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The Wheel Turns to Imbolc 2016……

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” 
–  Stanley Crawford

 

imagesMerry Meet!  I hope this writing finds you doing well.  There has been some crazy weather everywhere.  Big snowstorms, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes..you name it..it’s been out there.  We’ve had none of that lol.  As a matter of fact, we’ve had very little snow, still, which is unusual for Ohio and we are warming up into the 50’s for the next few days.  But, still, I know Imbolc comes.  If you truly watch nature..the rising and setting of Moon and Sun, the habits of birds and critters, the trees and plants…you know.

I have been a very busy Witch preparing for Imbolc.  It’s been all about a serious purging of un-wanted and un-needed items from this house.  It feels so good to have less things taking up space in drawers, closets and cupboards. Even knick knacks, things hanging on the walls, and old throw rugs and blankets are going.  I can’t recommend this enough.  I’ve talked about it before, and I’ve done it many times.  But this is the MOST I’ve ever done.  I truly believe I could become almost a minimalist lol.  It’s a great way to cleanse and clean to prepare for Imbolc and well…just Spring cleaning if you prefer.

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I’m unfortunately having that surgery Monday, so I’ll be celebrating Imbolc on Sunday. Imbolc by the way is February 2.  There will be a fire, lots of candles, a feast, and offerings.  I do honor Brighid for this, Her Sabbat, and will do both altar work and another ritual I’ve talked about before.  Before midnight I turn off all the lights in the house and have lots of candles going throughout.  At midnight, I throw open the doors, invite Brighid to come in and bring all the good things that She does…protection, craftsmanship, prosperity, inspiration, healing, growth, renewal and light.  She is always welcome on my Path and in my home.  I then use my broom to sweep out all the negative, old, stale energy from my home and turn on lights as I go along to each room.  It’s such a lovely ritual, gives me a sense of peace and joy. I will often read a bit of poetry, be sure to wear my silver jewelry, and send out healing energy to those I love in need.  Brighid is an amazing Goddess.  If you aren’t familiar with Her, you might want to be.  I’m reading the book “Tending Brighid’s Flame” by Lunea Weatherstone and highly recommend it! You’ll learn a LOT!

The foods that represent Imbolc are seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flax, sesame. Also raisins, dairy foods, spicy foods, pork, lamb, spiced wines, breads, cakes, muffins, pancakes, scones etc. I would add anything made with milk as Imbolc means “ewe’s milk.”   I’ve posted lots of recipes for all the Sabbats, including Imbolc.  To find them, just use the search box on the right side of this page and type in Imbolc recipes or Imbolc.   I thought I’d share a few more here.

 

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Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400*. In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk. In a small bowl, combine the egg, brown sugar and oil; stir in oat mixture. Combine the dry ingredients; stir into batter just until moistened. Fold in raisins.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Yield: 1 dozen.

 

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Slow Cooked Hot Spiced Wine

2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
3 whole cloves
2 bottles (750 milliliters each) dry red wine
3 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place cinnamon sticks and cloves on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string.

In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine remaining ingredients. Add spice bag. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings

 

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Honey Wheat Sunflower Bread

2 cups warm water (120° to 130°)
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted sunflower kernels

In a bowl, combine the water, 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, yeast and sugar. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. (Mixture will be spongy.)
Stir in the whole wheat flour, oats, milk powder, butter, honey and salt; mix well. Stir in sunflower kernels and as much of the remaining all-purpose or bread flour as you can with a spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
Punch down and divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into two loaves; place in two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Cover with foil; bake 15 minutes longer. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

My recommendation…make soup with the breads!  Especially nice on a snowy day, or your Imbolc cleaning day or even just for the day itself.  For some great soup recipes, you’ll find them in that search I talked about for Imbolc 🙂 There is nothing better than the scent of soup and warm baked bread on a Winter day…truly.

I wish you all a very blessed Imbolc for you and your loved ones.  May the rest of Winter be kind to you, may you find peace and joy in the quiet times, and know that Spring isn’t too far away.

 

“I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was not other creature
That saw what I could see,
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.”
– Sara Teasdale, February Twilight

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Books, Books I'm reading, Cleaning & Organizing, Correspondence, Goddess, Holiday, Imbolc, Mother Earth, Nature, Pagan, Protection, Quote, quotes, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Ritual, Sabbat, Seasons, Uncategorized, Winter, Witch

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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Mabon, Super Moons and Odds and Ends……

IMG_1360Merry Meet!  As I write this, it’s a peaceful, cool Friday evening here. We are winding down this month of August and it’s been one of the best ones I can remember in many years. We have been so blessed with unseasonably cool temperatures.  Many of our days in the 70’s and nights in the 50’s..just perfect weather in my book 🙂  Because of it, we have leaves turning already on some trees and our gardens are looking like they would at the end of the season, a bit early.  However, we have upper 80’s temperatures coming back which makes me sad lol. But one thing for sure, Summer isn’t over yet.

I have started my Autumn cleaning in preparation for Mabon.  Today I spent time pulling out throw blankets and giving them a wash and hanging them on the line to dry.  It’ll be nice to have clean, aired out blankets the first night we need them by the fire or in our warm beds. I’ve done our throw rugs too.  Deep cleaning will continue to commence in the next week or two.  I love Fall cleaning even more than Spring cleaning..just because it means I’m getting ready for my most favorite time of year!

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In a couple of weeks, my family will be spending a few days in the Smoky Mountains together…that includes my wonderful daughter and her husband and my beautiful grandchildren. And of course my daughter Sara who lives with us and my husband and two friends too 🙂  We have booked side by side cabins and so look forward to spending time together, relaxing in the beautiful mountains!  Those mountains..they are like home to me..my soul just soars when I’m there.  Having my most loved ones with me makes it even more priceless.

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I have a bit of news to tell about myself.  I’m thrilled to say that I have finally (after wanting to for many years) gotten my Reiki Master/Teacher certificate.  I have a dear friend, Jenn, who helped me by leading me to what I needed to read and learn and practice, and then attuning me for all three levels.  It has been an amazing experience and I’m so happy to be able to use this amazing healing energy on myself and those who are in need.  It’s quite a feeling.  If you’ve thought about it even for a minute…I highly recommend you do it!  Several things have happened to me since getting attuned. I have opened up more to receiving and giving healing, but I’ve also been receiving messages via dreams, empathy and from the Goddess.  I have had spirit animals come to me, I’m discovering new guides and inner wisdom, my Path is much brighter and I’ve gained more knowledge.  It’s a powerful thing indeed.

I’m most anxious for the Super Moon tomorrow night.  The energy already is palpable and strong and with my strengthened abilities, I hope to have a wonderful experience with Her!  I always do, but I expect More this time I think.  I’ll be making Super Moon water, charging crystals and altar tools, and drawing down Her energy and power and reveling in it!  Also, there are three months in a row of Super Moons!  Imagine how wonderful a Full Harvest Super Moon will be next month! And then the one right before Samhain…..the Witches’ New Year! Powerful Magick will abound! I love Autumn and Winter Moonlit nights the most I think.  There is something about being outside when it’s cold and crisp, or when snow is glistening in the light that makes it even more magickal for me..more energy.  Of course being under Her in the warm months is warmer, it’s just not the same for me. I love my seasons are upon us..I can feel the energies swirling!

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Tonight’s almost Full Moon!

Mabon is coming fast..it’s almost September finally!  I plan on attending my first Pagan festival on September 26th..my whole coven plans on going together to it.  It should be a lot of fun!  Some of us have been before, but I’ve always been out of town, so it’ll be my first time. I look forward to the fellowship with my sisters and those of my community who share my Path.  It’s a great way to celebrate Mabon as well. I look forward to meeting some of my Facebook friends face to face. On Mabon, I’ll be harvesting the last of my herbs, finishing my Fall cleaning, and of course having a fire and feast to celebrate the return of my very favorite Season. Beautiful Autumn!  Those words just bring me Joy!

My herbs are OUT of Control! :)

My herbs are OUT of Control! 🙂

Enjoy the Super Moon tomorrow night..wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Aren’t we Pagans and Witches blessed to have our Sabbats and our Moon celebrations to remind us how beautiful our Path is, how magickal our Craft is and how lucky we are to have discovered who we are?  I do my best every day to remember that. I have found my happiness and peace..I hope you have too! Whatever your Path!

“How like a queen comes forth the lonely Moon
From the slow opening curtains of the clouds
Walking in beauty to Her midnight throne!”
~George Croly, Diana

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*All pictures are my own.

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The Wheel Turns to Lughnassadh 2015…………..

imagesCAO8O6RVMerry Meet my friends!  It’s a very relaxing Sun day here at my house.  We had a wonderful rainstorm early this morning which gave way to sunshine.  Now, it is overcast but it looks like no more rain on the radar for now.  That’s actually a good thing! We have had a LOT of rain. To the point, some of my plants are suffering.  Too much water, yellow leaves, less blooms.  I have completely lost a catmint and several geraniums. But other plants are thriving on the water!

We have also had a lot of cool weather..many days not out of the 70’s with very cool nights.  This..I have loved! Those who know me or read me often enough, know I’m not crazy about really hot weather!  It’s been quite Fall-like on some of the days.  Speaking of Fall, Lughnassadh/Lammas is upon us…this August 1…the First Harvest Festival! The Wheel turns fast does it not?

“The grain to harvest’s cutting falls
to make the bread for banquet halls.
We’ll save some seeds where life’s waiting,
and plant a new field come next Spring.
We shared the work we needed to do,
and now we’ll share the eating too!
Thank you, fruit, and thank you bread,
for making sure that we are fed.”
–  Ashleen O’Gaea,
Celebrating the Seasons of Life

Believe it or not, the days are getting shorter and Autumn is on it’s way. This Sabbat marks the ending of summer and the first harvest of the grain. It was known as the time when the plants of Spring wither and drop their fruits or seeds for our use as well as to ensure future crops. This time of year, though it’s still hot and sultry, it’s also a very busy time of  year for harvesting. For gardeners and farmers alike! We are reaping what we sowed in the Spring.  Our bounty is coming in and needs to be taken care of.  On Facebook, I’m seeing wonderful pictures of veggies, fruits and herbs that my friends are harvesting from their gardens.  The Farmer’s markets and roadside stands are abundant in products from the local farms as well.  Corn is growing to full height and tomatoes are everywhere! It’s wonderful to see.  But I also always keep in mind  our ancestors, and how it wasn’t a hobby, but a necessity of life.  It was their food that would get them through the long, cold Winter months.  Harvesting, putting up, canning, preserving were all very much necessary and hard work!  I always remember this as I give thanks for my small harvest and for the local farmers around me.

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I love that we still can our bounty from our gardens. I love when I hear of someone “putting up” the veggies and fruits, making jams, jellies, sauces and preserves.  Freezing what can be frozen and preserving for Winter’s use.  It takes me back to my childhood when I helped my grandmother do this.  I was a very happy little girl when it was canning day.  I do some of it to this day, but not like she did.  But I believe there are still many of us who do this, despite the fact food is readily available at the store.  There is nothing like the freshness of something we grew, harvested, preserved. Way better in most cases than what can be found in a store!

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There are so many ways to celebrate this wonderful Sabbat.  Have a feast with your family and friends..outside while the weather is still nice.  Fix lots of fresh veggies and fruits, they are great grilled on the grill 🙂  Have a bonfire, drink wine!  Go to a medieval fair or craft show..this time of year they are everywhere.  Have a picnic!  Lay on a blanket under the stars and find the constellations, watch for shooting stars.  Catch fireflies and let them go. Listen to the crickets, hug a tree and enjoy the fresh taste of a warm-off-the-vine tomato!

If you don’t have a garden of your own, offer to help a friend harvest or can..I bet you’ll be sent home with lots of goodies.  Or visit a farmer’s market and stock up on veggies and fruits there to do your own canning and freezing. I love to make flavored oils and vinegars from my homegrown herbs. They will give your salads, meats, egg dishes etc  that fresh herbal taste all winter long. Baking bread is a huge part of celebrating Lughnassadh/Lammas. Have a bread baking day with your family. Put grains, fruits and nuts in the bread  and send a loaf home with everyone.  Make corn dollies or Brighid’s crosses from corn stalks. Have a family game day with the kids and grandkids.  Plan a “tournament” of corn hole for the kids, or croquet, or kickball…playing games is just what the Celts did for Lughnassadh…called the Lugh games. So so much to do for this first wonderful Harvest festival!

Lughnasadh is a great time to start your Autumn cleaning.  There are things to do to get your house ready for Winter now while it’s still warm out. Clean your carpets, curtains, and windows. Have your furnace checked. Clean your coats and winter clothes and hang them out on the clothesline for that yummy fresh, clean scent. Wash your linens and hang them on the line too! Get your fireplace checked so it’s ready for the wonderful fires you’ll have soon. Order a cord of wood and get it stacked. I actually LOVE Fall cleaning…I call it nesting 🙂  Preparing to be indoors, while you can still be outdoors, just makes sense.

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But for now, Summer is still in full swing. Spend time outside.  Feel the warmth, feet on the ground, back against a tree.  Feel the breeze, hear the birds, watch the squirrels, daydream, doze….rest.  They say summer days are lazy, hazy and crazy.  I say that sounds wonderful too!  But yes, bring on the harvest and the Autumn..my favorite time of year!

“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

Oh, July 31 is a Blue Full Moon!  Be sure to use that power! A Full Moon so close to a Sabbat always means lots of energy is swirling! I’ll be back soon with a couple recipes.  Also, be sure to check out the Lughnassadh issue of Imramma Magazine on July 26th! You can click on the icon on the right of this post. I’ll have some recipes posted there too. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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The Wheel Turns to Imbolc 2015…….

“Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle

 a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.

 And the anticipation nurtures our dream.”
–  Barbara Winkler

imagesCA48N7RIMerry Meet my friends and Blessed Imbolc Eve!  I have been very remiss about writing in my blog and I’m sorry for it. Before I go further though, this post is my 200th blog post and I have been blogging now for 5 years! I can’t believe it’s been that long! I want to thank you all so much, my readers and friends, for showing any interest in my writings. I very much appreciate you!

Since the holidays I have been busy enjoying Winter!  I have been reading like crazy which was one of my goals I set at New Years.  Even following a couple of book challenges and I’m enjoying it tremendously.  I’m one of those people who have a house full of books, including some shelves of books I have yet to read.  I love reading and Winter for me is the perfect time for it.  How about you? Are you reading more when forced to be indoors more?

Another thing I’ve been working on is making up an herbal chest for medicinal use.  If you’re a fan of Outlander ..books and series…by Diane Gabaldon, you might know what I’m talking about. I adore everything Outlander!   I made up a chest much like Claire’s “wee” box of medicinals.  I’ve added all the herbs that to me have a purpose of use for good health, healing, calming etc.  I’ve of course added essential oils, and things like gauze, bandages, scissors, tweezers, thermometer, and some modern day meds too.  Have a tummy ache, I have candied ginger, fennel seeds, or peppermint herb for tea. In pain, I have nettle tea or arnica salve.  Have a cut, I have my own healing salve. You get the idea 🙂  It was a lot of fun to do.

But while we are smack dab in the middle of Winter here in Ohio, tomorrow is Imbolc.  When day and night are equal and we recognize that the light extends each day and takes us to the first day of Spring in March.  We honor Brighid on Imbolc by keeping a fire on the hearth and inviting her into our homes with the use of a corn dolly, Brighid’s cross, or Bride’s bed.  I like to light candles all over the house, and at midnight swing open the doors and invite to come to my hearth bringing peace, protections, joy and abundance to my home for the year. Imbolc is also about doing our Spring cleaning both in our homes and in our own attitudes and situations. Throwing out those things that are no longer useful, old, raggedy, ugly, joyless…clearing our spaces of clutter leaves us open to new possibilities and bringing light into our dark places.

I have been working on my home for a couple weeks now. Attacking the cobwebs in the corners, cleaning out drawers and closets, making the hard decisions of do I really need this or want this in my home? Rugs and curtains and throw blankets and bed linens all getting washed and scented.  I have used herbal vinegar waters to mop and clean windows (not that you can tell after the rains lol) I organized my file cabinet, pitched papers no longer needed and filed what I do need in a better way.  Even my Witch cupboard got a good cleaning out today…pitching old herbs and incense (or burning them in our fire) cleansing crystals and my tools, salting and saging everything.  It was fun and it looks and smells great!  (picture isn’t great because our power was out for awhile today..but you can see how neat it is lol)

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Gardeners are beside themselves knowing Winter is halfway over.  I know several witchy gardeners who have ordered their seeds, planned their garden beds and are dreaming of digging in the dirt again.  I myself ordered 18 packets of seeds today….a mix of herbs, veggies and flowers.  Can’t wait to get them.  Planning your gardens are a great way to spend these cold Winter days.

 

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Tonight, it’s pouring rain.  We didn’t get the snow expected..like nothing! I’m so bummed lol.  But it’s a good night for quiet and contemplation, lit candles and fire.  Besides writing this blog, I’m journaling my thoughts for what I want to manifest in the Spring.  I have written down and will burn those things I want to release in my life.  Old angers, hurts, frustrations, poor habits are all good things to let go of.  I bet you have some of those things you can let go of too?  Try burning it..it’s so satisfying!!!

Imbolc has been one of my favorite Sabbats, as I’ve said before, because it was the first one I really celebrated.  That magickal feeling I got when I washed my floors and windows with herbal washes, lit white and red candles, cleansed my home and invited Goddess Brighid to join us in our home…well, I get that feeling still 16 years later. I want to wish all of you a very Blessed Imbolc.  May Brighid bring you all wonderful things for the coming year.  May the rest of the Winter be kind to you too…remember Spring will come!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Blessed Imbolc 2012……….

Merry Meet again friends.  Hope all is well with all of you!  Whew….I don’t know about you but I’m tired and energized at the same time!  I have spent a couple weeks really deep cleaning my house..”Spring” cleaning as some say….to get my home ready for Imbolc.  I have cleaned high and low, ceilings to floor, linens and curtains washed, ceiling fans cleaned, cobwebs and dust bunnies swept away.  Closets, drawers, and cupboards are organized and de-cluttered.  Furniture swept and cushions flipped and fluffed. Bathrooms scrubbed, floors swept and mopped……  Everything has been cleaned!  My house looks great…the energy feels great and I’m ready for Imbolc.  That is why I’m both tired and energized.  I’m tired from the work….but so energized in what I’ve accomplished and how great my house feels!

Now…there is still a couple things that need done…and they will get done..just not by Thursday. LOL.   Carpets are going to be cleaned but not til March or so..after our chance of snow is gone.  My windows need cleaned ..the high ones we don’t do ourselves..and again, that will be done in the Spring.  Now…tomorrow, I will be smudging the house in every corner.  Placing my protection sigils all around the house, fresh salt in all the corners etc. The weather is going to be very Spring-like..near 60*!  I’m going to take advantage of that.  Opening windows to let that fresh air come in and the stale air out.  Really, we have had an amazingly mild Winter this year.  So many warm days and very little snow.   I am still hoping for a good snow!  The kind you get snowed in, fire going, jammies on and hot drink in hand, can’t go anywhere snow.  Now that all my housework is done, I could just relax and read and work on my BOS and things I have a hard time finding time for 🙂  But the mild Winter has been very nice as well.  As a matter of fact, I plan on going for a walk at our local nature preserve and enjoying that warm weather! There is a rescue raptor center there..and I love to go and visit the owls that reside there permanently.  I adore Owls and need a fix!

 I got my altar done today…thought you would like to see the pictures.

I went with pretty much a red and white theme, with a bit of gold and green thrown in.  The red and white is traditional colors for the Goddess Brighid.  This year, I’m using her colors to honor her. The green, shown in the live greens from my yard, and the green celtic knots on the votive holders..represent both her mantle of green, the seasonal greens that will be burned in a fire on Imbolc, and of course the green celtic knots represent the fact that she is Celtic. I chose  a silver candle for the Goddess and a gold one for the God.

In the greens I put some red feathery stalks and will add red and white fresh flowers by thursday.  I have all my usual altar reps for the elements, my tools etc.  Ok…the Goddess statue is my new gorgeous Hecate statue.  I do not have a Brighid statue so Hecate is standing in for her.  Brighid is a triple Goddess as is Hecate the crone aspect of a triple Goddess.  They both mean so much to me that I don’t think Brighid will mind 🙂  Isn’t she gorgeous? I can’t stop looking at her!  My goddess is standing on a favorite book of poetry..a very old, fragile book of Tennyson poems..as Brighid was the Goddess of poets.  There is a bit of silver in my pendants as well to represent her smithcrafting.   Blessing oil for my re-dedication, some ribbons I’ll use for cord magick, my 7 candles…red and white..in a circle for another ritual I’ll do.   Crystals, more candles, and my cakes and ale will round it out.  I really like it! It feels good to me 🙂 

No matter how much or how little you do to get ready for Imbolc, do something to recognize the day.  If all you do is light a candle, take a walk, open a window, have a quiet meal with your family..whatever you please is just fine.  But honor the day.  So many people are not overly fond of Winter.  Imbolc, lets us know that Spring is coming and it will be here before we know it!  It’s a promise from the Goddess, Mother Earth, the Sun God.  Enjoy the Sabbat…rest and relax for the rest of the Winter and I wish you all a Blessed Imbolc to you and your loved ones.  May the Goddess Brighid give you Peace, Love and Joy! 

Blessings and Light, Autumn 

 

 

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Imbolc Recipes 2011……

 

“To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.”
Laurie Colwin

Merry Meet everyone!  How are your Imbolc preparations going?  I am in the midst of cleaning!  Drawers, cupboards and closets are getting organized one at a time.  Curtains are taken down, washed, sprayed with lavender water and hung back up smelling fabulous!  “Stuff” that is taking up space or not needed is heading to the thrift shop.  Dusting, cleaning woodwork, grabbing cobwebs off ceiling fans, and vacuuming furniture will all be done soon enough 🙂  Hoping for even some touch up painting to be done.  I have new candles to buy yet and I’m thinking about getting some new pots and pans as well.  I just love this time of year…Imbolc..Spring cleaning.  It feels great to get the house looking and feeling so nice. 

Now all this cleaning is tiring! As I’m sure you know!  Many nights I just want to melt into my easy chair by the fire and not move another inch!  I am most definitely not in the mood to cook after a long day of cleaning, running errands, and doing all the stuff that needs to be done every day!  So I was thinking about this and decided that instead of suggesting recipes to make FOR Imbolc, for the day…I would post recipes…soups and breads…that you can put on in the morning before you start cleaning, while you are preparing for Imbolc!   When you are ready, you can sit down to a good, comforting bowl of soup and slice of homemade bread….without slaving over the stove after a long day of cleaning!

“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits

 and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.”


Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)

These recipes are soups I’ve made myself, or new recipes I’ve found I intend on making soon.  They use a slow cooker (or you can cook them on the stove top all day) and a bread machine!  Let’s face it..bread machines and slow cookers are going to make getting dinner ready super simple!!

This first recipe is another favorite potato soup recipe of mine.  This soup takes a little bit of work to make it cause you make it on the stovetop…but once made it can be kept warm in the slow cooker all day.

Baked Potato Soup

6 Potatoes

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup flour

4 cups milk

1 cup sour cream

Pierce potatoes with a fork; microwave on high for about 20 mins, turning potatoes over halfway thru.  Peel and cube potatoes.  Mash 3 of the potatoes leaving 3 cubed and set aside. 

Whisk butter and flour in a saucepan over low heat until smooth and thick.  Whisk in milk and whisk until thickened.  Heat over med heat for 5-10 more minutes.  Be careful not to burn.  Add in the potatoes; stir in sour cream.  Simmer, without boiling until heated thoroughly.  Transfer to slow cooker and keep on low or warm all day.

*Serve this soup with a salad and bread for a complete meal.  Top with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese to make it extra yummy!  This is a really thick, satisfying soup!  *Serves 4-6

Wild Mushroom Soup

3 TB butter

2 large shallots, diced

1 1/2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms (such as cremini and shitake) sliced

1 TB chopped fresh thyme

3 TB flour

7 cups low sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup dry sherry (or use 1 cup heavy cream)

2 tsps salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Melt butter in a large lidded pot over med heat.  Add shallots and saute for 2-3 mins until softened.  Add mushrooms and thyme and cook 8 mins.  Sprinkle in flour and cook 2 mins, stirring constantly.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook 15 mins.

Stir in heavy cream, sherry, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer (not boil).  Mix in parsley.

*Again, this can then be transferred and kept warm in a slow cooker for the day. 

Chicken Noodle Soup

3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large onion, quartered
3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 to 3 soup cans of water
2 cans chicken broth
2 TBS dried dill
2 TBS dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
8 ounce package egg noodles

Put carrots, onion, and celery into crock pot.  Add the chicken, then pour in the broth and water. Sprinkle parsley, dill, and garlic on top.

 Cover and cook on low 6 – 8 hours.

 Remove chicken and vegetables from crock pot, add noodles and turn to high.  Dice the chicken and vegetables. Return vegetables and chicken to the crock pot for an additional 20 minutes.

This is so good for those days when someone in your house has a cold or flu.  Comfort food at it’s best!

Snowy Day Beef Stew

1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
2 medium-size carrots, cut into 1/4′ thick slanting slices
1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into quarters
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 to 2 1/4 pounds lean boneless beef round, trimmed of fat and cut into 1″ cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsps dried thyme
1 can (about 14 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine or beef broth
1 package frozen peas, thawed
salt to taste

In a  slow cooker, combine onion, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms. Coat beef cubes with flour, then add to cooker and sprinkle with thyme. Add tomatoes and wine. Cover and cook at low setting until beef is very tender when pierced (8 to 10 hours).
Skim and discard fat from stew, if necessary. Stir in peas. Increase cooker heat setting to high; cover and cook until peas are heated through (10 to 15 more minutes). Season to taste with salt. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

 4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package of Long grain and Wild Rice ( Rice-a-Roni)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups milk
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup diced celery

Combine broth, water, carrots, celery, chicken and rice (along with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker.
 Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.
Remove chicken and shred with two forks and then add back into slow cooker.

 In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour mixture by tablespoon to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth.
 Stir cream mixture into slow cooker and then let cook on LOW for 15 more minutes.

Beautiful soup, so rich and green
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!
Beautiful soup! Who cares for fish
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth of beautiful soup?”

Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Again, all these soups are wonderful with a salad and a slice of fresh hot bread and creamy sweet butter!  Don’t forget toppings….crumbled bacon, grated cheeses, crackers, sour cream, croutons etc.  Ok…now on to a couple of my favorite bread machine bread recipes!  Be sure and follow YOUR bread machine’s guidelines for what order to put the ingredients..some put liquid in the bottom and dry and top and some do vice versa…Mine puts liquids in first….Oh and the recipe I’m putting here is for a 2 pound loaf.

One of my very favorite breads and it goes so great with the soups..or to make up into sandwiches on the side!  So so good!

Herb and Crunch Wheat Bread

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups bread flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 TBS sugar

2 TBS dry milk

2 TBS butter, softened

2 tsps salt

2 tsps dried basil leaves

1 tsp dried thyme leaves

2 tsps bread machine yeast

2/3 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds

Place all ingredients except the sunflower seeds in your bread machine pan, in the order recommended by YOUR bread machine.  You will add the sunflower seeds at the Raisin/Nut signal.

Select Basic/White cycle and Medium or Light crust color.  Remove from pan immediately when cycle is finished and cool on wire rack. 

I promise you will love this bread!!

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”

Robert Browning, English poet, (1812-1889)

 

Parmesan Sun-Dried Tomato Bread

1 1/4 cups water

4 cups bread flour

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 cloves crushed garlic

3 TBS sugar

1 1/4 tsps salt

2 1/4 tsps dried oregano leaves

2 1/4 tsps bread machine yeast

2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) drained and coarsely chopped

Place all ingredients, except tomatoes, in bread machine pan in order recommended by YOUR machine.  You’ll add the tomatoes at the Raisin/Nut signal.

Select Basic/White cycle. Use medium or light crust color.  Don’t use delay cycle with this bread.  Remove bread immediately after cycle is completed and cool on wire rack. 

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods;

 and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

James Beard, American chef (1903-1985)

 

So..think about how much your slow cooker and your bread machine can work for you…do your cooking in the morning when you are more energetic.  By evening, after a long day, you’ll be glad you did.  And OH the way it will make your house smell all day long…Yummy!!  You will be a happy little cleaning machine with those delicious soups simmering away and the smell of fresh bread permeating the house.  It will be a good “tonic” to help you keep your energy level up to get everything done you want to do!  Having a lazy day?  You’ll still be glad that you made your meal in the morning! It will aid you in your laziness LOL. 

Humm….I think tomorrow I will be baking that herb and crunch bread..just writing the recipe and thinking about it has made me want it..now!! 🙂   I’ll be back soon…pics of my altar to come etc.  I send you power energy and blessings to help you get thru all your cleaning and I hope you’ll send some to me! 

Blessings and love, Autumn

 

 

 

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Filed under Cleaning & Organizing, Imbolc, Poem, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen