near our homes, fishing at Old River (not allowed but we did it anyway).  We only went home to eat or use the bathroom.  In the evening, the parents would come out to their porches, talk together and keep an eye on us….and we got a holler when it was time to come home…or we came home at dusk like good children. There were day trips to visit parks, fairs, drive-in movies, picnics etc.  Summer was truly a wonderful, memorable time.

Every Summer I spent a week with my grandma and grandpa who had 10 acres of apple trees, gardens, hammocks and endless fun.  I loved helping my grandmother snap beans and shell peas. I helped her bring in good things from her gardens, washed them, canned them, sliced them…whatever help I could be. I give my grandmother full credit for my love of gardening and cooking.  I learned at her side.   There was time spent on hammocks with library books that she made sure I had an abundance of… by taking me to the library herself.  There were 7 course meals..even for breakfast..mostly things from her garden. Early to bed and early to rise at her house.  I still can conjure up in my mind, the amazing scents coming from her kitchen early in the morning, windows open to let in any breeze that came, mourning doves cooing and my sense of contentment when I was there at her home. I eagerly jumped out of bed to be with her…usually standing in her kitchen in housedress and apron, stirring something amazing on the stove 🙂  It was pure magick!

 

I did my best to make those amazing kind of memories for my own daughters, and now I have the extreme pleasure of trying to do the same things for my own grandkids.  I want them to have those memories of the lazy days of Summer.  To know that Life can slow down in the Summer.  Kids these days seem to constantly need to be doing something…they enroll in every sport, go to camps, take lessons, need trips to malls and movies, play dates, etc etc.   There isn’t anything wrong with that..don’t get me wrong…but I think kids need to know how to entertain themselves, to slow down and be lazy, use their imagination…just BE!  Get your kids close to Mother Earth…let them dig in the dirt..gardening or making mud pies.  Lay blankets out on the ground and watch clouds drift by, or count stars at night under the Moon.  Take them to the library and encourage their reading over the Summer. Plan simple picnics, outdoor day trips and if you have a drive-in theater near you! Go!  Sprinklers, jars for fireflies or bugs, popsicles and s’mores, long walks in the woods, fishing….find things to do that don’t cost anything….teach them to find the simple pleasures of Summer. They’ll thank you for it later!

 

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.”

~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894

 

I hope that you all have an amazing July!  August 1 is Lughnassadh already!! The first Harvest Sabbat.  The Wheel is turning fast! Make the most of every day of Summer!! Oh and for a couple of delicious adult Summertime drinks, be sure to read the Sunday Stew tomorrow for my recipes using mint from your garden.  Just click on the Cauldron link on the right here tomorrow morning 🙂  Can I just say yummy!!  Cool and refreshing drinks! I’ll be back soon to talk about Lughnassadh!  Have a great weekend!  Now I’m going to go hang clothes out on the line like my grandma did 🙂

Love and Blessings, Autumn

*Pics are my own!

 

 

 

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Filed under 4th of July, Autumn, Books, Daughters, Faeries, Family, Friends, Garden, Goddess, Grandchildren, Herbs, Holiday, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Seasons, Smoky Mountains, Summer

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

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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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Filed under Books, Books I'm reading, Herbs, My Favorite Things

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

Winter Solstice/Yule/Christmas books I love…….

Greetings!  I can’t believe how fast this month is flying by!  I have been so busy preparing for Yule and Christmas that I haven’t had time to write her as quickly as I would have liked to after my last post.  However, I’m about done shopping, most of my Holiday cards are mailed, and I’m ready to start wrapping soon.  It has been softly flurrying here today, quite cold and the Full Moon is peeking thru clouds..looks like it might clear up yet tonight.  Blessed Full Moon to you all by the way!!   I have lit a fire, my healing candles are going, incense burning..my feet are up and I just drank a very delicious eggnog milkshake my hubby brought home for me from Steak and Shake…so so good!  A wonderful way to spend a Full Moon evening.  Later, I’ll go out and spend some time with the Goddess, cleanse a few things, and I’m hoping to catch some Full Moon snow water in a jar.  The Yule Full Moon is to me, a very powerful Full Moon, and I intend to take in that energy to help me get thru this busy and sometimes stressful time of year! 

So, I have several books about Yule, Winter Solstice, pagan customs etc that I just love and I refer to them often.  So let’s get started doing a bit of show and tell……

 

The Winter Solstice….The Sacred Traditions of Christmas  by John Matthews. 

Despite the word Christmas in the title, this book is about the Winter Solstice, how Christmas came about, and the history and lore surrounding the whole Season. Each chapter provides cross-cultural connections to the ideas, customs, and icons of Christmas.  The book starts out discussing Solstice celebrations and lore across the world where the celebration of the Return of the Sun takes place from Egypt, to Rome, to Europe and America.  Saturnalia, the Mummers, the Morris Dancers are all talked about.  At the end of each chapter, there are suggestions for faith-free activities you can do to celebrate the Season..or you can incorporate your faith as you wish.

  The Child of Wonder chapter talks about the different gods across the ages..such as Apollo, Mabon, Osiris, Mithras and yes, Jesus. It talks about the Wise Men and the Star and the Nativity.   The Green Bough chapter discusses the symbolism of the tree, the evergreens, holly, ivy, mistletoe and of course the Yule Log. In Old Sir Christmas we are introduced the the “Santa’s from around the world.  The Solstice Animals …tough chapter for an animal lover…it’s about the slaughter of animals and the rituals about it…for food for the long Winter. I love the activity at the end of this chapter though..how to make soul cakes.   Lastly, the 12 Days of Christmas ….I especially love this chapter. This is not about the carol we all know, but about the true 12 days..from Dec 24 night to January 6th.  There is Snow day, Boxing day, The Feast of Fools day, Bringing in the Boar day and others.  Each day has an activity or ritual you can do to honor the day.  I have incorporated some of them into my own celebration. 

Thruout this book, there is beautiful artwork, drawings, photos….poetry, quotes, recipes and rituals.  I just love this beautiful book.  I suggest you will love it too!!

Pagan Christmas…The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide….by Christian Ratsch and Claudia Muller-Ebeling. 

 This book is a beautiful book..about the Ethnobotany (the study of plants) of the Season. It’s about the traditional uses and symbolism of the Yule Season plants…like the fir tree, mistletoe, holly, ivy, evergreens, laurel, yew…even tobacco and mushrooms!   There is info galore on the plants themselves, photos, how and why they are used in ritual, for decorating..ways to use them such as making incense, decorating your home etc.  There are stories from Befana to the Wise Men, From St. Nicholas to Woten.  I especially love all the incense recipes as I love making my own.  Another great book you will learn so much from!

Yule…A Celebration of Light & Warmth…by Dorothy Morrison. 

I love this book and Dorothy Morrison 🙂  This book is chock full of everything about the Solstice.  It has holiday lore from around the world, history, crafts, and  recipes. She explains the traditions behind the symbols of the Season, such as the tree, bells, evergreens, reindeer, gingerbread and lights amongst others.

She talks about the superstitions, and omens that surround the holiday in different countries.  She has some rituals and simple charms you can do as you get ready to celebrate.  A chapter on decking the halls, with craft projects to do.  My favorite..a tree blessing right before you decorate the tree.  There is ideas for parties and gift giving…how to’s included. 

There is a chapter on her personal celebration and a great chapter on things you can do to celebrate every day of the month of December. The final chapter is about is tips on cleaning up AFTER the holidays…what to do with your popcorn strings, how to store your decorations etc.   Also, I love her poetry and there is poetry she has written and  poetry others have written thruout the book. This book is a real keeper!!

The Wheel of the Year..Living the Magical Life…by Pauline Campanelli

This book takes you on a month-by-month journey of the Wheel of the Year and how it is celebrated by Pagans and the Campinellis’ themselves.  Every chapter starts out with a beautiful description of the month and what is going on in nature etc during that month.   December..the Yule month of course…has in it … The Magic of Mistletoe; The Ritual Burning of the Yule Log; Magical Uses of Ashes from the Yule Fire; A Ritual for Cutting Sacred Fir; The Pagan Symbolism of Santa Claus. It talks about wreaths, birds, ornaments and the Oak Moon.  There is a Bayberry Candle Charm, a Yule log ritual, and a cutting the tree ritual.  It ends with some info on New Years Eve and Father Time! 

This book has something for every month and it is one of my all time favorite books..If you don’t have it..it’s a must for your witchy library!!

Sabbats..A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways….Edain McCoy

Edain’s book is awesome as well.  Again, each chapter is about a Sabbat..starting with Samhain and going thru Mabon.  For Yule, she discusses the history and customs and how some of the customs have been preserved in various cultures.  The discusses the fight between the Oak King and the Holly King, the Celts and Druids use of evergreens, the symbolism of the wreath and tree, and again, of course, the burning of the Yule log.  There are recipes for sugar and gingerbread cookies, rituals, some craft ideas and how to make an edible Yule log ..yummy!  There is a nice pathworking meditation that I really love!  There are some correspondences, foods for Yule and a bit about how old christmas carols often have pagan symbology in them.

I love this book …again, a must have! 

Ok…those are my main books….some honorable mentions…..

Wicca in the Kitchen by Scott Cunningham.  ….for recipes for Yule

Witch in the Kitchen by Cait Johnson…again for recipes, a meditation, and a ritual or two…very nice! 

Moon Magick by DJ Conway….Lovely book..a chapter on the Cold Moon, recipes, crafts and a Winter Solstice ritual. 

So these are some of my favorites.  My wishlist would be for more children’s book about Yule and more for us grown- ups too 🙂  Whether you celebrate the Solstice or Christmas..there is something in these books to help you to celebrate it in a beautiful, meaningful way.  The Season is rich in tradition, lore and history..a most beautiful time of year.

If you have a favorite book not listed here..I’d sure like to know about it!  Please write me here and let me know!

My next blog post ..soon..will be recipes.  I’m gonna start gathering them this weekend!  and I’m actually going to be baking this weekend with my daughters and granddaughter.  ah….another beautiful memory in the making!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Books I'm reading, History, Holiday, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Seasons, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

The End of an Era?………..

Merry Meet!  Today is Sun Day…my favorite day of the week.  It marks the end of the week for me, a time to relax, rest, and spend time with family.  Today it is extremely HOT and HUMID, So…. we headed out to a cool dark theater to see the final Harry Potter movie.  The Deathly Hallows Part 2!

The movie was Awesome!…really well done.  I jumped, I cheered, I cried.  But what I did most was marvel at the fact that I have followed JK Rowling’s vision since my youngest daughter was the same age as Harry, Ron & Hermoine were in the first book..11 years old.  I first heard about the Harry Potter books while watching a Rosie O’Donnell show.  She was raving about the books, how wonderful they were, how imaginative and she had JK on her show.  Now,  my girls already  loved books and loved to read series books.  I believe that the first book had been out for a bit and the 2nd book had just come out at this time.  The very next day I went out and found them on a table in the kid’s section…they were just paperback at the time.  I bought the first two books and brought them home.  Sara read them and was hooked!  She then gave them to her sister to read …and she loved them too.  Then the 3rd came out…and so forth.  At that point, I decided to read them myself and was hooked as well.  Oh how I wish I had the creativity to have thought of someone like Harry Potter and the world he lives in….to me the books were pure magick!  We all have our own set now too! LOL

*CORRECTION! LOL  My youngest, Kate, reminded me that it was she who read them first…and I remembered then that she had to really talk her sister into reading them…Sara had no interest in reading them at first.  LOL   But of course, once she read them, she loved them too.  Sorry Kate! hahah! 🙂

We attended midnight Book release parties at Barnes & Noble after that, dressing up in our Gryffindor gear and round glasses like Harry’s. Of course we waited with bated breath as the first movie came out…and were NOT disappointed at seeing the characters and the story come to life on the big screen!  The characters looked as they were described in the books, the quidditch field was pure magick, Hogworts was a dream come true…..for me even the soundtrack was perfect.  The wait between books and movies seemed too too long.  A fond memory of mine is the day the 7th book came out, my whole family would be arriving in Hilton Head for a week’s vacation.  As soon as we realized that, I found the Barnes & Noble there and pre- ordered 5 books!  One for myself, my two daughers, my son in law, and a friend who was with us.  Before we even arrived at our beach condo..we stopped and picked up our prized books.  What a fun time it was…we all spent the week reading our books by the pool or on the beach.  Some of us finishing faster then others…teasing each other about what we had read that they hadn’t yet…sometimes caught with tears in our eyes or letting out a loud gasp…which would result in “Don’t tell me..I’m not there yet”!!!  LOL  I will always remember that trip because of that book!

Having read the books multiple times, I’m reminded of how these wonderful books spurred on the love of reading again for a whole generation of children.  Whether they were old enough to read it themselves, or have them read to them….they brought families together in the common love of the books.  Never had such a phenomena been seen…at least not in my lifetime.  The movies of course enhanced the experience.  In a time where kids are glued to the TV or playing  games on the Wii and Playstation, how wonderful it was to see them reading again.  My grandmother was a 2nd grade teacher for over 50 years..I give her full credit for giving me my love of reading…She would have been thrilled to have seen children reading with great joy again.  For my kids, the love of reading  has continued..for me too.  My granddaughter Lily, who is 2 1/2..already loves books too..she will sit for an hour and bring multiple books to be read to her…and will often finish the sentence for us…I just love seeing that!!

Now that my girls are grown, I look forward to the day that Harry, Ron and Hermoine and all the lovely characters are introduced to my grandchildren.  Is the last book and last movie the end of an era?   Well, I don’t think so….I think that they will continue to give great joy to young minds (and their parents) for ages to come.  I am quite sure that there are many more books out there.. some yet to be written..that will bring joy to children and aid them in their love of reading ….but I truly believe that it will take something really special to equal what the Harry Potter books did.  Do you still remember the books you loved as a child?  Did you pass that love to your children and grandchildren?  I still have the books my children owned and even some of the books that I owned as a child.  There is no end to a good story….it just continues for generations..as long as we see to it that they do. 

So THANK YOU JK Rowling and Harry Potter for your wonderful world of imagination.  A whole generation has loved and enjoyed it…… and many more in the future will as well.  Pure magick!

“A blessed companion is a book, – a book that, fitly chosen, is a lifelong friend,… a book that, at a touch, pours its heart into our own.” ~Douglas Jerrold

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Daughters, Discussion, Family, Grandchildren, Movies, My Favorite Things, Quote