Category Archives: Goddess

Sisters, Smoky Mountains and Snow! …………

Merry Meet!  I hope this posting finds you all well, staying warm and safe if you’re in the line of the Winter Storms and enjoying a great week!  I’m sitting by the fire tonight, in my jammies with a glass of Irish whiskey and ginger ale.  Winter has arrived in full force here in Ohio.  We got 5-6 inches on Sunday night into Monday morning,  and have had our first single digit temperatures too!  Way, way earlier than usual to be this cold and this much snow!  But I LOVE it!! It’s so beautiful, that first snow of the year. The snow often covering trees still holding onto their Autumn leaves.  It’s official..no more mowing, gardening, weeding, or watering until next Spring! 🙂 Now we have the cold and snow and all the Magick the season of Winter can bring!

 

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I had the pleasure of going on a small trip to the Smoky Mountains last week.  Those who know me or have read my blog for a while, know how much I love those mountains. I try to go every year, sometimes twice like this year 🙂  Just seeing them causes my whole body to relax, my soul to sing and my heart to fill with peace.  I don’t know why…perhaps I’ve been there before in a past life, but I just adore seeing them and being in them.  Speaking of snow, it was the same there. VERY cold, breezy and while there wasn’t any snow on the ground, the higher peaks of the mountains were covered in beautiful snow.  The smaller mountains were still covered in lots of beautiful colors of Fall.  Mostly in reds and deep oranges. So gorgeous!  The contrast of Autumn and Winter was stunning!

 

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I was blessed to have with me; my daughter and three of our friends.  Women I love as Sisters.  Fellow Witches.  All members of my Tribe/Circle.  We had such a great time.  We set up an altar when we settled into our cabin.  Everybody brought something to place on it. One of my Sisters went out and collected a few things from nature…. on a very steep graded hill I might add LOL.  We added those, lit incense. and let it sit until the next night.  We spent time in a few shops, ate some amazing meals and spent a LOT of time talking over the next few days.  Our altar was used for tarot readings for each of us and lit candles for private reasons.  It was a magickal time. Next year, I think my whole Circle of Sisters is going to try to go there together!

I’m so blessed with the women in my life in general. I have two blood sisters who I love.  My chosen family of like -minded sisters is so important to me too!  Whether they are someone in my life I can touch, be with in person…or if they are my wonderful facebook/instagram friends who touch my life through social media every day, I’m blessed. I know so many of my Sisters who have been through such hard times and yet they are strong, kind, wise, positive, giving, and loving.  It never ceases to amaze me how they will go out of their way to offer a word of empathy, healing, love, humor, knowledge and ideas.  I believe that women…sisters…can do a lot of healing to what has been done to our Mother Earth, to what the world’s religions have taken away from women, and to what a very often cruel society ( and some men) bestow on women in general.  Looking and listening to my Sisters on our beautiful trip to the mountains, give me hope that the Goddess is emerging more and more, making Herself known to more of those Sisters in the world I have yet to meet, and working to heal our world in so many ways.  Fills me with gratitude to be a part of it! To walk with the Goddess….and my Sisters!

To Jeanni, Shawna, Diana and Sara..thank you for a wonderful trip! To my other close sisters/friends…you know who you are…Thank you for filling my life with love and friendship. To my Sisters all over the world..thank you for being a part of my daily life despite the miles that separate us!  And always, Thank you to the Goddess who guides me, loves me, protects me and fills me with great Joy!

 

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit,

a golden thread to the meaning of life.

~Isadora James

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Pictures are my own.

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Daughters, Discussion, Friends, Gardens, Goddess, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Seasons, Smoky Mountains, Winter

The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2014……….

imagesCA0GN85BMerry Meet my friends.  I have been so busy I’m very late coming to my blog to write about my favorite Sabbat!  It should come as no surprise to anyone that it’s my favorite.  I’m a Witch after all!  Samhain is the Witch’s New Year, the night the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, the night we can commune with our ancestors who have passed on, and of course, it’s the night many Witches love to put on all of their witchiest clothes, jewelry and of course our pointy hat! For me, this year, it’s also Beggar’s Night. Little ones will be coming to my door looking for candy (my grandkids will be doing that here too!)  The leaves are falling, the nights are cold and crisp, the wind blows, pumpkins are lit, adults and kids alike shiver with both a little bit of excitement and a little bit of something magickal!

For Samhain night, my family will gather here  for dinner, a fire and of course to pass out candy and for the grandkids to go trick or treating in my neighborhood.  After the little goblins have gone home with their parents, I will do my own quiet ritual. Divination to hopefully have my ancestors come thru to me will be done.  Also, an offering to Mother Earth as she slowly quiets and goes to rest for the Winter.  I also always express my gratitude to God and Goddess for the abundant Summer and beautiful Autumn season of growth and harvest both in my garden beds but within me as well.  As the Wheel turns, I too change and grow…no matter how old I am…I still do.

On Saturday night, my Circle will gather in full Witch regalia for fire, feast, and ritual.  Dressing the part is such fun for Samhain, as of course, we don’t walk around in black dresses, striped socks and pointy hats on a regular basis 🙂  We will honor our loved ones who have passed on, including our beloved pets. We also will have quiet discussion together on what the past year has brought for each of us, and what we look forward to in the next year.  On Sunday evening, my hubby and daughter and I will have a Dumb Supper or Ancestor Supper. This will be a quiet and introspective evening for me especially.  I always look forward to the fun and busyness of this Sabbat…but it’s the quiet times that have depth of meaning.  The quiet can bring messages from our ancestors, from Goddess and from our own conscience.  Always find time to be quiet and still and to listen.

One of my most popular blogs here over the years, has been my Samhain Recipes.  I’d like to go ahead and give you a few this year too.  If you have been following Samhain’s Sirens this year (button on the right side here) you will have already seen these recipes…but I will share them again here for those who haven’t.

 

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Autumn’s Spiced Apple Cider

*The perfect Samhain drink….add rum or vodka if you wish 🙂

 

1 gallon apple cider

15 whole cloves

10 whole allspice

1 TB candied ginger

12 cinnamon sticks

1 cup packed brown sugar

Combine all ingredients except sugar and bring to a boil in a large pot on the stove.  Lower heat, add sugar and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Strain and serve or place in a thermos for your picnic or drive.  You can keep it warm on the stove or crockpot all day long.  Store the leftovers in the fridge.

*If you like, place orange slices in the pot too..adds a sweet bit of tang!!

 

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Apple-Brie Crostini

These little toasted Crostini are a wonderful appetizer to serve for any Samhain gathering!   They are sweet and wonderful.   Great for an after dinner treat too!

 

1 loaf French bread, thinly sliced

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

13.2 oz pkg Brie cheese, thinkly sliced

3 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced

Arrange bread on an ungreased baking sheet; bake at 350* until lightly toasted. Set aside.

Mix together butter, sugar and walnuts.  Top each slice of bread with a cheese slice, an apple slice and a teaspoonful of butter mixture.

Return to baking sheet; bake briefly until cheese melts.  *Makes 24-30

**Variations….a sugared pecan with a drizzle of honey to top it…or a nice dollop of apple butter!

 

Farmer’s Market Autumn Stew

*A great way to finish up your Summer harvest or that last visit to the Farmers Market veggies!

 1/2 lb stew beef, cut into small cubes

2   1/2″ thick boneless pork chops, cubed

1 TB olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 apples, cored, peeled and cut into small cubes

2 TB quick-cooking tapioca, uncooked

1 cup apple cider

1 cup water

2 tsps beef bouillon granules

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

Salt to taste

Brown beef and pork in oil in a large skillet over medium heat; drain.  Place vegetables and apples in a slow cooker; sprinkle with tapioca. Add beef and pork.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl; pour over beef and pork. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Add salt to taste before serving.

*Makes 6 servings

 

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake

 

1 15 oz can of pumpkin

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsps baking powder

2 tsps baking soda

2 tsps ground cinnamon

12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350* In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil and sugar.  Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Stir in half the chocolate chips.  Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan.  Sprinkle remaining chips over batter.

Bake at 350* for one hour, or until golden brown and inserted toothpick tests clean. Cool then remove from pan.  Top with fresh whipped cream to serve if you wish.

*Makes 12-16 servings.

Hope you enjoy the recipes if you try them.  I think you will!

 

I have gotten my Samhain altar done finally today. I particularly love Samhain altars.  This one literally gives me goosebumps.  Most of the time my altars are outdoors…simple and only a few necessities, but for Samhain, I love to go all out!  As you can see 🙂

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I’m working on writing up the rituals for my Circle gathering, and have a few cards to do yet.  But I am also very relaxed, using the fire in the fireplace to help me meditate, and again…..finding quiet time.  I hope you’re doing the same.  What loved one do you hope to hear from? What will you decide to let go in the old year and bring forth in the New Year?  Think on these things my friends.  Witch or not!

And finally, a favorite poem….I’ve posted it before but wanted to share again. Can’t you just feel the magick when you read it?   Blessed Samhain to you all…..Happy New Year!

 

The wheel has turned, the wheel of light

 stoke the fire and make it bright

Samhain call, Samhain come

 feel the rhythm , hear the drum

The veil it thins, the veil it shrouds

 the spirits rise upon darkened cloud

The time of orange , time of black

 time to move forward and not look back

Pumpkin lit , with candle burn

 away dark spirits this guardian turns

Night of the ancients, night of the olds

 remembered in stories now to be told

The Crone doth rise upon this night

 look into the shadows without a fright

Rituals and rites across the lands

 empowers the soul where they stand

 Trick or treat, heal or curse ,

 the hand should be crossed from a silver purse

The Wheel begins its time anew,

 the release of the old for the knowledgeable few

The time to scry to see the path we must take

 and of the choices we need to make

She comes to us in many guises

 the Crow and the owl her favourite disguises

The Earth gives us her last to give

 the bountiful harvest so we can live

We feast and drink in a sacred space

 behind samhain masks to hide our face

Through darkened day and moonlight night

 All hallows Eve is a beautiful sight!

(C) Copyright Phiona Hutton July 2010

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Bits of Magick, Family, Friends, Goddess, Grandchildren, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, New Year, Photography, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Samhain, Seasons, Winter

The Wheel Turns to Mabon 2014…………

applesMerry Meet my friends.  Can you believe it? September has arrived! I am so glad!!  We are going through a really hot and humid spell here as I know many of you are as well.  Summers last hurrah I think.  We are very quickly going into my favorite half of the year. I feel a quickness in my step, my energy level is shifting and my mind has turned to cleaning, cleansing and decorating the house, cleaning up the flower beds, harvesting the last of my herbs and veggies, and getting ready to celebrate Mabon.  The 2nd harvest festival!

 

“Mist blankets the morning garden and the empty fields; a last rose blooms slowly over the arbor by the backyard gate.  Paintbox leaves fall to the ground under galoshes and the wheels of slicker-yellow school buses.  Sweaters come out of cedar chests, soup pots simmer, and wild geese make their mercurial journey southward across the pale autumn sky.”

-from Simple Wicca by Michelle Morgan

  Mabon which is on September 23rd this year, marks the Autumn Equinox, the balance of night and day and the first day of Autumn.  It is a time for thanksgiving, and rest.  Our ancestors at this point were busy filling the larders with preserved fruits and vegetables, smoked meats, aged cheeses, flour, wheat, cider and wine etc.  The thanksgiving was for the bounty the Summer crops had given them (hopefully) and the “rest” was much deserved.  Great feasts were held with an abundant table of food and drink, dancing and enjoying the last warm days of the year.

 For us, it’s also a time to be thankful for our own little garden’s bounty, for what the farmers have grown and harvested for our grocery shelves or farmer’s market, and to know that all the hard work in our gardens is about done for the year.  Putting the garden beds to “bed” for the Winter, depending on where you live, may still be yet to come.

Mabon also means the Goddess is passing from Mother to Crone and the God is preparing for death and re-birth. The trees are starting to change into their Fall tapestry of colors, the nights are colder and longer, the Sun casts long shadows, woodfires are lit, blankets are aired out and thrown on beds and sofas, the oven has something made with apples and cinnamon baking, and the stove top has spiced cider and hot soup simmering.  Sweaters, picking apples, carving pumpkins, hot drinks, warm bread with preserved jams, critters gathering and nesting, birds flocking and filling their bellies, hay rides, corn mazes, nature walks, the Harvest Moon…everything you can think of that is most wonderful about Autumn is upon us!

autumn sunset

My celebration of Mabon is always a thanksgiving ritual, a feast with family and friends, an outdoor fire if weather permits, an offering for Mother Earth and the Fae for all their hard work, and reflection on my year that is ending at Samhain. It’s also about letting go and renewing, re-assessing, and thinking about how I’d like to spend the more quiet months to come in Winter.  And baking..did I say baking?  What is it about this time of year that makes me want to bake?  Breads, pies, cakes, cookies…..things made with spices, apples, pumpkin…..it doesn’t matter, I just want to bake! 🙂  How about you?  My Circle will gather as well for our celebration too. I’m thinking a soup and bread feast sounds wonderful!

I will be back soon with some recipes to share with you! Remember too that you can go to the Search box to the right here and type in Mabon for the past 4 years of recipes, rituals, information etc!  In the meantime, I’d love to hear how YOU celebrate Mabon!  Have a wonderful week!

Blesssings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Friends, Gardens, God, Goddess, Holiday, Mabon, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Quote, Ritual, Samhain, Seasons, Spice, Summer, Winter

The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh/Lammas 2014……

Merry Meet my friends!  How are you all this fine day?  How has your Summer been so far? My Summer has been wonderful really.  We have had numerous days that stayed in the 70’s giving us a reprieve from the normal HOT and Humid days of July. We’ve had a good amount of rain, so lawns are still green and growing like crazy.  I’ve done two harvest on my herbs already and they are growing strong still…heading to a 3rd harvest.  Our garden beds and veggies have loved the rain and the cooler nights too so our flowers are still budding and blooming.  The SuperMoon was pretty amazing too…such energy!!

 

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Now…can you believe it…we are just 11 days from Lughnasadh/Lammas! The first Harvest festival!  Have you noticed that the wheel is turning to Fall?   The nights are getting longer again, the Sunlight has changed, the critters are gathering, even some of my bushes/plants leaves are changing colors already.  Corn is high is the fields, sunflowers are blooming, and yes, Halloween and Fall stuff are coming out in the craft shops 🙂  While we have a bit of Summer left…the subtle changes are there.

“The summer air is hot and still, the afternoon hazy; crickets call relentlessly from among the brown grasses, and ears of corn are the same heavy, burnished gold as the late-day sun. Hawks circle in the blue-white sky overhead, and seedpods ripen where flowers bloomed just a month before.

 But shadows begin to lengthen along the garden wall, and the nights come, just a bit cooler, perhaps; a settling begins in the Earth, a gathering, a slow, quiet turning toward the coming darkness.”

-Simple Wicca by Michelle Morgan

 

For Lughnasadh, I love to do a few things.  Harvest my herbs (which I’ve just done), make herbed oils and vinegars, and bake bread!!  Making breads from good grains to celebrate the harvest is a favorite thing to do for me.  And the scents that come from that put me in mind of Autumn immediately!  It won’t be long before apples and pumpkins will be everywhere and that just makes me want to bake too!

Magickally, I do a simple outdoor ritual to honor the first harvest, keeping in mind that our ancestors were VERY busy at this time of year to ensure that they had ample food for the Fall and long Winter that was to come.  Planting, tending, harvesting, and storing food took a great effort in order for them to eat when they could not just go to a grocery store like we do.  I love to do some canning this time of year too….this year I’m thinking apple butter, strawberry jam and I might try my hand at pickles 🙂  Seeing pretty jars of colorful goodness in my pantry just makes me happy..and reminds me how Blessed we are in our time.  Kitchen Witchin too makes this Witch very happy!

 

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Having said that, I know that some people aren’t as well off as others. There are people who don’t have enough food.  Keeping this in mind, donating to food pantries or your own neighbors who may need a little help, is a kind thing to do.  Share your harvest if you can.  I often pass tomatoes and fresh homemade bread over the fence to my neighbor, Jane.  No, she’s not hungry…but she lives alone and she is always thrilled to get something I pass over to her.  It makes me happy to do it too.

I thought I’d share a recipe with you for a muffin that is wonderful this time of year. I made them the other day, when we were cool and I was thinking about Fall all day 🙂  Filled with apples and cinnamon and crunchy topping..they are a huge hit at my house!

 

Autumn’s Apple Crunch Muffins

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup soft butter

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 cup Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced (or your favorite apple )

 

Topping

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

*Blend these ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  Cut in butter until fine crumbs form.  Set aside.  Combine milk and egg and add to dry mixture.  Blend well.  Stir in apples; blend well.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about two-thirds full.  Sprinkle with brown sugar topping mix.

Bake at 375* for 25 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

*makes 12

**ok…it says it makes 12…I only got 8 nice big muffins.  If you want more….I suggest you double the recipe.  Then take some to your neighbor 🙂

 

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These muffins will put you in a Lughnasadh state of mind…I promise 🙂  I want to wish you all a very Blessed Lughnasadh.  I hope your Harvest is abundant, your Joys plentiful, and that Goddess Blesses you this day and every day!

Oh…don’t forget that you can find the past 5 years of Lughnsasadh/Lammas postings, recipes, info etc by typing it in the search box on the right side here 🙂

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Pictures are my own.

 

 

 

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Making Jam, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Seasons, Summer

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

The Wheel Turns to Litha..the Summer Solstice 2014..

 

“it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s Summertime!”
― Kenny Chesney

 

IMG_0918Merry Meet my friends. I hope this night finds you and yours well! The Full Strawberry/Honey/Mead Moon (whichever YOU call Her) was absolutely incredibly beautiful and powerful. After all, with it being Friday the 13th and Mercury being in retrograde…She had to be! I spent extra time under Her influence…still am!.. as She’s still beautiful tonight. The energy is palpable if you sit quiet and soak Her in. Crystals and tools have been re-charged, Moon water made and rituals done. House was smudged too. 🙂

The Summer Solstice, Litha, MidSummer….it’s just a week away on the 21st! The longest day of the year..but also the start of the days shortening. That’s so amazing to think about..especially since Summer is just starting! But at my age LOL..the Wheel turns fast, so I’ll be enjoying every minute of those daylight hours, Hot Sun, warm breezes, green grass, blooming flowers and herbs, lightning bugs, summer rain showers, etc etc. All the perks of Summer. Even though the HEAT is not my favorite thing..I will enjoy it 🙂

This year, Litha will be a quiet, solitary celebration on the day. My Circle won’t meet til the following weekend. However, my family leaves for the Smoky Mountains the day after..the 22nd. To know I’ll be in my favorite Mountains for the Solstice is just…well…Magickal to me. I can’t wait!! When I travel, I carry a portable altar kit..mostly candles, incense, small crystals to bury, my pendulum, lavender oil, etc. Whatever strikes me I might want or need. Taking a walk into the Mountain woods, results in a bit of Magick for me! My soul just sings when I’m in those Mountains and the woods there.

The Solstice is when I always put out new Witch’s protection bottles on my property, set up and re-fresh my wards and barriers, and make offerings to the Fae…though I do that ALL the time while gardening, I am always sure to do it again. Also, my herbs are usually ready for their first harvesting. That is one of my favorite things to do! Smelling, touching, talking to, harvesting, tying and hanging my herbs just makes me so happy. AND I know most of them…will bloom again one or two more times before the end of the season. They are growing leaps and bounds in our wonderful weather. It’s not been too hot and we’ve had good amounts of rain, which is sooo much better then watering with a hose 🙂 It will be a good harvest!

If you want information on how to do a Witch’s bottle..just type it into the search box on the right. It should come up with how I do it. Also, if you type in Litha and/or Summer Solstice..you will find previous years postings of recipes, correspondence and other info etc. I thought I’d share this recipe with you for now….it’s refreshing and uses healthy produce and herbs that are abundant this time of year!

 

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Strawberry Balsamic Salad

1 (7 ounce) package Baby Spinach or 1 (7 ounce) package baby romaine lettuce
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup goat cheese or 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Balsamic vinaigrette
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
crushed salt and black pepper

Whisk vinegar and olive oil in small bowl. Add basil and season with salt and pepper.

Combine spinach or romaine and strawberries in large bowl.

Add vinaigrette; gently toss to evenly coat.

Divide salad among 4 plates. Sprinkle each salad with cheese and pine nuts

*Personally, I’d double the the oil and vinegar for the dressing..leaving the basil in the same amount give….if you like  a bit more dressing.  But I like it with JUST balsamic too 🙂
This would be lovely with some crusty bread and a glass of wine..a perfect Solstice feast!
However YOU celebrate the Solstice, I hope you have a beautiful, longest day of the year and enjoy every moment of it. Be lazy, be active, walk barefoot, swim, catch lightning bugs, eat watermelon, take a long walk in the cool woods…Connect and enjoy the Sun! I’ll be back again soon!  Be sure to check out the Sunday Stew again (just click on the Sunday Stew Chef cauldron on the right column.)   My recipe for Carmelite Water..using lemon balm will be posted.  A great sipping drink to enjoy with medicinal value as well! Also lots of other great Solstice recipes and writings and info.  Have a great week and leave me a message about YOUR Solstice plans..I’d love to hear!!
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It was June, and the world smelled of roses.
The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.
~Maud Hart Lovelace

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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Filed under Bits of Magick, Faeries, Flowers, Full Moons, Garden, God, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Litha/Summer Solstice, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Protection, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Seasons, Smoky Mountains, Summer, Sun

I’m a Happy Garden Witch………..

Merry Meet friends!  Hope this writing finds all of you doing well.  If you live in the Northern Hemisphere..I’m guessing you’ve been enjoying Summer-like weather now! I know we have here in Ohio.  It’s been quite warm, we’ve had adequate rain, and the Garden Centers are booming with busy gardeners grabbing up flowers, shrubs, herbs and veggie plants.  I have made several trips there myself 🙂

This is only the 2nd Summer now in our new home and we are still planning garden beds and fine tuning what we did last year.  We lost some plants from the extreme Winter we had so we had to dig up some dead plants and decide what to do with the space.  I’m thrilled with what we’ve done.  I did most of the bed design and planting..while hubby helped me with the bigger pots and the I helped him with the mulching.

I have more I want to do yet…another bed would be great….but until I can talk hubby into it LOL….we will be planting some flowering trees like Pear and Lilac, installing a trellis or two against our fence and planting climbing flowers and putting in a big Maple tree in the backyard.  Here’s just a few pics of what we’ve done….they are newly planted but growing fast and I’m very happy with the results.  I kept in mind planting for drawing bees, birds and butterflies.  So far…it’s working 🙂

 

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As a Witch…..I have added Magick in many ways.  As I plant….I put my intentions and energy into each plant to grow strong and healthy..infuse it with Magick!  I draw runes and pentacles in the dirt, or even right on the wood of the raised bed of herbs.  I plant crystals in the soil, water with collected Moon Water and ask Goddess to bring Her energy and power to my home and gardens.  For me, working in soil…handling living plants, nurturing them, and watching them bloom and grow…brings me pure Joy, Grounds and Centers me, and allows me to feel one with Mother Earth.

I have many friends who don’t have yards or garden beds because they live in apartments etc.  I have friends who say they don’t have a green thumb..have no luck or desire to garden.   That’s ok too.  Not everybody is into gardening…I’m sure you have some other talent I wish I had 🙂   For those that want to but live in an apartment….it takes a very small space of balcony or patio or patch of dirt to plant a few things to bring you joy.  Pots are wonderful for growing flowers, herbs and even some vegetables.  The Joy is the same!

This time of year, I get such a thrill out of seeing my friend’s gardens posted on social media.  I get such great ideas and inspiration from others.  My friend Sunshine has a wonderful little balcony.  It’s one of the most magickal little places I’ve seen… with her pots of herbs and flowers and veggies, her Goddess statues and faeries….I get inspiration from her too! Though it’s a small space…it’s pure Magick!

It’s only 18 days until the Summer Solstice.  The Solstice is usually when I get to do my first harvest of herbs, and when I re-new my Witch’s Protection Bottles, wards etc around my home and yard.  I’ll be back to talk more about that soon.  In the meantime…get barefoot, go out under the waxing Moon (Friday the 13th She will be Full!) and just FEEL the warmth of the Earth, and the softness of the grass on your feet.  It will fix just about anything that’s ailing you!

barefoot

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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I <3 Herbs…….Lemon Balm

Merry Meet my friends!  Despite some cold weather..even some frosty mornings…Spring is in full swing here now!  I’ve started my plantings finally…herb bed is in and I’m working hard on the other 5 beds in my yard, replacing some dead plants that didn’t make it through the Winter  and putting in lots of new flowers!  I am a very happy Witch when I can dig in the dirt!

This week for the Sunday Stew…I’m writing about Lemon Balm..one of my favorite herbs!  You can find the link to the Stew here:  http://www.networkedblogs.com/XaXZ5 Be sure to read the Stew for lots of wonderful bloggers, recipes, news and information!

I’m sharing what I wrote about Lemon Balm here with you!

 

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Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), is a perennial herb native to southern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It can be categorized under the Lamiacease (mint) family. Melissa in Greek means “bee”. Officinalis is a Medievel Latin word meaning “used in medicine”. The name is probably derived from its traditional use by bee keepers to attract bees and its high medicinal qualities. Lemon Balm is also known as… bee balm, honey-leaf, horsemint, garden balm, balm gentle, English Balm, common balm, sweet balm, balm mint and sweet Melissa.

Lemon balm exudes a very refreshing lemon fragrance when we bruise or crush its leave. For centuries, the bee keepers have planted lemon balm near the bee hives, even rubbing the leaves on the inside of the hives to encourage the bees to stay. Its strong lemon fragrance is believed to attract and to settle the honey bee swarms. This is why lemon balm is also commonly known as bee balm.

Cultivating and Growing

Lemon Balm likes Sun and will spread like crazy if allowed to! It can be successfully grown from seed. The plant reaches about 2-3 feet in height and produces masses of wrinkled, aromatic leaves. It’s deeply wrinkled leaves are about 2 to 3 inch long. The shape of lemon balm leaves is similar to mint leaves (oval or heart shaped) and are a bright yellow- green in color. Lemon balm grows relatively small flowers that can be white or yellow in color. Lemon balm is easy to grow and maintain. It’s a versatile herb and can tolerate severe weather conditions. Lemon Balm is a wonderful plant for all herb lovers to have in their gardens! It’s a favorite of mine and you’ll see why!

Medicinal Uses
Lemon Balm has many medicinal properties. It’s an Antispasmodic, Anti-Viral, Aromatic , Cardiac tonic, Diaphoretic/sudorific, Digestive, Emmenagogue, Febrifuge, Hypotensive, Nervine, Sedative, Stomachic, Uterine Tonic, and Vermifuge. Lemon balm is used to relieve Anxiety, Colds, Depression, Dysmenorrhea, Nausea, Sore Throat, Insect/flea bites and Sunburn. It will help to heal Herpes/Cold Sores. It can ease cardiovascular symptoms and Pregnancy/Childbirth.
Here are just a few ways Lemon Balm can be used…whether you drink it as a tea or use the leaves on your skin. You can make a tonic, an oil or a balm as well. Each preparation is conducive to a way to use Lemon Balm for healing.

-Lemon balm has been used as one of the important ingredients to treat Insomnia. It has the ability to promote sleep.
-Lemon balm is a calming herb. It helps to reduce anxiety, improve relaxation, increase alertness and overcome stress problems. (tea, room spray or used in bath)
-Lemon balm cream can effectively cures cold sores caused by the herpes virus (HSV).
-Lemon balm has been used as a folk remedy to dress wounds, to treat snake, animal or insect bites. It has also been said to be able to ease high blood pressure, headaches, toothache, earache, fever, influenza, menstrual cramps and vomiting
-Lemon balm helps to improve digestion, loss of appetite and stomach discomfort and flatulence.
– Herbal tea made from the lemon balm’s fresh or dried leaves is consumed to treat insomnia, anxiety, agitation, herpes, fever, menstrual cramps, muscle spasms, colic, vomiting and poor digestion.
-Crushed leaves rubbed on the skin may help prevent insect bites or heal existing wounds
-a lemon balm infusion added to warm bath water may promote menstruation.
-Some medical studies have found that drinking lemon balm tea may help to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Research indicates that lemon balm can help to reduce agitation and improve cognitive function in individuals with Alzheimer’s. The Georgetown University Medical Center cites studies that suggested that lemon balm can improve memory and decrease anxiety in people suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease
-Using lemon balm in aromatherapy has benefits as well such as to relieve a headache, nausea, calm stress, and aid in more restful sleep.
– The hot tea brings on a sweat that is good for relieving colds, flus and fevers and an antiviral agent has been found that combats mumps, cold sores and other viruses.
– Studies indicate that the herb slightly inhibits the thyroid stimulating hormone and restricts Grave’s disease, a hyperthyroid condition.
– Lemon balm’s antihistamine action is useful to treat eczema and headaches and accounts for the centuries-old tradition of placing the fresh leaf on insect bites and wounds.
– Lemon balm has antipyretic, refreshing, cholagogic and stimulating properties. Use a pad soaked in the infusion to relieve painful swellings such as gout.
– Use as ointment for sores, insect bites, or to repel insects.
– Use hot infused oil as ointment or gentle massage oil for depression, tension, asthma and bronchitis.

Warnings
Lemon balm may interact with certain medications, such as thyroid medications and HIV medications, explains the University of Maryland. Talk with your doctor prior to taking lemon balm to prevent any interactions with medications or health conditions

These are just some of the ways to use Lemon Balm medicinally! You can see why it’s an important herb to have in your Witchy medicine cabinet!

Culinary
In the culinary world, chefs prize lemon balm for its light, refreshing aroma and taste, often described as lightly lemon with a hint of mint. The fresh leaves yield the best results in cooking, though the dried leaves and stems are often used for making tea. The leaves produce a mild, lemony tea, and they’re often added to black or green teas for extra flavor. Whole or chopped fresh lemon balm leaves also add flavor to green salads, fruit salads, vegetable dishes, poultry stuffing and marinades for fish, and they provide a nice accompaniment to corn, beans, broccoli, asparagus, shell fish and lamb. I know from experience it is great on homemade breads too!

Cosmetic

The lemon balm plant reportedly cleanses the skin, and herbal steams containing lemon balm leaves are recommended for sufferers of acne. Cleansing herbal baths including the plant’s leaves may also benefit the complexion. Lemon balm essential oil is a common ingredient in homemade and commercial cosmetics formulated for oily or acne-prone skin. The essential oil has a slight drying effect and should not be used on dry skin.

Other Uses

Lemon balm was made into wine commonly in the early 1800’s. The leaves of Lemon Balm were also used as a furniture polish when rubbed directly onto the wood. Today, many commercial furniture polish manufacturers still use the herb in their product. It’s a wonderful plant to have in your garden to attract bees for pollination purposes. Roman author and naturalist, Pliny wrote “that bees like Lemon Balm more than any other herb.”

Magickal Uses

Lemon Balm can be used in many ways magickally. It’s said to be sacred to the Goddess Diana and was used in her temples.
Gender: Feminine
Element: Water
Planet: Moon
Deities: Diana, Venus and Jupiter

Lemon Balm is used in romance, attraction and love spells and charms. It can be used in lunar magick as its’ associated with the Moon. It can be used in Ritual work honoring the Goddess Diana as well. Lemon Balm brings mental clarity, calm, healing, health, friendship, fertility, and success. As a bathing herb it can help to attract romance, to cleanse before Moon rituals, and to aid sleep/dream and astral travel.
Lemon Balm helps to relieve melancholy, to balance feelings and moods. To me, this would be a wonderful herb to use to help ground and balance. Lemon Balm can help us to open up to receive the divine love of the Goddess.
A few ways to use lemon balm magickally:

-Use it in your bath before rituals..especially during Moon rituals.
-Add it to a dream pillow to aid in dreams and astral travel
-Place on your altar to help with your mental clarity during meditation or divining
-Carry some leaves in a mojo bag to attract love or romance
-Use it in incense..the aroma brings calm and balance and can altar your mood
-Plant in your garden to draw success and healing into your home

These are just a few ideas you can use to make the most of the Lemon Balm I just KNOW you’ll be planting in your yard right away….if you don’t have it already of course 

One more thing to talk about….Lemon Balm was one of the most important ingredients in Carmelite Water. Carmelite Water was invented in 1611 by Carmelite monks (some say nuns) in Paris who called it “Eau de Carmes”. Carmelite water was used as a perfume and toilet water, and was also taken internally as a cordial. The perfume was used to “cover” the smell of disease or just the fact that bathing was rare in those days. It was also used internally for digestive complaints and neuralgic complaints such as headache, pains etc. I’ve been looking at the recipes I’m finding in books and online and think it sounds worth trying. I’ll let you know next time what recipe I tried and I might share it too

If you’d like to have a copy of this information for your Book of Shadows or files…you can do that by clicking here:
lemon balm.docx

I hope that you all have a very Happy Memorial Day and a great week! Stay safe!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Herbal How To, Herbs, My Favorite Things, Nature, Seasons, Spring, Summer, Uncategorized

If It’s Not One Thing….It’s Your Mother……

Being a mother means that your heart is no longer yours;

it wanders wherever your children do.

~Author Unknown

 

Merry Meet my friends.  It’s a very quiet Saturn day here at my house today.  It’s been gloomy and pouring rain ..with on and off again thunder too. I actually love it, though it IS keeping me from planting my herbs I finally picked up this week.  I got all but 4 of the plants I was looking for. I will have to go to my other favorite garden center on Monday.  I am even trying some herbs I’ve never grown before like fennel and lemon verbena 🙂 Can’t wait to dig in the dirt!

 

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Here in Ohio, Mother’s Day is usually the first weekend that we are most likely safe from late frosts and that has definitely been the case this year.  Our Winter was long but Spring has arrived.  This rain is helping everything to look so green and lush.  Late blooming trees and flowering bushes like Lilacs and Forsythia and Rose of Sharon are all starting to bloom.  It’s really lovely.

Speaking of Mother’s Day, it’s tomorrow in case you weren’t aware. 🙂  Last night I attended a Mom’s Day banquet at my Mother’s church with my daughters, my sisters and of course my Mom.  My little granddaughter was supposed to go as well but she is under the weather with a stomach bug …poor kid.  Now a Witch in church..well it’s not the first time that’s happened I’m quite sure LOL.  However, my Mother..well …let’s just say that she has never been an easy woman to have as a Mother.  And no matter how old I get, or she gets,  it hasn’t changed.   So it was a bit stressful at times, but in the long run.  I’m glad we all went to make her happy.

 

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I know that Mother’s Day can be a very loving, wonderful, happy day for many of us.  It has been for me as a Mom and Nana, in my adult years.  I am blessed with wonderful daughters who love me and show it,  and my grandchildren are nothing but pure joy to me.  But on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who aren’t moms, or have lost their moms, or don’t get along with their moms, that make the day either difficult at best, and terribly sad at worst.  My heart always goes out to my friends who have lost a loving Mother.  I think that for some, losing your mom is something you never get over.  I send you all big hugs if that is your situation..I truly am sorry for your loss.

On this Mom’s Day, I’d like EVERY woman..whether a mother or not….to do something for herself..to bring joy to YOU.  My friends who don’t have children…well, they are Mom’s too.  Women are natural nurturers.  Whether they care for aged parents, a loving partner, pets, their homes and gardens, charities, friends, nieces and nephews, etc etc….you should celebrate this day.  Frankly, Mom’s day should be everyday.  Women need to learn to nurture themselves MORE! The lessons we learn from taking some time to ourselves on Mom’s Day..should be done every day!  After all, as the adage goes, you can’t care for others until you care for yourself.  I think this is a very hard lesson to learn as a woman, we tend to put ourselves last.  As I get older though, I realize how important it is to put ourselves higher on our list of things to do.  We must nurture the Goddess within us.

I’d also like us to think on Mother’s Day..about the Mother of us all…Mother Earth.  I always give thanks on this day (and every day really) for Our Mother…who nourishes us 24/7 with Earth, Air, and Water.  With beauty in Her nature if we take the time to look and feel and listen and touch.  Make an offering for Her and show some gratitude for all She does to sustain us.

 

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Picture from Café Press

 

For those like me, who have a  relationship with our Moms that isn’t always as we would like it to be.  Well…just remember, if it’s not one thing….It’s your Mother 🙂  Do the best you can to honor her as your mom.  When she’s no longer with you…you’ll be glad you did.

I wish all the Women out there a very Happy Sun day and Mom’s day.  Hope you’re loved ones treat you like the Goddess you ARE!!

On a personal note, I wish my beautiful daughter Kate a very Happy Mother’s Day.  Watching you with your own children, makes my heart swell with pride and joy.  I love you.

 

There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child — and an instinct to make ANY child who needs her love, her own.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn Earthsong

 

 

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Filed under Daughters, Discussion, Family, Garden, Goddess, Grandchildren, Happy Mother's Day, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Quote, Seasons, Spring

Beltaine Blessings 2014…….

thCA8K56D9Merry Beltaine Eve my friends.  It’s been a rainy few days here with afternoon hours of Sun and warmth and gentle breezes.  Really nice!  I am ready for my celebration of this fun Sabbat and almost ready for my Circle’s celebration on Saturday night.

I’ll start the morning off tomorrow greeting the Sun..I hope…then I’ll wash my face in the dew of the Beltaine morning to help me show a fresh face for the day and to bring light and beauty to my skin for the year 🙂  I’ll have coffee and a simple breakfast.  At some point of the day, I’ll take a walk and make offerings along the way to the Fae and the Goddess.   In the evening, a nice meal of fresh foods and a ritual to honor the Goddess and God as they meet and create and help the Wheel to continue to turn.  A simple way to celebrate the day in a solitary way.

On Saturday eve, my Circle gathers. We will feast, make May Day baskets, have a fire where we’ll burn wishes and herbs, and we will have a small, simple ritual.  The May Day baskets will go to elderly neighbors or family members to cheer them for the day. I can’t wait!

 

I thought I would share a wonderful salad recipe with you..perfect for Summer and warmer weather. Nice and light!

 

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

4 cups mixed greens/chopped lettuce

1 cup sliced strawberries

2 kiwi, sliced

 1 avocado, sliced

2 tablespoon sliced almonds

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

zest of ½ a lime

juice of 1  lime

pinch of salt

2 tablespoon honey

Arrange the lettuce, strawberries, kiwi, avocado and almonds in a salad bowl.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients to form the dressing and drizzle over salad.

*Serves 2

Whether you’re going to a Pagan Beltaine Maypole festival, gathering with friends and family, or spending it more quietly and solitary….Beltaine is a Sabbat to celebrate.  Officially….We are into Spring, and Summer is coming!  Think flowers, gardens, bare feet, less clothes, being outside MORE!!  For many, their favorite time of year!

‘But I must gather knots of flowers,
And buds and garlands gay,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother,
I’m to be Queen o’ the May.’
–  Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

I wish you all a very Blessed Beltaine!  May the Sun God shine upon you always and May the Goddess always dance with you!

Blessings and love, Autumn

*Don’t forget to type Beltane or Beltaine into the search box on the right to find the last 4 years of info there…recipes, correspondence, rituals etc.

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