Tag Archives: Season

The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2013……………….


 

“Between the heavens and the earth
The way now opens to bring forth
The Hosts of those who went on before;
Hail!  We see them now come through the Open Door.

Now the veils of worlds are thin;
To move out you must move in.
Let the Balefires now be made,
Mine the spark within them laid.

Move beyond the fiery screen,
Between the seen and the unseen;
Shed your anger and your fear,
Live anew in a new year!”
–   Lore of the Door

     

Merry Evening dear readers!   Has Autumn arrived in your neck of the woods?  The Season of Autumn I mean *giggles*  (yes, I LOVE my name this time of year…it’s so much fun!!)   Well, Fall has arrived here big time.  We are near peak in color..though I will say it’s not the most brilliant color I’ve seen.  We have cool, breezy days, and cold nights. We’ve had some rain and some crisp, blue skies…and OH the Nights! Inky black with twinkling stars and  the Blood Moon has been brilliant…big and bright and beautiful!  It’s been cold enough for the heat to go on, the fireplace to have a roaring fire, and sweaters and jackets pulled out of closets.  My crockpot and oven are hot most of the time, and I constantly want to go for a walk, or cook something with apples, or pick up perfect leaves to press and save.  I’ve got a stack of books on one side of me, and a basket of crochet on the other.  I am one happy Witch!  After all, it IS my Season! 🙂

Samhain is coming upon us fast. The Witch’s New Year…the night we all anticipate all year long.  It is the Most magickal, the Most emotional, and the Most busy night of the year for many of us.  There are gatherings to plan, rituals to prepare, feasts to cook, fires to tend, ancestors to await a visit from, and quiet introspection and divination to be done.  For many, there is also trick or treat night, costume parties, houses to decorate to the delight of children and adults alike, and finding the perfect Witch hat or cape to please ourselves!  Whew….no wonder October…the best month of the year..flies by so fast!!   They say Time flies when you’re having fun…and October is proof of that!

Last year, my Samhain was a bit thrown together and scattered…..because I was in the process of selling our home.  This year, I’m working and planning ahead.  I have a Circle of Witches now who will gather here on Nov 3 for our fire gathering and feasting.   I have Beggar’s Night on the 30th which I’ll spend with hubby, daughters, son-in-law and grandkids and whoever else happens along. There will be soups in the crockpot, bread in the oven and a yummy apple dessert to share.  Samhain night is our Ancestor Supper and a solitary ritual for myself. Oh and of course a fire!!  Speaking of desserts..I have to share a new recipe I came across!!  So simple and soooo yummy!!

Picture courtesy of Allrecipes.com

Picture courtesy of Allrecipes.com

Country Apple Dumplings

2 baking apples of your choice, peeled, cored and wedged into 8 wedges per apple ( 16 total)

2 cans of crescent rolls

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

12 oz can of Mountain Dew or Sprite  (yep..you got it) LOL

Preheat oven to 350*  Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish

Cut each apple as above and set aside.  Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in the dough starting at the smallest end.  Pinch to seal and place in the baking dish.

Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar and cinnamon.   Pour over the dumplings.  The pour the citrus soda over the dumplings.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown.

*I understand this recipe is All over Pinterest! LOL.

For me, what really represents what Samhain  is all about…. Is the thinning of the veil..the chance to communicate with those who have passed thru the veil….The Ancestor Supper, Soul Supper, Dumb Supper.  Whatever you call it, it represents a meal with your ancestors.  Lighting candles and setting a place at the table, and inviting those who have passed over to come and partake with you,  is a lovely and meaningful ritual.  If you are truly quiet in mouth and mind, you may hear what they have to say to you….they DO want to communicate.  They want to know how we are doing as much as we want to know how they are doing.  It’s our chance to express that they are missed, that they are still loved, that they will never be forgotten.  They may have words of wisdom for us as well.  One of the things I do, is place Rosemary in pots at their place setting.  Rosemary is for remembrance.  Another thing to do for yourself, write them a note or letter and place it at their seat.  Often, one seat at my table, represents All my ancestors..those recently passed and those long gone.  What is your practice? Do you have a Dumb Supper, divinate or scry at your altar, burn letters?  All are wonderful ways to honor our Ancestors on this night.

My Soul Supper Table 2011

My Soul Supper Table 2011

So you busy Witches, smile while you’re busy flying around on your brooms preparing for this most magickal of Nights!  Whether your Night is solitary and quiet, or a huge gathering, or something in between….there is no doubt that you will Feel your most Witchiest, your most magickal, and your most Joyful!  For the muggles, it’s just about costumes and candy…for Us!  It’s sooooo much MORE!!!  Many Blessings for a wonderful Samhain.  May your Path be filled with Mystery and Magick!

*oh…no drinking and flying  LOL!!

Blessings, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Full Moons, Holiday, New Year, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Ritual, Samhain, Seasons

Winter Solstice/Yule/Christmas books I love…….

Greetings!  I can’t believe how fast this month is flying by!  I have been so busy preparing for Yule and Christmas that I haven’t had time to write her as quickly as I would have liked to after my last post.  However, I’m about done shopping, most of my Holiday cards are mailed, and I’m ready to start wrapping soon.  It has been softly flurrying here today, quite cold and the Full Moon is peeking thru clouds..looks like it might clear up yet tonight.  Blessed Full Moon to you all by the way!!   I have lit a fire, my healing candles are going, incense burning..my feet are up and I just drank a very delicious eggnog milkshake my hubby brought home for me from Steak and Shake…so so good!  A wonderful way to spend a Full Moon evening.  Later, I’ll go out and spend some time with the Goddess, cleanse a few things, and I’m hoping to catch some Full Moon snow water in a jar.  The Yule Full Moon is to me, a very powerful Full Moon, and I intend to take in that energy to help me get thru this busy and sometimes stressful time of year! 

So, I have several books about Yule, Winter Solstice, pagan customs etc that I just love and I refer to them often.  So let’s get started doing a bit of show and tell……

 

The Winter Solstice….The Sacred Traditions of Christmas  by John Matthews. 

Despite the word Christmas in the title, this book is about the Winter Solstice, how Christmas came about, and the history and lore surrounding the whole Season. Each chapter provides cross-cultural connections to the ideas, customs, and icons of Christmas.  The book starts out discussing Solstice celebrations and lore across the world where the celebration of the Return of the Sun takes place from Egypt, to Rome, to Europe and America.  Saturnalia, the Mummers, the Morris Dancers are all talked about.  At the end of each chapter, there are suggestions for faith-free activities you can do to celebrate the Season..or you can incorporate your faith as you wish.

  The Child of Wonder chapter talks about the different gods across the ages..such as Apollo, Mabon, Osiris, Mithras and yes, Jesus. It talks about the Wise Men and the Star and the Nativity.   The Green Bough chapter discusses the symbolism of the tree, the evergreens, holly, ivy, mistletoe and of course the Yule Log. In Old Sir Christmas we are introduced the the “Santa’s from around the world.  The Solstice Animals …tough chapter for an animal lover…it’s about the slaughter of animals and the rituals about it…for food for the long Winter. I love the activity at the end of this chapter though..how to make soul cakes.   Lastly, the 12 Days of Christmas ….I especially love this chapter. This is not about the carol we all know, but about the true 12 days..from Dec 24 night to January 6th.  There is Snow day, Boxing day, The Feast of Fools day, Bringing in the Boar day and others.  Each day has an activity or ritual you can do to honor the day.  I have incorporated some of them into my own celebration. 

Thruout this book, there is beautiful artwork, drawings, photos….poetry, quotes, recipes and rituals.  I just love this beautiful book.  I suggest you will love it too!!

Pagan Christmas…The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide….by Christian Ratsch and Claudia Muller-Ebeling. 

 This book is a beautiful book..about the Ethnobotany (the study of plants) of the Season. It’s about the traditional uses and symbolism of the Yule Season plants…like the fir tree, mistletoe, holly, ivy, evergreens, laurel, yew…even tobacco and mushrooms!   There is info galore on the plants themselves, photos, how and why they are used in ritual, for decorating..ways to use them such as making incense, decorating your home etc.  There are stories from Befana to the Wise Men, From St. Nicholas to Woten.  I especially love all the incense recipes as I love making my own.  Another great book you will learn so much from!

Yule…A Celebration of Light & Warmth…by Dorothy Morrison. 

I love this book and Dorothy Morrison 🙂  This book is chock full of everything about the Solstice.  It has holiday lore from around the world, history, crafts, and  recipes. She explains the traditions behind the symbols of the Season, such as the tree, bells, evergreens, reindeer, gingerbread and lights amongst others.

She talks about the superstitions, and omens that surround the holiday in different countries.  She has some rituals and simple charms you can do as you get ready to celebrate.  A chapter on decking the halls, with craft projects to do.  My favorite..a tree blessing right before you decorate the tree.  There is ideas for parties and gift giving…how to’s included. 

There is a chapter on her personal celebration and a great chapter on things you can do to celebrate every day of the month of December. The final chapter is about is tips on cleaning up AFTER the holidays…what to do with your popcorn strings, how to store your decorations etc.   Also, I love her poetry and there is poetry she has written and  poetry others have written thruout the book. This book is a real keeper!!

The Wheel of the Year..Living the Magical Life…by Pauline Campanelli

This book takes you on a month-by-month journey of the Wheel of the Year and how it is celebrated by Pagans and the Campinellis’ themselves.  Every chapter starts out with a beautiful description of the month and what is going on in nature etc during that month.   December..the Yule month of course…has in it … The Magic of Mistletoe; The Ritual Burning of the Yule Log; Magical Uses of Ashes from the Yule Fire; A Ritual for Cutting Sacred Fir; The Pagan Symbolism of Santa Claus. It talks about wreaths, birds, ornaments and the Oak Moon.  There is a Bayberry Candle Charm, a Yule log ritual, and a cutting the tree ritual.  It ends with some info on New Years Eve and Father Time! 

This book has something for every month and it is one of my all time favorite books..If you don’t have it..it’s a must for your witchy library!!

Sabbats..A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways….Edain McCoy

Edain’s book is awesome as well.  Again, each chapter is about a Sabbat..starting with Samhain and going thru Mabon.  For Yule, she discusses the history and customs and how some of the customs have been preserved in various cultures.  The discusses the fight between the Oak King and the Holly King, the Celts and Druids use of evergreens, the symbolism of the wreath and tree, and again, of course, the burning of the Yule log.  There are recipes for sugar and gingerbread cookies, rituals, some craft ideas and how to make an edible Yule log ..yummy!  There is a nice pathworking meditation that I really love!  There are some correspondences, foods for Yule and a bit about how old christmas carols often have pagan symbology in them.

I love this book …again, a must have! 

Ok…those are my main books….some honorable mentions…..

Wicca in the Kitchen by Scott Cunningham.  ….for recipes for Yule

Witch in the Kitchen by Cait Johnson…again for recipes, a meditation, and a ritual or two…very nice! 

Moon Magick by DJ Conway….Lovely book..a chapter on the Cold Moon, recipes, crafts and a Winter Solstice ritual. 

So these are some of my favorites.  My wishlist would be for more children’s book about Yule and more for us grown- ups too 🙂  Whether you celebrate the Solstice or Christmas..there is something in these books to help you to celebrate it in a beautiful, meaningful way.  The Season is rich in tradition, lore and history..a most beautiful time of year.

If you have a favorite book not listed here..I’d sure like to know about it!  Please write me here and let me know!

My next blog post ..soon..will be recipes.  I’m gonna start gathering them this weekend!  and I’m actually going to be baking this weekend with my daughters and granddaughter.  ah….another beautiful memory in the making!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Books I'm reading, History, Holiday, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Seasons, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

Joy and Love is the Reason……

Merry Meet my friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones.  I know I did.  We had a small group this year as some of my family was scattered in all directions, but those of us who were here had a very wonderful day.  Watching my granddaughter Lily open her birthday presents for her 3rd birthday was highest on my list of memories that day. Such a blessing is that little girl 🙂 

Since then, I have been in full Yule mode! 🙂  Shopping and decorating and sending off cards and spending time having fun with the family.  I feel behind so far but taking the time to enjoy the season so I’m having fun either way.  My house should be fully decked out by tomorrow night, shopping is more then half done, cards will be going by the weekend and wrapping and baking will commence soon after.  We have even had our first snow tuesday night and it was beautiful.  It didnt’t stay around for long but I’m quite sure, living in Ohio as I do, there is much more to come..and soon!  I have had fireside, Bailey’s in my glass night, and watching holiday movies nights, and lunch out with family and shopping days…I just love this time of year!

Along with the joy of the Season, comes again the Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays wars.  *sigh*.  I just felt the need to put in my two cents worth as I see many who feel like me…. and then there are those people who are apparantly completely offended if the “right” words aren’t spoken to them during this time of year. 

As you all know by now, I am a Witch..a Pagan.  I celebrate Yule, the Winter Solstice. It is a very joyful and meaningful Sabbat for me and I celebrate it fully!    I also celebrate Christmas  *gasp* LOL.    I grew up celebrating Christmas and some of my family members are Christians.  I celebrate the day with them.  For me, it’s not  a celebration of the birth of the Christian Jesus Christ, It’s a family holiday…..it’s about Santa, presents, good food, fun, family, love and joy. Just like many Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Pagan families do..we celebrate both!  Now I know that to some Pagans, this is an unpopular decision, and yet I have many many facebook Witch and Pagan friends who do the same. Unless you are born into a family who is all of one faith, it would be disrespectful, in my opinion, not to share in the day with those I love, who celebrate Christmas. 

When I see all the comments about “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”  or “Don’t take Christ out of Christmas”….well, one I agree with and one I sure don’t.  I agree that Christ is the reason for Christmas..after all, Christmas IS a Christian holiday, the birth of Jesus to the Christians.   However, Jesus is NOT the reason for the Season in my mind.  The “season”  is not just a day…the Season is much more..for some people it denotes the period of time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  For others, it may be just the December holidays.  For still others, it might be the whole Wintertime..after all, many “holidays” are celebrated well into January.  The birth of Jesus, (Which we should all know by now, was NOT in December)  is not the reason for ANY of the other holidays but Christmas…right??  For me, the Solstice, the turning of the Wheel of the Year, the re-birth of the Sun God, the longest night of the year is the reason for Yule and my celebration of the “season”.  Hannukah, Kwaanza, and other faiths have their own reason for the season as well.  The season is not just about the Christian holiday, Christmas.

Having said all that, I think the argument over what to say or what you want to hear is just absurd. For me, if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Blessed Yule, or Happy Holidays…I look at it as well wishes for a joyful holiday, joyful season, or joyful day.  Merry Christmas is not a slap in the face to my beliefs.  It is what the OTHER person believes so that is what they say.  Why don’t we all quit being so selfish and just take the sentiment in the way it was meant to be taken? They are wishing you well!!  You can choose to respond as you want too…of course.  There is nothing wrong with saying something different back to them…for instance “Merry Christmas to you and Blessed Yule to me”….or say what you prefer to say…in a nice way..not in a correcting manner. Most likely they will smile and still wish you well.  and keep in mind..if you are being helped by someone in customer service..they HAVE to say whatever the store policy is….don’t get nasty with them for saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas or vice versa.  I have seen this happen and it just gets my Irish up! LOL. I have also seen a Christian get very nasty when told Happy Holidays..and it actually scared me it was so nasty!  Same with other faiths folks who don’t think about anyone but themselves this time of year.  My fear is that some day nobody will be giving a seasonal greeting to anyone out of fear of saying the wrong thing and receiving an earful!  How sad would that be?  😦 

I’m not telling anyone what to do..just saying what I think is the right thing to do.  I try to be gracious, accept whatever greeting comes my way and move on.  I believe if I react kindly, the Goddess will appreciate that I was kind. The Pagan community is growing in leaps and bounds and Blessed Yule is on the lips of many!  Take comfort in that if anything 🙂 Look at Joy and Love as the Reason for the Season..for I believe no matter what you celebrate …those are two good reasons we can all agree on and embrace in unison!

I don’t know if I have Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Athiest readers here..but I know I have a lot of beautiful Witches and Pagans..many I call friends.  I know many of you feel as I do, and some of you may not.  I honor your choices either way.  And by the way,  I do feel the irritation too when someone puts Jesus and Christmas down my throat when it’s unwanted.  That is a whole different thing and I would deal with that much differently..after all, I am a Witch! Hehehe 🙂

Soon I will be posting my Yule recipes, altar pics and some favorite Yule books I love.  So I’ll be back soon!  Please feel free to leave comments…whether you agree or disagree…I love a good discussion!

Blessings and Light, Autumn

 

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Filed under Discussion, Family, Holiday, My Writing, Seasons, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas