Tag Archives: seasons

Blessed Samhain 2016….and recipes!

“I see the turning of a leaf dancing in the autumn sun,

and brilliant shades of crimson glowing when a day is done

-Hazelmarie Mattie Elliott-

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Merry Morning and Blessed Samhain my friends!  The glorious day is finally here! The Witch’s favorite Sabbat!  Our New Year!  Here in Ohio it’s a cool, blue sky, sunny day.  We’ve had some overly warm days here lately…too warm in the upper 70’s for my taste, but today it feels like Fall again.  The skies are inky black as we’re in our New Moon which adds magick to our new year and new beginnings!  Winds are brisk and leaves are falling fast, chipmunks and squirrels gather food for the winter, birds are busy at the feeders, pumpkins are grinning from porches  and children ready their costumes for trick or treat!  The veil thins and there is a mystical feel to the Air! Autumn is in full glory!

My coven gathered Saturday night.  We had soups, breads and desserts. As it was warm, we spent time outside.  A few of our sisters didn’t make it this year and the rest of us were more quiet and subdued. Perhaps the thinning veil making us not feel up to par, tired and moody I think.  Speaking for myself, that was the case.  How does the thinning veil affect you?  I’ve had times of high energy, and times of melancholy and low energy too.  Today, I feel great!

I’m harvesting the last of my herbs today. Then tonight is our Beggar’s Night.  This year we’ll be home passing out candy as we spent time with my grandkids yesterday.  Keeping dinner simple with soup and sandwiches.  I’m also burying new witch’s protection bottles, making an offering to Mother Earth and tonight a fire and spending time with my ancestors. I am a journaler and I’ve been journaling my thoughts and wishes for a wonderful new year to come.  I look back on this last year with fondness and feelings of how blessed I am. and forward with the same.  What will you be pleased about in your past year

and what changes will you make in this next year to improve on it?  These are the things I think about today.

I promised some recipes and better late than never.  So here a few new ones!

cider

Samhain Spiced Cider

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 large orange, quartered with peel

2 quarts apple cider

*use a gallon of cider and double the rest!

Place in a dutch oven on the stove on low heat or a slow cooker on low all day! So yummy!  I made this for my coven saturday night and they loved it!

pumpkin soup

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Tb butter

1 Tb olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

4-5 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash

4 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 tsp dried sage

3/4 tsp salt

pepper to taste

a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat butter and oil over medium heat.  Add onion and carrot; cook and stir until tender.  Add garlic and cook one minute longer.

Stir in squash, stock, sage, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer, covered 20 minutes or until squash is tender.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.

Process in a blender until smooth.  Serves 6

Apple Caramel Cheesecake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup plus 2 Tb sugar, divided

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

3 medium tart apples, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Streusel topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup cold butter, cubed

1/3 cup hot caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350*.  In a small bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.  Press into a well-greased 13×9 inch baking pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Spread over baked crust.

In a small bowl, toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar; spoon over cream cheese layer.  In another bowl, mis streusel topping until crumbly.  Sprinkle over apple layer.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until filling is set.  Drizzle with caramel topping; cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Refrigerate for 2 hours at least.  Cut into bars and serve.

Yummy…I love Autumn baking especially.  Don’t you?

I want to wish you all a very Blessed Samhain.  May your ancestors smile upon you and impart words of wisdom, joy and a sense of peacefulness to you in the coming year.  Goddess Bless you all!

“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

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

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The Wheel Turns to Imbolc 2016……

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” 
–  Stanley Crawford

 

imagesMerry Meet!  I hope this writing finds you doing well.  There has been some crazy weather everywhere.  Big snowstorms, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes..you name it..it’s been out there.  We’ve had none of that lol.  As a matter of fact, we’ve had very little snow, still, which is unusual for Ohio and we are warming up into the 50’s for the next few days.  But, still, I know Imbolc comes.  If you truly watch nature..the rising and setting of Moon and Sun, the habits of birds and critters, the trees and plants…you know.

I have been a very busy Witch preparing for Imbolc.  It’s been all about a serious purging of un-wanted and un-needed items from this house.  It feels so good to have less things taking up space in drawers, closets and cupboards. Even knick knacks, things hanging on the walls, and old throw rugs and blankets are going.  I can’t recommend this enough.  I’ve talked about it before, and I’ve done it many times.  But this is the MOST I’ve ever done.  I truly believe I could become almost a minimalist lol.  It’s a great way to cleanse and clean to prepare for Imbolc and well…just Spring cleaning if you prefer.

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I’m unfortunately having that surgery Monday, so I’ll be celebrating Imbolc on Sunday. Imbolc by the way is February 2.  There will be a fire, lots of candles, a feast, and offerings.  I do honor Brighid for this, Her Sabbat, and will do both altar work and another ritual I’ve talked about before.  Before midnight I turn off all the lights in the house and have lots of candles going throughout.  At midnight, I throw open the doors, invite Brighid to come in and bring all the good things that She does…protection, craftsmanship, prosperity, inspiration, healing, growth, renewal and light.  She is always welcome on my Path and in my home.  I then use my broom to sweep out all the negative, old, stale energy from my home and turn on lights as I go along to each room.  It’s such a lovely ritual, gives me a sense of peace and joy. I will often read a bit of poetry, be sure to wear my silver jewelry, and send out healing energy to those I love in need.  Brighid is an amazing Goddess.  If you aren’t familiar with Her, you might want to be.  I’m reading the book “Tending Brighid’s Flame” by Lunea Weatherstone and highly recommend it! You’ll learn a LOT!

The foods that represent Imbolc are seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flax, sesame. Also raisins, dairy foods, spicy foods, pork, lamb, spiced wines, breads, cakes, muffins, pancakes, scones etc. I would add anything made with milk as Imbolc means “ewe’s milk.”   I’ve posted lots of recipes for all the Sabbats, including Imbolc.  To find them, just use the search box on the right side of this page and type in Imbolc recipes or Imbolc.   I thought I’d share a few more here.

 

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Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400*. In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk. In a small bowl, combine the egg, brown sugar and oil; stir in oat mixture. Combine the dry ingredients; stir into batter just until moistened. Fold in raisins.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Yield: 1 dozen.

 

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Slow Cooked Hot Spiced Wine

2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
3 whole cloves
2 bottles (750 milliliters each) dry red wine
3 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place cinnamon sticks and cloves on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string.

In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine remaining ingredients. Add spice bag. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings

 

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Honey Wheat Sunflower Bread

2 cups warm water (120° to 130°)
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted sunflower kernels

In a bowl, combine the water, 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, yeast and sugar. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. (Mixture will be spongy.)
Stir in the whole wheat flour, oats, milk powder, butter, honey and salt; mix well. Stir in sunflower kernels and as much of the remaining all-purpose or bread flour as you can with a spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
Punch down and divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into two loaves; place in two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Cover with foil; bake 15 minutes longer. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

My recommendation…make soup with the breads!  Especially nice on a snowy day, or your Imbolc cleaning day or even just for the day itself.  For some great soup recipes, you’ll find them in that search I talked about for Imbolc 🙂 There is nothing better than the scent of soup and warm baked bread on a Winter day…truly.

I wish you all a very blessed Imbolc for you and your loved ones.  May the rest of Winter be kind to you, may you find peace and joy in the quiet times, and know that Spring isn’t too far away.

 

“I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was not other creature
That saw what I could see,
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.”
– Sara Teasdale, February Twilight

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blessed Samhain 2015 and Recipes!…………

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s Thursday morning and Samhain is Saturday. I can’t believe how fast October has flown by! Too fast!  I’m sitting in my family room, listening to a Halloween Radio staA-BLessed-Samhain-To-Yoution on Pandora, watching leaves blowing around my yard, the Sun shining and birds at the feeders and chipmunks and squirrels gathering.  It’s a gorgeous day after two days of much needed rain.  Quite cool, quite autumnal, and I’m feeling happy and blessed.

My gardens are a wild mess. The last of the Autumn flowers are spent.  The tall grasses are brown and dry.  Some herbs have re-bloomed like parsley, thyme and lemon balm.  (I’ll be grabbing those yet)  My rosemary and lavender are still healthy and useful as I trim some rosemary for my ancestor altar and Ancestor Supper table. There are dried leaves gathered in the beds that will remain to keep warm the plants over the long Winter, and fresh, bright colored leaves are still falling, littering the ground and beds with reds, oranges, and golds. I took a walk in my favorite park that has a beautiful pond.  Watching the geese fly over under blue, clear skies,  the leaves floating in the pond, the bright trees and Sun casting mirror images on the water, I’m reminded of how Mother Earth is winding down to the dark, stark season in a blaze of color and beauty. I never have the feeling it’s a death and dying thing..but a show of how beautiful the seasons are.  No matter the season, they each have their own beauty.  While Autumn to me is the most beautiful, Winter too can be stunningly filled with beauty and I am not sad that Winter comes.

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I have enjoyed the energy of the Full Moon these last few nights, even though I couldn’t see Her the night she was at her fullest.  The foggy, rainy days reminded me of the thinning veil. The mystical, quietness of this time of year, if you’re still enough to notice it.  I’ve been having strong, vivid dreams and vacillate between sleeping hard and feeling restless in the night. How are you feeling? Perhaps tired and restless?  Or calm and filled with energy? I find I’m energized most of the time in Autumn, but an evening by the fire can make me feel drowsy and content.  I find my loved ones who have passed on are very much on my mind and I’m trying to be aware of any messages they may be bringing for me, to be aware of their being close to me, and to leave myself open to any other guides/spirits who may be needing my attention as well.  I keep a dream journal and I’m jotting down anything I remember when I awake. My scrying mirror, tarot cards and candle and fire flames are readily available to such purposes of receiving any messages. As I said in my last post, I find being still and meditative, even drowsy, can bring me closer, easier to my loved ones.

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My coven gathers tomorrow night. Always such a high energy, loving, magickal night. We’ll be doing an ancestor ritual, welcoming in the New Year together, with feast and fire. While we enjoy every Sabbat gathering, and every other gathering, Samhain is always just the best one.  The energy of Samhain is very much within us as a Tribe.  I love my sisters!

I have been visiting some books lately for the Season.  Classics like Edgar Allan Poe poems and “The Halloween Tree” and getting ready to read “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.  I also have been enjoying movies like “Hocus Pocus”, “Sleepy Hollow”, and “The Good Witch” movies.  My daughter, our friend and I saw “The Goosebumps” movie last night and enjoyed it very much!  I love both books and movies during this entire holiday season, from Samhain to Yule.  Music too.  They just put me in the mood!  What are your favorite spooky books or movies?

Cooking and Baking also is such a big part of the holidays for me.  Autumn is especially lovely with warm soups and breads, apple and pumpkin desserts, and hot drinks with cinnamon and spice.  If you do a search in the box on the right here —–> you can find previous Samhain recipes for the last 5 years.  I’m going to add a couple more today.  Also, if you saw my last post, you may have been checking out Samhain’s Sirens and The Sunday Stew for other recipes from myself and others for the Season.  For many, All Hallow’s Eve will bring to mind a witch stirring her cauldron 🙂 Well, yes, that’s me!  Conjuring in my kitchen! I may have a soup or hot cider in my cauldron, or I may have herbs and a smoking charcoal just as easily. If you don’t have a nice cauldron to actually use in your kitchen..I highly recommend a Potje pot.  They come in all sizes and are wonderful!

As a reminder of the foods for Samhain, they are :  Apples, pumpkin pie, pomegranate, pumpkin, squash, hazelnuts, corn, bread, ale, apple cider and herbal tea. Here are a couple of new recipes to fit the bill. One is healthy and one is just sweet and yummy!

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Spinach Pomegranate Salad

3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces spinach leaves (about 2 lightly packed qts.)
3/4 cup finely shredded radicchio (from 1 head)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 large firm-ripe Bartlett pear

In a small saucepan, boil pomegranate juice until reduced to 1/4 cup, 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool. Whisk in lemon juice, oil, salt, thyme, and pepper.
In a salad bowl, gently mix spinach, radicchio, pomegranate seeds, and hazelnuts with dressing. Divide among 6 plates.
Quarter pear and core. Thinly slice crosswise, then stack slices and cut in matchsticks. Arrange pear on salads.

*To make this salad a full meal, add grilled chicken strips onto the salad and a good crusty bread!

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Sour Cream-Apple Pie

a 9″ pie crust…your own homemade or refrigerated store bought

2 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped (use your favorite baking apple)

1 cup sugar, divided

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tb ground cinnamon

2 Tb butter

Place pie crust in a 9″ pie plate; arrange apples in bottom of pie crust.

Combine 2/3 cup sugar, 2 Tbs flour and salt in a large bowl; stir to mix.  Add sour cream, egg and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.  Pour mixture over apples.

Bake at 425* for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350* and bake 30 more minutes.

Combine in a small bowl the remaining flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Sprinkle over top of pie.  Increase heat back to 400* and bake 10 more minutes.  Remove and cool.  Of course, eating it warm is perfect!

*If you’d rather use thinly sliced apples, that is okay too.

Well there you go for a couple of great new recipes.  Again, you can find so many more of my recipes in previous postings.  Whether you’re looking for a simple soup meal, a big feast or just something sweet, you’ll find it here 🙂 Enjoy!

I want to wish you all a very Blessed Samhain and Happy Witchy New Year.  May your ancestors be blessed by how you live YOUR life, how you honor them and how you loved those you knew who have passed beyond the veil.  And may YOU be blessed with a full new year of wonderful things ahead!  Remember to let go that which no longer suits or has meaning or purpose, and find joy in what is to come.  Make it GREAT!

“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

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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The Wheel Turns to Ostara 2015………..

imagesCAJTX5KXMerry Meet my friends.  It’s a cold and very snowy day here.  We’ve gotten about 4-5 inches of new snow! It was beautiful when we woke up this morning and just stopped in the last hour or two.  We have a roaring fire going, chili in the crockpot, racing is on though my hubby has fallen into his 2nd nap of the day (he has a cold) and I’ve been writing recipes up for the Sunday Stew and Imramma Magazine this morning in my jammies 🙂  Gotta love Winter Sun days like that!

Today is March 1 and in 19 days it will be Ostara..the first day of Spring.  It’s hard to see that right now with all this snow and cold, but I can feel it.  There is a change in the pattern of the Sun and Moon, in the winds blowing, in the birds and ground animals.  In the light of the morning, and the darkness of the sky at night.  Oh yes, my friends….Spring is not far away..not just by calendar date but if you pay attention to the signs around you too.

I grew up in a home that celebrated Easter.  We were casually christian I guess…went to church when I was little but after the age of 9-10 for me it was rare and only when my grandma asked us to go.  But the Easter egg hunts were a big deal in our family….the little boys in dress pants, sweaters and bow ties, the little girls in frilly dresses with bonnets and I even remember my dad buying us orchid corsages to wear.  I had 9 cousins and we would all go to my grandmother’s house, or an aunt’s house and have a great pot luck supper and a oh-so-much fun egg hunt.  Many times, my birthday fell on or very close to that day, and there would be an extra gift for me.  Big chocolate bunnies were always the best thing to find 🙂  Such fun for little kids. As I still have christian family members, we continued that practice with my girls and now with my grandchildren.  It’s a family day…not a christian holiday for me, but each family member sees it their own way.  And that is just fine!  Does your family still celebrate Easter?  Ostara?  It’s one of those great Sabbats that can be enjoyed by all without too much discomfort I think for those of differing Paths.

 

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Ostara now, meaning March 20…that is a whole different thing.  It’s still about bunnies and eggs and food and pastel colors lol, but it’s also about knowing the Sun is getting stronger and warmer, the days are lengthening, and Spring will come.  We watch for signs of buds on our flowering trees, shoots coming up from the wet ground, blades of grass turning green, and birds becoming more active. We might see a bunny hopping in our yard, a chipmunk scurrying, a robin or yellow finch, and of course the garden centers are setting out mowers, grills, seeds, pots, early spring flowers etc etc. I love Facebook as the seasons change.  My friends love posting the first signs of the new Season.  When I see my southern friends posting pics of forsythia and cherry trees blooming, I know we aren’t far behind!  I can’t wait to smell that first scent of rich dirt, plant that first plant or seed, check out what’s coming up that was planted last year, and just plain get my hands and bare feet dirty again!

My Circle will gather a few days after Ostara as well.  Last year we blessed seeds and planted them for each of our gardens.  I’m sure we’ll do something like that again this year.  If it’s warm enough, we’ll go outside and give our thanks and gratitude to the Sun God as he brings warmth back to Mother Earth. A feast will be had and always a fire too.  I really look forward to time with my Sister Witches.  Ostara is usually when I plant my seed starters as well.  Blessing the seeds, placing potting soil in little sod pots, planting the seeds and watering with Moon water is such a wonderful way to observe the day.

 

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For now, I still am enjoying Winter.  As a matter of fact, all of a sudden I look back on how fast it’s gone by.  Some of the things I vowed I would work on over the Winter escaped me.  But I spent a lot of time reading, writing, working on my home, cooking and baking, and enjoying the beauty of staying home more, spending time with family and resting more.  So things I didn’t get done..well, they will still get done eventually.   It does bother me I haven’t worked on my herbalist course the way I wanted to….found myself wanting to read instead.  But as Spring approaches, the mood is striking me more so I’ve picked it up today again and have worked on it some and will continue at my own pace until I finally do get that certificate!  I can picture myself on my sunny patio, with an iced drink and warm breezes and the scent of lavender and rosemary while I study and work 🙂  Yes..that sounds perfect!

I can see that many are searching here on my blog for Ostara recipes, rituals etc.  You can do that in the search box on the right hand side here on my blog.  You can also find more of my recipes starting March 22 in the Sunday Stew….again the icon on the right here on my blog.  I’ll be back here soon to post a new recipe or two, maybe a new seed blessing I’m working on and of course something Irish for Irish day!  I’ll also be posting more herbal info very soon.  I want to again thank my readers for being so supportive of me and my blog.   I truly appreciate it.

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Now, I hope you’re all warm and cozy if you’re having your Winter, and staying cool and comfortable if you’re having your Summer.  Either way, have a happy March!

 

Oh, Spring is surely coming,
Her couriers fill the air;
Each morn are new arrivals,
Each night her ways prepare;
I scent her fragrant garments,
Her foot is on the stair.
~John Burroughs, “A March Glee”

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

*All photos are either my own or creative commons unlicensed pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy 2015 and Winter Blessings……….

Merry Meet my friends!  I’m a bit later writing a blog post for the New Year than I should be. My muse left me I think while I recovered from the holidays! I hope that you all had a very happy Yule, Christmas, and New Year with your loved ones and friends.  I know I did.  It was even a slower paced holiday season for us this year and much enjoyed.  We ate too much, relaxed, visited with friends and family, had gift exchanges and watched the ball drop quietly.  The holiday decorations are packed away til next year and the house has been cleaned and cleansed and the fireplace often has a crackling fire happily going. There’s often something baking in the oven or simmering on the stove, and my stack of books I want to read this year actually has had a dent put in it 🙂

Today is a beautiful, blue sky, sunny day but it is also a deep freeze out there!  We got about 5-6 inches of snow a few days ago and since then we have had a lot of negative temperatures as well.  I don’t mind it too much though.  I love nesting in for cold Winter days..cause I can.  I know not everybody has that luxury of not having to go out, I’m blessed that way. Freezing wind that takes your breath away and watching snow fall isn’t bad at all when you’re cozy and warm indoors. But I also like to go outside in the Winter. There is something bracing and beautiful about the quietness of Winter.  The skies when clear, are so clear as to hurt your eyes.  At night, the inky, cold black of the skies makes the stars and Moon shine so brilliantly. Don’t you think so?  Taking walks while a soft snow falls is such a wonderful thing to do too.

I posted this picture the other day from facebook on my page.  I have seen it before and love it.  I don’t know who the original poster of this picture is but credit is given on the picture itself for this one.

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Earthing…..a concept I’ve always been familiar with but didn’t know what to call it.  When I was a kid, it was for me “getting out in nature” or “sinking my feet in the ground” or “connecting with Mother Earth.”   I love the term Earthing and have adopted it.  When I posted this picture I asked my friends how they go Earthing in the dead of Winter with snow on the ground.  I got some great answers and had a few of my own and thought I’d share them with you.  For many people, Winter is a depressive time of year. The “Winter Blues” is a very real thing.  Oh sure, some of us just grouse and complain about the cold and missing Summer etc (not me I don’t LOL) but for many it’s a real depression that sets in.  For Witches, being outside with our bare feet in the dirt is a necessity of Life.  It’s a serious need.  It centers us, grounds us, lifts our spirits physically, mentally and spiritually.  It’s a huge part of our spirituality.  This connection to Mother Earth….not just seeing her but FEELING her.  In the Winter, needless to say, being barefoot can be an issue.  So here are a few ideas for those who need that connection..no matter what your Path is.

*Go ahead and go barefoot.  For however long you can handle it 🙂  I got that answer several times from my friends.  Feel that mushy earth and cold snow under your feet.  Or the hard, cold ground.  Come in and soak your feet in a nice warm salt bath and your spirits will be lifted and your feet will feel great!

*Go out and hug a tree.  Another popular response.  Feel that connection to Earth through a strong tree that stands stark and dark in the cold weather.  The vibrations are there for you to absorb and feel.

*Take a walk.  This seems obvious to me but a lot of people don’t like walking in the snow.  Of course, if there’s an inch of ice out there don’t go and hurt yourself. But bundling up and taking a brisk walk is good for you anytime. Collect some things from nature while you’re out.  Pine cones, acorns, rocks, feathers, greens etc.  Bring them home and place them in a bowl with a lit white candle.  The scent will fill your house with outdoors.  Light a roaring fire and have a hot chocolate or coffee.and you’ll feel exhilarated!

*Get out your gardening books, magazines, catalogs and start planning your gardens for Spring. Perusing them, dreaming of working in your gardens will help you to remember that Spring will be here before you know it.  Perhaps you can plant some seed starters and get started inside.  The scent of green things growing in rich dirt in little pots should help you a lot and you’ll have an early start on your gardens.  I was at Lowe’s the other day and they already have their seeds and pots out!

*Keep indoor plants.  Watering and tending to indoor plants keeps your hands in the dirt.  Some herbs on your kitchen window sill, some large tropical or tree plants in the house are always nice.

*Take a class on gardening or herbs.  I’m working over this Winter and however long it takes me, on an herbalist class. It  keeps me thinking of being outdoors growing my herbs, their scent, cutting and drying them etc.  I still have herbs hanging in my kitchen I have dried. Rubbing my hands over them and smelling those wonderful scents keeps me in mind of warmer days with the Sun on my back, feet on the ground and hands dirty from digging.  Happy thoughts indeed!

* Get some Sun!  There are a LOT of gloomy, overcast days in the Winter.  If I get the blues over the Winter, it’s often because of lack of sunshine. I don’t care how cold it is outside if the Sun is shining.  Find that sunny spot in the house and sit there for a bit, face to the Sun.  Absorb it into your skin.  You’ll feel better right away.  On those gloomy days..light candles, turn on lights, put on upbeat music.  Do something to make yourself feel light!  Cats and dogs are a perfect example of how much fun laying in the Sun can be.  They search out those spots don’t they? 🙂  Do as they do 🙂

*Go outside and do something fun..something adventurous!  Go sledding, skiing, ice skating, ice fishing or play hockey. Get that sense of snow days that kids have. Remember that?  As kids weren’t snow days just the best things in the world?  We didn’t sit around bemoaning the cold….nope…we got bundled up and stayed outside until our toes and fingers were frozen, our noses were running and cheeks were bright red.  But our eyes too were sparkling and our energy was abounding and we had FUN!!   Do that!!

*Give yourself a project to do.  Perhaps de-cluttering and organizing your house. Cleaning out closets and drawers is so satisfying. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to write a book, paint, crochet, spin wool, throw a pot, play with clay, start a blog, learn yoga or meditation, etc etc.  Witches can work on their grimoires or book of shadows. Keep yourself busy doing something you love. Or learn something new. You get the idea.

Well, these are just a few ideas, I’m sure there are many more.  Don’t let Winter become something dreary and hated that you just have to get through before the days of Sunshine and roses come back.  Winter is a long season and that is a LOT of days to feel bad, feel sad, to dread.  Every day is a gift, no matter the weather.  Make the most of it. If being lazy and reading is all you want to do ..then good..do it. But do it cheerfully with a smile on your face okay?

Blessings of the Winter season to you and may 2015 bring you all the joy and happiness you deserve! I’ll be back soon with bits of magick I’m working on here and there and of course recipes etc.  Imbolc will be before we know it!

Blessings and love, Autumn

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Filed under Book of Shadows, Books, Cleaning & Organizing, Family, Friends

The Spirit of Christmas revisited………..

christmas-candle-douglas-pulsipherMerry Meet friends!  I hope that  all of you here in  the USA and those who celebrate it;  had a blessed Thanksgiving day.  I had a very nice day!  It was celebrated at my house (as usual) but a very small group this year.  My sister and her hubby were in St. Thomas, so their grown kids, who live out of state, didn’t come in.  My daughter, son-in-law and grandkids take turns with both sides of the family for holidays..it wasn’t our year so they weren’t here.  So I had 8 family members and two lovely guests.  My mom and I split the menu….the traditional meal as we have made for years..and that everyone expects! 🙂  The food was great! Everyone was relaxed and happy and a good time was had.  After, I put my jammies on early, had some coffee with Baileys, sat by the fire and vegged out!  How about you? Was your Thanksgiving a good one?

Did you go out shopping on Black Friday?  I did that one time many years ago.  I vowed to never do it again and I haven’t! LOL.  It was a nightmare in so many ways.  As I watch the videos on tv of people fighting over an item, being trampled as stores throw open their doors, etc..it all just seems crazy to me. Don’t even get me started about stores opening up on Thanksgiving eve.  You can get good deals all through the holidays, online etc…I just don’t get the appeal.  If you braved it..kudos to you and hope you got great deals!  I got good deals too…I shopped in my jammies online and got most of my shopping done! Yay!!

The rest of this blog post is from a previous post back in 2010 that I decided to repost for new readers who may not have come across it.  I was watching “A Christmas Carol” again today,  remembered my writing this and thought you all would enjoy it.  Let me know what you think.

 

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Now that Thanksgiving is past, our thoughts all turn to Yule/Christmas.  Other than Samhain, probably my favorite Sabbat!  Before I go on any further, let me explain that I celebrate the Winter Solstice AND Christmas.  Christmas to me is a secular holiday..all about family, feasting, good will, music, lights, trees, gifts of course, etc etc.  The story “A Christmas Carol” is all about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day..so that’s what I’ll be speaking about for now.

I love Winter! ( yes I know some people will be groaning right now!)  I love all it entails.  Sitting by the fire, nesting, going outside and feeling the cold air whip across my face and take my breath away, wearing cozy sweaters, knitted scarves, hats & mittens, hot chocolate, warm spiced wine, feeding the winter birds and having time to read, crochet, relax, bake, take on projects on the inside of the house, ..well I just love the slower pace.  Today I watched “A Christmas Carol”…my all time favorite book and movie…all versions..ever!  Today happened to be the musical version..which I happen to think is excellent.  Has Kelsey Grammar as Scrooge and many other great stars.  My favorite version..for the record..is probably George C. Scott…he was a most excellent Scrooge! Though sometimes I think it must be Patrick Stewart! 🙂

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”

……..Scrooge…Charles Dickens

I am sure many of you will recognize this quote.  I am a huge lover of Charles Dickens and I think he writes beautifully and from the heart and his words are still ringing true all these years later.  He was indeed teaching a lesson in this Novella.  What is the lesson?  I would imagine most people would say the same thing…”goodwill towards men”.   I see it as more than that.  My understanding is that Dickens was appalled at the poverty he saw around him, and that the middle and upper class were doing nothing to help them at all.  His Scrooge talks about the work houses and the programs set up by the government to aid the impoverished…but it was nowhere near enough.  He wrote this book to open the eyes of those who were not “seeing” what needed to be done.  For people to open their hearts and their wallets to help the less fortunate and it would make them happier and more blessed in their own life.

As a pagan witch, I believe that God/Goddess, the Universe, the Creator, whatever you believe in…  put us here to learn lessons..with the ultimate goal being LOVE.  Our goal in life should be to discover that..LOVE.  And to love means to care for our “fellow man”.  To me, “Goodwill towards Men” means just that.  We should love our family and friends as I’m sure we do.  But we should also love those we don’t know, help those who need it, love and care for Mother Earth and the creatures who inhabit Her…  No judgement, no greed, no setting standards for others in our own minds, equality for all, acceptance of all religions, courtesy, kindness….Love.  To me, Dickens hit the nail on the head so to speak…he saw a vision of how the world should be.  More of us could learn from Scrooge’s Christmas Eve night.

Scrooge was not an evil man..he was afraid.  His father did time in debtors prison..causing him to have to slave in a work house at 11 years old.  He never wanted to do that again..but he lost track of his self, his soul..so focused was he on never being poor.  Until he learned what dying a lonely old man would truly be like..did he become a truly rich man.  Hoarding his money, working long hours, never enjoying the money he had;  even for himself.  He didn’t have a relationship with anyone except his business partner, Marley.  He lived a very “poor” life in every way…because of his fear.

There are many positive wonderful characters in this book.  Old Fizziwig, who gave a huge party,  sparing no expense,  to show his gratitude to his employees.  There is the clerk, Bob Cratchit, so lowly in Scrooge’s eyes, but greatly loved by his large poverty stricken family, especially Tiny Tim.  Then there is Fred,  Scrooge’s endearing nephew.  He was the epitome of a good man who’s life was abundant in family, friends, love , joy, and blessings.  He showed love at every turn.  All he wanted from Uncle Scrooge was for him to come to Christmas Day dinner.  He came every year and requested it every year.  He never gave up on him.  and when Scrooge had his life altered…he welcomed him with open arms..holding no grudge for all the years of rejection.  Though he was not a rich man…he was rich in every other way.

I don’t know about you..but I want to be like Fred….I want to be rich in friends.  I want to be rich in experiences.  I want to be rich in appreciation for the blessings that come to my life.  This is the lesson that Scrooge learned..luckily while he could still have some time to truly appreciate it. Look into your own Past, Present, and even into your Future.  Have you done well by others?  Can you do better? ” A Christmas Carol” will always mean a lot to me…and I will try to keep Christmas in my heart all year long.  and as Tiny Tim says……God(Goddess) Bless Us Every One!!

Every year in recent years, my family has adjusted how we celebrate the holidays.  Yule is for me about introspection, welcoming the Light,  and having quiet time to myself.  Christmas is as I said above…family, food, fun, giving, and Santa!  Having said that, we have simplified so much and it has made the holidays so much more enjoyable.  There are less gifts and more time spent together.  Whether baking cookies, watching a movie together with popcorn and a fire, hot chocolate and driving around to see light displays, breakfasts or lunches together, a little shopping, romantic candle lit dinners….just making memories together.  That after all is what your family will remember.  Looking back over your childhood, do you remember what was under the tree, or do you remember decorating it?  Do you remember what gift who gave who or do you remember grandma and grandpa coming over to visit?  While we all may remember that favorite gift we got, most of what we remember are the not things..but people and how they affected your life growing up.  I keep this in mind every day with my girls and now my grandkids.  Just remember, things don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to spend a lot of money…you just have to make memories!!! It’s the simple things in Life that matter!

 

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Have a Blessed Week and Breathe deep as the holidays are under way!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Friends, God, Goddess, Grandchildren, Holiday, Movies, Music, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Quote, Seasons, Thanksgiving, Winter, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

Happy Sun Day!…………..

sunflowersGreetings my friends!  I’m hoping this writing finds you all doing well.  How is your weather?  Are you experiencing cooler weather?  Here in Ohio as I’ve said before, we are having an extremely nice Summer.  Hot days have been rare, and we’ve had many days that were Fall-like in temps and feel.  This last week has been wonderful with 70’s during the day and as low as 50’s as night.  This has brought on many changes already.

Along with the shorter days/longer nights we have leaves already changing on the trees and  bushes, some trees like dogwood and crabapple have their berries,  the birds, squirrels and chipmunks are preparing for cold weather already, the gardens have lost some of their flowering beauty and my husband is mowing a bit less now. The Sun casts longer shadows in the morning, A/C is turned off and there seems to be a constant soft breeze.  We could use more rain here but had some yesterday so that was great!  Part of being a Witch, is feeling the changes in the Seasons.  Feeling the Wheel turning.  Many of us I know, have felt the change happening since before Lughnasadh, and no wonder! as it seems to be coming so much faster this year!

“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
    Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
    Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.”
–  Michelle L. Thieme, August’s Crown

I’ve been really busy with writing for both The Sunday Stew and Samhain’s Sirens. I’m studying a book with a book club, working on my herbalist certification when I have time, keeping up with my herbal shoppe and of course all the things you all do too.  Family, friends, house, grocery, cooking, my Circle gatherings, reading, etc etc.  A busy Witch am I!  I have to admit that I’m feeling about done with working in my gardens etc.  I’m ready to just enjoy the coming Autumn season.  I’ve been burning my favorite scents of apple, pumpkin, cinnamon and such already! 🙂  I’ve also been in the mood to bake and cook!  How about you?  There is just something about this time of year I want hot comfort foods, sweet baked goods,  homemade breads and good things from the last harvests of the gardens.

Last week I made my amazing Red Hot Chex Mix and can’t remember if I posted the recipe here…so I’m going to share it with you now!   Quick and easy, hot and spicy…you’ll love it!!  It gets inhaled around here! This is NOT the one on the back of the chex cereal boxes!

 

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Autumn’s Red Hot Snack Mix

*This is one of those recipes that I honestly have no measurements.  But it’s easy to make so I’m passing it on!

*Preheat oven to 250*

In a large roasting pan (I buy one of those aluminum throw away ones..so easy and no clean up!) place a stick of butter or margarine and put it in the oven to melt while the oven’s heating up.

When butter is melted, add to pan any of the following to fill the pan full…not so full you can’t stir it up but full!

1 box wheat chex
1 box corn chex
1 box rice chex
1 box cheese crackers
1-2 cans or jars of peanuts

*Now…this is up to each of you to do as you please.  You can do different cereals (not sweet ones) like Cheerios or any other corn, wheat or rice cereal.  You can use other things besides the crackers or other kinds of cheese crackers like goldfish, or you can use bugles, pretzels, corn chips, sun chips, sesame sticks, melba rounds etc etc….it’s endless.  I use cocktail peanuts or dry roasted peanuts…you can again use as you want.  But fill up the pan!!

Now give it all a good mix to coat with the butter.

Now add these seasonings…heavy handed!!

Worcestershire sauce
Red Hot Sauce
Lowry’s seasoning salt
garlic powder.

You can’t really do too much of this LOL.  The more the better!

Now don’t stir it….pop it in the oven for 20 mins.

Remove from oven, give it a stir, add seasonings again…yep…again….and put back in oven.

Do this 4 times!  The last time I may or may not add anymore of any of the seasonings.  If it’s looking well coated it’s done except for oven time.  If it still looks like it could use more..go for it!

After 4 x 20 mins of baking…dump the pan out onto a brown paper bag to cool.

This will make 2 gallon sized bags full!!

 

There is enough to share with someone or a couple someones so DO!  I’ll be back soon with info about another herb and soon….Mabon!  Hope you all are having a Magickal Sun day!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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Filed under Autumn, Flowers, Friends, Gardens, Herbs, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Mabon, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spice, Summer