Category Archives: New Moons

Mabon Blessings 2017…and Recipes!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Apple Crostini

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

3 Tbs unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

French bread, sliced and toasted

Brie wedges

fresh chopped rosemary for garnish if you have it.

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

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

Refrigerate any leftovers.

 

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Praline Apple Bread

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided

8 oz sour cream

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 Tb vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups finely chopped, peeled apples

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

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

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

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

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

*also delicious to eat warm.

Delicious!!

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Love and Blessings, Autumn

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Autumn Equinox, Books, Discussion, Family, Friends, Gardens, Goddess, Holiday, Mabon, Magick, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, New Moons, Pagan, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Ritual, Sabbat, Seasons, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Witch

Blessed Samhain 2016….and recipes!

“I see the turning of a leaf dancing in the autumn sun,

and brilliant shades of crimson glowing when a day is done

-Hazelmarie Mattie Elliott-

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Merry Morning and Blessed Samhain my friends!  The glorious day is finally here! The Witch’s favorite Sabbat!  Our New Year!  Here in Ohio it’s a cool, blue sky, sunny day.  We’ve had some overly warm days here lately…too warm in the upper 70’s for my taste, but today it feels like Fall again.  The skies are inky black as we’re in our New Moon which adds magick to our new year and new beginnings!  Winds are brisk and leaves are falling fast, chipmunks and squirrels gather food for the winter, birds are busy at the feeders, pumpkins are grinning from porches  and children ready their costumes for trick or treat!  The veil thins and there is a mystical feel to the Air! Autumn is in full glory!

My coven gathered Saturday night.  We had soups, breads and desserts. As it was warm, we spent time outside.  A few of our sisters didn’t make it this year and the rest of us were more quiet and subdued. Perhaps the thinning veil making us not feel up to par, tired and moody I think.  Speaking for myself, that was the case.  How does the thinning veil affect you?  I’ve had times of high energy, and times of melancholy and low energy too.  Today, I feel great!

I’m harvesting the last of my herbs today. Then tonight is our Beggar’s Night.  This year we’ll be home passing out candy as we spent time with my grandkids yesterday.  Keeping dinner simple with soup and sandwiches.  I’m also burying new witch’s protection bottles, making an offering to Mother Earth and tonight a fire and spending time with my ancestors. I am a journaler and I’ve been journaling my thoughts and wishes for a wonderful new year to come.  I look back on this last year with fondness and feelings of how blessed I am. and forward with the same.  What will you be pleased about in your past year

and what changes will you make in this next year to improve on it?  These are the things I think about today.

I promised some recipes and better late than never.  So here a few new ones!

cider

Samhain Spiced Cider

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 large orange, quartered with peel

2 quarts apple cider

*use a gallon of cider and double the rest!

Place in a dutch oven on the stove on low heat or a slow cooker on low all day! So yummy!  I made this for my coven saturday night and they loved it!

pumpkin soup

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Tb butter

1 Tb olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

4-5 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash

4 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 tsp dried sage

3/4 tsp salt

pepper to taste

a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat butter and oil over medium heat.  Add onion and carrot; cook and stir until tender.  Add garlic and cook one minute longer.

Stir in squash, stock, sage, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer, covered 20 minutes or until squash is tender.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.

Process in a blender until smooth.  Serves 6

Apple Caramel Cheesecake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup plus 2 Tb sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

3 medium tart apples, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Streusel topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup cold butter, cubed

1/3 cup hot caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350*.  In a small bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.  Press into a well-greased 13×9 inch baking pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Spread over baked crust.

In a small bowl, toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar; spoon over cream cheese layer.  In another bowl, mis streusel topping until crumbly.  Sprinkle over apple layer.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until filling is set.  Drizzle with caramel topping; cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Refrigerate for 2 hours at least.  Cut into bars and serve.

Yummy…I love Autumn baking especially.  Don’t you?

I want to wish you all a very Blessed Samhain.  May your ancestors smile upon you and impart words of wisdom, joy and a sense of peacefulness to you in the coming year.  Goddess Bless you all!

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

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

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

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

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Filed under All Hallow's Eve, Autumn, Bits of Magick, Books, coven, Friends, Gardens, Halloween, Happy Mother's Day, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, New Moons, New Year, Ocean or beach, Pagan, Protection, Quote, quotes, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Ritual, Sabbat, Samhain, Seasons, sisters, Summer, Uncategorized, Witch

Summer Solstice Recipes 2015………..

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I question not if thrushes sing,
If roses load the air;
Beyond my heart I need not reach
When all is summer there.
~John Vance Cheney

Greetings my friends and readers.  As I write this, it is pouring rain.  Has been all day!  I was out this morning for a hair appointment. Made a quick stop at Costco..then I decided the rest of the errands could wait until the rain stops! lol.  So I just had lunch and I’m listening to some Blackmore’s Night while watching the birds and ground critters, and my gardens that are lush, green and wet..and decided to go ahead and write a blog post with those recipes I promised.

You will find in previous posts (just search Litha or Summer Solstice in the search box) that the foods that represent Litha are  Fresh fruits…especially citrus and in-season fruits, all vegetables, summer squash, honey, fresh herbs like thyme and lavender, pumpernickel bread, ale and mead.  Fresh seasonal foods as you can see 🙂

I’m going to start the recipes out with a wonderful mojito recipe to use up all of that peppermint herb growing like crazy in my herb bed.  I bet many of  you have a plethora of it too!  This recipe makes a glass but you can make a pitcher too!

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Classic Mojito

10 mint leaves, more for garnishing

2 ounces white rum

1 ounce simple syrup

2 tablespoons lime juice

soda water

For the simple syrup

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄2 cup sugar

Make the simple syrup. Mix sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar gets dissolved. Remove from heat and store in the fridge until ready to use.

For Mojito:

Pour lime juice and 1 ounce simple syrup into a tall glass. Add mint leaves and muddle it together.

Add rum and muddle a little more. Add ice and a splash of soda.

Serve garnished with fresh mint leaves and a slice of lime.

*I discovered how good these were just last year and just love them!  You can control the sweetness by how much of the simple syrup you use as well…use less if it’s too sweet!

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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

5 cups fresh torn spinach, about 1 pound

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 ounces Gouda cheese, cut into thin strips

1/3 cup toasted pecans

Dressing:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Toss together spinach, strawberries, cheese, and toasted pecans. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  pour over spinach mixture and toss just before serving. Serves 4-6

*Feel free to substiture the gouda cheese for blue cheese crumbles or feta cheese and the pecans for walnuts or almonds….you can play with this recipe 🙂

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Cucumber Pumpernickel Sandwiches

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
36 slices snack rye bread
1 medium cucumber, sliced

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressing mix.. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Just before serving, spread over rye bread; top each with a cucumber slice.

Yield: 3 dozen

*Adding a little fresh dill would be really good too!

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Roasted Pineapple with Honey-Orange Glaze and Pistachios

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
1 medium ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges (I like to do the rounds)
1/4 cup crème fraîche or plain yogurt
1/3 cup  unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir first 3 ingredients in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Add pineapple; toss to coat. Let marinate, tossing occasionally, for 10 minutes. Place pineapple, one flat side down, on prepared sheet; reserve marinade.

Roast pineapple for 15 minutes. Turn, brush with marinade, and roast until tender and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Drizzle remaining marinade over; let cool slightly.

Divide pineapple among plates. Spoon crème fraîche alongside. Garnish with nuts and mint.

*while you can do this in the oven..I highly recommend you do it on the grill!  Yummy!  Also, you can use a vanilla yogurt or even vanilla ice cream if you’d rather..I highly recommend the ice cream! 🙂

Well, that should add to your list of possible recipes for the Solstice.  Or anytime throughout the Summer!  Don’t forget to do a search over here on the right ——>  for more recipes and more from me about the Solstice.

If it ever quits raining, I will post some pictures of my gardens, as I promised, for you. My herb bed is overflowing and I will most definitely be harvesting this weekend!  I love harvesting my herbs to dry…then watching them grow again!  Not to mention using them in my recipes, in my spells and rituals as well.

Yesterday was the New Moon……what new projects are you starting?  What old negative things are you banishing?  I hope you’re using the energies to your advantage.  Not to mention we are out of Retrograde! lol..can you feel a difference?

Hope you all have a great rest of the week!  I’ll be back in a day or two or at least by the Solstice!  Until then….Much love and may the Sun be shining on you and yours!

Blessings and love, Autumn

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Filed under Gardens, Herbs, Litha/Summer Solstice, Midsummer, New Moons, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Summer

I <3 Herbs……Yarrow!

Merry Meet my friends. It has been a rainy, dark day today. Thunder and Lightning and I’ve done some dancing with Thor in the storms. I’m so thrilled that we had a couple of beautiful days here though. I got all our clothes washed and hung out on the clothesline to dry. (I LOVE that!) We got a few things done in the yard…some grass seed planted where a dead tree was removed last Fall….we got a birdhouse put up…a new birdbath put out and we bought a couple of hanging baskets of Calabracia to hang on our patio, a deep purple one and a yellow one. I pulled out the rosemary that isn’t coming back 😦 Added garden soil to my raised herb bed etc. All in preparation for planting! Which we can’t do yet! Ack! LOL. Another week or two I think. For sure by Mother’s Day!

Again, this posting about Yarrow can be found at The Sunday Stew here: http://mypaganworld.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-sunday-stew-beltane-edition.html. It’s the Beltaine issue so be sure and check it out!! It’s wonderful!

Beltane is almost here! As I was thinking about which herb I wanted to write about for the Beltane issue of the Stew…I decided on Yarrow. Yarrow is one of those wonderful herbs that grow wild…nearly everywhere! Usually from June thru September in meadows, roadsides, pastures, ditches etc etc. Easily found. Often thought to just be a weed LOL..but it’s so much more!!

 

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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) grows from 10 to 20 inches high, a single stem, fibrous and rough. The leaves are fern-like, dark-green, giving them a feathery appearance. The flowers are several bunches of numerous small, white flower heads. Each tiny flower resembling a daisy. Depending on the weather and where you live, the flowers bloom from May to September.

For you gardeners out there, growing yarrow is sometimes too easy, as it tends to take over a plot. It creeps along via its root system, while simultaneously reseeding itself. Yarrow prefers ordinary soil and a fair amount of sunshine. Some varieties of yarrow grow up to 4 feet in height. It comes in shades from white to pale pink…to ornamental yellow and red varieties!

Other Names: Milfoil, Old Man’s Pepper, Soldier’s Woundwort, Knight’s Milfoil, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter’s Weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed, Devil’s Nettle

Mythology:

Yarrow carries the name Achillea because the Greek God Achilles in mythology is storied to have given the plant to his troops to stop bleeding in battle. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop the bleeding when he hurt his own heel, and he died from his wounds. The modern terms “Achilles tendon” and “Achilles heel” originate from this myth.

Medicinal Uses:

Yarrow has been a well-known healing herb for centuries. It has a wonderful list of healing medicinal purposes!
Parts used….everything above the ground (leaves, stems and flowers)
Harvesting for medicinal purposes should be done while the plant is in flower.
Yarrow is used medicinally against colds and flu, cramps, fevers, stomach ulcers, kidney disorders, toothaches and abscesses, skin irritations, to regulate menses, and to reduce inflammation. It can aid digestion and increase appetite. Yarrow is a diaphoretic and helps to eliminate toxins and fevers. Yarrow’s astringent properties can also help stop diarrhea and dysentery. Other yarrow uses include coughs, sore throats, lowering blood pressure, hay fever, and more.
Externally, clean yarrow leaves can be used to stop a wound from bleeding. A yarrow infused oil or balm can be used to treat other topical skin conditions including burns, ulcers, and swollen and inflamed skin, and hemorrhoids. Inserting a fresh, clean yarrow leaf into the nostril can stop nosebleeds. Yarrow can also, conversely, start bleeding when needed…for instance, getting clotted nose blood, to un-clot.

 

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Medicinal applications:

An infusion (tea) of yarrow flowers can be prepared by steeping the flowers into boiling water for some time. This preparation is useful for upper respiratory illness. It may also be useful to heal eczema when applied externally as a wash. An infusion or tea is also great for reducing fever. To get relief for varicose veins, soak a cotton pad with the infusion and apply to the veins. The poultice will also aid hemorrhoids. You can also put the infusion in bath water to soothe hemorrhoids and skin issues.
Yarrow oil is useful for any external skin issues such as swollen joints, rashes, or bruises. Also great as a chest rub (add peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil) for congestion of the chest..colds, flu or cough.
Cuts and scratches on the body can be healed by wrapping cleansed, fresh yarrow leaves on the affected area. To clean leaves, place in a bowl, pour white vinegar over them…let stand for a bit. Strain off vinegar then rinse leaves twice to ensure all the vinegar is gone. You can also place a chewed leaf on a sore tooth.
A tincture made of Yarrow is useful for healing urinary disorders and menstrual problems.

Warning:
Pregnant women should not use Yarrow internally! Excessive use can cause headaches and skin irritations for anyone who is sensitive to it.

Culinary Uses:
Yarrow is bitter but used sparingly it works in cheese sauces, soups and salads. Has been used in place of hops to brew beer.

Magickal Uses:
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Air
Yarrow is used magickally for Courage, Love, Psychic abilities, Divination, Perception, Protection and Purification.
Some ways to use Yarrow for magick are:

-When drank as a tea, Yarrow is said to increase psychic powers and powers of perception.
-When flowers or leaves are burned, if the smoke goes up, it’s a good omen, but if it goes down, it’s a bad omen.
-Use Yarrow flowers in love sachets and charms.
-Place Yarrow flowers under your pillow before sleep and your lover will appear in your dreams.
-Hang flowers over your bridal bed to insure love that lasts at least 7 years. Or place them in your bridal bouquet
-Grow Yarrow near your door for protection or hang some over your front door.
-Carried in the hand or placed in a mojo bag….it is believed to ward off fear. Also to reverse negativity and protect from hexes
-Add to the bath to protect from evil or harm.
-Throw Yarrow flowers across the threshold to protect the house from evil.
-Tie to an infant’s cradle for protection from harmful forces. (an old belief too)
-Place the flowers on your altar to aid in divination
-use it in loose incense for protection, purification or divination

These are just a few ways to use Yarrow in Magick. I’m sure you can find many more. Next time you take a walk, look for some yarrow and bring it home and put it to good use!

A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
and closed them beneath the kisses of night.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant,” 1820

 

I hope that you all are enjoying both the Stew and learning about herbs. I know I learn more and more as I study them and use them too.  I’ll be back in a couple of days to wish you all a very Blessed Beltaine and maybe a recipe 🙂

Blessed New Moon to you all!
Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Beltane, Discussion, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, My Favorite Things, Nature, New Moons, Our Yard, Poem, Seasons, Spring, Summer

The Wheel Turns to Imbolc, 2014……..

imagesCA48N7RIMerry Meet my friends! Wow..I can’t believe I just typed 2014!  Time flies so fast doesn’t it?  I hope this posting finds you all avoiding the flu, staying safe and warm in this incredibly frigid Winter we’re having, and that things have slowed down for you a bit! That you’ve had time to rest and relax. After all January is the best month to do that!  At least here in the Northern Hemisphere 🙂

I have been busy, both doing my yearly Imbolc deep cleaning and organizing, AND finding time to read, journal, take a nap, cook etc. Things I enjoy doing.  Imbolc is coming fast.  I love this Sabbat. As I’ve said before, it’s the first one I celebrated.  I mean truly celebrated it by stopping reading about it and getting up and doing something instead!  I decided not to try to do all the complicated things I was reading in my books..and just do what felt right….  and I haven’t looked back since!

This Imbolc I’m blessed with having my Circle of fellow Witches.  We will be meeting to celebrate Imbolc for a breakfast..to welcome the Sun..and we will do it in our jammies! LOL..something fun to look forward to.  It’s our first Imbolc gathering and won’t be our last I’m sure.

As I mentioned, I do my Spring cleaning early, for Imbolc, as I know a lot of you do.  I clean out closets and cupboards and drawers, getting rid of junk and organizing things better.  I dust high and low, move furniture and sweep and mop, baseboards, ceiling fans etc.  I clean my Witch cupboard out..dust it and cleanse and consecrate my tools again.  I smudge the house the day  before Imbolc, and put out new wards and protection.  It’s a busy Sabbat and a very satisfying one!

Magickally, I welcome the Sun on Imbolc morning, and that evening there is a fire of course. I burn any dusty old herbs that are still hanging and any greens, pinecones etc that are still around from Yule. Candles are lit all over the house.  We feast and drink and celebrate, knowing that while Winter still has it’s grip on us, Spring and Sun and longer days aren’t far behind! At Midnight, I throw open the doors and invite the Goddess Brighid in to my home..to protect and bless us for the coming year!

I’m already dreaming about my gardens..planning what I want to plant, what I want to add or take away etc.  This year, as we have just been in this house one year now, there is LOTS to do yet!  Another raised bed will be built for my herbs, there will be holly bushes, lilac bushes and an elderberry tree added in the landscape.  We need to add two new trees..maples…one to the front yard and one to the back.  I’ll fine tune what I did yesterday, throw out what didn’t work and baby along what did.  *sigh*…there is nothing better then the Sun on my back and my hands in the dirt.  I can’t wait!

daffodils in snow

As you all know, I love Winter, but even I am getting tired of this frigid cold we’ve had this year.  I don’t mind the snow at all, but the cold is something else! I see so many talking about being tired of it already, feeling depressed, or cabin fever etc.  I totally understand.  All I can recommend is that you take the time to do something that you really love doing and do it.  Take a class, paint a room, re-decorate, work on your Book of Shadows or grimoire. Surround yourself with things and people who comfort you, watch great movies, sleep more, take a walk..even when it’s cold..just to get fresh air, read, dance, sing, make love…you get the picture! LOL.  Don’t give in to it if you can.  I find stepping out and breathing in cold, clean AIR does a lot to energize me..especially if the Sun is shining or the Moon is glowing! And there is always a cleansing bath…that makes everything better indeed!

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For now, I wish you all a wonderful weekend! Leave me messages and tell me your plans, I’d love to hear them.  Be sure to use the search box on the right column for previous Imbolc postings and recipes etc.  I may be back with a recipe or two a bit later this week.  In the meantime, keep your Spirits up..use your Magick! Snow magick is strong!  There is a 2nd New Moon this month as well..the Black Moon on January 30..not a real common occurrence! Use it! Bright Blessings to you all! Stay warm and safe and remember..Spring will come!

“Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey,  and enjoy every idle hour.” 
–  John Boswell

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Gardens, Goddess, Holiday, Imbolc, My Writing, Nature, New Moons, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Sunrise/Sunset, Winter

Happy New Year 2014……….

Hello my friends!  I wanted to do a quick post to you all today.  Right now the Sun is shining but it is quite cold and windy out!  We’ve had snow flurries all morning but no real accumulation.. it’s so pretty 🙂  Today, I’m completely relaxing! Much deserved!

We had a wonderful Christmas (yes we gather with family for that holiday too 🙂 My extended family ..20 of us..were all here at my house, well behaved, jovial and a good time was had by all.  Yesterday, I took down all the decorations, packed them up and with the help of my husband, carted all the boxes back to the storage room.  A bit of cleaning and the house feels great.  Uncluttered, clean and fresh! I love that!! I always love the decorations going up..and really love them coming back down again! lol.

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Today, I’ve pulled out my 2014 calendars.  A wall calendar, my Gooseberry Patch calendar and my Witch’s calendar and have them all filled in, marked and ready to go.  A whole year of days, hours and minutes and possibilities ahead of me!  What a great feeling.  I’ve also finished up a journal and will start a new one tomorrow..fresh pages…fresh thoughts….new days to write about.  A clean slate…which is what the New Year is all about!

For this New Year’s ..we are blessed with a New Moon..a rare thing!  Now as Pagans and Witches, we all know what that means.  It is a truly magickal…restart…boot up…new beginnings…dump the old, unused, unwanted..kind of day!  Today, along those lines..I smudge the house well, throw open windows and doors (at least for a minute cause it’s so cold!), scatter salt at doorways and sweep out all the old and negative and allow in the new and positive!  Tonight, there will be food, drink and a fire with my  husband and daughter Sara.  I’ll burn that I want to rid myself of…old hurts, disappointments, angers, sickness, etc….and will then burn that which I want to bring into the New Year..love, friendships, positivity, health, happiness and abundance.  Simple and meaningful.

I want to wish you all a Very Happy New Year and I KNOW that 2014 will be an amazing year for you and yours!  Thank you so much for being a reader, a friend, a loved one..whichever category you fall into 🙂  I am Blessed..very much in my Life by all of you!  May you have all the good things in Life come your way..always!

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Family, Holiday, New Moons, New Year, Quote, Seasons, Thank You!, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2012………

Merry Meet friends.   Autumn is in full-blown, beautiful color here in Ohio!  We’ve had a lovely Fall so far.  Cool and Sunny and breezy with crisp nights.  It’s been many days of sweater weather and nights of fires in the fireplaces or outdoor firepits.  I was afraid with the very hot and dry Summer we had..that the leaves would just turn brown and fall off the trees but that is not the case at all.  The color is brilliant!  My Sugar Maple trees should give you a hint of the beauty here 🙂

A lot of my Witchy friends are talking about feeling blue, lost, unsettled.  That something is “coming or happening”.  I too feel this way at times right now.  The veil is thinning, the ancestors are moving closer to be with us for Samhain night, the most magickal energy is building and spreading.  All we can do is hold on to our brooms, wands, staffs and pointy hats and ride it out!  Ground and Center as much as possible.  Smudge your home, meditate, burn incense and candles.  Talk to each other…support is good.  I for one think it will be a most amazing night..full of magick and positivity!

I’ll be back soon with something pretty cool 🙂   Also Samhain recipes and some other things.   Have a wonderful weekend…ground and center when you need to…  The Dark of the Moon and the New Moon are upon us..use it to your advantage!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Samhain….A Peace Blessing

 by Lady Abigail

 

Witches dance the circle round,

In magickal places we shall be found.

 

Within this blessed and sacred night,

Spells are cast in burning fire light.

 

Under the radiant moon so pale,

We welcome those from within the veil.

 

Thy mysteries we call to embark,

No fear have we of what hides in the dark.

 

We summon every Witch to heed this call,

That we shall come together one and all.

 

Let us stand proudly hand in hand,

Blending our energies across the land.

 

To invoke as one this Samhain spell,

At the ringing of Witching hour bell.

 

In unity we call unto this spells rite,

Peace for all lands come to our sight.

 

So this the summon, in our Witches plea,

Peace for all, So mote it shall be.

Love and Blessings, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Holiday, New Moons, Photography, Poem, Samhain, Seasons

The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2012………..

Merry Meet friends.  Hot, Humid and Dry.  Pretty well sums up the end of June and all of July here in Ohio..as I know many of you are experiencing the same thing where you live.  Those who know me, know I’m not a fan of Summer…and this oppressive weather makes that even more true. lol.   I’ve heard so many talking about it being the hottest, driest Summer they can remember for a while..and I thought the same thing.  Until I went back and read my Lugnasadh post from last year at right about this same time.   What was I talking about?   How hot and dry it was!   Just goes to show how quickly we forget from year to year.  So I will wait this out, try to find something good about it..and keep sweating and lagging along til it cools off. 🙂  We are expecting some rain tomorrow..that will go a long way to making things better!

I have really struggled to keep my flowers and herbs alive this year.  Despite watering constantly, they are not all lush and green like usual.  Water from a hose just is not the same as a good fresh rain.  Our grass….pretty well looks dead…but with a good soaking I’m sure it will come back.   I feel so badly for the farmers and their crops and the poor animals who must be struggling to find water.  I have put out big bins of water..keeping them filled…and I’ve seen everything from birds to groundhogs and possums to deer drinking from it.  Seeing deer drinking from it…amazing!  Made me feel good to see it….like I am doing a good thing 🙂

I can’t believe it’s the middle of July already.  Lughnasadh is not far off..August 1….and tonight is the New Moon as well.  I will be doing a small ritual ..for new beginnings on my new project.  Well kind of new.   I have started an online business…something I’ve wanted to do for 2 years now…and something has kept me from doing it for that long…my own hesitations..and my recent illness..but I have finally got the show on the road.  Verbena Lane Botanicals is my herbal products business.  I make bath, beauty and healing products.  Right now we have a facebook page and we are selling from it  (we being my daughter Kate and I).  She is very busy being a mom of 2 little ones, studying medical billing and coding, and being pregnant with baby #3 :))) Yes, I’m going to have another grandchild in January..I’m thrilled!  Anyway I digress LOL.   So I have taken over the business pretty much for now.  I’m listing new products each week and orders are coming in nicely and keeping me busy.  An etsy shop will be our next step as well.   Check it out if you’d like 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/VerbenaLane

I’ve received some wonderful messages asking how I’m doing.  I’m happy to say that just in the last couple weeks, I am feeling much much better.  My energy level is returning, my headaches are better,  and I continue to improve some of the cognitive problems I was having.  I feel sharper mentally.  I still get tired and am still remembering what I told all of you…to put myself first more often..to take care of myself…to rest when I need to etc.  I thank you all again for your prayers and well wishes.

Back to Lugnasadh.  There is not much more I can say about this first Harvest Sabbat that I haven’t said in previous posts from the last 3 years.  It is one of my favorite Sabbats simply because it is the first Harvest one!  Harvest..what a wonderful word. It implys the end of the Summer. Coming soon, my favorite Season of Autumn.  Harvest..meaning farm stands will be full of produce, grown by Mother Earth with the help of hardworking farmers and gardeners.  Harvest….time to cut my herbs, dry them, and enjoy my own harvested work.  Harvest..reminds me of my grandmother, canning and preserving all the bounty from her own gardens, with me by her side, doing what I could and watching her, learning.  Harvest..animals gathering, nesting, hustling.

 

Lugnasadh for me is baking homemade, grain-filled breads.  It’s making herb infused oils and vinegars so I can enjoy my herbs all Winter long.  It’s enjoying the last hot, hazy days of Summer…family cook-outs, family vacation, tending gardens and herbs, making some jams to go with that great homemade bread, time outdoors, porch sitting,  and starting to think about cooler days. I love to pull out my Autumn cookbooks…start perusing recipes I want to try this year..putting me in the mood for Fall and good hot meals…and lets not forget mid August brings back football!!   (Go Bengals!)

I hope that all of you have some plans made for Lugnasadh.   I usually light candles all over the house in the evening, enjoy a glass of wine and dream of bright colored leaves falling from trees, pumpkins, mums, woodsmoke and fires, good foods made with apples,  sweaters and crisp air.  Lugnasadh reminds us that the season will be changing soon 🙂

I will come back soon and post a couple of recipes from those cookbooks I was talking about.  In the meantime, I hope you have a Blessed New Moon!

“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,

Love and Blessings, Autumn

*Pics of bread, oils and jams are my own. 🙂  *ok..for some reason the oils and jam picture won’t post…I’ll try again tomorrow 🙂

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Flowers, Gardens, Herbs, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Mother Earth, Nature, New Moons, Photography, Quote, Summer

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

……..Scrooge…Charles Dickens

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

God Bless Us Everyone

 

Let the Stars in the sky

remind of us Man’s compassion.

Let us love til we die

and God Bless us everyone.

In your heart there’s a light

As bright as a Star in heaven

Let it shine thru the night and

God Bless Us Everyone.

Till each child is fed

Till all men are free

Till the world becomes a family…….

Star by Star in the sky

and kindness by human kindness.

Let me love til I die and…

God Bless us everyone! 

 

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

 

 Blessed Be and Merry Christmas!   Autumn

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

New Moon Blessings……

Merry Meet my friends!  Blessed New Moon night to you all.  The first one after the New Year…the first one in 2011!  This one is even more magickal indeed as there is much happening in the sky.  Last night during the dark of the Moon, there was a meteor shower and early this morning with the Sunrise, there was a solar eclipse…magickal indeed!  Did you see it?  I was able to see a bit of the meteor shower but the clouds came in and that was that.  I love the New Moon almost as much as the Full Moon…the quiet and peacefulness, a black starry sky, and reflecting on the possibilities.  There is some amazing workings that can be done during the Dark and New Moon….if you aren’t utilizing it..you are missing out indeed!

Let’s start first with some correspondences about the New Moon:

 Time: From Dark Moon to Waxing Moon.

New Moon – The magic should be performed between dawn and sunset for the best use of this magic.  I have to say that I do not do my New Moon magick during the day.  I do mine before midnight!  I like to be out in it..out in that black inky sky.

Dark Moon – As odd as this may sound, the strongest pull of the dark moon is around 10:00 a.m.  Again, I like to be out at night 🙂 

Goddess Aspect:   Maiden

Dark Moon Godesses:    Hecate, Kali, Morrigan,  Callieach, Banshee,

New Moon Goddesses:  Inanna, Juno

Pagan Holiday: Winter Solstice
Goddess Name: Rosemerta’s Moon
Goddess Energy: Goddesses of growth
Offering: Milk and Honey
Theme: Abundance
Rune: Fehu for abundance, Kenaz for openings, Gebo for love
Tarot Trump: the Fool

Magickal Attributes:   Banishing,  Releasing the Old, Removing Unwanted Negative Energies, Wisdom, Psychic Abilities, Scrying, Reversing Circumstances. Also a great time to cleanse and consecrate your altar tools.

New Beginnings:   Weight loss, Goal setting, Planning, Cleaning, Personal Cleansing, General beginnings and considerations.

Spellwork for:     Starting new ventures, new beginnings, love, romance, health, or job hunting, and creative ventures.

New moon – beauty, health,  self-improvement,  planting gardens,  job hunting,  love and romance.

Dark moon – addictions, change, divorce, enemies, justice, obstacles, quarrels, removal, separation, stopping stalkers and theft.

As you can see, there is sooo much you can do during the New Moon.  Creative ventures to start?  How about working on your Book of Shadows, setting up a witches cupboard, starting a blog, writing spells.  Self-improvement? Being on time, finding balance in your life, exercising more, spending more “me” time.  Because the New Moon is a time for starting a-new, the spells will be very powerful to help you to manifest these types of desires.  Being the New Year, you may have some resolutions you want to stick to…the New Moon energy will help with that too!

The New Moon is a great time to cleanse and consecrate your altar tools, crystals, magickal jewelry etc.  Here is a ritual that I like for doing that.  I have had this ritual for a long time and don’t know where I got it from….Of course where it says (Tool), you will say what it is you are consecrating such as wand, athame, crystal, candle etc.

 Gather supplies needed and tools to be consecrated:

South/Fire…A white candle

West/Water…A chalice of water

North/Earth…A small bowl of salt

East/Air…incense

If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now. Light the candle and the incense. Take the tool or other items you wish to consecrate in your hands, and face north. Pass it over the salt and say:

 Powers of the North, Guardians of the Earth,
I consecrate this (tool) and charge it with your energies.
I purify it this night, and make this tool sacred.
 

 Now, turn to the east and, holding the tool in the smoke of the incense, say:

Powers of the East, Guardians of the Air,
I consecrate this (tool) and charge it with your energies.
I purify it this night, and make this tool sacred.
 

 Next, face the south and pass the tool over the flame of the candle  and speak the words:

Powers of the South, Guardians of Fire,
I consecrate this (tool) and charge it with your energies.
I purify it this night, and make this tool sacred.

Finally, turn to the west, and pass your ritual tool over the cup of water. Say:

Powers of the West, Guardians of Water,
I consecrate this (tool) and charge it with your energies.
I purify it this night, and make this tool sacred.

Face your altar, hold the (tool) to the sky, and speak the words:

I charge this (tool) in the name of Old Ones,
the Ancients, the Sun and the Moon and the Stars.
By the powers of the Earth, of Air, of Fire and of Water
I banish the energies of any previous owners,
and make it new and fresh.
I consecrate this wand,
and it is mine.

So Mote It Be!

Now you’ve not only consecrated the tool, you’ve claimed ownership.

I will also make this Dark Moon oil blend and use it at my altar and on my tools.  Smells delicious!

Dark Moon Oil.

 7 drops Jasmine

      3 drops Chamomile

  3 drops Patchoul

 1 drop Sandalwood

 

New Moon Ritual

    In early societies, the reappearance of the moon was often a cause for celebration – after all, it meant that the dark had passed, and the full moon was on its way back. The following rite is one which welcomes the moon back at the beginning of her cycle.

     First, if your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so at this time. If you don’t normally cast a circle, take the time to ritually purify the area by smudging or asperging. This will establish the space as sacred.

     Perform this ceremony outside if at all possible — it’s the best way to get a good look at the sliver of new moon. You’ll need a moon candle, wrapped in a black cloth, to place on your altar. This is traditionally a white unscented pillar-style candle. You’ll also need a hand-held mirror. Tie some silver and white ribbons on it if you wish. Finally, have a small bowl of Blessing Oil handy.

     Hold this ceremony at sunset if you can. Turn to the west, and watch as the sun goes down (without looking directly at it). Once the sun has dropped below the horizon, you’ll be able to see where the new moon is rising. Once you see the moon in the sky, unwrap the candle. Hold it up high and say:

Welcome back, Moon!
we’re glad to see you again.
Another cycle has passed
another month gone by
and our lives have moved forward.

 

Place the candle on the altar and light it, still facing the moon. Say:

 

 Today is a new day,
and a new month begins.
As the tides flow, and the moon rises above,
we are thankful that She has returned.
She watches over us, ever constant,
yet always changing,
and we are thankful for her light.

   Next, turn to face east, where the sun will rise in the morning. Pick up the mirror and hold it so you can see the new moon behind you. Say:

Bring us your wisdom, your guidance,
your protection, in the coming month.
You are behind me at every step,
watching and guiding me,
and I am thankful.

     Place the mirror back on the altar, beside the moon candle. Take a moment to reflect on your goals. After all, this is a time of new beginnings, and a good time for new commitments and vows. Warm the Blessing Oil over the candle for just a moment, and then anoint your forehead. As you do so, say:

May the blessings of the moon be with me.

     When you are ready, close the circle and end the ritual. If you choose, you can move into healing rites or magical workings, or a Cakes & Ale ceremony.

 

I love this ritual and find it very magickal.  I often call on Hecate to help me at the time of the Dark of the Moon; especially if I’m not clear on my course of action, what I want to focus on or change in my life.  Remember that she is a dark goddess and she is the Goddess of the crossroads.  She will help guide you if asked.  So I hope that each of you will take advantage of the energy during the dark and new moon and see what  changes, new beginnings, or adventures you can manifest in your life.  But don’t forget that you have to do the work as well!  You can’t do a spell to say, bring balance to your life, and then just sit back and hope it will happen.  Asking  the Goddess for help is wonderful, finding the Goddess within you and doing the work yourself..well,  that will make you feel powerful, strong and joyful in your accomplishment.  Perhaps keep a journal of what you are trying to manifest, your goals for achieving it, the work you do to make it happen, and the outcome.  Writing it down will help you to focus and get the job done!

So good luck my friends, and again, New Moon Blessings and Goddess Bless, Autumn

*Sources..I’m afraid I have had this information so long I don’t have my sources..if you know, feel free to tell me.  I appreciate very much whoever wrote them 🙂    Also, these two pictures are from the internet.

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Filed under Book of Shadows, Goddess, New Moons, Oil Blend Recipe, Ritual, Spells