Category Archives: Sunrise/Sunset

The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2016……

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Butter Crust Beer Bread

2 cups self-rising flour

3 Tbs sugar

12 oz regular beer (not light)

1/4 cup butter, melted

 

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

 

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Cheesy Mushroom Caps

8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

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

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 tsp garlic salt

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

1/2 cup butter, melted.

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

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

Enjoy!!

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

 

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

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

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

“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,

ripening fields lush-bright with promise;

Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing

Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn”

      -Michelle L. Thieme, August’s Crown-

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Family, Flowers, Full Moons, Gardens, God, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Midsummer, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Ostara, Pagan, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Sabbat, Seasons, Summer, Sun, Sunrise/Sunset, Uncategorized, Witch

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

 

 

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

-Selena Fox “Saturnalia” 

 

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

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

 

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My elderberry syrup brewing

 

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

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

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My Yule Altar 2015

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

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

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

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My hearth fires burning

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

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

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

Love and Blessings, Autumn

 

 

 

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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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Blessed Summer Solstice 2012……

 

Merry Meet my friends.  It’s here..the Summer Solstice.   I got up early to greet the Sun God as He rose on this, the longest day of the year.  I welcomed him with great joy and a grateful heart and was reminded that no matter what we go thru….The Sun and the Moon always Rise…and Set..and keep the Wheel and Mother Earth turning on and on.   I wish you all a very Happy Solstice..whichever one you celebrate today…Winter or Summer….May you and yours have a Blessed one!

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Love and Light, Autumn

PS…this picture was taken from my own front porch this morning 🙂

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Filed under God, Holiday, Litha/Summer Solstice, Mother Earth, Nature, Photography, Quote, Summer, Sunrise/Sunset

Summer Solstice Recipes 2012…..

Hello everyone!  Hope this posting finds you all either enjoying heading towards Summer or heading towards Winter!  🙂  Here in Ohio we are obviously heading for Summer but it is always so much fun to see my “southern hemisphere” friends talking about cold, blustery winter days by the fire.  It is a reminder to me always about the turning of the Wheel and Mother Earth.

We have had both a very HOT June and a very cool June so far.  I have enjoyed the cooler days as those who know me or read my blog know I’m not big on hot weather.  But I do love Summer.  Though I’m still recovering from my illness, I have done some planting of herbs and flowers, watering, a bit of weeding and taking as much time with my feet on Mother Earth as possible.  The nights have been amazing!  We had a long spell of no rain..so the skies have been full of stars and a beautiful waxing, Full and now waning Moon.  She has been low in the sky, orange, then bright and huge!  I have basked in her healing energy, sent out healing and protection to others, and tried to come to terms with things that have happened in my life in recent weeks.  With the Goddess’s help..I have done just that.  I am grateful for all the good things in my life, the people who I love and who love me back, and to follow a Path that helps me to ground and keep myself positive and joyful.

We had a good, long rain today..much needed!  Our grass, flowers, herbs and critters that share our spaces with us enjoyed it very much.  I watched robins bathing in our koi ponds, the frogs are croaking happily, birds singing, and chipmunks scurrying this evening.  As I type this, the Sun has set into twilight and I’m waiting for the lightning bugs to put on their magickal show.  It is a bit sticky and humid tonight but I’ll be on the porch anyway in a bit to watch them 🙂

Sooo…for me and my family, Summer is about family get togethers, good food, being outside, and relaxing and playing!   Cooking is all about cold sides with hot grilled goodies.  I’ve been perusing cookbooks, cooking magazines and my own recipe box, looking for a few more recipes to celebrate the Solstice. I even pulled out my grandma’s recipe box this week.  I love seeing her old, yellowed, handwritten recipe cards.  It makes me feel close to her again as I learned so much at her side about cooking and gardening.  So I’ve put together a few recipes that speak Summer to me that I thought you would enjoy too.  Remember to take advantage of farmer’s markets, produce stands,  your local grocer, and your own garden for fresh veggies, fruits and herbs to make everything just a little bit better 🙂

 

 

Watermelon Fruit Salad

1/4 cup Agave nectar

1/4 cup water

4 cups cubed, seedless watermelon

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup cubed pineapple

1 cup diced kiwi

1 cup mango

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 lime, juiced

Garnish:  fresh mint

In a large bowl, combine agave nectar and 1/4 cup water. Blend well.  Add all the rest of the ingredients.  Toss gently.  Refrigerate.

 

 

Pineapple-Honey Chicken Kabobs

*this is a favorite recipe of mine I made up years ago after having them at Fridays restaurant..who doesn’t serve them anymore..so light and good!  Now I have no measurements..sorry..I just throw these together.

Kabob sticks  …2-3 for each person if adults

chicken breast cut into 2 inch pieces

pineapple cut into 2 inch pieces

green and/or red peppers cut into pieces

skewer the chicken, pineapple and peppers onto the sticks.

Marinate in a mixture of pineapple juice, honey and soy sauce.  Sorry, no measurements and it doesn’t matter. It will turn out great!  You want enough juice to cover the kabobs…put in about 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup soy ..that might do it 🙂  Place the kabobs in a dish big enough to hold the kabobs covered in the marinade.  Let marinade about 4 hours or more.

Grill the kabobs on med. heat until chicken is well cooked.  Serve with honey as a dip or peanut sauce which is my favorite dip for these yummy kabobs!  Really good with a cole slaw and oven fried potatoes! Or with this salad recipe below….

 

 

Bok Choy Salad 

1 large head Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 large Bok Choy, ends cut off, chopped

2 pkgs crumbled ramen noodles

Mix together in a large salad bowl.

In a pan, brown…. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 TB butter

Add to salad greens and noodles.

Top with 2 cans of drained mandarin oranges

Dressing:

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 TB soy sauce

Toss dressing in salad just before serving!

*This would also be good with fresh sliced strawberries!

 

 

 

Red Potato Salad

3 pounds red new potatoes

4 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 Tb minced red onion

1/3 cup white vinegar

3 Tb sweet pickle relish

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 cup canola oil

In a large saucepan, place potatoes.  Cover with water 2 inches above potatoes.  Bring to a boil; cook until tender, 15-20 mins.  Drain and let potatoescool.  (peel if you’d like).  Coarsely chop.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, celery, parsley, and onion.  In a small bowl, combine vinegar, pickle relish, salt and pepper; slowly whisk in oil.  Drizzle over potato mixture; toss well.  Cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 

 

Chocolate Chess Pie

*I happen to think chocolate is good all year round :))

1/2 (14.1 oz) pkg refrigerated piecrust

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 (5oz) can evaporated milk

1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

3 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup whipped cream

Preheat oven to 375*.  Unroll piecrust, and fit into a shallow 9-inch pie plate; flute edges as desired.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and eggs; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.  Add milk, butter, cocoa, and vanilla, beating until smooth.  Pour into prepared pie pan.

Bake until a knife inserted near the edge comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Top with whipped cream.

 

 

Slush

*This recipe comes from my hubby’s Aunt Betty.  It is a delicious cold grown up slushy :)) I make this up in a big bowl and keep it in the freezer all summer long.  So good on the porch on hot nights!

2 6-oz cans frozen orange juice, thawed

2 6-oz cans frozen lemonade, thawed

9 cups water

3 cups rum, gin or vodka ..not all 3..just 3 cups of one of them LOL

1 Tb instant tea

1 3/4 cups sugar

Mix all ingredients and freeze.

To serve, fill glass half full with slush.  Add a clear soda like 7-up, Sprite or Sierra Mist.

 

Summer is a time for fresh corn on the cob with herbed butter, sliced tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and italian dressing, grilled peaches and pineapple on vanilla ice cream, juicy burgers and sticky baked beans.  Potato and pasta salads, strawberry shortcakes, homemade ice creams, fresh watermelon or canteloupes and lots of water, lemonade and iced tea!  Oh and did I mention my favorite?  BLT sandwiches with fresh, home grown lettuce and ripe, juicy tomatoes and crusty bread..yummy!!!

Make Summer fun..try new recipes…use your herbs to brighten up the taste of your old stand-by recipes. Make fresh juice popsicles for the kids or make ice cream with the old fashioned crank ice cream makers.  I have so many wonderful memories of my family doing that.  Have a picnic, a cook-out or a romantic, under-the-Moon dinner outdoors.  Put candles in mason jars,  cut flowers from your garden and place them in a vase on the table, play some Jimmy Buffet or ocean sounds music and just enjoy the view of a Summer night sky.   Summer is just 3 short months..enjoy every moment of it!  My favorite thing to do to honor the Sun God, is to be up as the Sun rises and have a glass of fresh juice or a cup of coffee and just be grateful for the turning of the wheel, the God and Goddess, and all the blessings in my Life.   Blessed Summer Solstice to you all.

Then followed that beautiful season… Summer…. Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;

 and the landscape Lay as if new; created in all the freshness of childhood.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*To look for more recipes from the last 2 years of blog posts or any other info for the Solstice, just do a word search on the gadget to the right.  Type in Litha, or Summer Solstice or MidSummer and see what shows up 🙂

*Sources..all pics are from the internet…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Family, Gardens, God, Goddess, Litha/Summer Solstice, Quote, Seasons, Summer, Sunrise/Sunset

Season of Yule 2011 Begins…….

Merry Meet friends!  I would imagine many of you..like me..are very busy this weekend.  Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I’m in the midst of planning the meal, cleaning house,  grocery shopping, cooking and baking….all while having the first flu bug I’ve had in 5 years! But I love this time of year so I’m plugging along  🙂 Thanksgiving is just a simple traditional meal with my family and extended family.  Easy and laid back and I give Thanks for the blessings in my life.  This year, it also happens to be my granddaugther, Lily’s 3rd birthday, so we’ll be celebrating that as well!  Happy Birthday Lily darlin!!

 

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,

for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:

 it is the time for home.”

 ~Edith Sitwell

 I love Winter and after a beautiful Autumn, I’m ready for it to be here.  I love everything about this time of year.  The hustle and bustle of busy stores and restaurants.  The music piped in the stores and thru the radio and blaring in my home.  I love the first snowfall and anticipate it coming every year.  Sweaters, coats, scarves and mitten…so colorful and cheerful to see.  The shops all decked out in lights and greens and trees! It’s cooking and baking goodies to give as gifts and to stock the cookie jar.   Making plans with family and friends for Yule parties or  lunches out or seeing a movie together.   Shopping for gifts I know my loved ones want or need and doing my best to make it a beautiful time of year for those I love the most. I feel alot of joy this time of year!

The Winter Solstice though, to me,  is a whole different thing.  Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year,  is about quiet, peace, introspection.  It’s time with family.  It’s a nice dinner with lots of candlelight throughout the house.  It’s about lighting the Yule log and watching it burn.  I spend time contemplating the last year and what I’d like to change in my life in the next year. It’s spiced wine under the Moon and if I’m lucky it’s softly snowing. It’s spending time at my altar in solitude.  My altar will be bright with candlelight and greens and I’ll welcome the coming of the Sun God because though there is still a long winter ahead of us, we know the warmth of the Sun will return.  Yule, the Winter Solstice….is pure magick!

Picture this….The first snows have fallen and cover the earth. The nights are dark, the air is cold and sharp, trees are bare, smoke is pouring out of chimneys, the windows in our homes spill light from our warm, candlelit rooms onto the cold, snowy ground outside.  Our  homes are decorated with twinkling lights and fragrant greens and candles everywhere. A tree covered in glass globes and beloved ornaments stands in the corner. Perhaps cider or wine is warming on the stove. You may be sitting in your easy chair, soft wooly socks on your feet, a blanket thrown over you, a fire burning in your fireplace, a good book on your lap. soft music playing or a favorite christmas movie playing. It’s the Winter Solstice Night. *sigh*  🙂

Yule Correspondences

*Element– Earth

*Threshold– Dawn

*Symbolism– Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, TheWinter Solstice, introspection,  death of the Holly King (Winter), reign of the Oak King (summer), night of the greatest lunar imbalance, death & rebirth of the Sun God, shortest day of the year.

*Symbols/Tools/Decorations– Yule log, evergreen boughs and wreaths, holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, bayberry candles, lights, gifts, candles, clove studded fruit, wassail, Christmas cactus.

*Herbs– Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense, holly, laurel ,mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, cedar, moss, bay, ginger, juniper, myrrh, pinecones, rosemary, chamomile, cinnamon.

*Incense/Oils– Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, wintergreen, hollyberry

*Colors– Red, green, gold, white, silver,

*Stones/Crystals– Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds, cat’s eye

*Customs/Activities– Caroling, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging presents, kissing under the mistletoe, feasting, wassailing, burning candles, ringing bells, honoring Father Yule, family and friend bonding, generosity.

*Foods– Nuts, apples, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pears, ginger tea, roasted turkey, fruitcake, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine, pork dishes.

*Gods– Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, the Oak King, The Green Man, Jesus,

*Goddesses– Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaia, Diana, The Great Mother, Mary

*Spellworking/Rituals– Peace, harmony, love, happiness, personal renewal, meditation, honoring family and friends, Festival of light.

The above correspondences will be a help to you for decorating your home, setting up your altar, and for ideas on how to celebrate Yule.  I was raised celebrating Christmas and raised my children the same way…though it was secular..not religious for us.  It was about Santa, presents, family fun…. christmas cards, movies, music. It was secrets, and wrapping, and sneaking peeks, The Night Before Christmas, Rudolf and Frosty. It was shopping, and caroling (yes, caroling), cookie baking, laying under the lit tree in the dark, looking at the beauty of the lights and shiny ornaments.  It was time with grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles.   To this day we celebrate Christmas with our extended family.  But celebrating Yule, in this house, has enriched our lives with so much more. It is truly a beautiful, magickal time and I really look forward to it.  So as you are curled up in your jammies in your favorite chair, perhaps internet shopping or making lists or watching a holiday movie….start thinking about how you can honor this Sabbat..in a different way then the typical “Christmas” day you may have celebrated as a child. If you have always celebrated Yule..I truly envy you for being raised in such a wonderful magickal way! I wish I had been.

My family likes to do a one! gift exchange that night…something witchy for our cupboard…to make the night even more fun!  Smudge sticks, incense, crystal or stones, essential oils, dried herbs and even a piece of jewelry are favorites to give and receive 🙂  We also like to think of the birds and critters who are holing up for Winter…put out nuts, fruits, birdseed…keep a water supply for them.  We love to do up an outdoor tree with bird seed “ornaments” and cereal “garlands” and watch all the activity it brings 🙂 We make a Yule log centerpiece for our altars.  A piece of white birch, 3 holes drilled to hold a red, green and gold candle, then decorated with holly, greens, star tinsil, berries, ribbon..whatever you like.  Mine is always on my altar throughout the Season. Other ways to celebrate….. Burn bayberry candles for prosperity, or write wishes on bay leaves and throw them into the fire. Bake cookies or bread using cinnamon, a traditional spice representing the Sun. Make a wreath to symbolize the Wheel of the Year, and decorate it with pinecones to represent the God and fruit to represent the Goddess. Spray pinecones with “snow” or glitter, attach a red or green or gold ribbon and hang it on your tree.  Don’t forget the mistletoe, holly and ivy…traditional greens for the Solstice.  Lots and lots of candles are a must!  Burn your dried herbs from your garden in your fireplace to scent the room.  Anyway you can bring nature into your home..do it 🙂 

This is a Winter Sunrise from my porch last Winter!

There is one other thing I love to do for the solstice, on the morning after the longest night of the year, I like to either stay up or get up and watch the sunrise and toast the returning Sun King with spiced cider or a good hot cup of coffee! Welcome Him back and enjoy the feel of the cold morning Air! 

I’ll be back soon with recipes, altar pics and any thoughts I feel like writing about 🙂  During this busy time, take the time to BREATHE!  Don’t get overwhelmed so much that you don’t enjoy this holiday season yourself.  Take care of yourself first so you can care for your loved ones.  Enlist help when needed and always remember to connect with Mother Earth..She will give you energy renewed everytime. Oh and I’ll be back in a few days with a Thanksgiving greeting too! 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

Sources- My BOS, one pic is mine..the rest from the internet, my words 🙂

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Filed under Correspondence, Family, God, Goddess, Granddaughter, Holiday, Mother Earth, Photography, Seasons, Sunrise/Sunset, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

The beach and the Harvest Moon……

“At the beach, life is different.

Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment.

 We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.”

 – Anonymous

 

 

Merry Meet my friends!  Tomorrow evening…my entire family…hubby, 2 daughters, son-in-law, 2 grandkids,  2 friends and myself…are heading off to the Beach for a week of fun in the Sun, sand and ocean!  We are all so excited, busy getting ready still, and looking forward to it so much.  It’s been about 4 years since we’ve had a trip to Florida and we feel it’s about time that we did it again. 🙂 

There will be a lot of walking on the beach, building sand castles with the kids, tanning, swimming, reading by the pool,  delicious dinners out of fresh fish, crab legs, clams etc, lots of adult beverages LOL..falling asleep to the soothing mystical sounds of the ocean,  and making memories as a family.  My  witchy daughters and I are especially excited about the fact that the Full Harvest Moon will be shining on us the first couple nights we arrive!  To spend time with the Moon Goddess, beside the deep blue ocean and standing on a sandy beach ….is going to be so magickal and special and something I know we will never forget.  We plan to enjoy Her every night!  

 The beach is also a place where it is easy to find all four Elements;  right there for our use… when drawing down the Moon….the cool sand is Earth, warm ocean breezes is Air, the Sun is Fire, and the ocean of course is Water.  If the Sun has gone down…candles will work 🙂  We plan on calling on those elements, working with them to call good things to us while there.  Protection for the trip home, love, an abundance of memories, and spells to express our gratitude for the beauty around us and the Spirit of the Goddess within us.  I get all goosebumpy just thinking about the magick that will be swirling within and without our Circle. It will be a very special memory indeed.

Vacations are hard to come by these days…it’s expensive and the economy and jobs situation is bad.  I know how blessed we are to be able to go this year.  I am writing about our trip not to rub it in or brag about it, but to remind everyone of the beauty of Mother Earth, the beauty that is around us..no matter where we are.  I love the beach…there are many many people who have access to a beach everyday..go there!  My soul soars when I’m in the mountains of Tennessee….if you live near a mountain, go there!  My own backyard gives me great joy and peace….but I have to get up and go out there to enjoy it.  Maybe there is a lovely lake, a woods, a meadow, a garden, a hidden spot that you love and makes you feel connected to the Earth..GO THERE and do it often!  I find when life is getting too stressful, chaotic, busy…that people around me are getting on my nerves, making me grumpy, or I just feel out of sorts….I have to connect with Nature…to let all my cares and woes sink down into the Earth or be carried away on the wind.  I always feel better after grounding and centering in Nature.  How about you??  What works for you..to calm yourself, to lift your spirits?  Whatever it is…do it! 

So for now I will say good bye for a few days….I will love every minute of being with my family in a beautiful place…and I will look forward to coming back  to the place I love the most…Home.  After all, that is where all of YOU are…my friends!  To my wonderful sisters and brothers of the craft..you all KNOW who you are…..I will send out a Blessing for you..on the Harvest Moon night!

With much love, Autumn

 

 

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Filed under Daughters, Family, Full Moons, Goddess, Grandchildren, Mother Earth, Nature, Quote, Sunrise/Sunset