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I <3 Herbs……Chamomile

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s hard to believe but our Summer has been amazingly mild here.  As a matter of fact, it has been so cool at night that leaves are turning and even falling on some trees already!  Birds and critters like squirrels and chipmunks have changed their patterns, my gardens are looking more like early fall then late summer, and we’ve had the house opened up for days instead of running the AC.  All of which I love! Even my herbs have slowed down their growth, gone to seed etc.  *Post…..I wrote this a few days ago…it is now HOT and Humid and 90’s all week! 🙂  Gotta love Ohio 🙂

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Speaking of herbs, for the Sunday Stew this week, I wrote about the herb Chamomile. A really wonderful herb in so many ways.  To read the Stew just click on the Cauldron on the right side of the page here.  As per usual, part of my post is there and the entire post is here.  At the end of this post here, you’ll find a link to again print out the info, if you wish, for your BOS or herb book.

 

Chamomile

I have hesitated a bit to write about Chamomile. I know several people who can’t drink the tea or even use external products with chamomile due to allergic reactions. So I’m going to start off by saying this: If you are allergic to ragweed, daisies, marigolds, or mums…you may not be able to ingest chamomile. You also may not be able to use it externally. So use great caution if you’ve never tried chamomile before ok? Allergic reactions can be a mild dermatitis or a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Now let me say this too, I have seasonal allergies due to ragweed and mold, but I have no trouble with chamomile. So again, be careful when and if you try it! Ok…warning done..so let me go on about all the wonderful things about chamomile for those of us who can enjoy this herb!

 

Alternative Names:

Matricaria recutita , Pinheads, Scented Mayweed, Sweet false chamomile, Whig Plant, Ground Apple, and Earth Apple

 

Growing and Cultivating

There are two types of chamomile…Roman and German. The German is used most often in the USA but if you buy chamomile essential oil it will most likely be Roman. Both varieties have the same effects medicinally and magically of course.

German Chamomile is an annual plant that will grow up to 2 1/2 feet high. The leaves are fern-like and the flowers look like small daisies..white flowers with yellow centers about an inch across. Roman Chamomile is a perennial plant that is wide spreading and only grows less than a foot tall. The leaves are slightly different and it has the same flowers. Roman Chamomile is often used as a ground cover. It can tolerate even being walked on!

These plants belong to the sunflower family Asteraceae . The flower heads are the primary plant parts used in herbal medicine. Commonly found all over Europe and Asia. It was introduced to North America and Australia. You can find chamomile in the wild…. near road sides, around landfills and in cultivated areas as a weed.

Chamomile requires Full Sun, and doesn’t tolerate really dry or HOT conditions. It can be planted from seed, cuttings and, of course, seedlings or small plants. Chamomile is self-seeding so even if you plant the annual version, it may come back. You can harvest the flower heads (the parts used for medicinal purposes) about 6-8 weeks after planting. Harvest them in the morning and when the flowers look fresh and healthy. The flower heads can be used fresh or dried for teas and other herbal preparations. You can dry the flower heads in a basket or on a screen best.

 

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Medicinal Uses of Chamomile

 Chamomile has a wonderful taste of apples that most people find appealing. The scent of chamomile is sweet and apple-y is well. Chamomile has many properties. It is used for:

– Anxiety and stress

-For calm and sleep aid

-To help heal burns

-Anti-inflammatory

-Anti-virus

-Analgesic

-Safe for children who have stomach aches or are teething or for trouble sleeping

-For any stomach ailments such as sick stomach, ulcers, cramps or diarrhea/constipation

-Dental/oral care

-Depression

-Soothes skin ailments such as eczema, reddened skin, rashes and sunburn

-Hemorrhoids

-As a hair rinse for light colored hair

-Bath products

-healing balms

 

A cup of chamomile tea before bed is a must for many people I know..it just calms and comforts and helps you feel drowsy. But you can use it for so many things as you can see above. Put a cup of brewed tea in your bath to calm and soothe your skin and to let the scent calm your anxiety or stress. A bath in it will also help with hemorrhoids. Make a hair rinse using flowers brewed in water or apple cider vinegar. Make a poultice for cuts, rashes or sunburned skin. Make a cool compress to ease eye puffiness. Make a good healing balm or oil for muscle aches, swollen joints or a burn. Rinse your mouth with warm chamomile water or tea for sore gums. You can apply a drop of chamomile oil straight on an abscess in your mouth. A cup of chamomile tea with ginger added will aid nausea too. Just some of the ways you can use it!

 

Children can use chamomile too in small amounts as a tea. You can also buy chewable chamomile tabs to help them to fall asleep or ease teething and sore mouth. Works to soothe a child who is anxious or stressed as well.  My grandkids have used it with success.

 

Aromatherapy

Chamomile essential oil blends well with cedarwood, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, lavender, rose, marjoram, neroli, orange, rosewood and ylang ylang essential oils. It works wonderfully in a simmering potpourri and in bath salts. If you are sensitive to chamomile..you may still be able to use the essential oil if it’s diluted well with a base oil etc. But again, try it on a small area before bathing in it or slathering it on your skin.

 

Magical Uses

 ELEMENT: Water

GENDER: Masculine

PLANET: Sun or Venus

Chamomile can be used in Magic for

-Power or Energy

-Peace and Calm

-Healing

-Money

-Midsummer

-Sleep

-Love

-Purification

-Protection

-Divination

 

-Plant chamomile in your garden for protection

-Place chamomile in a mojo bag before doing something stressful such as taking a test or a doctor appt

-Take a chamomile bath to soothe and calm or to bring love and romance to your night

-Simmer chamomile on your stovetop with lavender to bring Peace to your home

-Drink chamomile tea or place some on your altar before practicing any divination

-Use it as an incense to smudge your house for purification and protection

-Use in a sleep pillow to aid sleep

-Place a few flowers in cool water to wash your face when you’re upset or stressed

-It is said that you can wash your hands in it before playing a game of cards or gambling to bring money to you

-Use with spells to draw money, to divine, to rid of negativity or to protect

– Sprinkle the dried flowers around your property to protect from spells or curses.

Anoint your healing candles with chamomile essential oil

 

I’m sure that you can come up with many ways to use chamomile in your daily Craft. Also, though I say that this is some of the magical uses for Chamomile….and for that matter with any herb I’ve talked about. The herbs may mean something completely different to you. That’s fine….use it for that purpose!!

 

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
William Ewart Gladstone

 

Chamomile is a very important herb in any Witch’s arsenal of supplies. Put it on your list of must have or at least must try!

You can print out this information for your BOS or herb book here:  Chamomile2

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh/Lammas 2014……

Merry Meet my friends!  How are you all this fine day?  How has your Summer been so far? My Summer has been wonderful really.  We have had numerous days that stayed in the 70’s giving us a reprieve from the normal HOT and Humid days of July. We’ve had a good amount of rain, so lawns are still green and growing like crazy.  I’ve done two harvest on my herbs already and they are growing strong still…heading to a 3rd harvest.  Our garden beds and veggies have loved the rain and the cooler nights too so our flowers are still budding and blooming.  The SuperMoon was pretty amazing too…such energy!!

 

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Now…can you believe it…we are just 11 days from Lughnasadh/Lammas! The first Harvest festival!  Have you noticed that the wheel is turning to Fall?   The nights are getting longer again, the Sunlight has changed, the critters are gathering, even some of my bushes/plants leaves are changing colors already.  Corn is high is the fields, sunflowers are blooming, and yes, Halloween and Fall stuff are coming out in the craft shops 🙂  While we have a bit of Summer left…the subtle changes are there.

“The summer air is hot and still, the afternoon hazy; crickets call relentlessly from among the brown grasses, and ears of corn are the same heavy, burnished gold as the late-day sun. Hawks circle in the blue-white sky overhead, and seedpods ripen where flowers bloomed just a month before.

 But shadows begin to lengthen along the garden wall, and the nights come, just a bit cooler, perhaps; a settling begins in the Earth, a gathering, a slow, quiet turning toward the coming darkness.”

-Simple Wicca by Michelle Morgan

 

For Lughnasadh, I love to do a few things.  Harvest my herbs (which I’ve just done), make herbed oils and vinegars, and bake bread!!  Making breads from good grains to celebrate the harvest is a favorite thing to do for me.  And the scents that come from that put me in mind of Autumn immediately!  It won’t be long before apples and pumpkins will be everywhere and that just makes me want to bake too!

Magickally, I do a simple outdoor ritual to honor the first harvest, keeping in mind that our ancestors were VERY busy at this time of year to ensure that they had ample food for the Fall and long Winter that was to come.  Planting, tending, harvesting, and storing food took a great effort in order for them to eat when they could not just go to a grocery store like we do.  I love to do some canning this time of year too….this year I’m thinking apple butter, strawberry jam and I might try my hand at pickles 🙂  Seeing pretty jars of colorful goodness in my pantry just makes me happy..and reminds me how Blessed we are in our time.  Kitchen Witchin too makes this Witch very happy!

 

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Having said that, I know that some people aren’t as well off as others. There are people who don’t have enough food.  Keeping this in mind, donating to food pantries or your own neighbors who may need a little help, is a kind thing to do.  Share your harvest if you can.  I often pass tomatoes and fresh homemade bread over the fence to my neighbor, Jane.  No, she’s not hungry…but she lives alone and she is always thrilled to get something I pass over to her.  It makes me happy to do it too.

I thought I’d share a recipe with you for a muffin that is wonderful this time of year. I made them the other day, when we were cool and I was thinking about Fall all day 🙂  Filled with apples and cinnamon and crunchy topping..they are a huge hit at my house!

 

Autumn’s Apple Crunch Muffins

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup soft butter

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 cup Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced (or your favorite apple )

 

Topping

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

*Blend these ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  Cut in butter until fine crumbs form.  Set aside.  Combine milk and egg and add to dry mixture.  Blend well.  Stir in apples; blend well.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about two-thirds full.  Sprinkle with brown sugar topping mix.

Bake at 375* for 25 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

*makes 12

**ok…it says it makes 12…I only got 8 nice big muffins.  If you want more….I suggest you double the recipe.  Then take some to your neighbor 🙂

 

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These muffins will put you in a Lughnasadh state of mind…I promise 🙂  I want to wish you all a very Blessed Lughnasadh.  I hope your Harvest is abundant, your Joys plentiful, and that Goddess Blesses you this day and every day!

Oh…don’t forget that you can find the past 5 years of Lughnsasadh/Lammas postings, recipes, info etc by typing it in the search box on the right side here 🙂

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Pictures are my own.

 

 

 

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I’m a Happy Garden Witch………..

Merry Meet friends!  Hope this writing finds all of you doing well.  If you live in the Northern Hemisphere..I’m guessing you’ve been enjoying Summer-like weather now! I know we have here in Ohio.  It’s been quite warm, we’ve had adequate rain, and the Garden Centers are booming with busy gardeners grabbing up flowers, shrubs, herbs and veggie plants.  I have made several trips there myself 🙂

This is only the 2nd Summer now in our new home and we are still planning garden beds and fine tuning what we did last year.  We lost some plants from the extreme Winter we had so we had to dig up some dead plants and decide what to do with the space.  I’m thrilled with what we’ve done.  I did most of the bed design and planting..while hubby helped me with the bigger pots and the I helped him with the mulching.

I have more I want to do yet…another bed would be great….but until I can talk hubby into it LOL….we will be planting some flowering trees like Pear and Lilac, installing a trellis or two against our fence and planting climbing flowers and putting in a big Maple tree in the backyard.  Here’s just a few pics of what we’ve done….they are newly planted but growing fast and I’m very happy with the results.  I kept in mind planting for drawing bees, birds and butterflies.  So far…it’s working 🙂

 

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As a Witch…..I have added Magick in many ways.  As I plant….I put my intentions and energy into each plant to grow strong and healthy..infuse it with Magick!  I draw runes and pentacles in the dirt, or even right on the wood of the raised bed of herbs.  I plant crystals in the soil, water with collected Moon Water and ask Goddess to bring Her energy and power to my home and gardens.  For me, working in soil…handling living plants, nurturing them, and watching them bloom and grow…brings me pure Joy, Grounds and Centers me, and allows me to feel one with Mother Earth.

I have many friends who don’t have yards or garden beds because they live in apartments etc.  I have friends who say they don’t have a green thumb..have no luck or desire to garden.   That’s ok too.  Not everybody is into gardening…I’m sure you have some other talent I wish I had 🙂   For those that want to but live in an apartment….it takes a very small space of balcony or patio or patch of dirt to plant a few things to bring you joy.  Pots are wonderful for growing flowers, herbs and even some vegetables.  The Joy is the same!

This time of year, I get such a thrill out of seeing my friend’s gardens posted on social media.  I get such great ideas and inspiration from others.  My friend Sunshine has a wonderful little balcony.  It’s one of the most magickal little places I’ve seen… with her pots of herbs and flowers and veggies, her Goddess statues and faeries….I get inspiration from her too! Though it’s a small space…it’s pure Magick!

It’s only 18 days until the Summer Solstice.  The Solstice is usually when I get to do my first harvest of herbs, and when I re-new my Witch’s Protection Bottles, wards etc around my home and yard.  I’ll be back to talk more about that soon.  In the meantime…get barefoot, go out under the waxing Moon (Friday the 13th She will be Full!) and just FEEL the warmth of the Earth, and the softness of the grass on your feet.  It will fix just about anything that’s ailing you!

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Blessings and Love, Autumn

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The Wheel Turns to Yule 2013……..

Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles. 

imagesCAHWQBRT~Author Unknown

Merry Meet my friends.  I am very late to writing a Yule blog I’m afraid.  Just like all of you, Life is a bit busy right now and time seems to escape me some days.  Winter has settled in early here in Ohio. Right now, there is about 8-9 inches of snow on the ground and we will be in the single digits tonight with a negative wind chill factor!!   But I LOVE Winter!  I love the beauty of the snow, the quiet of the nights, the starry skies, the scent of woodsmoke, and seeing your breath on the Air.  Despite this busy time of year, I find time most every evening to be quiet by the fire, light candles, rest and reflect on the dark months ahead.

Yule is on Dec. 21 this year and it’ll be a quiet celebration as always here at my house.  A nice meal, some time outside, some time at my altar and some time by the fire.  My greens have been brought in just today and adorn bowls and my mantle.  Yule..the Winter Solstice…the longest night of the year.  I find it a beautiful Sabbat…a time in all the hustle and bustle of the holiday celebrations..to focus on what Yule means to us Pagans and Witches.  It marks going into Winter..into the dark time of the year. Mother Earth is at rest and I try to do the same for the Winter months.  It’s a quieter time of year (after the holidays of course!).  Time to read, relax, perhaps work on a project I’ve put off, crafts, organize my home, write etc.  Whatever it is you like to do when you are forced to be inside more.  Now I know that of course life is still going on…work, responsibilities, cooking and cleaning etc…yes…but there is more time at home, more hours of dark to spend nesting and finding time to rest.  Even getting some extra sleep!

I am in search of the perfect Yule log from our woodpile. I’ll dress it with greens and herbs..bless it and burn it!  One of my favorite things to do for Yule is to write down a list of my wishes, hopes, and dreams for the next year. Also, to write down those things I want to let go of…to get out of my life.  After doing the list, I burn it with the Yule log..and know that my wishes go out with Air..by Fire and Earth.

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This year, in our new home, we have a darling little spruce tree we planted over the summer.  My husband put lights on it and it makes a magickal little Yule tree.  This weekend, I’ll be making outdoor ornaments for the tree,  I use yarn or raffia to string cereal and dried fruits.  I use bagel halves, cover them in peanut butter and dip them in birdseed..and even apples and orange cups can be put out there.  My grandkids love this project too!  and of course the birds and squirrels love it too 🙂  Makes me feel good to help our feathered and furry friends over the cold Winter.

Thought I’d post a couple of favorite recipes of mine for this time of year!

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Autumn’s Shortbread Cookies

1 lb butter, softened …salted or unsalted doesn’t really matter

1 cup sugar

4 cups all purpose flour

These are a huge hit at my house and so simple!

Cream butter and sugar until creamy.  Add 2 cups at a time of the flour and blend.  If the dough is a bit dry, add a tablespoon of water.  Spread dough into a jelly roll pan with your hands ….spread it even.  Prick the dough every so often with a fork.

Bake at 350* for about 25 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cut immediately into squares….then let it cool in the pan.  Enjoy!

*For Yule, I like to sprinkle with green or red sugar crystals before baking!

Gingerbread Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 egg

1 1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup molasses

3 TB vegetable oil

Sift together first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat egg & milk until well blended.  Stir in molasses and oil.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring til moistened.  Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle.  Cook until bubby on top, flip and cook til golden brown.

Great with Lemon Sauce!!

1/2 cup sugar

1 TB cornstarch

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup water

2 TB butter

1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 Tb lemon juice

Stir together sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg in a small saucepan.  Add water and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

Cook and stir an additional 2 mins

Remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until butter is melted

Serve warm over gingerbread pancakes or waffles, or cake!

Hope you enjoy these!  For more recipes and Yule info and correspondence etc..be sure to type in Yule or Winter Solstice in the search box on the right side of this blog. There are many past years of postings!

For now I leave you all with the hopes that you are finding time to BREATHE, RELAX, and be QUIET now and then during this busy time of year.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic hustle and bustle….but pause now and then and remember what the Season is really all about.  The Solstice..the longest night…..the passing of the Holly King and the Re-birth of the Oak King…and Mother Earth frozen and slumbering.  But it means that already the days will grow longer and the Sun will strengthen and warm, and Earth will begin to stir!  Blessed Be!

   “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 Day

Blessings and Love,  Autumn

Wreath picture from the internet..unknown source.  Other two pictures are my own.

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Spring???………..

Merry evening friends!  Hope that you all had a very Blessed Ostara.  I know I did.  It was just a simple meal and a simple ritual but meaningful.  Did any of you try any of my recipes?  If you did, please let me know!  I’d love to hear about it.  I made my Dilly egg salad for lunch and it was yummy!

Now Spring?  Yea, in Ohio it’s not here yet! 🙂    We, as many of you, just had a huge Winter snowstorm on March 24-25.  We got about 7 inches here in my neck of the woods.  But I am NOT complaining at all.  I loved it!  It was beautiful and magickal.  Fell for about 36 hours straight.  Here’s a pic of the first morning……

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Beautiful isn’t it 🙂   I have seen a lot of complaining about Winter being so long, Spring to slow to come etc.  I hear ya! I too can’t wait to lighten up my clothes, work in my garden, get outside!!   But I believe that Mother Earth knows what she needs more then we do and we should let her just do what she needs to do!!  Complaining won’t change it anyway..right?  I say make the most of each day, no matter what the weather and do something fun to enjoy it.  I made sure to collect some snow water and some nice-sized snowballs.  I will love pulling those out in  the heat of the Summer.  They will be great to let the grandkids play with them, take a chunk and let it run down my hot neck, or use it to make a slushy margarita!!  (Thanks Mike for that idea 🙂   To me, everyday is magickal if you look for it….now stop complaining! LOL!!

Spring..it’ll get here.  We already see the snow melting and will be in the 50’s for a couple days this weekend.  In the meantime, I am planning my garden, getting my lighter clothes ready, and perusing my cookbooks for lighter, healthier meals. I can’t wait to put my hands in the dirt and my face to the Sun and my back to a tree 🙂  I know that is what you all are ready for too!  Take heart…it’s coming!!

Through all the frozen winter
My nose has grown most lonely
For lovely, lovely, colored smells
That come in springtime only.

The purple smell of lilacs,
The yellow smell that blows
Across the air of meadows
Where bright forsythia grows.

The tall pink smell of peach trees,
The low white smell of clover,
And everywhere the great green smell
Of grass the whole world over.”
–  Kathryn Worth, Smells

Oh, and Blessed Full Moon to you all!!  May the Goddess shine Her light and energy on you…always!

Blessings and Love

Autumn

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Blessed Summer Solstice 2012……

 

Merry Meet my friends.  It’s here..the Summer Solstice.   I got up early to greet the Sun God as He rose on this, the longest day of the year.  I welcomed him with great joy and a grateful heart and was reminded that no matter what we go thru….The Sun and the Moon always Rise…and Set..and keep the Wheel and Mother Earth turning on and on.   I wish you all a very Happy Solstice..whichever one you celebrate today…Winter or Summer….May you and yours have a Blessed one!

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Love and Light, Autumn

PS…this picture was taken from my own front porch this morning 🙂

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Blessed Imbolc 2012……….

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings and Light, Autumn 

 

 

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

My Dumb Supper Table…..

Merry Meet my friends and Blessed Samhain!  I hope that all of you had a wonderful Sabbat, I know I did.  From the beautiful weather, to seeing my grandkids in their adorable costumes, to a beautiful ritual at my altar last night.  My daughter Kate and her hubby Matt,  had my hubby Jim,  brother Chris, daughter Sara and I over for a chili dinner.  Chili and cornbread muffins were enjoyed and I took a yummy Peanut Butter Cake.   The weather was really perfect…cool and but not too cold and clear skies with a gorgeous crescent Moon!  Just a magickal evening in every way.

When I got home, I spent time at my altar, doing the ritual I wrote in my last post.  I also scryed for a while with wonderful results and then drew a 3 card tarot layout.  I learned alot from the cards and they were very meaningful to what is going on in my life right now.  Then I went out and spent some time with the Moon and went to bed very happy and contented. 

Tonight, I had my Dumb Supper and though the only participants were my daughter and I (could not get the guys to join in LOL) …we enjoyed the quiet and the candlelight and felt that we had company indeed.  I kept my table a simple black and white theme and I was sooo pleased with how it came out.

 

Ok..I’ll talk a little about what I did…I set my whole table..though Sara and I were the only ones who sat at the table..that left 4 seats for anyone who wanted to come join us 🙂  (Ok I really thought my hubby and brother would join us…but they were wrapped up in a show LOL) !  I  brought in lots of candles and white pumpkins and  crystal glassware and a touch of silver.  The silver julep cups hold fresh cut rosemary from my own garden (still hanging in there despite several frosty mornings! )  It smelled wonderful!  Keep in mind that rosemary represents remembrance….perfect for my ancestors.  The rosemary will dry great in those cups too, then I’ll put the stalks in my BOS..as a remembrance for myself. 

My table dark and candlelit!

There was wine for everyone and I put out my peanut butter cake for dessert.  Now this peanut butter cake is a huge hit with my family and friends who have had it and it was requested for Samhain ..so of course, I made it.  Thought you all might like the recipe??  so here it is:

Autumn’s Peanut Butter Cake

*Be sure and read all the way thru it…the ingredients are spread thruout the recipe 

 Mix in a large bowl:

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Set aside.   In a med saucepan, bring to a boil:

1 cup water

1 cup peanut butter

1 stick butter

Stir often..when it comes to a boil remove from heat and add to the dry mixture and mix well with a spoon. 

Then stir in:

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

Blend well.  Pour into a greased jelly roll pan.  Bake at 375* for 20 mins or until golden brown.

While cake is baking:

Bring to a boil in the same saucepan:

1 stick butter

1/3 cup milk

Remove from heat and stir in:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 lb. confectioners sugar 

*Hint–add the peanut butter first, when melted well, stir in the sugar 1/2 at a time, to keep frosting from getting lumpy!

Pour over warm cake and spread evenly. 

This cake is sort of like the Texas Chocolate cake..dense and almost like a brownie ..and YUMMY!

If you’ve never done a Dumb Supper before..put it on your “Must Do” list for next year..it is really a very special thing and most magickal.  Remember as I posted before, you want a  dark room, lots of candles and NO talking! Now I’ve heard several say that with kids the silence would be impossible..of course!  But have it anyway..your ancestors will love spending time with the kids too!  Listen and Feel for them to come to you..give them the respect they deserve.  When we felt it was time, we said out-loud our messages for our loved ones who had passed on ..for those we knew and loved and miss to this day.   

“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are

 and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. 

 No matter what our attainments in life, ther is still a vacuum,

                                an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.”                           

 By Alex Haley

I believe there is an inherent wisdom and knowledge within that is passed down to us in our DNA.  That we literally  carry a bit of what they did and what they knew deep in our psyche. We are connected by the threads of love, life, time and the Universe.  So, for me, this meaningful ritual is very important!

So I say again, Blessed Samhain to you all! 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

Sources: me! 🙂 

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Filed under Family, My Writing, Quote, Ritual, Samhain

Samhain Recipes……..

Merry Meet my friends!  I’m sitting here with candles lit, listening to a heavy October evening rain and enjoying and Irish Cream!  I am just loving this Autumn!  October has just been beautiful..even a rainy night just soothes my soul.  I have spent the day cooking, spent some time with my daughters and grandkids, and am just relaxed and content tonight 🙂

I have been busy gathering recipes for about a week now to post here on my blog for you all.  I can vouch for several of these recipes as I’ve made them or made them often!  The potato soup picture and the apple pie pictures are from my own kitchen, my own camera and what I spent the day making today! 🙂  You will love both of them..I promise!

Ok…here we go…I always start with the magickal recipes first:

Samhain Oil Blend

*add to 1/8 cup base oil of your choice

3 drops Rosemary

 3 drops Pine

 3 drops Bay

 3 drops Apple

 2 drops Patchouli

Samhain Spirit Incense

2 parts Cinnamon

1 part ground cloves

1 part Dragon’s Blood resin

1 part Hyssop

1 part Patchouli

2 parts Rosemary

1 part Sage

A dash of sea salt

*This is a personal favorite of mine..and I always make a large amount!  If you can’t find Hyssop..just leave it out or substitute for something else….Try allspice or Star anise to keep with the spicy scent..or add pine or cedar!

 

  “We should look for someone to eat and drink WITH

 before looking for something to eat and drink”  

~Epicurus

 

Apricot- Apple Cider

 1 gal apple cider

1 (11.5oz) can apricot nectar

2 cups sugar

2 cups orange juice

¾ cup lemon juice

4 (3in) long cinnamon sticks

2 tsps ground allspice

1 tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground nutmeg

 Bring all ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; reduce heat, and simmer 10 mins.  Remove cinnamon sticks and serve Hot!  (Makes 21 cups)

 

Cranberry- Brie Cheese Spread

 1 (15 oz) round Brie

1 (16 oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 Tb. Spiced rum (or orange juice)

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

 Trim the rind from top of Brie, leaving a 1/3 inch border on top.  Place Brie on a baking sheet

Stir together cranberry sauce and next 3 ingredients; spread mixture evenly over top of Brie.  Sprinkle evenly with pecans.

 Bake at 500* for 5 mins.  Serve with assorted crackers, apple and pear slices.

 

Spicy October Morning Pumpkin Bread

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup  milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
Cooking spray
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

 
Preheat oven to 350º.

 Combine flour and the next 7 ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine sugar and the next 5 ingredients (sugar through pumpkin) in a bowl, and stir well with a whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. sprinkle a little natural sugar on the top. Cool loaves completely.

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits

 1 large sweet potato

2 cups self rising flour

¼ cup sugar

3 Tbs shortening

2 Tbs butter, cold and cut up

1/3 cup milk

 Bake sweet potato at 350* for 1 hour or until tender; cool slightly.  Peel and mash; and cool.

 Combine flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut shortening and butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly; add mashed sweet potato and milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. 

 Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 3 to 4 times.  Roll dough to ½ inch thickness; cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

 Bake at 400* for 15 mins or until golden brown. 

 *These are great with my potato soup!  You can slice them, add country ham and honey and they make delicious sandwiches on their own or with the soup!

 

 

Kate’s Slow Cooker Bacon- Potato Soup

 *Got this from my daughter and it’s probably one of the best and easy soups I’ve had!

 1 (5 lb bag) potatoes..cut into small cubes

1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled.  ½ goes in the slow cooker, ½ save as a topper

3 (14.5oz) cans chicken broth

1 can cream of chicken soup

8 oz sour cream

 

Put all ingredients in crockpot..cook for 8-10 hours on low.

*Great topped with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles and crackers!

 

Autumn Cranberry Chicken

*Slow Cooker

4 boneless skinless chicken breast

1 (16oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce

1 cup Russian salad dressing

1.35oz pkg onion soup mix

Cooked rice

Place chicken in the slow cooker, cutting pieces in half if desired.  Combine remaining ingredients except rice; spoon over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve over cooked rice.  Serves 4

 

 

Sweet Apple Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded

2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

3 Tbs packed brown sugar

3 Tbs chopped pecans

1 tsp all-purpose flour

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 Tbs butter, softened

 Place acorn squash halves cut side down in a greased 13” x 9” baking pan.  Bake at 350* for 30 mins.  Combine remaining ingredients.  Turn squash over and fill with apple mixture.  Bake, uncovered, for another 15-30 mins until squash is soft when pierced with a fork.  Serves 4.

 

Ok..so Halloween is after all about the “sweet” treats too…so these are some favorite recipes just for the sweet toothed!

 

 

Halloween Poke Cake

 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) fudge marble cake mix

2 packages (3 ounces each) orange gelatin

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup butter, softened

3-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup baking cocoa

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 to 15 candy pumpkins

 Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in cold water. With a meat fork or wooden skewer, poke holes in cake about 2 in. apart. Slowly pour gelatin over cake. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

For frosting, in a small bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla until smooth. Spread over cake; top with candy pumpkins. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Makes 12-15 servings.

 

 

Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip

1-1/2 cups butter, softened

2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup molasses

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon each ground ginger and cloves

1 teaspoon salt

 PUMPKIN DIP:

 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 cups pumpkin pie filling

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

 For Cookies:

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill overnight.

Shape into 1/2-in. balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 6 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

For Dip:

 Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in pumpkin pie filling. Add the sugar, cinnamon and ginger and mix well. Serve with cookies. Store leftover dip in the refrigerator.

Makes about 20 dozen cookies and  3 cups of dip.

 

Autumn’s Amish Apple Pie

Ok, those of you who are my facebook friends, Know that I think this is the best apple pie I’ve ever had! Try it..let me know what you think!!

 Make Streusel topping:

 1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup plus 2 Tb all purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Speck of salt

½ cup (1 stick) butter, cold

½ cup coarsely chopped English walnuts

 In a food processor bowl, mix the first 6 ingredients.  Add the butter and process until the mixture is crumbly; it should still have a dry look to it..don’t overprocess.  Stir in nuts and set aside.

 

 Apple filling:

 4 large apples like Granny Smith, McIntosh or Cortlands (which I love!)

1 cup sugar

3 Tbs all purpose flour

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 egg

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

 Preheat oven to 350*F.  Peel, core and thinly slice the apples;  there should be 4 cups.  Place the apples in the pie shell.  In a small bowl, mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Set aside.  Beat the egg in a medium bowl, and add the cream and vanilla.  Add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture and blend.   Pour over the apples.  Bake for 1 hour in the lower 1/3 of the oven.  After 20 mins of baking, sprinkle the streusel over the top of the apples and continue baking approximately 40 mins longer, or until the top puffs and is golden brown.

 Crust:

 Ok..you can of course just buy a pie crust ready made and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

 However…I have a great recipe for a Pat-in-the-Pan crust that is easy and awesome!  It will fit an 8” or 9” pie pan.   You’ll love it!!  It is flaky and delicious!

(Oh this is can only be used for a single crust pie…you can’t double it and try to roll it out for a top crust…its too soft to do that)

 2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsps sugar

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3 Tbs cold milk

 Place the flour, sugar and salt in the pie pan and mix with your fingers until well blended.  In a measuring cup, combine the oil and milk and beat with a fork until creamy.  Pour all at once over the flour mixture is completely moistened.  Pat the dough with your fingers, first up the sides of the plate, then across the bottom.  Flute the edges.  It’s now ready to be filled with the apples!

 

 

 

 

A couple of hints..I make the crust first..then put it in the fridge til I have the apples ready to fill it..keeps it from getting too wet.  I halved the nutmeg for myself..but you can put in up to 1 tsp of nutmeg if you love it!…it’ll be strong but great!  This pie can be known to run over the edges of the pie pan..so I always put them on a cookie sheet with some foil on it ..just in case!  You will love this pie..I promise..actually..I’m having a piece right now!! :))

 

I hope that you all enjoy All the recipes.  For me, Autumn and Winter are the best times of the year for cooking good, warm, comfort foods and to bake to your hearts content!  My family so appreciates my efforts and I put lots of magick into my cooking and baking to bring love, abundance, peace and joy into my home. 

Well, I’m off to finish my piece of pie, to listen to the rain, and read for a bit.  I’ll post a favorite Samhain ritual and my altar pics soon!  Until then, I hope you are enjoying this magickal time of year to the fullest!

 

   “There is no sight on earth more appealing than the sight of a woman

      making dinner for someone she loves.”         

                                                 ~Thomas Wolfe

Blessings and Love, Autumn

Sources:  My recipes or from my cookbooks, pictures are mine or from the internet. 

 

 

 

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Filed under Autumn, Loose incense recipe, Oil Blend Recipe, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Samhain