Tag Archives: Imbolc

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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Filed under Altars, Cleaning & Organizing, God, Goddess, Imbolc, Photography, Spring, Winter

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

Countdown to Imbolc 2012…….

 

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

Merry Meet on this beautiful Sun day.  Hope your New Year is going well so far.  I have been sick with a virus that has had me down for some time now but I’m pulling up my bootstraps and telling myself I’m OVER it now 🙂  I do feel a bit better today and hope it continues.  As I’m having a quiet day I decided to post on my blog…about Imbolc….as I was making notes and lists to get ready for this wonderful Sabbat.  Imbolc has always been special to me because it was the first Sabbat that I celebrated.  It always feels hopeful and full of magick to me. 

As I am writing this, I’m sitting in my chair with the window cracked open, allowing the cool air to come in and cleanse out my house a bit.  Though it’s in the low 40’s here, the Sun is beautiful and warm and it feels a bit like a Spring day.  That’s what Imbolc is all about..the return of the Spring, the warmth, the Sun….Mother Earth re-awakening!  We have had a rare Winter so far here in Ohio.  Only one snow that amounted to anything, lots of days above normal temps and it’s been delightful!  But though I’m thinking about Spring already, we have much more Winter to go I’m quite sure 🙂 

 Imbolc, known also as Imbolg, Candlemas, the Festival of Brighid, and the Feast of Lights. The word Imbolc means “in the belly,” or in the womb of Mother Earth, as well as “in milk,” which refers to ewes coming into milk for the first lambs of the season. This Sabbat marks the return of spring, even as winter continues its reign. Imbolc is February 2nd and is of course, in modern times, also known as Groundhog’s Day.

Imbolc, for me,  is a time of cleansing and purification. It’s all about Spring Cleaning!  It is time to throw out the old and bring in the new. This not only means the “stuff and clutter” in your home, but also your old thoughts, anger, hurt feelings etc. To Sweep out negatitive and stagnant Air and bring in fresh, clean positive Air.   To re-new my home and myself. After a thorough Spring Cleaning on my home, I Cleanse and Bless my home and those who dwell here, and cleanse my body and my soul as well.   Imbolc is when I re-dedicate myself to my path every year.  Though it’s not necessary to do, it re-energizes and re-connects me to my path, my Goddess, my way of life.  

The customs of Imbolc include ritual “spring cleaning” of the house, to banish the last of winter and hasten the coming of warm, sunny days.  Some things I do while cleaning…..I  use lavender and rosemary in a pot of boiling water to wash floors and walls, vinegar and mugwort for windows and mirrors. Burn sage to cleanse the psychic energies, and replace old protection and prosperity charms. I wash all my curtains and linens and give them a good spritz with lavender water before re-hanging them.  I clean out drawers, closets, cupboards. Sweep high and low.  Replace burnt out light bulbs, anything that’s broken, throw out that is which is no longer of use or pleasure.  The house will smell and feel amazing when you’re done!  Oh, I like to replace all my old candles that may not be finished yet…just to have a fresh start! 

I also spend some time on myself.  Taking a ritual bath scented with your favorite herbs/oils or sea salt is always cleansing and renewing.  As you soak, meditate to clear your mind and heart of any thoughts or emotions that no longer serve you. This is all to “start a-new” in mind, body, spirit and home. Anoint your chakra points with Blessing oil after and spend some time meditating and focusing inward on yourself.  Let go what needs to go and open yourself to new possibilities, Joy, Peace and Love only.  Let the negative go and the positive take over.  You will feel so great afterwards.

On Imbolc Night, in ancient times, The Goddess Brighid was honored in her Maiden form.  One way to honor her is this.  Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom is placed by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun. Just before sunset, turn off all the lights in the house. Carrying  a single white burning candle,  to represent Brighid, knock three times on the front door and invite the Goddess to enter, asking that she bestow health, success, abundance, and love upon everyone in the house. Then slowly begin turning on the lights, moving room to room, until every light in the house is on.  This is really magickal to me..symbolizes the Darkness of Winter changing to the Light of Spring.  If you have made a Brighid cross, have it on your altar or hanging near your front door or fireplace to represent Her as well. 

Imbolc Correspondences

*Element/Gender-Earth/female

*Threshold- Midnight

*Symbolism-First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter, Purity, Re-newal, Fertility, dispensing of old and making way for the new

*Symbols/Tools/Decorations-Brighid’s Crosses, Brideo’gas, Besoms, white flowers, acorn wands, candles, Brides bed, milk, evergreens, daffodils, grain/seeds, snowflakes

*Herbs-Angelica, basil, bay laurel, blackberry, heather, iris, myrrh, violets, clover, willow, and all yellow flowers.

*Incense/Oils-Basil, bay, wisteria, cinnamon, violet, vanilla, myrrh, jasmine, rose, sage lavender,

*Colors-Gold, light green, green, blue, yellow, pink, white, red, brown and pastels

*Crystals/Stones-Amethyst, bloodstone, garnet, ruby, turquoise, onyx, moonstone, red jasper

*Customs/Activities-Candle lighting, seeking omens of spring, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, hearth re-lighting, storytelling

*Foods-Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, spicy foods, dairy, raisins, poppyseed bread/cakes, muffins, scones, breads, pancakes/waffles, spiced wines, herbal teas

*Gods- Pan, Cupid/Eros, young Sun Gods

*Goddesses- Brighid, Venus, Diana, Virgin Goddess, Maiden Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Selene, Februa

*Spellworking/Rituals-Cleansing, purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk and bread, Self-dedication

To aid you in your house cleansing, here is a ritual I love to do after all the Cleaning is done….

Imbolc House Cleansing Ritual

-Light a smudge stick and walk around the rooms of your house to replace old protection and prosperity. I smudge around all my windows and door and throw them open to allow in the fresh, cold Air!  You can also go around with a representative of each element…salt, incense or sage, a lit candle etc….or you can use a Blessing oil and anoint your doors and windowsills with a pentagram or sigil of protection.  While you are doing so, say something like:

“May the goddess bless this home

make it safe and secure

so that nothing but love and joy

shall enter here.

When you are finished with every room, close the windows, step back and take a deep breath.  Feels good doesn’t it? I usually do this House Blessing…then light all the candles and turn off lights and welcome in Brighid as written above.  Then I sit with a nice glass of Bailey’s or Wine and enjoy the feel of my Clean, Cleansed and Blessed home!  I’m ready to deal with the rest of Winter and my heart knows that Spring will be here soon!

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey,

 and enjoy every idle hour.”

 

– John Boswell

During this next couple months when we can only dream of Spring and our gardens, being outside.  Do that…Dream!  Pore over your garden catalogs and magazines and dream of planting your gardens, herbs, veggies.  It’ll do you heart some good.   Thats what I will be doing too.  I have big plans this year to expand my gardens 🙂

In winter’s cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
And see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation,
Softly scents my imagination.

On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision’s clear.
And through the snow, the buds appear.

In my mind, clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows.”
– Cheryl Magic-Lady, Winter Garden

I will post more about my altar and my Imbolc celebration in the coming days. If you haven’t already started thinking about this beautiful Sabbat, then do. There is alot of work involved with this one. The clearing out of the old is not for the faint of heart! LOL Be brutal in both your home and yourself! Really clear out the stuff that needs to go. You will feel so much better about your home and you will feel lighter and happier with yourself as well. Spring is coming and I know that makes many of your heart’s soar!! Start it out with a clean, uncluttered great smelling home and a clean slate full of positivity, lightness and joy for yourself! The Magick of Imbolc is upon us!

Oh, tonight is the Full Wolf or Cold Moon.  Her energy is amazing as I visited with Her last night and will again tonight.  Doing some healing work for myself and some friends of mine, making Moon water, cleansing and energizing some new crystals, tools etc.  Blessed Full Wolf Moon to you all!  Make the Most of your time with Her!

 

Blessed Be, Autumn

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Filed under Cleaning & Organizing, Correspondence, Full Moons, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, History, Holiday, Imbolc, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Poem, Protection, Quote, Ritual, Seasons, Spring, Winter

Happy 2012!…….

Merry Meet and a Very Happy New Year!  I am so late posting this but I have a very good reason.  I woke up on Dec. 27..with a whole day to relax in front of me.  I got my coffee, sat down, put my laptop on my lap, logged on…and OH NO!!!  I had a virus!!  A “security shield” antivirus (fake) popped up and that was that…I couldn’t do anything at all.  I shut down my computer, got dressed and ran it to the Geek Squad at my local Best Buy.  Sooo….I just got it back tonight, virus gone, and the miracle of not having lost one thing from my computer…everything intact!   I really missed my computer…amazing how hard it is to function without it..at least for me it was.  Keeping up with my blog, my facebook friends, my banking, emails, online shopping etc…much harder to do from phone or my Nook tablet then it is on my laptop.  I’m very happy to have it back 🙂   

 I wanted to do a quick post to start the New Year.   I changed out my theme from Yule/Christmas to a Winter theme (I love it!).  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, I know I did.  I was incredibly busy and quite tired, but it was worth it.  It was a great time with my family and Santa was very good to all of us.  Our New Year’s Eve was quiet.  I fixed some appetizers and my daughter Kate, her husband Matt and my grandkids came over for the evening.  We had a nice time playing with the babies, enjoying good food and each others company. After they left..no staying til midnight with babies :)…..the rest of us watched the Rockin New Year’s eve show and counted down to 2012 watching the ball drop in Times Square.  Then we went to bed.  🙂

I spent New Years Day taking down the Christmas decorations and getting the house back in order.  Then I spent the rest of the day relaxing by the fire, reading, and playing Words with Friends (my new obsession!).  So all in all a wonderful holiday.  Now, I move on to the deepest part of Winter.  Now those who know me or read my blog…know I love Winter.  I love it for the beauty of the snow, the restfulness of the long dark nights, the warmth of the fireplace and the slower pace and more days at home.  I read and crochet to my heart’s content, projects around the house get done and caught up, and I have time to spend on myself a bit too.  I call it “nesting”….and I find it necessary every year after all the busy work of the holidays!

I also love to use the Wintertime to work on my Book of Shadows, organize and clean my witchy cabinet and replace any supplies I’m getting low on, like candles, oils, incenses, and herbs etc.  I work on making up my witchy potions, loose incenses,  and oil blends.  I even collect snow for “snow water”.  I find snow to have an amazing energy and I use it for my altar work.  Basically, because Winter forces us to slow down and take it easy a bit,  I have more time to do the things I LOVE to do ..that I don’t have time to do during the other seasons.  This is why I love Winter!

Now for New Year’s, I don’t have resolutions (I never stick to them) but I do set some GOALS for the next year.  I seem to always have the need to have something I’m striving for…something to look forward to..something I want to change in my life to make it better.  This year is no different.  I want to start an etsy business and I’ll be working on that early this year.  I’m always striving to live a healthier life..more exercise, to eat better etc.  I am setting a goal also to take more time for myself and to do the things that make me feel good about myself..that give me joy..that keep me grounded and connected.  Journaling, time for my craft, reading, finding time to be with friends, taking more walks, yoga, and planning my summer gardens are all on my list of things I want to do better 🙂  What are your goals for the New Year?  Do you have any?  If goal setting is not a priority for you that is fine of course.   But  maybe you are overwhelmed with all you’d like to do or to change in your life and don’t know where to start?  In that case, I recommend you start with One thing.  I read a book years ago..about how making one small change in your life..can set off a chain of change..like a snowball rolling downhill.  Change one small thing and see what happens! Make it simple and easy.  You’ll be surprised how satisfying it’ll be!

My wish for all of you is that 2012 brings much joy, good health, prosperity, and beautiful days for you and yours.  Happy New Year to you all!! 

Oh..Imbolc is coming up fast and furious!  One of my favorite Sabbats.  So I’ll be back soon 🙂 

Blessings in 2012…..Autumn

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Filed under Discussion, Holiday, Imbolc, My Favorite Things, My Writing, New Year, Seasons, Winter

A Book review and signs of Spring……….

Merry Meet friends.  It has been quite  a week ..weather wise around here.  On Imbolc Eve, we got a huge ice storm…lots of heavy ice, slippery roads, trees cracking and breaking from the weight of the ice, and power outages.  Yes, we had a power outage..the lights went out about 11:30pm that night.  We lit candles, brought in a kerosene ceramic heater to warm the lower floor rooms and hoped for the best.  By the next morning..power outage looked like it was going to last for awhile.  We ended up heading over to my daughters for the day and stayed warm and had a lovely visit with my daughters and granddaughter.  Lights came back on at about 5pm and life got back to normal.  It was Imbolc…my ritual ended up being very simple as I was so tired from lack of sleep LOL…but I threw open the doors and invited in Brighid and it was a Blessed Imbolc after all.  I hope yours was too!

A couple of months ago..a facebook friend of mine..Tracy Jeffery..from Australia…posted a link that caught my eye.  I went to look at it, and discovered that she had written a children’s pagan book…called “Kite Magic….A Tribute to the Element Air”.  I looked at it, thought that I would order it for my granddaughter and then, you know, I kind of forgot about it.  A couple of weeks ago, she posted a comment here on my blog and mentioned the book and that she would love for me to review it here.  So I promptly contacted her, ordered the book and I received it, read it and loved it.  So Tracy, thank you for your delightful book and I can’t wait til the other element books are written.

Kite Magic is about a little girl named Alana, 4 years old, who receives a rainbow kite for her birthday.  Her Nanna takes her to the beach to fly her kite. (Now I am called Nana by my precious Lily so I loved that right off ! )  Nanna wears a shawl and a sunflower hat (which I love!).  But despite Alana’s best efforts, she can not get the kite to fly….there isn’t enough wind.  She is taunted by 3 boys because of it.  Alana becomes sad and discouraged..her rainbow kite just wont’ fly.  Now her Nanna..a wise crone…tells Alana that she can make it windy by calling on air.  Alana does just that..with her Nanna’s help ( a beautiful charm here too).  Their magick blends together and spirals upward and Air answers in a delightful way.  The descriptive words of the magick wrought were delightful to me and I think any child would be entranced as well.  Those boys who taunt her…well they get a bit of Karma as well in a very funny way!  I thought this book was charming..filled with magick and vivid images.  I also loved the illustrations by Danielle Rawnsley-Galistan..bright colors and attention getting for a child.  I can’t wait until the next books come out.  I highly recommend the book..pagan books for children are pretty hard to come by.  For this book visit www.paganchild.com.au

I have been looking for signs of Spring..to no avail around here.  We have had one of the snowiest winters I can remember.  Not so much in huge amounts, but in constant amounts..keeping the ground white all winter long.  Today, more snow.  But recently, I have had visitors to our koi pond in our yard and just had to snap a few pictures.  Signs of Spring?  I still think so…but they are around here all winter long now…but seeing them makes me smile.

Lovely birds don’t you agree..I love the grumpy look on the one looking right at me! LOL

Then this morning..more visitors…7 deer walked across our yard…it was so magickal.  I feel such an affinity with them.  I see them as so magickal and majestic…my heart soars when I can be that close to them!  Here’s a  picture  I caught before they went up in the woods.

Sorry for the misty pics but well, it was a misty morning! 🙂  I have heard many of my facebook friends talking about signs of Spring around their homes..so I know that Spring is coming soon.  To feel the Sun warming the Earth, to see shoots peeking up thru the brown earth, morning bird song, the smell of the grass greening….I can’t wait for those days.  I know you all look forward to those days as well.  Spring is Hope Eternal!

Blessings of Love and Light, Autumn

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Filed under Books I'm reading, Granddaughter, Imbolc, Mother Earth, Photography, Spring

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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Filed under Altars, Book of Shadows, Goddess, Imbolc, Photography, Spring

Imbolc Recipes……

Good Evening friends!  Hope you are all having a great weekend so far.  I am having a good one despite the fact that my husband is pretty ill with pneumonia!  Not fun at all for him and I’m hoping that all of us around him are able to keep from getting it too.  We are taking good care of him both medically and magickally so he will hopefully get over it sooner rather than later.

I was sitting by the fire this evening and decided to pull out my recipe box and start looking for recipes for Imbolc.  As I posted in an earlier writing, the foods for 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 tried to find recipes that combined some of these foods and was quite successful!  I thought I would share them with you so here we go……

This is top of my list that I’ll be making!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Glaze

Yield 2 – 8×4 inch loaf pans

 Ingredients

1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 (3 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix

1 cup water

1/4 cup poppy seeds

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 – 8×4 inch loaf pans.

-In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, eggs, oil, pudding mix, water, and poppy seeds. Spread batter into two greased 8×4 inch loaf pans.

-Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Lemon Glaze

4 TB sugar

4 Tsp Lemon juice

Just mix sugar and juice well and pour over cake after allowing cake to cool for 10 minutes.

This recipe is classic for using milk…pudding.  Remember that Imbolc is the festival of the lactating sheep.  It is derived from the Gaelic word “oimelc” which means “ewes milk”.   So a recipe using milk is most appropriate for this Sabbat.  Now I don’t know about your but my pudding must be chocolate! Yummy!  This is a great recipe!

Chocolate Cream Pudding

 Ingredients

1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

1.In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in milk and chocolate. Cook, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts and mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks. Return to heat and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Chill before serving.

Now, I was looking at the list and there are two things I love on the list…scones and raisins!  So here is a recipe for just that!

Walnut Raisin Scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/2 cup butter, cubed

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup raisins

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons buttermilk

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Directions

-In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel.

-With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in all but 2 tablespoons of the nuts and the raisins. Mix in buttermilk with fork.

-Gather the dough into a ball and knead for about 2 minutes on lightly floured board.

-Roll or pat out 3/4 inch thick. With a chef’s knife cut into 3 inch triangles. Place, spaced 1inch apart, on a greased baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk; sprinkle with the remaining sugar and the nuts.

-Bake in center of 425 degree F (220 degrees C) oven about 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve warm with butter or jam.

Both the Lemon Bread and these delicious scones would work great for a Cakes and Ale ritual at your altar.  Speaking of ale, a spiced wine is perfect for Imbolc and this is a yummy recipe..make this and serve to your family and friends and have it at your altar as well!

Spiced Wine

 1 cup water

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups pineapple juice

1 cup orange juice

6 whole cloves

3 whole allspice berries

2 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups red wine

2 oranges

8 cinnamon sticks, garnish

Directions

-In a large non-aluminum saucepan, combine water, brown sugar, pineapple juice, and orange juice. Season with cloves, allspice, 2 cinnamon sticks and salt. Cut the rind of 2 oranges into strips and stir into the mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.

-Pour in the wine. Heat to just boiling and remove from heat. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick for garnish.

Sitting here by the fire tonight, I’m wishing I had some of this to savor right now! 🙂

Pork is appropriate for this Winter sabbat as well.  This recipe is delicious and sooo easy..you’ll love it!

Simply Delicious Pork

1 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin, cut into 6 pieces (trimmed)

4 medium yellow delcious apples, sliced

3 TB brown sugar

1 Tsp cinnamon

1/2 Tsp salt

Place pork in slow cooker.  Cover with apples. 

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in small bowl.  Sprinkle over apples.  Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Thats it.  Easy Peasy.  You can shred it and put it on sandwiches or slice it and serve it with mashed potatoes and green beans or other veggies that you like.  You can also double this to feed more then 3-4 people. 

Another great recipe which would go great with the pork is this fresh salad…uses sesame seeds,  so again, you would be incorporating one of the foods that pertain to Imbolc.  I LOVE this salad!

Bok Choy Salad

In a large salad bowl, place….

1 Large head of romaine lettuce, chopped

1 Large bok choy, ends cut off and chopped

2 pkgs crumbled ramen noodles (noodles only)

Brown in a saute pan:

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 TB butter

Pour over salad.  Top with 2 cans drained mandarin oranges.

Dressing:

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 TB soy sauce.

Mix well and toss into salad right before serving!

All of these recipes are simple and will make your Imbolc celebration even better!  So after you have done your house cleaning and cleansing, throw some of these recipes in the oven or in the slow cooker and enjoy the good smells coming from your kitchen as you are enjoying your great smelling, great feeling home!  Then have some spiced wine and put your feet up for a bit after all your hard work!  Take a look around at what you have accomplished and know that you are just about ready for Spring!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Imbolc, Recipe from my Kitchen, Spring