Tag Archives: Nature

I <3 Herbs……Yarrow!

Merry Meet my friends. It has been a rainy, dark day today. Thunder and Lightning and I’ve done some dancing with Thor in the storms. I’m so thrilled that we had a couple of beautiful days here though. I got all our clothes washed and hung out on the clothesline to dry. (I LOVE that!) We got a few things done in the yard…some grass seed planted where a dead tree was removed last Fall….we got a birdhouse put up…a new birdbath put out and we bought a couple of hanging baskets of Calabracia to hang on our patio, a deep purple one and a yellow one. I pulled out the rosemary that isn’t coming back ūüė¶ Added garden soil to my raised herb bed etc. All in preparation for planting! Which we can’t do yet! Ack! LOL. Another week or two I think. For sure by Mother’s Day!

Again, this posting about Yarrow can be found at The Sunday Stew here: http://mypaganworld.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-sunday-stew-beltane-edition.html. It’s the Beltaine issue so be sure and check it out!! It’s wonderful!

Beltane is almost here! As I was thinking about which herb I wanted to write about for the Beltane issue of the Stew…I decided on Yarrow. Yarrow is one of those wonderful herbs that grow wild…nearly everywhere! Usually from June thru September in meadows, roadsides, pastures, ditches etc etc. Easily found. Often thought to just be a weed LOL..but it’s so much more!!

 

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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) grows from 10 to 20 inches high, a single stem, fibrous and rough. The leaves are fern-like, dark-green, giving them a feathery appearance. The flowers are several bunches of numerous small, white flower heads. Each tiny flower resembling a daisy. Depending on the weather and where you live, the flowers bloom from May to September.

For you gardeners out there, growing yarrow is sometimes too easy, as it tends to take over a plot. It creeps along via its root system, while simultaneously reseeding itself. Yarrow prefers ordinary soil and a fair amount of sunshine. Some varieties of yarrow grow up to 4 feet in height. It comes in shades from white to pale pink…to ornamental yellow and red varieties!

Other Names: Milfoil, Old Man’s Pepper, Soldier’s Woundwort, Knight’s Milfoil, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter’s Weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed, Devil’s Nettle

Mythology:

Yarrow carries the name Achillea because the Greek God Achilles in mythology is storied to have given the plant to his troops to stop bleeding in battle. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop the bleeding when he hurt his own heel, and he died from his wounds. The modern terms “Achilles tendon” and “Achilles heel” originate from this myth.

Medicinal Uses:

Yarrow has been a well-known healing herb for centuries. It has a wonderful list of healing medicinal purposes!
Parts used….everything above the ground (leaves, stems and flowers)
Harvesting for medicinal purposes should be done while the plant is in flower.
Yarrow is used medicinally against colds and flu, cramps, fevers, stomach ulcers, kidney disorders, toothaches and abscesses, skin irritations, to regulate menses, and to reduce inflammation. It can aid digestion and increase appetite. Yarrow is a diaphoretic and helps to eliminate toxins and fevers. Yarrow’s astringent properties can also help stop diarrhea and dysentery. Other yarrow uses include coughs, sore throats, lowering blood pressure, hay fever, and more.
Externally, clean yarrow leaves can be used to stop a wound from bleeding. A yarrow infused oil or balm can be used to treat other topical skin conditions including burns, ulcers, and swollen and inflamed skin, and hemorrhoids. Inserting a fresh, clean yarrow leaf into the nostril can stop nosebleeds. Yarrow can also, conversely, start bleeding when needed…for instance, getting clotted nose blood, to un-clot.

 

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Medicinal applications:

An infusion (tea) of yarrow flowers can be prepared by steeping the flowers into boiling water for some time. This preparation is useful for upper respiratory illness. It may also be useful to heal eczema when applied externally as a wash. An infusion or tea is also great for reducing fever. To get relief for varicose veins, soak a cotton pad with the infusion and apply to the veins. The poultice will also aid hemorrhoids. You can also put the infusion in bath water to soothe hemorrhoids and skin issues.
Yarrow oil is useful for any external skin issues such as swollen joints, rashes, or bruises. Also great as a chest rub (add peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil) for congestion of the chest..colds, flu or cough.
Cuts and scratches on the body can be healed by wrapping cleansed, fresh yarrow leaves on the affected area. To clean leaves, place in a bowl, pour white vinegar over them…let stand for a bit. Strain off vinegar then rinse leaves twice to ensure all the vinegar is gone. You can also place a chewed leaf on a sore tooth.
A tincture made of Yarrow is useful for healing urinary disorders and menstrual problems.

Warning:
Pregnant women should not use Yarrow internally! Excessive use can cause headaches and skin irritations for anyone who is sensitive to it.

Culinary Uses:
Yarrow is bitter but used sparingly it works in cheese sauces, soups and salads. Has been used in place of hops to brew beer.

Magickal Uses:
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Air
Yarrow is used magickally for Courage, Love, Psychic abilities, Divination, Perception, Protection and Purification.
Some ways to use Yarrow for magick are:

-When drank as a tea, Yarrow is said to increase psychic powers and powers of perception.
-When flowers or leaves are burned, if the smoke goes up, it’s a good omen, but if it goes down, it’s a bad omen.
-Use Yarrow flowers in love sachets and charms.
-Place Yarrow flowers under your pillow before sleep and your lover will appear in your dreams.
-Hang flowers over your bridal bed to insure love that lasts at least 7 years. Or place them in your bridal bouquet
-Grow Yarrow near your door for protection or hang some over your front door.
-Carried in the hand or placed in a mojo bag….it is believed to ward off fear. Also to reverse negativity and protect from hexes
-Add to the bath to protect from evil or harm.
-Throw Yarrow flowers across the threshold to protect the house from evil.
-Tie to an infant’s cradle for protection from harmful forces. (an old belief too)
-Place the flowers on your altar to aid in divination
-use it in loose incense for protection, purification or divination

These are just a few ways to use Yarrow in Magick. I’m sure you can find many more. Next time you take a walk, look for some yarrow and bring it home and put it to good use!

A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
and closed them beneath the kisses of night.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‚ÄúThe Sensitive Plant,‚ÄĚ 1820

 

I hope that you all are enjoying both the Stew and learning about herbs. I know I learn more and more as I study them and use them too.¬† I’ll be back in a couple of days to wish you all a very Blessed Beltaine and maybe a recipe ūüôā

Blessed New Moon to you all!
Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Beltane, Discussion, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, My Favorite Things, Nature, New Moons, Our Yard, Poem, Seasons, Spring, Summer

We Must Love Our Mother Earth…….

There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet. 

~Brooke Medicine Eagle

thNP8L5I5IGreetings friends!¬† I’m hoping that you all had a wonderful weekend and Easter if you celebrated it.¬† We had beautiful weather here, so much time was spent outside.¬† My grandkids had a wonderful egg hunt and the adults had fun watching them and helping them etc.¬† It was a marvelous day and joy abounded!

I had a wonderful birthday as well and thank you so much for all the warm messages and well wishes!¬† I tend to accept growing older as I like the wisdom that comes with it ūüôā¬† My family remembered my garden witchiness and got me some lovely things for my garden…a bird bath, owl stepping stone and statue, garden journals and seeds.¬† It was awesome!

For many years now, Earth day has come the day after my birthday.¬† I still remember it started in 1970 when I was in like 7th grade.¬† It was mentioned but didn’t seem to be that much of a thing really. Maybe I was too young¬†to care too much. ¬† But by the time I hit sophomore year in high school, it was becoming more acknowledged.¬† Kids were encouraged to walk or ride bikes to school instead of taking buses.¬† We were gathering in groups to clean parks, highways, collecting cans for recycling,¬†to plant a tree or a¬†veggie garden, etc. ¬†I still remember a group of high school kids in my neighborhood decided to walk to school.¬† Now, this was about an¬†8 mile walk…not a small task that early in the morning.¬† But we put on our comfy shoes at 6am and off we went as a group.¬† We walked thru a beautiful winding road park to get there..made it to school on time and we were proud and excited about it.¬† It became a tradition for all 3 years of high school.¬† Fond memories.

The sad fact is..all these years later, that though they are many of us who care so much for our Mother, that we are slowly killing Her. Factories, over population, over expansion into green spaces, too much trash, too much chemicals, fracking, oil spills, pollution of waters etc etc…is destroying Her.

There are so many who live close to Earth, that see what’s happening, who do their share in their small way to try to heal Her, help her, work with Her and not against Her…but too many who don’t give a damn.¬† Trees are torn down to put up buildings..then new trees planted?¬† Does that make any sense?¬† Grass is covered in chemicals to keep it perfectly coifed and weed free.¬† Earth’s critters are constantly scrambling to find a place to live as we tear down their homes.¬† It goes on and on…and I have no answers for it.¬† It makes me cry really.

Earth day is not one day of the year my friends.¬† It’s EVERY day..at least it should be!!!¬† Now I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here as they say.¬† Any Witch/Pagan/environmentalist lives this every day…but as I Witch I know I can do better and work on it all the time.¬† But we need to set an example.¬† Earth day is a great day to do that.¬† Talk about it…get a group together to go clean a park or a highway of trash.¬† Plant a tree.¬† Help your neighbors plant a wildflower garden.¬† Get a rain barrel and a compost bin.¬† Stop using chemicals on your lawn and use natural, earth healthy products!¬†Walk¬†or ride a bike when you can.¬†¬†Most importantly….teach your children and grandchildren to love and respect Mother Earth as well!!

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Caretakers by Robert Duncan

The Elements….Earth, Air, Fire and Water….we work with them every day as Witches.¬† Except for Fire…..those elements are ill.¬† And it will get worse and worse if we don’t do something MORE and¬†FAST to save them.¬†Let’s protect Her, Heal Her, Love Her!

Blessed be our Mother Earth……and blessings to all of you who are doing your part to care for Her!!

I’m not an environmentalist.¬† I’m an Earth warrior.¬†

~Darryl Cherney, quoted in Smithsonian, April 1990

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Thumbnail picture was on the internet from multiple sources.

 

 

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Filed under Discussion, Earth Day, Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Grandchildren, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Quote

The Wheel Turns to Mabon 2012………..

Merry Meet my friends! I am late posting a Mabon post this year but I have good reason! ¬†My Life has been crazy busy.¬† We have been working hard on getting our house ready to sell.¬† Also, we went on vacation last week!¬† To Panama City Florida…my whole family…hubby, daughters, son-in-law and grandbabies.¬† Took two friends with us as well to help care for my daughter Sara.¬† We had a fabulous time….My Sea Witch Self re-emerged.¬† Resting, relaxing, good eating, beautiful Sunrises and Sunsets, and a waning crescent Moon all made for great magick on the Beach!¬† A good time was had by all..much needed with all we had been through this year.

We were thrilled to see¬†we were coming home to beautiful, Autumn weather.¬† Signs of Autumn are everywhere I look now.¬† Windows and screen doors are open during the day and nights are cool.¬† Leaves are starting to turn, gardens are losing their color, critters are busier, birds are flocking, stores are filled with Autumn and Halloween decorations.¬† Mums, pumpkins and Fall flowers are showing up at garden centers.¬† My mind is turning to my slow cooker, baking, cider and apples.¬† My clothes are changing over to long sleeves and light jackets or sweaters..and yes..even flannel jammies ūüôā¬† Wood is piled in the fireplace and outdoor fire pit..ready to go.¬† ¬†Ahhhhh….I am maybe..just maybe..starting to forget¬†(a little) ¬†how miserable Summer was with it’s sweltering Heat LOL.¬† My soul soars at this wonderful time of year!

Mabon…the 2nd Harvest festival…is Saturday the 22nd.¬† I love all the Harvest Sabbats and this one is no exception.¬† I am planning a great meal, an outdoor by- the- fire ritual, and will be decorating my house for Autumn as well.¬† For me, Mabon is the time to reflect on the coming dark Season.¬† To finish up harvesting our gardens and herbs and putting our gardens to bed for the Winter.¬†¬†Putting¬†the last of the bounty up..by canning or freezing.¬† ¬†I start looking for projects to keep me busy¬†as we come indoors more….like crochet, home projects, and of course Verbena Lane Botanicals is keeping me busy too ūüôā¬† I also read more, journal more, work on my Book of Shadows etc…things that I can’t settle in to do during the Summer.¬† Cooking and baking!¬† This is my favorite time of year to cook….I’m perusing my recipe books like crazy already!

To get the¬†Mabon Correpondences and recipes I’ve posted the last few years…just do a search in the archives.¬† I don’t think I can top the recipes I posted last year but¬† I’m searching out one or two more to post in the next day or so for you.

Mabon is a wonderful Sabbat….so much you can do to celebrate it.¬† Go for a walk and see what treasures from Mother Earth you can find….acorns, feathers, pine cones, stones, nuts, berries, colored leaves…bring them home and throw them in a beautiful wooden bowl with a brown, red, or rust pillar candle in the middle.¬† A beautiful centerpiece for your table or altar.¬† Have a soup party or Oktoberfest party.¬† Go pick your own apples and bake lots of yummy things with them.¬† Take the¬†kids to the pumpkin patch.¬†Rake up the leaves and jump in them!¬† I like to press beautiful leaves¬†… then put them in a book, or frame or my Book of Shadows.¬† Mabon is a great time of year to¬†banish the¬†old and tired and bring in the new…new projects, new energies, new abundance, new thought patterns.¬† Learn something new….try something new!¬†¬†You will have more time to do it…well…hopefully ūüôā

“Leaves fall,the days grow cold.
The Goddess pulls her mantle of Earth around Her
as You, O Great Sun God, sail toward the West
to the land of eternal enchantment,
wrapped in the coolness of night.
Fruits ripen,seeds drip,
the hours of day and
night are balanced.”
–¬†¬† Mabon Sabbat and Lore¬†

I hope you all have a wonderful week and would love to hear YOUR plans to celebrate this Sabbat.¬† I am off to get out my favorite cookbooks and see what I can find ūüėȬ† Happy Moon day and Mabon Blessings!

‚̧ Autumn

 

 

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The Wheel turns to Beltane 2012…….

It is Beltane! The Earth softens under the caress of the sun and all the world is new. We emerge from the darkness of a long, difficult winter; our eyes drink in rolling green hills budding branches and tender shoots. We breathe deeply the fresh fragrance of radiant blossoms. Merriment calls!‚ÄĚ

‚Äď Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary

 

Merry Meet my friends.¬† Hope that you are having Spring weather, that your world is blooming and greening and warming like mine is.¬† However the last 2 days it has felt more like Winter then Spring..sunny days but frosty cold mornings!¬† The frost did a bit of damage to some of my herbs and budding trees and bushes..but they will recover just fine I’m sure.¬† I love seeing the birds, chipmunks, squirrels enjoying the weather as well as the frogs and fish in our pond.¬† My sister got some great pics of the frogs sunning themselves on rocks next to our pond.¬† I love frogs!

 

 

 

As you who read my last post know, I had brain surgery and was quite ill and in the hospital for like 11 days.¬† I am taking baby steps towards healing.¬† My last catscan showed some improvement and no new bleeds.¬† However, I have pretty severe headaches still, shakiness and dizziness, and alot of fatigue to deal with.¬† I’m told to expect that for awhile.¬† Another side effect, a bit of trouble focusing…which is causing me trouble with my writing, reading, even watching tv and playing words with friends LOL.¬†¬† Because of that..I have had a hard time writing here on my blog and posts may be a little more sporadic for a little while.¬† Please bear with me while I heal….and my muse comes back ūüôā¬†

 

We are coming up fast on Beltane…one of my favorite Sabbats because of the sheer Joy of it.¬†¬† It is a fire festival, a welcome to the return of the Sun…..we celebrate longer days, warmer days…the greening of Mother Earth.¬† Witches are out in their gardens…tenderly planting, watering, weeding, designing and enjoying the feel of the warm earth, the Sun on our backs, the scent of the flowers and herbs and our bare feet in the green grass and rich brown dirt.¬†¬† Meals are taken outdoors on patios and balconies.¬†¬† We want to eat lighter and healthier, take walks, be more active.¬† Personally, one of my favorite things about the warm weather..is having my morning coffee on my front porch while I watch the Sunrise…and in the evening, again on the porch with¬†a glass of wine and watch the Moonrise.¬† Even if you live in the city, in an apartment or condo…you can have pots of herbs and flowers to tend, to touch, to care for.¬† We dress lighter and in brighter colors, don our garden hats or gypsy scarves (especially for me this year with my shorn head LOL).¬† We want to be around water too..a pond, a pool, a lake, an ocean…even a kiddie pool is fun if thats all thats available!¬† I know I will have a blast with my grandbabies with their kiddie pool this Summer ūüôā¬†¬†

 

 

¬†Beltane!……¬† It’s about joy, love and lust, yes that kind of lust but also Lust for Life!¬† After making it thru the long, cold, dark Winter…we are again free to be outdoors, to enjoy nature, warmth, Sun and longer days.¬† Dance around a fire, feast, frolic with the faeries as they are very much part of Beltane.¬† Erect a maypole and invite your family and friends over to wind the ribbons and dance around it.¬† Set up a fairy garden and don’t forget to leave them an offering of a shiny crystal or stone or¬†some honey and bread….. ask them to aid you in your garden.Rejoice with the God and Goddess in their Great Rite….laugh, be happy!!¬†

 

 

Another thing I really want to do this year…is to make up some May Day baskets for my friends and family…I love this idea of using a canning jar or even just a tin can…fill it with beautiful flowers and leave it as a surprise on the door….what a lovely gift!¬†

For me…this year especially…Beltane¬†will be a most ¬†joyous occasion..simply for the fact that I am still here…with my family and loved ones.¬†I am so grateful for that.¬† ¬†¬†I must say..Summer is not my favorite¬†time of year….I love it until it gets too hot.¬† I¬†don’t like being hot LOL!¬†¬†However, ¬†early Summer is just a beautiful time of¬†year with it’s warm days and cool, comfortable nights.¬†¬†I intend to enjoy every minute of it…and Beltane is a great way to start off a beautiful Summer Season!¬†¬†

 

Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun.”
– Kahlil Gibran

 

I’d like to thank you all again so much for all the love, concern, comments, cards and gifts, ¬†healing, lit candles and friendship sent my way while I’ve been sick.¬† I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for it….from¬†my heart to yours..thank you so so much!¬†¬†

Blessings and Love, Autumn   

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The Wheel turns to Ostara 2012……..

Merry Meet dear friends.¬†¬†I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend.¬† I know I did.¬†¬†We have enjoyed a few days¬†of seeing¬†the Sun shining!¬† It’s been wonderful after¬†several gloomy ones.¬† ¬†Though it’s cold out,¬†the Sun makes¬†me feel all warm inside.¬† ¬†I’m sitting by a warm fire, stocking feet up on an ottoman, laptop on lap and glass of Baileys by my side.¬† I’m listening to my Ipod, hubby is snoozing in his chair next to me, and my daughter went on to her room for the night.¬† It’s peaceful and quiet and my mind turned to the next Sabbat…Ostara…so I decided to write a post.¬†

First, feel free to do a search here on my blog for Ostara…that will bring up all the previous posts I’ve written over the last 2 years.¬† That way you can find the correspondences, recipes, pics of altars, rituals etc again.¬† I don’t want to keep repeating myself every time I write on the same subject ūüôā¬† As we all know, Ostara is the first day of Spring!¬† The days are longer and starting to get warmer.¬† Depending on where you live, you may see grass starting to green, spring flowers starting to shoot up from the ground, critters and birds getting more active, and people getting out a bit more, shedding¬†their heavy winter coats. ¬†Garden Centers are filling up with seed packets, spring bulbs and flowers, patio pots, and all the goodies us garden Witches love.¬†The stores are filling up with Easter candy, stuffed rabbits, and Spring clothing.¬† Everybody’s mood gets just a bit lighter and a bit more energetic..a Spring in their step so to speak LOL.¬†

 

 

It’s spring fever.¬† That is what the name of it is.¬† And when you’ve got it, you want –

¬†oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want,

but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! 

 ~Mark Twain

 

Now here in Ohio…March can often have us with snow on the ground still.¬† But sometimes, we see balmy weather and an early Spring too.¬† Either way, I can still feel Spring coming in my soul….and it feels great!¬† As much as I love Winter, Spring is a wonderful time of year too.¬† My mind turns to cooking lighter, planning out my gardens and herb pots, finishing up any Spring cleaning that didn’t get done (I always save carpet cleaning and window cleaning for this time of year) and planning some outdoor fun.¬† Taking nature walks this time of year is so wonderful!¬† While on a walk, pay attention to what you see around you.¬† The trees may be budding, spring ground cover blooming, mushrooms may be growing and you might see some baby critters¬†too.¬† Take a big old sniff of the air and the dirt….you can smell Mother Earth waking up, stretching, blooming…..ahhhhhh!¬† If it’s really warm, take off your shoes and walk in the grass and dirt…or sit up against a tree, Sun shining on your face and feel the Earth’s vibrations..you can literally feel Her humming….vibrating….coming alive!¬† Let the energy surge thru you….feel the quickening in your heart and soul.¬† It’s magick!!

 

Right around Ostara is when I start picking up the things I need to start my herb seedlings.¬† I buy the organic pots, organic soil and good seeds.¬† I like to get them planted and growing right around the first day of Spring.¬† I bless them with a magickal spell (you’ll find it in last years post here) and keep a close eye on them for the next 6 weeks.¬† I love doing that..watching them sprout and grow.¬† Some seeds do better then others…but I try every year to see how they do.¬† Then right around Mother’s day…into the ground and/or¬†pots¬†they go!¬† I love the whole process..it makes me happy!¬†

My family celebrates Easter as well with members of our extended family who are Christian.¬† So we do the family ham dinner, dye eggs and hide them for the grandkids, dress up in pastels etc.¬†There¬†are bunnies and tulips and colored eggs on my pastel- colored altars too.¬† Yes, Easter¬†is a nod to our Ostara, though Pagans don’t celebrate¬†the resurrection of Jesus Christ….a Christian belief.¬† ¬†Ostara…… is more about recognizing the lengthening days, the awakening of our Mother Earth, the work to come in our gardens, and the long dark spell of Winter being over!¬†It is the turning of the Wheel…then end of one season and the start of the next.¬† I still like to have¬†beautiful meal of good food with my family for Ostara too.¬† Being¬†outdoors is a must and¬†I like to do a¬†ritual to welcome Persephone back from the Underworld..bringing Spring with her!¬† ¬†As a Mother, I can imagine the joy Demeter must feel everytime her beloved daughter comes back.¬† Think of that joy and find it yourself in your celebration of this beautiful Sabbat.¬†

In the next week or two..I’ll be posting a few recipes, pics of my altar, and I’ll post pics¬†of Mother Earth coming to life around me.¬† Don’t forget if you want to…to look for my posts from last year and the year before for MORE recipes¬†and more information.¬† We¬†have about a month until Ostara…I’m sure we will have more Winter weather in the meantime.¬† But now….you can¬†start thinking about what you’ll be doing when this next month or so is over and Spring has arrived.¬† A wonderful way to while away the cold Winter days that are left ūüôā¬† It won’t be long til you’ll see this……:)¬†

  

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Sources..my own writing, all pics from the internet.

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Filed under Easter, Family, Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, Nature, Ostara, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Winter

My Smoky Mountains…….

Merry Meet everyone.¬† Hope all is well in your world and that you are still enjoying a beautiful Autumn weather.¬† I have just returned from a short 4 day trip to the Smoky Mountains.¬† It was a girl trip..went with my daugher Sara, my sister Sunny and a friend Shawna.¬† We have gone to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area for years..a couple times a year at least.¬† I LOVE going there and know it pretty well.¬† Now I’m a girl and I love shopping as much as the next one, and places to shop are abundant there….but for me, it is all about seeing those mountains and spending time in them, enjoying what they have to offer…which is pure beauty in nature!

 

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

 ~John Burroughs

 

This quote¬† puts into words exactly how I feel when I first see those mountains, as I’m going south on I-75 from Kentucky into Tennessee.¬† The minute they come into view my heart just soars and my soul lets out a huge *sigh* of contentment…and recognition.¬† There is something ingrained in me that makes me feel at home there.¬† I often think it may be that my maternal grandfather was half Cherokee..my great grandfather coming from those mountains.¬† Maybe it is just that my soul knows how connected I am to nature and the beauty that is found here.¬† The trees, flowers, animals, and streams that thrive and survive there, are all connected to the Divine..as am I.¬†

 

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

~Eleonora Duse

 

I love seeing the mountains in the different seasons.¬† All of them are beautiful there.¬† I have seen snow clinging on the top of the mountains with the black shadows of the leafless trees pointing to the sky majestically and the frozen streams.¬† I have seen the greening of those trees in the Spring, with purple and white wildflowers covering the ground, and the streams flowing with cold, icy water as the snow melts.¬† I’ve seen full, leafy, green trees with the dappled sunlight hitting the forest floor, animals scurrying about and the streams filled with people cooling off.¬† My favorite season, Autumn..trees Glorious with reds, yellows, rusts and browns, the ground covered with the fallen leaves and still, the water ever flowing in the streams.¬† And always, always, the smoky mists that envelop the mountains, during all the seasons, that give them their name…that make them so magickal at any time of day!¬†

 

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”

 ~John Burrough

 

As a Witch, I find the elements in abundance in the mountains.¬† I can call them to me easily and they respond immediately.¬†Earth, Air, Fire and Water..yes, I find Fire there as well, in the flame red of the leaves and berries, the heat¬†from the Sun during the Summer, the glare off the snow, and in the warmth of the wind as Winter gives way to Spring.¬† I find magick in my mountains..always!¬† The Divine is there is well.¬† Nature is my church…always. The Full Moon over the mountains….A sight that everyone should see at least once!¬† Magnificent!!

“A wise man can do no better than to turn from the churches and look up through the airy majesty of the wayside trees with exultation, with resignation, at the unconquerable unimplicated sun.”

 ~Llewelyn Powys, The Pathetic Fallacy

While I was there, I visited one of my favorite stores..The Rock Shop.¬† As I was buying up crystals & stones, I came across a display of Tennesse Mountain Jasper.¬† Both polished stones and in large natural untouched chunks.¬† They look exactly like the rocky walls found in the mountains..quite recognizable.¬† I bought a nice piece both for myself and my two daughters.¬† This piece of stone will help me to keep those beautiful mountains, and that sense of peace and contentment I feel there…with me at all times.¬† *sigh* ūüôā

“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay attention to the story.”

~Linda Hogan

Those Smoky Mountains have stories to tell, and I do my best to listen to them.¬†Wherever you go in Nature, to feel the Divine, to commune with Mother Earth,¬†to calm yourself, to let out a big sigh of contentment…go there!¬† Often!!¬† It’ll do your heart, body and soul good.¬† Another thing that will do you some good?¬† If and whenever you get the chance, get a hug from a facebook friend, Do It!¬† I was blessed enough to get to do that on this trip..with TWO friends…..¬†and I am so happy that I did!¬† Hugs Cynthia and Angelique!!¬† It reinforces that our facebook friends are real indeed and that hearts DO touch across the miles and thru the internet ūüôā¬†

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Full Moons, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Seasons, Smoky Mountains, Woods

A Yule Poem and Solstice celebration…..

Merry Meet my lovely friends.¬† How is your Yule/Christmas preparations going?¬† If you’re like me, you’re as busy as can be..running everywhere…shopping, wrapping, baking, visiting and feeling a bit run down, tired and stressed.¬†This time of year can be very hectic but because we are witches we know how to fix that don’t we?¬†¬†Be sure to take quiet time every day.¬† Meditation, altar work, ritual baths, moon gazing, fire gazing, candle spells, scented oils and incense and grounding and centering are all ways for us to relax, regroup, and to re-energize our minds and bodies so that we feel better and don’t get so stressed out and tired that we don’t enjoy this time of year.

For us christmas day is about spending time with family, feasting, opening gifts and having a fun filled day. ¬†Yule or Winter Solstice is something quite different.¬† It’s more about quiet peace, the glow of candles, a yule log burning, a simple meal and reflecting on the past year and what you hope to manifest in the next.¬† There are many things you can do as a family to celebrate the solstice that will be rewarding and memorable and make the day lovely and relaxing at the same time.¬†

*Instead of buying gifts, make some together on Yule Day. My daughters, sister and I love to knit and crochet. There are so many things you can make with that skill for loved ones.  Or make something and donate it to a charity such as chemo caps, preemie caps, and blankets for hospice patients. Or you can make homemade decorations for your Yule tree, wreath,  or Yule log.  Cinnamon or Salt dough ornaments shaped like stars, moons, pentacles, apples etc would be a fun family project!

*Go on a nature walk in a nearby woods or nature preserve or on a beach.  Look for a Yule Log for the fireplace or a smaller one simply to decorate the home. Look for natural decorations such as ivy, mistletoe, and pinecones, taking care to only pick what has already fallen. If its snowing, take bird seed, dried corn or shelled peanuts to put out for the birds and furry creatures.  Make snow angels.  Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Sing carols outloud. 

*Collect evergreens to make a Yule Wreath or to put on your Yule log…the scent when you burn the log will be delicious!¬†

*While sitting around the burning Yule Log, share the stories of Winter Solstice. Each member of the family throws some dried holly sprigs into the fire, saying a farewell to the old year. Talk about your past year together and what you’d like to have happen in your next year.¬† Perhaps everyone has a favorite memory that could be recorded in a journal or blog.

*Have a Solstice¬†Meal.¬† Make it as big or as simple as you wish.¬† Make a cake for the¬†return of the Sun King…maybe put a sunburst on the cake with icing. ¬†Each person can light a candle on the cake and make a wish for the coming year.

*Have the family do a ritual together to wish the Holly King a pleasant journey til he comes back again. 

*Stay up all night and watch the sunrise and toast the Sun King’s return with fresh orange juice or mimosa..then have a nice breakfast and take a long winter’s nap!

Can you think of a tradition you would like to start with your family?¬† I know you can…you may have some in place already!¬† One thing I do too..is for myself, I take time at my altar..or outside with the Moon Goddess…to give thanks for the blessings in my life.¬† I value my time to reflect and be with the Goddess anytime I can.

I found this poem this evening and just loved it…thought I would share it here with you.¬†

“So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
…They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!”
– Susan Cooper, The Shortest Dayj
I don’t know who Susan Cooper is but I salute her writing!¬† She captured Yule perfectly in her beautiful words.¬† So my dear friends, look for ways to find calm in the raging busyness of the season.¬† Embrace some time for solitude to regroup and reconnect with the Goddess and your soul.¬† Have a glass of wine or eggnog in the evening by a fire or a lit candle.¬† Put your jammies on early and watch a holiday movie.¬† Kiss under the mistletoe with your honey.¬† Call old friends you haven’t talked to for awhile…just reconnect with loved ones.¬† It’s going to be a long winter but each day the sun shines a bit longer and spring will come soon and Mother Earth will wake up and it WILL be green again! ūüôā
Yuletide Blessings to you and yours, Autumn

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Filed under Family, Goddess, Mother Earth, Nature, Poem, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas