Tag Archives: Book of Shadows

Winter Love……..

Winter is the slow-down
Winter is the search for self
Winter gives the silence you need to listen
Winter goes gray so you can see your own colors…
~Terri Guillemets

 

Merry Meet my friends! How is your New Year going so far?  Is it Winter where you are?  Winter was very slow arriving here in Ohio!  We had crazy warm weather, to the point that plants were re-blooming, grass was green and birds and squirrels were very content to enjoy an extended warm season for gathering.  We had only seen one day of snow flurries in late December…I mean come on!!  🙂  However, finally Winter had arrived with snow and frigid cold and blowing winds and I’m a very happy Witch!  We haven’t had a huge amount of snow, but we did have some accumulation that looked like this:

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Then we warmed up, got rain and washed it all away.  Today, the cold came back and it flurried very prettily.  I love Sundays as many of you who know me, know.  But add snow flurries, the need for a fire in the fireplace, no need to go anywhere, a project to do, something simmering on the stove….and it’s really a Perfect day!!

I’ve been very busy doing my Imbolc cleaning which also involves major purging of unwanted and unneeded items.  It feels so good to see all that “stuff” going out of the house!  I take one room at at a time.  Empty drawers, cupboards, cabinets, closets etc and really sort through.  I find myself getting more brutal about what needs to go  as I go along too.

When we moved to this home three years ago, we came from a much bigger house that held a lot more “stuff”.  We got rid of so much stuff then ….out of necessity of not enough space since we had downscaled.  But after 3 years, as I’m looking through things, I realize there are things I haven’t touched in the 3 years we’ve lived here.  So…out they go!

It’ll take me a while. I’m maybe half way done.  I may not be done by Imbolc but that’s just fine.  I’m actually, unfortunately, having surgery the day before Imbolc so that will slow me down a bit.  I was hoping to be done before my surgery, but I don’t think that will happen.  We shall see 🙂  By the way, I’m fine…just something that needs to be fixed and will take the usual 6 weeks to completely heal, but I’m fine 🙂

So far this Winter, along with Imbolc cleaning, I have read a LOT!  Especially since the holidays were over. I adore getting lost in a book, and I am so happy to have the time to do it to my heart’s content. It looks a lot like this:

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I have also been working on some BOS pages, journaling, working on my herbal course a bit, spending more time with my grandkids who are homeschooled and more available, and really just nesting. I am about to dive into my Witch cupboard to give it a thorough cleaning, cleansing, and re-arranging.  I have bought some gorgeous, new oil bottles and herb jars and I’m anxious to get them set up inside my cabinet..to replace the mish mash of stuff that’s there now 🙂  I can’t wait to start blending oils for each pretty bottle!  I have a list of what I’m making from simple rosemary oil to Sabbat blends to my favorite altar oil.  I so love doing that!  Planning on starting tomorrow!  I’m also going to make some salt blends as well.

Right now, for Winter, the dark time, I’ve got my altar set up to honor my beloved Goddess, Hekate.  I find myself drawn to it several times a day and that is a good thing.  I’ll keep it up until I’m ready to set up my Imbolc altar, which won’t be too long now.

 

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Winter…I know so many who find it to be their least favorite season.  But other than Autumn, I find it to be especially beautiful.  I love hearing the wind blowing.  There is great magick there, in the Air that is either cold, still and quiet, or blowing and frigid.  On quiet nights, I love to stand outside seeing the inky black skies with bright stars, see my breath on the Air, smell the woodsmoke from the chimneys in my neighborhood, see the lights shining in the windows, feel the quiet of the ground beneath my feet.  The silence is often palpable…and beautiful.  I know that Mother Earth is resting, renewing, preparing to awake in the Spring and bring Life back to this wonderful Earth we call Home.

I especially love the trees in Winter.  There is something so mystical about a tree, bare of foliage, standing dark and stark against white snow and dark skies.  Or blue skies for that matter. Either still and quiet, or standing strong against blustery winds and snow. The shadows they cast long over the snow, always catch my eye.  You can feel that they too, are resting, waiting.

In my garden beds, there are still plants that had re-bloomed in our late warm days, and now stand snow covered, withering, but leaving the promise of returning bigger and stronger in the Spring.  Some of the tall ones provide shelter for birds and ground animals which I love.  There is beauty there as well.

Some of my favorite things about Winter?  Fires, woodsmoke, fuzzy socks, a stack of books, coffee or tea or cocoa, colorful scarves and mittens, sleds and ice skates, hot meals in the oven or on the stove, bread baking, soup simmering, hot rum toddies, flannel sheets, piles of blankets, wind blowing, snow falling, candles burning, more time to rest, Moon rises, Sun sets, squirrels gathering, birds feeding, and so so much more.  If you love Winter, you know everything I’m talking about.  If you don’t love Winter, well, I bet you love a lot of the things I’ve talked about.  So maybe Winter isn’t so bad?  But don’t fret, as you know, Spring will indeed come.  And look what has come to my mailbox:

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LOL…I so love my seed catalogs!  And yes, I’m already planting my herbs and flowers in my head.  How about you?

I’ll be back soon with a post for Imbolc and some recipes 🙂  For now, be safe out there, remember to take in the beauty of the season, find something you love to do, and slow down and enjoy!!

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

*All the pictures in this post are my own.

 

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Books, Books I'm reading, Cleaning & Organizing, Family, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Imbolc, Magick, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, New Year, Our Yard, Pagan, Photography, Quote, Sabbat, Seasons, Spring, Uncategorized, Winter, Witch

The Wheel Turns to Yule 2014………..

We begin in the heart of the darkness.  Winter is full upon the Earth; snow veils the landscape, thin trees are brittle with ice, and stars shatter the black mirror of the sky. 

The air is cold, metallic, sharp to breathe; scarves of woodsmoke drift in the sky over rooftops outlined with twinkling lights, and porch lamps gleam from early in the afternoon until long into the night.

-Michele Morgan  “Simple Wicca” 

10849927_814820488561362_7301182543328316093_nMerry Meet my friends! I have been so busy (as I know all of you have been too) that I haven’t had the time or the energy (maybe more the energy lol) to write in my blog.  Yule is the day after tomorrow!!  I’m ready though. How about you? This year my immediate family…hubby, daughters, son-in-law and grandkids are gathering on Yule Sunday for brunch and our opening of gifts. About 5 years ago we decided to meet as a family on a day other than Christmas Day.  This year we opted for Yule as the date. Christmas is then spent with more extended family…grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc.  Other than a few packages yet to wrap and some baking to do tomorrow, I’m ready. How are you doing with your preparations?  Do you have a feast planned?  Family coming over? A more private, solitary day?  Whatever way you celebrate it, I hope that you’ve taken time in the all the busyness to BREATHE!

The Solstice for me…and many Pagans and Witches…is more about a time of quiet contemplation.  Though the Solstice is the first day of Winter, the longest night of the year, it’s also the start of the nights shortening and the days lengthening. Though we have a lot of Winter left, we know that the Wheel turns, the Sun will return and strengthen, and Mother Earth will green and awaken again soon. But in the meantime, the dark time of the year is such a great time for nesting.  To me, nesting is relaxing more, reading more, taking on projects around the house, perhaps writing, painting, working on your book of shadows, crafts, learning something new, and of course hanging by a fire and again….relaxing more. I just seem to have more time (well after the New Year especially) to work on myself a bit too.  To look within, to be silent, to meditate better.  Feeling like I’ve accomplished something over the Winter is always a good thing for me.

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My altar is done…I kept it really simple this year and I think quite elegant. I’ll add more greens tomorrow and of course wine and cakes.  After all my family goes home on Sunday, that evening I’ll have time to spend at my altar.  I’ll be expressing my gratitude for the past year, throwing out what no longer serves or makes me happy, adjusting in my mind attitudes, angers, hurts, and putting out to the Universe (and myself) what I’d like to have happen in my life in the coming New Year.  Now as a Witch, I did some of this at Samhain, the Witches’ New Year. But the New Year calendar- wise…well, it doesn’t hurt to reinforce it. Sometimes I take time to re-dedicate myself to my Path as well.  It’s a quiet, solitary ritual that I enjoy very much.  Especially in the middle of all the hoopla, chaos, drama, fatigue, over-eating, over-drinking, busyness that is the holidays!!!

On Yule night…light lots of candles and bring in the greens!  Sweep out the old, usher in the new, spend quiet time, contemplate, read, relax….and know that you’ll have time to do this more over the next few months. Maybe a good snow will come and force you to stay in and that’s even better!  In a few days, if you celebrate it, Christmas will be here and gone as well…then the New Year.  Then Winter will be here in all it’s cold, stark beauty, and you can take a deep breath and say…..AAAAHHHHH!!!  I know for many, seasonal depression can set in.  Try to find something that interests you, makes you happy. Be alone when you need it and with friends and family when you need that. Be kind to yourself. Find the good things in your Life and hold on to them.  Spring will come again..it always does.

Have a very Blessed Yule my friends.  May the Mighty Ones bestow you with Peace, Love and Joy this Yuletide Season.

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Christmas, Family, Quote, Winter, Yule, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

Imbolc Altar and my Book of Shadows……

Merry Meet my friends!  Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend.  Imbolc is just a few days away.  As I have posted here, I have been busy with my cleaning and organizing and getting ready to invite the Celtic Goddess Brighid into our home and to celebrate the coming of Spring.  Monday, I will do the more “everyday” cleaning like dusting and sweeping and wiping down bathrooms etc.  Tuesday I will smudge the house good.  Wednesday..Imbolc..which is also the New Moon by the way….I will spend time celebrating with my family.  That night I will be doing a ritual and lighting candles all over the house..and throwing open the doors to invite Brighid and all the good that Her coming brings. 

When I posted about Imbolc on a previous blog post, I wrote all the correspondences for this Sabbat.  When I put together my altar..I kept those in mind of course.  My altar cloth was a simple white cotton cloth.  I threw a green scarf across it to represent Brighid’s Mantle.  I then put all the tools that are always on my altar, my athame, wand, cauldron, elemental representative of candle, incense, salt and blessed water.  My pentacle tile and statues of Gaia and Greenman which are definitely appropriate for Imbolc. 

I then added my Goddess/God candles..red and my Fire candle is also red.  I place crystals of  Amethyst, bloodstone, garnet, onyx, moonstone, and red jasper. I have a gorgeous cherry quartz point in the center of my candles.   I have a bit of sunflower seeds and some healing herbs there as well.   I have a printed picture of Brighid in her Maiden aspect..beautiful as I picture her.  A poetry book to represent her being the Goddess of poetry.  Silver candlesticks and celtic symbol to represent her being the Goddess of smithcraft and honoring her being Celtic (as am I!).  My potted daffodils and   cakes and ale will be added when I’m ready to work at my alter.  I’m making the Lemon Poppyseed Bread I posted here..and I’m going to have spiced wine to drink.  I also have added 7 tealight candles in red and white…those are for  one of the rituals I’ll be doing Imbolc night…along with some special sisters of mine.  I look forward to working at this beautiful altar which I find magickal and beautiful. 🙂 After looking at this, I realize I forgot my lamb statue..I’ll add that in also..remember Imbolc means  ewe’s milk. 

I have been spending time when I can adding to my Book of Shadows…it seems to be a never ending process.  I am always adding information from books I’m reading, or from my facebook friends or from groups I belong to on facebook, and from the internet.  I DO use my computer to make up my pages.  Now I know that can be a controversy…many will say it should be all handwritten.  But my BOS is a very beautiful, fairly expensive book..and I have terrible handwriting…I want not only for me to easily read what is there..but I plan on passing down this book to my children and grandchildren and  I want them to be able to read it as well.  I love being able to change the fonts, the print size, add pics and flourishes.  There is some of my handwriting in the book..I make notations, add info etc in my own hand. 

Here is my BOS and a few examples of some of my favorite pages………

These are just a few of the pages I’ve done….I am getting more creative as I go along 🙂

When I look at my altar and my Book of Shadows…I feel so much pride and inspiration.  I try to live my life everyday in a way that speaks to my soul, that makes me happy, that honors the Divine, Mother Earth, the Elements.  I am proud of my path! Being a Witch, discovering my true self…has been Goddess sent…I am soo blessed to have the joy of all that this path I’m on entails.  I know so many of you know exactly how I feel.  When my day isnt’ the best day, or my mood is poor, or I feel overwhelmed,  all I have to do is have a sit at my altar, or go outside.  Light a candle, or grab a crystal.  I can read one of any beautiful inspiring quotes or poems in my BOS or just connect with the Goddess by sitting quiet and listening for Her message.  And then there’s the Moon! Ahh the Moon…how wonderful that we are so aware of Her mysteries, Her energy, Her power.  How wonderful to be a Witch!

Blessed Be, Autumn

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Herbs, gardening and stones…….

After about 10 days of rain and dark gray skies, the sun has finally come out, the ground is drying up and it feels like summer!….

This weekend my hubby and I were finally able to start planting, weeding, mulching etc.  I love going to the garden centers and walking thru the aisles looking for just the right thing!  So far we chose marigolds, red and blue salvia, dianthus, speedwell, shasta daisys, impatience and of course, more lavender!  These are in various beds around the house.  This year I planted my herbs early from seed, in little pots I kept in a sunny window.  I planted about 15 different herbs.  Some grew, some didn’t.  So for the ones that didn’t sprout from seed, I went and bought them at the garden center.  For my herbs I planted, lavender, catnip, oregano, chives, cilantro, basil, sage, lemon balm, parsley, marjoram and mint.  I just realized tonight though that I forgot thyme so I’m gonna have to go back and get some, got to have that! 

We also bought seeds for sunflowers so we have free feed for the birds in the late summer, early fall..plus we get to enjoy them all summer!  We bought a new bird feeder that is supposed to be squirrel proof but I’m not sure its working! LOL..I don’t mind feeding the squirrels and chipmunks either!  We have plans to remove some ugly bushes I hate and put in peonies and hydrangeas!  I love mapping out the improvements along with the yearly stuff we always do! 

Lets see, what else is going on..I am reading “the Craft of the Wild Witch” by Poppy Palin and love it so far.  She writes very well and I’m learning alot.  I just finished reading the first 7 books of the House of Night series..so good!  Now, I know these books are aimed at teens and at 52 years old I’m most definitely not a teen..but they are good books and I read all 7 in about a week..I just couldn’t put them down! LOL..now, alas, I have to wait for the 8th which doesn’t come out until January of next year I think!  :(….I have been encouraged by some witchy friends of mine (you all know who you are! )  to read the Sweep series so I’ve got the first two and will be starting them…I love to read and will read just about anything! LOL! 

I’ve also been working on my BOS..that is alot of work and always in progress but I really love working on it..its coming out just like I pictured it would!  I have so much fun going thru my witchy books and planning out the pages I want to keep in my book and finding pics to put with it..very creative!

Thursday is the Full Moon..I love the full moon every month.  Its really a special time for me.  This one I think is going to be extra bright..it already is a bright light moon and its not full yet!  I plan on doing a Full ritual this month.  I usually keep it simple, light a candle, and re-cleanse and energize my crystals, tools and jewelry in the moonlight.  This month I’m going to take advantage of the warmer weather and spend some time, outside, really communing with my Goddess. 

This has been a bad week too in that I lost an Aunt and am now losing an old friend who is too young to die.  At these times I realize even more how we are put here to love each other, to love life, and live it to the fullest!!  Blessings to both of them and their families as they start a new journey.  May their path be lit by Moonlight as is mine…..

Blessed Be, Autumn

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Storm moon….

Tonight is the full moon of March ..this year called the Storm Moon.  I unfortunately can’t see the moon as we are under a very cloudy, dark, dismal sky all day today and continuing into the night.  Tomorrow its supposed to clear up and the sun is coming out and its warming up..so I’ll be doing my full moon spellwork tomorrow night, out on my porch.

I like to recharge my crystals and silver jewelry in the light of the full moon.  I also will be making up some Blessed Water.  I bought a beautiful bottle to put it in and can’t wait to use it.  The Storm Moon is perfect for performing cleansing, purification and healing spells too.  So putting your altar ritual tools out in the moonlight will cleanse and purify them until the next full moon.

The best news I have to tell you is that I finally received my beautiful Book of Shadows from Witches Moon.  It took 7 months which seemed like forever but it was well worth the wait!  My book is everything I dreamed it would be and more.  It looks aged, it smells great, the paper and leather are awesome and my triquetra on the binding looks amazing. I have started working on getting my pages I’ve worked on for months in the book, deciding what goes where etc.  It’s going to take a while but I believe my Book will be a a real heirloom to pass down to my grandchildren in time and something I’ll be proud of and cherish.  I’ve also now ordered a smaller version of it for a herb book..hope it doesn’t take 7 months for it to get here!  I ordered one for my daughter Willow also.  She is still waiting for her book of shadows to come..my other daughter Luna, sister Teagan have received their books now too.  Poor Willow, she ordered hers first and its still not here! 

Today I got my herbs planted in the little paper pots, made up cute little herb markers and got them in the window where the Sun comes shining in the mornings.  Can’t wait to see how they start sprouting.  I’ll plant them in large patio pots probably around Beltane (May 1).  I planted a few veggies too but mostly herbs.  How wonderful it’ll be to go out and pick my own fresh herbs for cooking and for spellwork.

Well, thats it for now..Have a blessed Full Moon..Autumn

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A rainy morning…..

After a week of beautiful sunny weather and warm temperatures..even hit 64 one day….this morning though cooler, mid 40’s, and raining, it feels like Mother Earth is waking up and spring is on the way!  The rain has washed away that last piles of dirty snow and washed the muddy roads, parking lots and driveways.  There is a green glow this morning, tulips are pushing up, the crabapple trees are budding, the grass looks greener etc.  Our bird feeder is experiencing lower volumes meaning they are finding food elsewhere now.  Our goldfish in our pond are awake and swimming.  All good signs of Spring!  While I know we may still have some cold weather and another snow is always possible, all these signs along with Daylight Savings Time today gives my soul a lift that Winter is over.

March 20 is Ostara, the first official day of Spring.  The day and night are equal and then the sun gets stronger and the day gets longer.  I’ve loved the sun coming up early in the morning but will enjoy even more the evening staying lighter longer.  For Ostara, we will be coloring eggs.  The house is decorated as much as I usually do.  I have a kitchen altar, a wreath on the front door, and my Sacred altar are all decorated for Ostara with eggs, bunnies, lambs, and the appropriate crystals etc.  Isn’t it funny how the symbols for Ostara are the same for Easter?  You know of course that’s because the early Christians set it up that way to give the Pagans something from their celebration of Ostara.  Our family will celebrate Easter also..because of our extended family and their beliefs.  My little grandaughter will have her egg hunt probably on Ostara and Easter as all the family wants to participate in that!  It will be adorable!  Can’t wait.

Pagans believe that in Spring, The Goddess and the God become lovers and equals and the Goddess will become pregnant.  This brings forth the abundance of Spring, flowers, trees blooming, birth of baby animals, longer days and food from the earth.  It is a joyous time after the long Winter.  So long walks are in order, being outside and watching and listening to the earth coming alive.  Feel the warm breezes on your face, dance in the rain, plan or plant your garden and herbs, raise your arms in praise to the Goddess and God for the wheel of the year turning once more.  It is a Blessing!

Also a wonderful thing happened this week!  My unbelievably awesome Book of Shadows from Witches Moon finally got here!  I waited 7 months but it was well worth the wait!  I got the Practical Magic book..it has two sections and flips over to open the other side..one section has 300 pages of aged parchment, the other has 200.  The leather is red/brown and very aged and old looking, the inside cover lining  is maroon/black/brown marbled and it has 5 long copper ribbons.  It smells heavenly, like lavendar and rose.  It is the ultimate Book of Shadows and I can’t wait to get my pages I’ve been working on for months, in the book.  I’m thrilled with it!

Bright Blessings,

Autumn

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“Wicked”……

So last night my daughter Luna, sister Teagan my mom and I went to see Wicked on stage…all I can say is it was awesome!!  I love the Broadway shows and have seen several but this show by far was my favorite!  The two main actresses who played Elphaba and GAAAA linda!   were amazing…they sang and acted beautifully and you could see that there was a real friendship between them..not just the one they were acting out.  Something I didn’t expect was how funny it was…it was really hilarious..so joyful to watch.  The crowd’s reactions were so great and a resounding “Approval” by everyone!  Sure wish I could see it again but I think its sold out…darn it.

My daughter Luna has wanted to see it forever and watching her enjoy it made my night..it made me happy to be able to give her that night and that memory.  We will see it again for sure when it comes back or will travel to other cities close by to see it. 

The only thing I will say that made the night not “perfect”..was my mother.  She is such a negative, critical person.  All she could do was talk about herself, criticize everyone around her for what they were wearing, or their big belly, or their short skirts or whatever!  I just about could have smacked her..she was somewhat blase about the show too…so frustrating.  Thats the last time I take her to something like that!  I despise negativity and try very hard not to be negative myself.  It is a horrible vibe to have around you and very difficult to shrug off..especially when its my own mother and I can’t  NOT see her!   LOL..She goes to church every sunday and claims to be Christian, but putting down other people for their looks or whatever doesn’t seem very Christian to me. I grew up with her and should be used to it but I keep thinking as she ages she’ll soften but if anything she has gotten worse…oh well, I don’t need to go into all that and I refuse to let her ruin the lovely night at the show!

Today I am working on some pages for my Book of Shadows based on “The Book of Witchery” by Ellen Dugan.  I’ve said it in the past and I highly recommend her book.  Its about the Correspondences for the days of the week and it’s a plethora of information!  I love doing the pages for my Book so its a good day.

Have a good wednesday friends,

Blessed Be,

Autumn

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