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Blessed Samhain 2016….and recipes!

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

and brilliant shades of crimson glowing when a day is done

-Hazelmarie Mattie Elliott-

A-BLessed-Samhain-To-You

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

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

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

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

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

cider

Samhain Spiced Cider

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 large orange, quartered with peel

2 quarts apple cider

*use a gallon of cider and double the rest!

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

pumpkin soup

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Tb butter

1 Tb olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

4-5 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash

4 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 tsp dried sage

3/4 tsp salt

pepper to taste

a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

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

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

Process in a blender until smooth.  Serves 6

Apple Caramel Cheesecake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup plus 2 Tb sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

3 medium tart apples, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Streusel topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup cold butter, cubed

1/3 cup hot caramel ice cream topping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

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

The Wheel Turns to Mabon 2015 (Autumn Equinox) ……….

imagesCA3138JFMerry Meet!  It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in Ohio.  While last week we had very HOT weather for September, this week we are having lovely days of seasonal, Autumn-like weather.  Today the Sun is bright, there is a light breeze and we have some leaves starting to change color.  The garden beds are pretty well done, except for the Fall plants like sedum, hydrangeas, mums and such.  The birds are still content at the feeders, I’m still seeing hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, but the squirrels and chipmunks are busy collecting now.  Autumn is on the Air for sure.

I have been busy in my garden beds, cutting back the spent flowers, harvesting the last of my herbs, and planning to plant my Spring bulbs next month.  Cutting back what was once so beautiful and gave me such pleasure, is a little bit sad. However, I know that Spring always returns and I just enjoy the process, the scents, my hands again in the dirt. My herbs hang happily drying, and scenting my kitchen with the amazing scents of spice and mint and the green outdoors.  Sigh..I just love it!  They will continue to give me joy throughout the Winter as I make my tinctures and teas and incenses.  The abundant harvest gives me great pleasure and pride in the work I did over the Summer.

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My last herb harvest happily in place!

Mabon is upon us, the Autumn Equinox, on Wednesday the 23rd.  It promises to be a beautiful day here. There will be equal day and night and then our days start shortening, our nights lenthening.  We come into the dark season of the year.  This is a good thing for many who love this time of year. Many of you mourn the loss of the warmth of the Sun, being outdoors constantly and the long days. I feel for you if you are one of them.  Way deep down I do lol, but I’m very happy for those like me!  For me, Autumn, Winter and the dark time of the year is the best time of year.  As Mother Earth ages into her beauty of the season with the brilliant color of her foliage, as her green grass turns gold then brown, as her trees grow alive with color then down to bare, stark trees, it reminds me that is time for me to enjoy the lovely, last days outside, and prepare to come indoors for the long, dark, cold nights. I love the comfort of home, a fire in the hearth, the feel of warm, cozy, dark nights. Winter will be here soon and there is much to do to prepare for it.

A bit of color!

A bit of color!

But first, we have beautiful Autumn!  Most of my witchy friends will tell you it’s their very favorite time of year!  Of course it is!  We are heading to Samhain, the very best Sabbat! The adjectives to describe this season are some of my favorite words in the dictionary…..cool, crisp, woodsmoke, fires, colorful leaves, pumpkins, apples, sweaters, boots, scarves, jackets, crunch under feet, black inky nights, harvest, Harvest Moon, stars, simmering soups, apple cider, cinnamon and spice, blankets, hayrides, haunted houses, Mabon, Samhain, thinning veil, ancestors, and on and on the joys of the Season go.  What are some of your favorite words to describe this time of year?  I know there are so many more!  I find myself as I take a walk or take a drive, looking for signs…a bit of leaves turning on some of the trees, some trees and bushes are forming berries, burning bushes are turning red, farm stands are changing from corn and tomatoes, over to apples, pumpkins and gourds. The stores are filled with Autumn and Halloween decorations (next to Yule decorations ugh) .  The apple picking farms are bustling.  Shops have their summer clothes on sale and racks filled with cold weather clothes.  Hobby shops are selling yarn like crazy as needle-workers start making new scarves, mittens, hats and such. You know that song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”?  yep…..that songs fits this wonderful time of year! 🙂  🙂

I spent some time setting up my altar the last couple of days…I plan to go out tomorrow to my beautiful park/pond to look for a few items from nature such as leaves, greenery, seeds and nuts etc.  But I’m happy with the altar I created to represent this Autumn Equinox.  Here is a peek 🙂

My Mabon Altar, 2015

My Mabon Altar, 2015

My coven has decided not to meet for Mabon this year. Instead, we are going to attend our local Pagan festival together. I think it’s so important to support our community by attending.  Some of us have been before and report a good time had by all.  Those of us who are attending for the first time, are really looking forward to it.  I haven’t attended yet because I’m usually out of town that weekend.  This year, I made sure I’m in town to go.  I look forward to communing with those who walk the same Path as I. Do you attend your local events?  If you haven’t, perhaps this is a good year to do so!

I’ve been perusing my recipe books and will be back, maybe tomorrow with some Mabon recipes.  In the meantime, you can search Mabon or Autumn Equinox in the search box on the right to get previous years recipes. There are some excellent ones.  You can also find Mabon recipes on the Sunday Stew…see the link on the top right to go there.

I have to add a note here as I haven’t said anything in my blog about this.  This time of year was the favorite for a dear Witch sister of mine.  However, she isn’t here to celebrate it this year.  Snow Moon (Susan Herman) passed away unexpectedly in her sleep a few months ago. She was a fellow writer for the Sunday Stew and Samhain’s Sirens. As  Samhain’s Sirens is about to launch again on October 1, and Mabon brings our favorite time of year, I can’t help but think of her with great sadness.  She was a bright star that went out too soon. One of the most thoughtful, selfless people I had ever meant.  She made everyone feel they were her best friend..including me.  She is very much missed.   Snowy..I love you and miss you very much. ❤ ❤ ❤

For my readers, if you want to see what Samhain’s Sirens is all about, just click on the link on the right for a month of Samhain fun..from my recipes to some wonderful crafts, blog posts, music, great give-aways and so much more.  It’s a gift to the Pagan community from some very dedicated witchy writers.  You will love it!

So I’ll be back in the next day or two with a recipe or three. In the meantime, enjoy these last couple of days of Summer, and prepare for another wonderful harvest celebration!  May the Goddess bless you on this day and always.

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Love and Blessings, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Autumn Equinox, coven, Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Mabon, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, Nature, Pagan, Photography, Sabbat, Samhain, sisters, Sun, Winter, Witch

A Moment to Spare…………

dsc_0773Merry Meet my friends and Blessed Memorial Day.  I am writing this because I actually have some time to do so today 🙂  We didn’t have any plans per se for today except to mulch the garden beds and relax..perhaps visit the cemetaries.  But it’s pouring rain, windy and actually a little chilly, so we are relaxing and unwinding.  Things have been crazy busy here with getting our home ready for Summer, planting garden beds, making new garden beds, getting patio furniture cleaned and put out etc etc.  I also had a very sad death in my family that has kept me busy with family and the inevitable drama that came with it.  I lost a beloved Uncle in a terrible train/truck collision and a few members of extended family have acted up terribly.  Anyway, I’ve been trying to be there for my mom (he was her brother) and dad..it’s been emotional and sad but we have pulled together to support each other and that’s a good thing.

In the process of losing someone I loved, I have contemplated on how short life is, how fleeting it is, and how fast something terrible can happen that takes our life away.  I have always known this but a death brings it home even more. Ever since I was a young mother, I have done my best to appreciate the simple things, the little moments that bring Joy, laughter, comfort, peace, and reflection in my Life.  I tried to teach my girls the same thing and I believe they do too. We are teaching my grandkids the same thing!  Life isn’t about the big things..it’s about the small daily parts of our lives.

I see so many people who are so busy that it seems they fly through life without pause.  I could never do that.  Even on my busiest day, I have to stop and listen, be quiet, feel, reflect, watch, hear, see, smell and taste.  We live in a time where people have their attention on their phones, tv’s, and computers. Kids are super busy involved in everything under the Sun …good parents thinking they are giving their kids every opportunity to excel in something…but they have very little time for just being a kid….using their imagination, connecting with nature, being still.  I’m not judging, just saying I see this so much in this day and time.

I hear people say “when I get a moment to spare, I’m going to……..????? ”   And in my mind, there are so many moments to spare if we are more aware of the time we waste!  I’m guilty of this too, don’t get me wrong…we all are!  Some days I don’t waste a moment, other days I fill my day with wasteful moments of watching too much tv, on my computer too long or just flying from one thing to the next without any thought of the moments that I’m not taking to “notice” something! As I get older, I can look back and feel I did about 60% well in not wasting time, but now I do much better than that. I can’t function if I don’t!

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A few things I like to do when I have a moment to spare:

-walk barefoot outside

-light a candle and watch the flame

-read a bit (that is NEVER a waste of time in my opinion)

-literally smell the roses

-write in my gratitude journal

-call a friend

-eat a piece of chocolate..really savor it slowly

-water, weed or deadhead flowers in my garden beds..I find any connection with Mother Gaia soothing

-listen for the birds, watch a butterfly in flight, watch the setting sun or the rising Moon

-have a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a piece of good bread and just sit and be while you do it

-pet your furbaby..give them total attention

-write a letter or card

-Listen to a favorite song…either quietly or up dancing like crazy!

-soak your feet in good soapy water

-take a 10 minute snooze

-hug your kids, your hubby, your friend, your grandkids

-take a walk…..feel the wind, see the trees, hear the birds

-clean out a drawer…yes, this is a bit of work, but only takes a moment and it’s so satisfying when it’s organized!

-Play..take a moment to really play….one of my new favs…adult coloring books!

-practice your passion..whether it’s art, music, crafting, needlework, taking a course ….find the time to do it….the satisfaction you’ll feel is so worth it

-Do something kind for someone…it just takes a moment.  A call, holding the door for someone, smiling at your waitress or cashier, buying a cup of coffee or lunch for the person in line behind you, saying thank you, complimenting someone….it will make your day and their’s too!

Life is a succession of moments,

to live each one is to succeed.

-Corita Kent

Well…you get the picture. The point is…..Life flies by and you never know when you’ll take your last breath and move onto your next journey.  Appreciate the small moments…take time for them…share them.  Your life will be richer for it. I have to add that as a Witch and Pagan….I find that my fellow sisters and brothers of the Craft are very good at this too.  It is just a natural part of our daily life!   And just another word of advice.  No matter how old you are….have a will. Also, let your family members know..in writing!!….what you would like done for you when you pass.  So there are no arguments amongst your loved ones. Your wishes will be well documented. If you want someone to have something of yours..write it down..and be sure someone has it that will implement things when you’re gone.  It makes things much much easier for your family and keeps drama at bay.  A lesson hard learned my friends.  I know I’m putting everything in writing!!!

So now, I hope that you had a moment to spare to read this….and you take many moments to spare throughout your day…every day!  Many Blessings to you!  With today being Memorial Day….Please remember the Fallen..the Brave ones who made everything possible for us…..so that we can spare those precious moments to live beautiful lives that they didn’t get to.  Prayers for all who have lost their much loved soldiers.  Blessed Be!

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Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Bits of Magick, Daughters, Discussion, Family, Flowers, Friends, Garden, Gratitude, Holiday, Mother Earth, Summer

Beltane Recipes 2015………

“Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on.”
– Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs

 

Merry Meet my friends and readers!  It’s a beautiful sunny Sun Day afternoon here in Ohio.  Having said that, it’s been quite cold and quite windy!  This past week we had a small tornado hit a street in my neighborhood, just 3 blocks away!  We also had freezing temps at night and heavy frost 2-3 mornings. So Spring is still….well…2463875500_7b6e892984_olike it always is here in April. LOL.  It’s been cold enough we’ve had fires going in our fireplace for several evenings..which of course, I Love.

Looking outside though, the green is vivid, trees are bloomed or blooming, plants are coming up and some people have jumped the gun (in my humble opinion) and already planted new flowers in their beds.  At my house, a new garden bed is going in by the end of the week, at least, the sod will be pulled up and it will be mulched.  NO planting until closer to Mother’s Day or we risk losing the plantings.  My perennials are coming up nicely..most of them anyway.  I will have to do some replacing here and there.  I have garden ideas spinning in my head and I’m aching to get on it…but I must be patient.   One thing I was excited about…I finally got a rain barrel!  It’s from http://www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com company and it’s hooked up already.  Thanks to recent rains, it’s already got 60 gallons of fresh rainwater ready to go! I also love these particular barrels because they are recycled olive barrels..what a great way to use them.  It makes me feel great to be conserving water and nothing is better for plants than rain water 🙂  I’m a very happy Witch about that!

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I have been perusing recipes for Beltane and thought I would of course share a couple.  If you want more recipes, just do a Beltane Recipe search over on the right and you’ll find more.  Also, as you may know, I also am the Kitchen Witch for Imramma Magazine (link to the right) and there are more Beltane recipes there.  The issue just came out today.  AND every week, I also do recipes for The Sunday Stew (link on the right).  The Stew is out every Sunday except the Sabbat issues of Imramma. Okay?  Be sure and check both out ……there are a lot of great writers, bloggers, news stories, info etc in these publications.  I’m proud to be a writer for them.

Foods that correspond to Beltane are: Dairy, honey, oats, red fruits, herbal salads, May wine, red/pink wine, fruit punch, large round oatmeal cakes, and sweets. Keeping those in mind, here’s a couple recipes for you to consider making for you feast!

 

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Oatmeal Cake with Caramel Icing

For Cake:
1-1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For Icing:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over oats; let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the oats. Pour into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.  *You can use a bundt pan too!
Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For icing, in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Return to a boil. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in vanilla and salt. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Immediately spread icing over cake. Let stand until set.

 

This next recipe isn’t really a recipe, but a wonderful way to get in some fruits and dairy for a Beltane treat.

Fruit and Cheese Skewers

6 Bamboo skewers

12 miniature balls fresh mozzarella cheese

12 small basil leaves

12 large blackberries

Balsamic vinegar

Thread each of the 6 skewers from the bottom to top with cheese ball, basil leaf and blackberry and repeat again so there are 2 of each item on the skewer

Serve cold, drizzled with small amount of balsamic vinegar.  Delicious!

*You can of course change this up however you like.  You use other berries like strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry.  You can use a different cheese too if you like.

 

And for something good with honey 🙂

 

honey lemon iced tea1

Cold Lemon Honey Tea

4 cups water

3 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

1/4 cup loose-leaf Darjeeling tea or other loose-leaf black tea

1/2 of a 12-ounce can (3/4 cup) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1/3 cup honey

Ice cubes or crushed ice

Lemon slices and fresh mint for garnish

Vodka, gin or bourbon (optional)
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and ginger to boiling. Remove from heat. Add tea. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour tea mixture through a fine mesh strainer; discard ginger and tea leaves.

Transfer tea to a 1 1/2-quart pitcher. Stir in lemonade concentrate and honey, stirring until honey is dissolved. Cool for 30 minutes. Cover; chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Stir before serving.

Serve punch in glasses over ice. Garnish with lemon slices. Chill remaining tea for up to 1 day.

For a single cocktail, pour vodka, gin, or bourbon (to taste) into a ice-filled glass; then add the lemon honey tea.

*I most definitely add a bit of vodka 🙂

 

I am hoping you’ll try these recipes and if you do, please let me know!  Your family/friends will love them.  I wish for all of you to have a very Blessed Beltane.  May you dance by the fires with the fairies!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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Filed under Beltane, Correspondence, Faeries, Family, Flowers, Friends, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring, Sun

The Wheel Turns to Beltane 2015……….

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet

and the winds long to play with your hair.

-Khalil Gibran

download (3)Merry Meet and Happy Spring on this beautiful April day.  I love April, always have. Not only because it’s the month I was born, but because it brings in Spring!  The weather is a bit unpredictable…we can have snow one day, near 80* temps another with lots of wind, rain, storms and tornado warnings thrown in for good measure.  The last few days it’s rained and stormed here a lot! But it’s been a good thing for Mother Earth as she is greening more and more every day.  I love the color green and it’s everywhere!  Our grass is really green and lush, trees are budding, spring bulbs and flowering bushes and trees are bloomed, and my summer plants have green sprouting up.  In my herb bed, cilantro and garlic are up already and my lavender is greening too!  I so love it!  Today, I woke up to a chill in the Air but it’s warming up to 60* and the Sun is shining so it’s a beautiful day!

I have been Spring cleaning like crazy as well.  The winter linens are put away, winter clothes being put away to make room for our Spring/Summer clothes.  My clothesline is back up.  I have taken each day a trash bag and gone around the house just pitching stuff.  Drawers, cupboards and closets are all checked for items no longer needed. It is so freeing to de-junk!  You’d be amazed what’s in your home that no longer serves a purpose. Whether it be paperwork, knickknacks, clothes, shoes, dishes etc…there are things in your home that can go I’m sure!  My home feels lighter and simpler with everything that goes out the door.  Add fresh flowers to mason jars on your window sill, open windows to air out your house and wash windows and you’ll feel like Spring has arrived INSIDE your home too!

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My seedlings so far this year!

Beltane is approaching fast! One of my favorite Sabbats..probably because it’s one of the first ones that I can celebrate outside without being cold!  I’ve written in the past 5 years all the many ways to celebrate this Sabbat and for me, that hasn’t changed.  I still have an outdoor fire, weather permitting, and burn any of the last of my dried herbs that have grown old and dusty hanging in my kitchen.  The scent is incredible!  I plant my seedlings in their outdoor beds, make offerings to the Fae of honey and bread, set out new wards and protection for my home and yard, and spend as much time barefoot in the grass with my hands in the dirt as I can!  A wonderful feast of fresh veggies, fruits, and grains are had by whoever decides to come by for dinner. And I never forget to gather the morning dew to wash my face in…to bring youth and beauty to this aging face of mine 🙂

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My Coven will gather, if not on Beltane shortly after.  Last year we made up May baskets (in jars really) to distribute to our elderly neighbors and loved ones. It was a lot of fun and I imagine we’ll do it again this year 🙂  We then welcome the Sun God…rejoicing in the return of the longer days, warmer weather, and Mother Earth blooming forth in all Her glory.

Other things I enjoy doing in the Spring….walks are a must.  I now have a gathering bag, a wildflower reference book and a good knife for gathering wild herbs on my walks. It’ll also hold acorns, pinecones, feathers and stones and whatever else I might come across on my walk that calls to me.  A walk by a pond, in a woods, on a beach, in a meadow…..whatever place I can find that allows me to enjoy being under the Sun again, outdoors.  Attending a pagan festival or maypole gathering, drum circles which usually move outdoors now, picnics in the park, drives out into the country to find early farm stands, visiting a botanical garden or butterfly house, going fishing, planting a tree and whatever else you can think of to do outdoors will help you to celebrate the change in the season, the turning of the wheel….Beltane!

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Remember too that Beltane is about the God and Goddess coming together in love and lust for each other.  Whether you have a partner or not, find a way to spread some love.  For yourself and others. Do something for yourself..whatever it is you need.   Be kind, be joyful, be peaceful and spread Love.  You will gain back much in return.  There is so much un-kindness in our online experiences and in our real life.  We see bad news everyday, people being mean, judgemental, non-accepting….that we can get discouraged from it.  But spreading LOVE starts with each of us.  I know so many of you do just that…all my friends do…or they wouldn’t be my friend! lol.

So my friends….Spring and soon, Beltane, have arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere.  It’s a beautiful time of year and I for one will be taking complete advantage of every moment!  Enjoy the greening, blooming, warming of Mother Earth.  Enjoy lightening up on your clothes and foods. Enjoy the Sun on your head and the grass under your feet.  Make love, grow flowers, and dance under the light of the Moon!

I’ll be back soon with some recipes of course, along with pics of my gardens as they bloom and whatever else I find I’d like to tell you about.  I’ll have a new herb posting very soon too.  So for now, I wish you all a very Happy weekend! Make it magickal!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*All photos are either my own or creative common license.

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Filed under Beltane, Cleaning & Organizing, Faeries, Family, Flowers, Friends, Garden, Gardens, God, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Protection, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Sun

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

The Spirit of Christmas revisited………..

christmas-candle-douglas-pulsipherMerry Meet friends!  I hope that  all of you here in  the USA and those who celebrate it;  had a blessed Thanksgiving day.  I had a very nice day!  It was celebrated at my house (as usual) but a very small group this year.  My sister and her hubby were in St. Thomas, so their grown kids, who live out of state, didn’t come in.  My daughter, son-in-law and grandkids take turns with both sides of the family for holidays..it wasn’t our year so they weren’t here.  So I had 8 family members and two lovely guests.  My mom and I split the menu….the traditional meal as we have made for years..and that everyone expects! 🙂  The food was great! Everyone was relaxed and happy and a good time was had.  After, I put my jammies on early, had some coffee with Baileys, sat by the fire and vegged out!  How about you? Was your Thanksgiving a good one?

Did you go out shopping on Black Friday?  I did that one time many years ago.  I vowed to never do it again and I haven’t! LOL.  It was a nightmare in so many ways.  As I watch the videos on tv of people fighting over an item, being trampled as stores throw open their doors, etc..it all just seems crazy to me. Don’t even get me started about stores opening up on Thanksgiving eve.  You can get good deals all through the holidays, online etc…I just don’t get the appeal.  If you braved it..kudos to you and hope you got great deals!  I got good deals too…I shopped in my jammies online and got most of my shopping done! Yay!!

The rest of this blog post is from a previous post back in 2010 that I decided to repost for new readers who may not have come across it.  I was watching “A Christmas Carol” again today,  remembered my writing this and thought you all would enjoy it.  Let me know what you think.

 

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Now that Thanksgiving is past, our thoughts all turn to Yule/Christmas.  Other than Samhain, probably my favorite Sabbat!  Before I go on any further, let me explain that I celebrate the Winter Solstice AND Christmas.  Christmas to me is a secular holiday..all about family, feasting, good will, music, lights, trees, gifts of course, etc etc.  The story “A Christmas Carol” is all about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day..so that’s what I’ll be speaking about for now.

I love Winter! ( yes I know some people will be groaning right now!)  I love all it entails.  Sitting by the fire, nesting, going outside and feeling the cold air whip across my face and take my breath away, wearing cozy sweaters, knitted scarves, hats & mittens, hot chocolate, warm spiced wine, feeding the winter birds and having time to read, crochet, relax, bake, take on projects on the inside of the house, ..well I just love the slower pace.  Today I watched “A Christmas Carol”…my all time favorite book and movie…all versions..ever!  Today happened to be the musical version..which I happen to think is excellent.  Has Kelsey Grammar as Scrooge and many other great stars.  My favorite version..for the record..is probably George C. Scott…he was a most excellent Scrooge! Though sometimes I think it must be Patrick Stewart! 🙂

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

……..Scrooge…Charles Dickens

I am sure many of you will recognize this quote.  I am a huge lover of Charles Dickens and I think he writes beautifully and from the heart and his words are still ringing true all these years later.  He was indeed teaching a lesson in this Novella.  What is the lesson?  I would imagine most people would say the same thing…”goodwill towards men”.   I see it as more than that.  My understanding is that Dickens was appalled at the poverty he saw around him, and that the middle and upper class were doing nothing to help them at all.  His Scrooge talks about the work houses and the programs set up by the government to aid the impoverished…but it was nowhere near enough.  He wrote this book to open the eyes of those who were not “seeing” what needed to be done.  For people to open their hearts and their wallets to help the less fortunate and it would make them happier and more blessed in their own life.

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

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

There are many positive wonderful characters in this book.  Old Fizziwig, who gave a huge party,  sparing no expense,  to show his gratitude to his employees.  There is the clerk, Bob Cratchit, so lowly in Scrooge’s eyes, but greatly loved by his large poverty stricken family, especially Tiny Tim.  Then there is Fred,  Scrooge’s endearing nephew.  He was the epitome of a good man who’s life was abundant in family, friends, love , joy, and blessings.  He showed love at every turn.  All he wanted from Uncle Scrooge was for him to come to Christmas Day dinner.  He came every year and requested it every year.  He never gave up on him.  and when Scrooge had his life altered…he welcomed him with open arms..holding no grudge for all the years of rejection.  Though he was not a rich man…he was rich in every other way.

I don’t know about you..but I want to be like Fred….I want to be rich in friends.  I want to be rich in experiences.  I want to be rich in appreciation for the blessings that come to my life.  This is the lesson that Scrooge learned..luckily while he could still have some time to truly appreciate it. Look into your own Past, Present, and even into your Future.  Have you done well by others?  Can you do better? ” A Christmas Carol” will always mean a lot to me…and I will try to keep Christmas in my heart all year long.  and as Tiny Tim says……God(Goddess) Bless Us Every One!!

Every year in recent years, my family has adjusted how we celebrate the holidays.  Yule is for me about introspection, welcoming the Light,  and having quiet time to myself.  Christmas is as I said above…family, food, fun, giving, and Santa!  Having said that, we have simplified so much and it has made the holidays so much more enjoyable.  There are less gifts and more time spent together.  Whether baking cookies, watching a movie together with popcorn and a fire, hot chocolate and driving around to see light displays, breakfasts or lunches together, a little shopping, romantic candle lit dinners….just making memories together.  That after all is what your family will remember.  Looking back over your childhood, do you remember what was under the tree, or do you remember decorating it?  Do you remember what gift who gave who or do you remember grandma and grandpa coming over to visit?  While we all may remember that favorite gift we got, most of what we remember are the not things..but people and how they affected your life growing up.  I keep this in mind every day with my girls and now my grandkids.  Just remember, things don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to spend a lot of money…you just have to make memories!!! It’s the simple things in Life that matter!

 

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Have a Blessed Week and Breathe deep as the holidays are under way!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Friends, God, Goddess, Grandchildren, Holiday, Movies, Music, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Quote, Seasons, Thanksgiving, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas