Tag Archives: Nature

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!”

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 🙂 

 

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 🙂  

 

 

 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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Filed under Beltane, Faeries, Family, Flowers, Garden, Goddess, Grandchildren, Mother Earth, Nature, Photography, Quote, Spring, Summer

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 🙂  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 🙂  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* 🙂

“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 🙂 

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! 🙂
Yuletide Blessings to you and yours, Autumn

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

A First Snow and A Yule Poem…….

Merry Meet friends…We had our first snow of the Winter season today! It snowed all day!!  Not alot of accumulation, maybe 1/2 inch, but enough for me to take some pics, to go out running around in it!  I actually needed a coat, scarf and gloves today and loved every minute of it.  Watching it come down softly this morning while drinking my coffee and again this afternoon, as it darkened, still falling.  Large flakes clinging to trees, bushes, rocks.  Saw a group of 3 deer walk across our back wooded path..robins washing in the waterfall of the koi pond.  Cardinals at the bird feeder.  I got a fire going in the fireplace as soon as we got home..fixed a cup of hot chocolate with a bit of cinnamon and just relaxed and watched it.  It was just beautiful and so magickal.  Some of you may groan about snow..but remember, it allows Mother Earth to rest up;  for Spring will  come again and She will awaken and be be very busy again in a few short months.  Use this time to rest yourself.  The Winter darkness is for that  very purpose…to rest.

These pics are from my own backyard.  The 1st  pic is our koi pond…I love the way it looks in the winter!

I was playing around on the internet and looking for poems about Yule or Winter Solstice.  When I found this one, it touched me so much I had to post it here for you.  Now I don’t know this writer at all..but I like their style very much!  I am inspired to write some poetry of my own in the next weeks and will post it when I do. 

YULETIDE CHEER

poem by: Isha ArrowHawk 

The chill breath of winter touches us,
As blankets of snow cover the ground.
With the glow of moonlight upon them,
Its like diamond sparkles all around.

Inside the room is cozy and warm,
The scent of evergreen wafts from the fire.
Surrounded with love and family,
I’ve got all that I could desire.

Sleigh bells jingle from the front porch,
As my coveners decorate outside.
They’ve no need of blankets,
They have the warmth of love inside.

In my home we all gather round,
And with Pagan carols our voices ring.
Then we settle down to enjoy the tale,
Of the Oaken Lord and the Holly King.

For our holiday is quite different,
Than the cowan Christmas night.
We cast our Circle, join together,
And welcome the return of Light.

Then we sit and share the feast,
As we pass bread and wine around.
As blessings from mingled voices…
“Never hunger,” “Never thirst” abound.

All too soon the rite is ended,
And we greet the newborn day.
As we clasp hands together,
This wish we send your way….

It’s no matter your tradition,
Be you family, friend, or guest.
We wish you joy and peace,
And may your Yule be Blessed!!

 

  So if you’re blessed enough to have snow or you’re blessed enough to have family and friends to spend time with..DO it!!  Don’t let these beautiful crisp cold days and wonderful yuletide spirit get past you.  Immerse yourself in it!  You’ll be grateful you did!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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

Blessed Lughnasadh 2010………

Merry Meet my friends.  Today, August 1 is the first Harvest festival on the wheel of the Year…Lughnasadh or Lammas…it is a celebration of the coming harvest season, the days getting shorter, the crops at their full bounty and the cooling weather.  In the southern hemisphere it is Imbolc (for my aussie friends !).  In ancient times the God of Grain, or John Barleycorn as legend knows him, sacrificed himself so that the people would have plenty of food for the coming winter.  In some Traditions, the Goddess becomes the Reaper, and presides over the passing of the God, who willingly gives his life to bless the harvest.

Lughnasadh is a time of giving thanks for summer’s bounty, and of completion, and of finishing projects begun in the spring.  It is also a time of ritual housecleaning in preparation for the nesting energies of fall and winter.  Symbols of the Sabbat include sheaves of grain, garlic braids, sunflowers and corn.  The colors of Lughnasadh are the golds and dusky hues of the turning Earth.

 Celebrate this time by feasting on fresh corn, vegetables, and berries, thanking the God for his transformation into the soul of the harvest.  Lammas is a time to rid yourself of negative thoughts, emotions, or behaviors.  Go to a farmers’ market  and enjoy the abundant harvest of the local artists and growers. 

Harvest herbs from the garden, and make flavored oils and vinegars to keep a taste of summer in your pantry all winter long.  Ritually bake and bless a special loaf of bread, using grains native to your home, and share the bounty of the first harvest with family and loved ones.  Be outside!!  Play in nature, feel the breeze, hear the wind, feel the warmth of the sun, smell the grass, spend time with your loved one.  Honor the God for his sacrifice and the Goddess as she ages into her Crone stage.  Be One with Nature!!

Yesterday I baked a loaf of Herb and Crunch Wheat bread…using my own dried herbs that I grew myself..and yes, I did use my bread machine as I was very busy yesterday and couldn’t attend to making bread from scratch..that is fine.  If you have to go buy a good bakery bread..that is also fine!

Herb and Crunch Wheat Bread

2 lb loaf recipe

1 1/2 cup water

2 cups bread flour

2 cups wheat flour

2 tb sugar

2 tb dry milk

2 tb butter, softened

2 tsp salt

2 tsp dried basil leaves

1 tsp dried thyme leaves

2 tsp quick active yeast or bread machine yeast

2/3 cup dry-roasted sunflower seeds

This is a really good flavorful bread, great as a grilled sandwich!  Try it!!

My altar is done and decorated in red, green, gold, rust..the colors of late summer.  I have an offering of blackberries, blueberries, apples, bread and honey.  I am using a green candle for the Goddess and a red candle for God.  Sandalwood incense, sunflowers and dried wheat.  You may use any bounty of late summer such as squash and corn to decorate too.  Make it beautiful!

My family and I will have a feast tonight and partake of the bread.  A bonfire will be had and I will offer the bounty to the God and Goddess as an offering and thanks for the season and harvest to come.  May the Lord and Lady bless you with a bountiful season of abundance, love, light, family and joy.  Blessings to you all.

Autumn

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Filed under Lammas/Lughnassadh, Recipe from my Kitchen