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Countdown to Imbolc 2012…….

 

Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.”
– Barbara Winkler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imbolc Correspondences

*Element/Gender-Earth/female

*Threshold- Midnight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imbolc House Cleansing Ritual

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

“May the goddess bless this home

make it safe and secure

so that nothing but love and joy

shall enter here.

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

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

 and enjoy every idle hour.”

 

– John Boswell

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Blessed Be, Autumn

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

Blessed Thanksgiving!……

Merry Evening my friends.  After a busy day of errand running, house readying, cooking and baking, I’m stopping by to post my wishes to you all for a Happy Thanksgiving Day!  I know how busy those of you who are hosting the day are …. and how ready Everyone is to enjoy the day with their family and friends, good food and good cheer! and of course Football! 🙂  No matter how simple or fancy your meal, whether you are two or twenty-two at your table…don’t forget to give thanks to the Universe…whatever you call the Divine….for the blessings in your life.  It will make your day even better. For me, I thank the Goddess for the Blessings in my life and Mother Earth for her bounty that will be on my table this year. 

In these economic times, many of us are struggling more, may have lost jobs etc.  There may have been a loss in your family or you feel alone or ARE alone. I know sometimes it is very hard to find anything to be thankful for.  But even if things aren’t as you wish them to be…there are things you can find, I’m sure!   Most of the time being grateful is the last thing on our list of what’s on our mind…but try, for this day at least, to think about it.  Your soul will be soothed when you do.  If you are blessed like I am to have a wonderful family, loving friends, a roof over your head, food to eat, and maybe a furbaby or two who loves you uncondtionally..then you are wealthy in all the ways that are important! 

I am most grateful to my family, my friends and my facebook family…I love you all!  I’m going to leave you  with a few quotes that are amongst my favorites, for both Thanksgiving and thankfulness.  I use them as reminders to myself to be grateful…to find something everyday to be grateful for..no matter how bad the day may be going.  I hope, however, your Thanksgiving is a marvelously happy day, that it is fun and drama- free and that you have to unbutton  your pants because  you are so full of great food!  

 

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as

frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”

 ~Edward Sandford Martin

 

“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful

 that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.”

 ~E.P. Powell

 

 

“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast”.

 ~William Shakespeare

 

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~Melody Beattie

 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation

 is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

 ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

“It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for. He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast.”

~W.J. Cameron

 

Blessings of Love and Light, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, Quote, Thanksgiving

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

Thanks so much!…….

Merry Meet my friends!  The heat continues here in Ohio…probably the hottest summer I can remember in a long time.  However, we have one more day of it then more seasonable weather comes in FINALLY!  We will be right around 80 for a few days with very low humidity..that makes me one happy happy witch! 🙂 Maybe we can actually go outside and do something fun LOL!  I will be happy just to sit on my porch in the cooler morning with a cup of coffee..or to go on a picnic or to a park. My grandkids might even be able to be outside, to swim, to play on the swing set.  How wonderful!

 

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

 ~Thornton Wilder

 

I am writing to THANK YOU all so so much for following my blog, for reading it, for giving me feedback and commenting,  and for sharing the link on your facebook walls.  I now have 110 followers and almost 21,000 hits!  I am most grateful for your friendship as well for those I feel I’ve gotten to know.  I never dreamed that my blog would be read by anybody at all.  I really just did it for myself, so I’m very pleased and feel in my own mind that it has been worth my time and effort…for others as well  as myself.  Thank you again so much. 

Having said that, I was thinking about Gratitude as I was looking up some quotes and pics to post here. I have talked about it here before.  I am a true believer that living a life in Gratitude gives us a happier, better life.  The benefits to our lives is enormous when we feel thankful for the Blessings in our life.  It is up to each of us to decide what the Blessings are!  Some people only feel thankful for the BIG things..you know…like our loved ones being safe and healthy, that the tornado missed us, that the house didnt’ catch on fire, that we weren’t killed in the shooting that happened somewhere else, that it’s not our dog laying dead at the side of the road.  Those things are so easy to be thankful for aren’t they?  I think though, it’s being grateful for the small, everyday things that helps us to live with a grateful heart.  Be thankful for the waitress who smiles at you and gets her job done well, be thankful for seeing a deer at the side of the road, be thankful for someone holding the door for you or for the cool breeze that cools you when you’re hot.  Keep a list in a journal or beside your favorite chair…think back over your day….what did you see, do, feel that made you feel happy and thankful today???  Write it down…you will find yourself looking for things to be thankful for.  Remember, the opposite of Gratitude, is Ingratitude!  Nobody wants to be un-grateful.  Taking things for granted is a bad way to live.  Especially for a witch or a pagan who wants to live a life of joy.

 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,

 but to live by them.”

– John F. Kennedy

 

Now, to take my own advice.  I have done a lot of griping here lately about the HOT steamy weather.  It has made me grumpy, lazy, tired and I just want the days to pass until we have cooler weather.  When I think about this, I feel pretty bad about it actually.  I have so much going on to be happy about and I’m letting the WEATHER color my day black???  That really is ridiculous when I think about it.  Yes, I want the Hot weather to go..but I should be grateful for each day no matter what!  I have a lovely family I’m blessed to have in my life, daughters who bring me great joy every day.  The sweetest, most adorable grandchildren, a loving son-in-law,  a husband who is hard working and cares for his family, an extended family who is there when needed always.  I have my path, a beautiful home I love, two magickal cats who give unconditional love.  I have food and clothes and books and things I love to do, buy, see.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I should thank the Goddess that I have air conditioning in this heat and quit griping about the heat!   I have friends out there who are not as blessed as me and I know it. I should never take for granted the things I have that other’s do not!

I think of what is going on in the world too.  The economy and so many out of work. The war and the deaths of 20 American Navy Seals. 😦  Riots in London, mothers who kill their children, the cost of living, politicians who can’t work together.  The news everyday seems so depressing and sad and can make me feel helpless and distraught about what’s going on in the world. Makes me want to quit watching the news completely!  But if you have a grateful heart, you can still find the good things in your life and be happy with what you have..the Blessings. 

Now I’m using the weather as a simple illustration of what I’m talking about.  Think about the words that come out of your mouth and creep into your mind.  Are they positive and thankful or are they negative and un-grateful.  Which would make you feel better?  🙂  This is not an easy thing….trust me! I struggle with it too ..as you can see by my sample.  But it’s worthwhile to focus on it and work on finding the things in your life that fill you with Gratitude.  Even if it’s just one thing…it’s a start!

Thank you again for being a reader and a friend.  My heart is grateful for it 🙂

 

“As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. 

The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.” 

 ~Terri Guillemets

Much love and light, Autumn

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Filed under Quote, Summer, Thank You!

Thankful Thursdays………

 Merry Meet friends. What a week I have had…and one that I am most thankful for. First I want to express my sorrow for all the victims of the tornados that have ripped through Joplin, MO, Oklahoma, and various other towns. So many lives lost and homes and businesses destroyed. Truly a very sad time. I pray for everyone affected by the devastation and loss of loved ones.  Blessed Be…….

One of the things I am thankful for this week is that my family and friends here in our area are all ok after we had some bad storms come through both on Monday evening and again on Wednesday evening. There were tornado touchdowns in more then one place, huge hail that caused a lot of damage, high winds and heavy rain. We escaped basically unscathed and for that I am most grateful. I have a healthy respect for what our Mother Earth can do..she is all powerful and her storms were mighty.  Again, I am just most grateful that at least in my area, everyone is all right.

The thing I am most grateful for this week..is during those tornados and storms on Monday evening..my grandson, Charlie Matthew was being born! He came in crying to the world at 9 lbs 1 oz..21 inches long…and gorgeous! A big beautiful boy! He has dark hair and dark eyes right now but not sure that it’ll remain that way. He looks sooo much like his big sister Lily that is it uncanny. My daughter was amazing all day as well. She was so calm and happy and handled it all like a mother goddess. I was so proud of her. Our whole family is thrilled with our new little guy and I am most grateful that both him and my daughter are healthy and that all went perfectly. I am one happy Nana! Oh, and he has barely cried since. He is so calm, quiet, peaceful and adorable! Such a good baby. 🙂  We have been most blessed by him and I am so lucky to be able to watch him grow, to help guide him as a grandparent, to love him….just as I did my own girls and my darling granddaughter who came just 2 years before him.  I really love being a Nana..it brings me great joy!

Charlie and me!

“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”                 ~Rudolph Giuliani

 

 I am thankful for our friends including all of our facebook family who were so supportive and excited right along with us. You all made our journey even more fun and more meaningful….you all showed much love and it’s something my daughters and I especially are very grateful for. We felt your love, your prayers, your positive energy you sent to Kate and baby (and myself) along the way. It was wonderful! Thank you so much!

I am thankful for:

-Being with my daughter as she gave birth

-For the staff at the hospital who were so great.

-For family and friends who brought in good food for all of us at the hospital

-For my sister and hubby and our home care nurses who took care of Sara and our house while I was busy helping Kate and Matt.

-For diet root beer which I missed for 3 days LOL

-For coffee in the morning

-For the weather being cool enough to open windows today

-For a nice holiday weekend coming up..weather looks great

-For finding some new summer shirts that I like

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow!”    –Melanie Beattie

Finding things to be grateful for is again, part of my path as a pagan and a witch. I feel that finding things everyday to be thankful for makes my life more complete, happier and makes me feel content with what I have…and not worried about what I don’t have. Right now…I have a most wonderful life and no complaints. I hope that you all can say that you have that too. Don’t get me wrong..there are some problems too..even big ones. But I always feel the good outweighs the bad…the glass is half full so to speak. I am most blessed in many ways. What is blessing your life today?

Love and Light, Autumn

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Filed under Daughters, Family, Granddaughter, Grandson, Mother Earth, Photography, Quote, Thank You!, Thankful Thursdays

Blessed Ostara and Blessed Supermoon……..

Merry Meet my friends.  Wow, did you see the SuperMoon last night?  She was amazing!  Came up red/orange..then orange..then yellow and then bright and light!  The energy coming from Her was amazing and I spent as much time as I could out with Her.  It was actually quite cold here and my hands were freezing but my soul and heart were soaring from the beauty and energy.  My windchimes were softly singing, coyotes howling, stars twinkling and it was a most magickal night.  I hope that you all experienced Her as well.  She is there for us….all you have to do is connect!

Today is the first day of Spring!  A time for growth and renewal.  The Earth is alive again!  Grass is greening, trees budding, flower shoots poking up, critters scurrying again and our hearts are singing and feel lighter as the Sun makes our days longer and warmer.  I hear mowers running again and motorcycles on the road and people are leaving their coats at home and opting for light jackets.  The garden centers are open, my herb seeds are planted, and thoughts turn to being outside.  There is even a smell in the air….green and earthy.  Ahhh Spring!

“In the Spring, at the end of the day, You should smell like dirt!”

                                             –  Margaret Atwood

LOL  I love this quote.  How wonderful to smell like dirt! 🙂  That means that you have put in a good days work…in your gardens or pots, growing your herbs, flowers, veggies or weeding.  The best way to truly connect with Mother Earth is too work in her rich soil, getting dirty, sweaty, your muscles aching…..then sitting back and looking at your handiwork and knowing that your hard work will reap beautiful rewards.  Have you planned your garden or pots?  I know my garden books and magazines are being perused greatly..and the internet is of course a wonderful way to research as well. 

Things to do for Spring?  Oh there is so much you can do!

-Have a picnic on a warmer day..take wine, cheese, fruit, bread…its all you need…oh and take someone you love too.

-Go visit a garden center.

-Take a drive out in the country with your windows open

-Visit a farm or go on a bird watch. 

-Go fishing or mushrooming or hiking or biking.

-Sit on your porch, drink a lemonade and peruse a garden book.

-Fix a delicious light meal using fresh fruits and veggies.

-Go get an ice cream cone!

-Start a new project around the house..outdoors preferably.

-Find a path and walk it!  Take your camera and start taking pics of what you see. Make a scrapbook of your photography!

Make the most of everyday my friends.  The seasons are here for us to enjoy.  To find Joy!  and Spring is here for our renewal after a long hard winter. 

The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

How I wish you could come and sit with me for awhile.  I’m sure we’d have so much to talk about.  I’ll make some cookies and tea and we would just chat and enjoy the scenery.  The warm Sun, soft breezes, the feel of the earth and grass beneath our feet and the easy feel of friendship between us.  How magickal would that be?  Lovely indeed…:)

So let your hearts feel light and find a way to celebrate Spring!  Blessings of Spring to you all with Love….

Autumn

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Filed under Full Moons, Garden, Herbs, Mother Earth, Nature, Ostara, Photography, Quote, Spring

Devastation and Regeneration…….

Hello my friends.  I write this with a heavy heart.  Today has been a terrible day in Japan and other places in the world affected by the 8.9 earthquake and resulting aftershocks and tsunamis. I know that you all join me in sending love, comfort and healing to the victims of this terrible tragedy.  Mother Earth is shifting and the effect is very dramatic and devastating.  There are earthquakes so often and they always seem to be  worse “someplace else”,  but we are all here on Earth together and the tragedy does indeed and should affect us All.   Many are saying that Mother Earth is angry and wreaking havoc…well that may or may not be true.  I prefer to think that She is not doing anything to hurt us or to punish us. That does not sound like the beautiful, loving Goddess I know.  I DO believe however that She has a right to be angry with us.  We have done Her great harm as a people.  Our treatment of Her has not been good for Her or the creatures,  plantlife, sealife, air we breathe, water we drink….we have done serious damage to this Earth we love so much.  Pagans feel the pain She is going thru as we have such an affinity for our Mother and want to take care of Her, Heal Her, treat Her better!  As my heart goes out to the victims of this day..my heart also goes out to our Mother Earth.  May this be a reminder to take care of Her the best we can. 

“How I do love the earth. I feel it thrill under my feet. I feel somehow as if it were conscious of my love, as if something passed into my dancing blood from it.”

                                                                                               James Russell Lowell

It is almost Spring and every witches heart is turning to thoughts of her garden….the flowers, herbs, and veggies that we will tenderly plant, and watch grow, and harvest and use in mundane and magickal ways.  Digging in the dirt, feeling it in my hands and under my feet, the rich smell, is one way to connect with the Earth Mother.  There is no way you won’t appreciate what She gives to us after planting a garden.  With that in mind, I planted my herb seeds today…to try to connect to the Earth while this terrible day unfolded.  I had shopped for my pots, soil, markers and seeds last week and the time is right to plant here in Ohio..and the Sun came out and melted the night’s snow away..put me in the mood for sure.

As you can see..I’m all set to get started.  The pots are peat pots that you can plant right in the ground or outdoor pots when your seeds are ready.  They just become part of the soil.  I bought herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, lavender, chamomile, dill, organo, cilantro/coriander, parsley, catnip…hum..just realized I didnt’ get mint yet.  I also got soapwort flowers…haven’t grown them from seeds before but thought I’d try.  The first thing you do is fill each pot with good soil to start seeds.  Mine is organic which I find necessary in my book 🙂 

As I fill the pots, I visualize the dirt as rich in nutrients and see my herbs growing big and strong because of it. As I filled mine..I got a visitor…my little Harley..who is always by my side..came to help. 🙂

After filling, I water down the pots and soil til the pots are damp.  Then comes the fun part.  I love to see the seeds, what they look like, do they have a scent? 

 I just poke my finger in the pot, drop in the seeds, press down the dirt and place a marker with the name of the herb in the pot.  Once done, give them a good watering again.  That’s it..all done.  Now place in a sunny window..water frequently and watch them grow for the next 6 weeks.  Transfer to patio pots or the ground once you get past all chance of frost. 

All done..easy peasy?   Nah….I’m a witch..there is another step.  I have to bless my seeds.  Spell them to grow as magickal and strong as they can be….for use in future spells, teas, medicinal remedies, loose incense recipes, cooking…I want them to be full strength!  I like this seed blessing for its simplicity……I found it on Llewellyn’s spell a day but changed up the words a bit to suit me. 

Seed Blessing Ritual

Spread your seed packets on your altar or kitchen table. Burn a green candle dressed with vetivert. Spend some time visualizing the beautiful garden you’ll have this year. Hold your hands over the seeds and say:

Blessed Gaia, mother of us all,

Make these plants grow strong and tall.

Herbs and Flowers sweet and bright,

 
Blessed by the Sun and pale moonlight

 I’ll tend them well as they grow

So magick will abound and flow

By my will and with harm to none

By fire and oil, this spell is done.

 Then you will go ahead and plant as I’ve described above.  I have been perusing my herbal books and buying new herbal books and am working with a friend on learning more about herbalism..even taking an online class.  I have made some herbal remedies here and there but I intend to do so much more in the future.  This is another way that I can get closer to the Earth…to plant, grow, harvest, dry, and make herbals is a great way to honor Her.  Living off the land so to speak. 

I wish you all well with your gardens this year….put all the magick you can muster up into your work and you will be blessed with an abundant garden filled with sweet smelling herbs, colorful flowers and warm from the Sun veggies.  Feel blessed in your hard work and know that you are connecting with the Divine Mother. 

“He who would have beautiful roses in his garden

must first have beautiful roses in his heart”

                          Samuel Reynolds Hole

Blessings of Love and Light, Autumn

 

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Filed under Discussion, Flowers, Garden, Granddaughter, Herbs, Mother Earth, My cats, Nature, Photography, Quote, Ritual, Spells, Spring