Tag Archives: Winter

The Wheel Turns to Mabon 2015 (Autumn Equinox) ……….

imagesCA3138JFMerry Meet!  It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in Ohio.  While last week we had very HOT weather for September, this week we are having lovely days of seasonal, Autumn-like weather.  Today the Sun is bright, there is a light breeze and we have some leaves starting to change color.  The garden beds are pretty well done, except for the Fall plants like sedum, hydrangeas, mums and such.  The birds are still content at the feeders, I’m still seeing hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, but the squirrels and chipmunks are busy collecting now.  Autumn is on the Air for sure.

I have been busy in my garden beds, cutting back the spent flowers, harvesting the last of my herbs, and planning to plant my Spring bulbs next month.  Cutting back what was once so beautiful and gave me such pleasure, is a little bit sad. However, I know that Spring always returns and I just enjoy the process, the scents, my hands again in the dirt. My herbs hang happily drying, and scenting my kitchen with the amazing scents of spice and mint and the green outdoors.  Sigh..I just love it!  They will continue to give me joy throughout the Winter as I make my tinctures and teas and incenses.  The abundant harvest gives me great pleasure and pride in the work I did over the Summer.

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My last herb harvest happily in place!

Mabon is upon us, the Autumn Equinox, on Wednesday the 23rd.  It promises to be a beautiful day here. There will be equal day and night and then our days start shortening, our nights lenthening.  We come into the dark season of the year.  This is a good thing for many who love this time of year. Many of you mourn the loss of the warmth of the Sun, being outdoors constantly and the long days. I feel for you if you are one of them.  Way deep down I do lol, but I’m very happy for those like me!  For me, Autumn, Winter and the dark time of the year is the best time of year.  As Mother Earth ages into her beauty of the season with the brilliant color of her foliage, as her green grass turns gold then brown, as her trees grow alive with color then down to bare, stark trees, it reminds me that is time for me to enjoy the lovely, last days outside, and prepare to come indoors for the long, dark, cold nights. I love the comfort of home, a fire in the hearth, the feel of warm, cozy, dark nights. Winter will be here soon and there is much to do to prepare for it.

A bit of color!

A bit of color!

But first, we have beautiful Autumn!  Most of my witchy friends will tell you it’s their very favorite time of year!  Of course it is!  We are heading to Samhain, the very best Sabbat! The adjectives to describe this season are some of my favorite words in the dictionary…..cool, crisp, woodsmoke, fires, colorful leaves, pumpkins, apples, sweaters, boots, scarves, jackets, crunch under feet, black inky nights, harvest, Harvest Moon, stars, simmering soups, apple cider, cinnamon and spice, blankets, hayrides, haunted houses, Mabon, Samhain, thinning veil, ancestors, and on and on the joys of the Season go.  What are some of your favorite words to describe this time of year?  I know there are so many more!  I find myself as I take a walk or take a drive, looking for signs…a bit of leaves turning on some of the trees, some trees and bushes are forming berries, burning bushes are turning red, farm stands are changing from corn and tomatoes, over to apples, pumpkins and gourds. The stores are filled with Autumn and Halloween decorations (next to Yule decorations ugh) .  The apple picking farms are bustling.  Shops have their summer clothes on sale and racks filled with cold weather clothes.  Hobby shops are selling yarn like crazy as needle-workers start making new scarves, mittens, hats and such. You know that song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”?  yep…..that songs fits this wonderful time of year! 🙂  🙂

I spent some time setting up my altar the last couple of days…I plan to go out tomorrow to my beautiful park/pond to look for a few items from nature such as leaves, greenery, seeds and nuts etc.  But I’m happy with the altar I created to represent this Autumn Equinox.  Here is a peek 🙂

My Mabon Altar, 2015

My Mabon Altar, 2015

My coven has decided not to meet for Mabon this year. Instead, we are going to attend our local Pagan festival together. I think it’s so important to support our community by attending.  Some of us have been before and report a good time had by all.  Those of us who are attending for the first time, are really looking forward to it.  I haven’t attended yet because I’m usually out of town that weekend.  This year, I made sure I’m in town to go.  I look forward to communing with those who walk the same Path as I. Do you attend your local events?  If you haven’t, perhaps this is a good year to do so!

I’ve been perusing my recipe books and will be back, maybe tomorrow with some Mabon recipes.  In the meantime, you can search Mabon or Autumn Equinox in the search box on the right to get previous years recipes. There are some excellent ones.  You can also find Mabon recipes on the Sunday Stew…see the link on the top right to go there.

I have to add a note here as I haven’t said anything in my blog about this.  This time of year was the favorite for a dear Witch sister of mine.  However, she isn’t here to celebrate it this year.  Snow Moon (Susan Herman) passed away unexpectedly in her sleep a few months ago. She was a fellow writer for the Sunday Stew and Samhain’s Sirens. As  Samhain’s Sirens is about to launch again on October 1, and Mabon brings our favorite time of year, I can’t help but think of her with great sadness.  She was a bright star that went out too soon. One of the most thoughtful, selfless people I had ever meant.  She made everyone feel they were her best friend..including me.  She is very much missed.   Snowy..I love you and miss you very much. ❤ ❤ ❤

For my readers, if you want to see what Samhain’s Sirens is all about, just click on the link on the right for a month of Samhain fun..from my recipes to some wonderful crafts, blog posts, music, great give-aways and so much more.  It’s a gift to the Pagan community from some very dedicated witchy writers.  You will love it!

So I’ll be back in the next day or two with a recipe or three. In the meantime, enjoy these last couple of days of Summer, and prepare for another wonderful harvest celebration!  May the Goddess bless you on this day and always.

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Love and Blessings, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Autumn Equinox, coven, Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Mabon, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, Nature, Pagan, Photography, Sabbat, Samhain, sisters, Sun, Winter, Witch

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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Filed under Easter, Family, Flowers, Friends, Garden, Gardens, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Ostara, Photography, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Sun, Thank You!, Winter

The Wheel Turns to Imbolc 2015…….

“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

imagesCA48N7RIMerry Meet my friends and Blessed Imbolc Eve!  I have been very remiss about writing in my blog and I’m sorry for it. Before I go further though, this post is my 200th blog post and I have been blogging now for 5 years! I can’t believe it’s been that long! I want to thank you all so much, my readers and friends, for showing any interest in my writings. I very much appreciate you!

Since the holidays I have been busy enjoying Winter!  I have been reading like crazy which was one of my goals I set at New Years.  Even following a couple of book challenges and I’m enjoying it tremendously.  I’m one of those people who have a house full of books, including some shelves of books I have yet to read.  I love reading and Winter for me is the perfect time for it.  How about you? Are you reading more when forced to be indoors more?

Another thing I’ve been working on is making up an herbal chest for medicinal use.  If you’re a fan of Outlander ..books and series…by Diane Gabaldon, you might know what I’m talking about. I adore everything Outlander!   I made up a chest much like Claire’s “wee” box of medicinals.  I’ve added all the herbs that to me have a purpose of use for good health, healing, calming etc.  I’ve of course added essential oils, and things like gauze, bandages, scissors, tweezers, thermometer, and some modern day meds too.  Have a tummy ache, I have candied ginger, fennel seeds, or peppermint herb for tea. In pain, I have nettle tea or arnica salve.  Have a cut, I have my own healing salve. You get the idea 🙂  It was a lot of fun to do.

But while we are smack dab in the middle of Winter here in Ohio, tomorrow is Imbolc.  When day and night are equal and we recognize that the light extends each day and takes us to the first day of Spring in March.  We honor Brighid on Imbolc by keeping a fire on the hearth and inviting her into our homes with the use of a corn dolly, Brighid’s cross, or Bride’s bed.  I like to light candles all over the house, and at midnight swing open the doors and invite to come to my hearth bringing peace, protections, joy and abundance to my home for the year. Imbolc is also about doing our Spring cleaning both in our homes and in our own attitudes and situations. Throwing out those things that are no longer useful, old, raggedy, ugly, joyless…clearing our spaces of clutter leaves us open to new possibilities and bringing light into our dark places.

I have been working on my home for a couple weeks now. Attacking the cobwebs in the corners, cleaning out drawers and closets, making the hard decisions of do I really need this or want this in my home? Rugs and curtains and throw blankets and bed linens all getting washed and scented.  I have used herbal vinegar waters to mop and clean windows (not that you can tell after the rains lol) I organized my file cabinet, pitched papers no longer needed and filed what I do need in a better way.  Even my Witch cupboard got a good cleaning out today…pitching old herbs and incense (or burning them in our fire) cleansing crystals and my tools, salting and saging everything.  It was fun and it looks and smells great!  (picture isn’t great because our power was out for awhile today..but you can see how neat it is lol)

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Gardeners are beside themselves knowing Winter is halfway over.  I know several witchy gardeners who have ordered their seeds, planned their garden beds and are dreaming of digging in the dirt again.  I myself ordered 18 packets of seeds today….a mix of herbs, veggies and flowers.  Can’t wait to get them.  Planning your gardens are a great way to spend these cold Winter days.

 

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Tonight, it’s pouring rain.  We didn’t get the snow expected..like nothing! I’m so bummed lol.  But it’s a good night for quiet and contemplation, lit candles and fire.  Besides writing this blog, I’m journaling my thoughts for what I want to manifest in the Spring.  I have written down and will burn those things I want to release in my life.  Old angers, hurts, frustrations, poor habits are all good things to let go of.  I bet you have some of those things you can let go of too?  Try burning it..it’s so satisfying!!!

Imbolc has been one of my favorite Sabbats, as I’ve said before, because it was the first one I really celebrated.  That magickal feeling I got when I washed my floors and windows with herbal washes, lit white and red candles, cleansed my home and invited Goddess Brighid to join us in our home…well, I get that feeling still 16 years later. I want to wish all of you a very Blessed Imbolc.  May Brighid bring you all wonderful things for the coming year.  May the rest of the Winter be kind to you too…remember Spring will come!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Cleaning & Organizing, Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Imbolc, Photography, Protection, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Sun, Winter

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 Wheel Turns to Yule 2014………..

We begin in the heart of the darkness.  Winter is full upon the Earth; snow veils the landscape, thin trees are brittle with ice, and stars shatter the black mirror of the sky. 

The air is cold, metallic, sharp to breathe; scarves of woodsmoke drift in the sky over rooftops outlined with twinkling lights, and porch lamps gleam from early in the afternoon until long into the night.

-Michele Morgan  “Simple Wicca” 

10849927_814820488561362_7301182543328316093_nMerry Meet my friends! I have been so busy (as I know all of you have been too) that I haven’t had the time or the energy (maybe more the energy lol) to write in my blog.  Yule is the day after tomorrow!!  I’m ready though. How about you? This year my immediate family…hubby, daughters, son-in-law and grandkids are gathering on Yule Sunday for brunch and our opening of gifts. About 5 years ago we decided to meet as a family on a day other than Christmas Day.  This year we opted for Yule as the date. Christmas is then spent with more extended family…grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc.  Other than a few packages yet to wrap and some baking to do tomorrow, I’m ready. How are you doing with your preparations?  Do you have a feast planned?  Family coming over? A more private, solitary day?  Whatever way you celebrate it, I hope that you’ve taken time in the all the busyness to BREATHE!

The Solstice for me…and many Pagans and Witches…is more about a time of quiet contemplation.  Though the Solstice is the first day of Winter, the longest night of the year, it’s also the start of the nights shortening and the days lengthening. Though we have a lot of Winter left, we know that the Wheel turns, the Sun will return and strengthen, and Mother Earth will green and awaken again soon. But in the meantime, the dark time of the year is such a great time for nesting.  To me, nesting is relaxing more, reading more, taking on projects around the house, perhaps writing, painting, working on your book of shadows, crafts, learning something new, and of course hanging by a fire and again….relaxing more. I just seem to have more time (well after the New Year especially) to work on myself a bit too.  To look within, to be silent, to meditate better.  Feeling like I’ve accomplished something over the Winter is always a good thing for me.

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My altar is done…I kept it really simple this year and I think quite elegant. I’ll add more greens tomorrow and of course wine and cakes.  After all my family goes home on Sunday, that evening I’ll have time to spend at my altar.  I’ll be expressing my gratitude for the past year, throwing out what no longer serves or makes me happy, adjusting in my mind attitudes, angers, hurts, and putting out to the Universe (and myself) what I’d like to have happen in my life in the coming New Year.  Now as a Witch, I did some of this at Samhain, the Witches’ New Year. But the New Year calendar- wise…well, it doesn’t hurt to reinforce it. Sometimes I take time to re-dedicate myself to my Path as well.  It’s a quiet, solitary ritual that I enjoy very much.  Especially in the middle of all the hoopla, chaos, drama, fatigue, over-eating, over-drinking, busyness that is the holidays!!!

On Yule night…light lots of candles and bring in the greens!  Sweep out the old, usher in the new, spend quiet time, contemplate, read, relax….and know that you’ll have time to do this more over the next few months. Maybe a good snow will come and force you to stay in and that’s even better!  In a few days, if you celebrate it, Christmas will be here and gone as well…then the New Year.  Then Winter will be here in all it’s cold, stark beauty, and you can take a deep breath and say…..AAAAHHHHH!!!  I know for many, seasonal depression can set in.  Try to find something that interests you, makes you happy. Be alone when you need it and with friends and family when you need that. Be kind to yourself. Find the good things in your Life and hold on to them.  Spring will come again..it always does.

Have a very Blessed Yule my friends.  May the Mighty Ones bestow you with Peace, Love and Joy this Yuletide Season.

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Altars, Christmas, Family, Quote, Winter, Yule, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

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

Sisters, Smoky Mountains and Snow! …………

Merry Meet!  I hope this posting finds you all well, staying warm and safe if you’re in the line of the Winter Storms and enjoying a great week!  I’m sitting by the fire tonight, in my jammies with a glass of Irish whiskey and ginger ale.  Winter has arrived in full force here in Ohio.  We got 5-6 inches on Sunday night into Monday morning,  and have had our first single digit temperatures too!  Way, way earlier than usual to be this cold and this much snow!  But I LOVE it!! It’s so beautiful, that first snow of the year. The snow often covering trees still holding onto their Autumn leaves.  It’s official..no more mowing, gardening, weeding, or watering until next Spring! 🙂 Now we have the cold and snow and all the Magick the season of Winter can bring!

 

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I had the pleasure of going on a small trip to the Smoky Mountains last week.  Those who know me or have read my blog for a while, know how much I love those mountains. I try to go every year, sometimes twice like this year 🙂  Just seeing them causes my whole body to relax, my soul to sing and my heart to fill with peace.  I don’t know why…perhaps I’ve been there before in a past life, but I just adore seeing them and being in them.  Speaking of snow, it was the same there. VERY cold, breezy and while there wasn’t any snow on the ground, the higher peaks of the mountains were covered in beautiful snow.  The smaller mountains were still covered in lots of beautiful colors of Fall.  Mostly in reds and deep oranges. So gorgeous!  The contrast of Autumn and Winter was stunning!

 

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I was blessed to have with me; my daughter and three of our friends.  Women I love as Sisters.  Fellow Witches.  All members of my Tribe/Circle.  We had such a great time.  We set up an altar when we settled into our cabin.  Everybody brought something to place on it. One of my Sisters went out and collected a few things from nature…. on a very steep graded hill I might add LOL.  We added those, lit incense. and let it sit until the next night.  We spent time in a few shops, ate some amazing meals and spent a LOT of time talking over the next few days.  Our altar was used for tarot readings for each of us and lit candles for private reasons.  It was a magickal time. Next year, I think my whole Circle of Sisters is going to try to go there together!

I’m so blessed with the women in my life in general. I have two blood sisters who I love.  My chosen family of like -minded sisters is so important to me too!  Whether they are someone in my life I can touch, be with in person…or if they are my wonderful facebook/instagram friends who touch my life through social media every day, I’m blessed. I know so many of my Sisters who have been through such hard times and yet they are strong, kind, wise, positive, giving, and loving.  It never ceases to amaze me how they will go out of their way to offer a word of empathy, healing, love, humor, knowledge and ideas.  I believe that women…sisters…can do a lot of healing to what has been done to our Mother Earth, to what the world’s religions have taken away from women, and to what a very often cruel society ( and some men) bestow on women in general.  Looking and listening to my Sisters on our beautiful trip to the mountains, give me hope that the Goddess is emerging more and more, making Herself known to more of those Sisters in the world I have yet to meet, and working to heal our world in so many ways.  Fills me with gratitude to be a part of it! To walk with the Goddess….and my Sisters!

To Jeanni, Shawna, Diana and Sara..thank you for a wonderful trip! To my other close sisters/friends…you know who you are…Thank you for filling my life with love and friendship. To my Sisters all over the world..thank you for being a part of my daily life despite the miles that separate us!  And always, Thank you to the Goddess who guides me, loves me, protects me and fills me with great Joy!

 

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit,

a golden thread to the meaning of life.

~Isadora James

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Pictures are my own.

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Daughters, Discussion, Friends, Gardens, Goddess, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Quote, Seasons, Smoky Mountains, Winter

The Wheel Turns to Ostara 2014…………

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

~Proverb

Merry Afternoon my friends. Hope that you are all doing great this blustery March day?! Well, we had a taste of Spring for a couple of days here in Ohio. It was in the 60’s and the Sun was shining! It was the kind of day that I had my daughter and grandkids over to play outside, windows were open and letting the house air out of old stagnant Winter weather, and we even grilled out for dinner! Today? A whole different day LOL. Winter has come back with snow flurries, freezing cold weather and blustery winds. *sigh* Well, it was nice while it lasted….and it will be back and SOON!! 🙂

I have spent some time today getting ready for Ostara. My Circle has decided to meet for brunch on the Sunday after Ostara ( Ostara is the 20th by the way!) We will have pastries and fruit and lavender lemonade! I’m working on my altar as well. I love the Ostara altar..it’s one of my favorites. Pastel colors, eggs, rabbits, tulips or daffodils, and baskets just lift my spirits in it’s brightness and lightness! I’ll also set up a kitchen altar as well!

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                                                        *Part of my Ostara altar from 2011

Some of the things I love to do for Ostara is to, of course, color eggs and bake breads. Egg recipes are popular for light lunches and breakfasts as well. Egg salad, deviled eggs, quiches, and omelets especially! Another thing I’m doing is perusing my seed catalogs, garden books and magazines and planning for when I can get outside and start working in my gardens again! For the seeds, I love to do a seed blessing ritual..to bless them to grow strong and healthy and to carry powerful Magick within them as well! You can bless and consecrate your seedlings and young plants as well of course! My hands long to dig in the dirt and my barefeet long to be planted on Mother Earth! Can’t wait!

Ostara is also a great time to finish up any Spring cleaning you didn’t get done at Imbolc. Cleaning windows, curtains, throw rugs and blankets are high on my list of things to do as Spring arrives. Also, carpet cleaning, if you have carpets, is good to do too! I also check the condition of my outdoor bird feeders to see if they need to be replaced for Spring/Summer. Winter is hard on them and I often invest in new ones this time of year. I’m also shopping for a new bird bath this year! 🙂

I thought that you all would enjoy my recipe for Lavender Lemonade to enjoy for your own Ostara feast. It is also posted in the Sunday Stew I told you about last time I wrote. I hope that you have gone and checked it out! It is well worth your time.

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                                                         *picture courtesy of Simply Recipes

 

 

Lavender Lemonade

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1-2TB dried lavender flowers (organic, chemical free)
*chopped fine

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice

In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add lavender flowers. Cover and let stand for one hour.

Strain lavender from sugar water and discard lavender as you wish. Stir in additional cold water and lemon juice. Pour into a pretty pitcher and add ice and sliced lemons.

Makes 6 servings

Don’t forget to type in Ostara or Spring Equinox in the search box on the right here to find all my past posts and recipes..there are a LOT!  I’ll be back soon too.

As much as Winter still has a grip on us, there has been some Spring in the Air for most of us I think.  Enough to remind us that it’s coming and soon!  In the meantime, do some spring cleaning,  set up your altar, buy some seeds to start in your Sunny window, and color some eggs.  Soon it will be Spring in your heart and you will feel lighter!  Honest! 🙂

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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Filed under Altars, Flowers, Gardens, Herbs, Holiday, Mother Earth, Nature, Ostara, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring, Winter

Bits and Pieces……..

daffodils_in_snow_Wallpaper_caq12Merry Meet my friends!  It’s Sun day….and it’s snowing and blowing outside.  Winter still has us in her grip.  Here in Ohio that is perfectly normal.  Spring doesn’t come for us until April and well into it too!   We were predicted at one point to have up to a foot of snow coming but it has been dropped back to 4-7 inches.  However, I’m not sure we’ll even get that.  We only have an inch so far.  It’s very pretty to watch on a lazy Sun day at home so I’m enjoying it.  Hope you all are safe and sound and tuckered in depending on whether you are getting the rains out west or the snow in the midwest and east.

My post today is about a few things I wanted to talk about.  I have given this blog a lot of serious thought lately. I debated not writing anymore.  I just had my 4th year anniversary here and I just wasn’t sure I had it in me to write here in anymore. I think I was losing my muse to write.  However, after some thought, I decided that I enjoy writing for my own enjoyment and will continue.  I’m grateful to my readers who seem to enjoy it too!  I am going to change up my writings a bit though.  I want to write MORE!  In the future, I’ll be doing posts about herbs, crystals, other blogs I want to feature, books, gardening, recipes, witchy craft pages of my friends,  and just more about my life as a Witch.  How I live it everyday.  I’m excited to take my blog in a new direction! I’ll also be working on my blogroll..updating, taking away those who aren’t writing anymore and adding some wonderful blogs I’ve discovered!

Another thing I wanted to share with my readers is that I have been a “chef” or writer for an online Pagan/Witch blog called the Sunday Stew.  Here is the link.

http://mypaganworld.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-sunday-stew-march-2-8-2014.html

I was asked to come on as the Herbalist Witch and I am enjoying it tremendously.  The Stew has been around for some time..I’ve been reading it for some time.  I was so honored when my friend and blog owner Kallan Kennedy asked me to write for the Stew.  It comes out every Sun day morning.  Lots of great news articles, other bloggers thoughts and ideas, info on totems, tarot, businesses, recipes, spells and rituals and really a great read!  You can follow the blog via email or network blogs to be sure that the Stew shows up in your inbox every Sun day as well! Be sure to check it out.  I started writing at the end of December…so go back and check out my herbal info and recipes!  I have made some amazing new friends amongst the other writers and feel very blessed!

Another thing I’ve gotten much busier with is my own herbal business.  You can find the link here.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/verbenalaneshoppe

Verbena Lane Botanicals has been something I’ve just dabbled in a bit but I’m getting more serious about it now!  Thanks to the Stew featuring my shop, business has picked up a bit!   I’ve gotten more motivated and having a lot of fun kitchen witchin..making up new wonderful products for my shop. It’s something I really love doing!  Be sure and find me as Verbena Lane Botanicals on Facebook as well here……

https://www.facebook.com/VerbenaLane

Along those lines, I have started working, finally, on getting my Herbalist certification thru Rosemary Gladstar’s home study course.  I’m really excited !  I signed up right before I had the brain bleed nearly two years ago, and needless to say, it got set aside while I healed.  Then we moved, then etc etc etc and it always seemed to be put aside.  Now I’m making it a must do and I’m learning a lot!  The course is well written, beautifully presented in a huge binder, and makes you do the homework etc.  It’s just great! I highly recommend it! Here is the link for that!

http://www.sagemountain.com/herbal-home-study-course.html

Ostara is coming up fast!  Yes, my friends, despite the Winter we’ve had, Spring WILL come! We’ve even had a few days here and there that brought to mind a beautiful Spring day!  My mind has turned to my gardens, herbs, being outside with my feet on Mother Earth’s soft ground without snow! I want to get my hands dirty, plan and plant.  As we are in a new home, just a year now, I have more beds to landscape and plan. So much fun to think about doing…and even more fun to DO when I can!

Oh despite the snow and frigid cold days, I can feel the Wheel turning as most all Witches can!  The movement of Sun and Moon have changed, the days are longer, the shadows cast by the trees have changed.  The behavior of the birds and ground critters is different..I’m even seeing Robins!  Even here in Ohio there is Spring flowers trying to bloom and some bushes are showing buds.  As much as I love Winter, I am looking forward to Spring!  What are your plans for Ostara, for Spring?  Spring cleaning? Planting your seedlings indoors?  Gathering with friends to feast? Dying eggs? Putting up new wards and protection for your home and those who dwell there?  Cleansing your tools, altars, crystals and home to prepare for Spring?  All are wonderful ways to prepare for Spring and for the awakening of Mother Earth!

I’ll be back soon…and often! Please do check out the Stew for some wonderful reading and knowledge.  I want to thank you all for being a reader and a friend. I continue to be inspired by those around me everyday….  and just one more word….the old adage…Be KIND to one another!!!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

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Filed under Bits of Magick, Gardens, Herbs, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Online Classes, Ostara, Seasons, Spring, Winter

The Wheel Turns to Imbolc, 2014……..

imagesCA48N7RIMerry Meet my friends! Wow..I can’t believe I just typed 2014!  Time flies so fast doesn’t it?  I hope this posting finds you all avoiding the flu, staying safe and warm in this incredibly frigid Winter we’re having, and that things have slowed down for you a bit! That you’ve had time to rest and relax. After all January is the best month to do that!  At least here in the Northern Hemisphere 🙂

I have been busy, both doing my yearly Imbolc deep cleaning and organizing, AND finding time to read, journal, take a nap, cook etc. Things I enjoy doing.  Imbolc is coming fast.  I love this Sabbat. As I’ve said before, it’s the first one I celebrated.  I mean truly celebrated it by stopping reading about it and getting up and doing something instead!  I decided not to try to do all the complicated things I was reading in my books..and just do what felt right….  and I haven’t looked back since!

This Imbolc I’m blessed with having my Circle of fellow Witches.  We will be meeting to celebrate Imbolc for a breakfast..to welcome the Sun..and we will do it in our jammies! LOL..something fun to look forward to.  It’s our first Imbolc gathering and won’t be our last I’m sure.

As I mentioned, I do my Spring cleaning early, for Imbolc, as I know a lot of you do.  I clean out closets and cupboards and drawers, getting rid of junk and organizing things better.  I dust high and low, move furniture and sweep and mop, baseboards, ceiling fans etc.  I clean my Witch cupboard out..dust it and cleanse and consecrate my tools again.  I smudge the house the day  before Imbolc, and put out new wards and protection.  It’s a busy Sabbat and a very satisfying one!

Magickally, I welcome the Sun on Imbolc morning, and that evening there is a fire of course. I burn any dusty old herbs that are still hanging and any greens, pinecones etc that are still around from Yule. Candles are lit all over the house.  We feast and drink and celebrate, knowing that while Winter still has it’s grip on us, Spring and Sun and longer days aren’t far behind! At Midnight, I throw open the doors and invite the Goddess Brighid in to my home..to protect and bless us for the coming year!

I’m already dreaming about my gardens..planning what I want to plant, what I want to add or take away etc.  This year, as we have just been in this house one year now, there is LOTS to do yet!  Another raised bed will be built for my herbs, there will be holly bushes, lilac bushes and an elderberry tree added in the landscape.  We need to add two new trees..maples…one to the front yard and one to the back.  I’ll fine tune what I did yesterday, throw out what didn’t work and baby along what did.  *sigh*…there is nothing better then the Sun on my back and my hands in the dirt.  I can’t wait!

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As you all know, I love Winter, but even I am getting tired of this frigid cold we’ve had this year.  I don’t mind the snow at all, but the cold is something else! I see so many talking about being tired of it already, feeling depressed, or cabin fever etc.  I totally understand.  All I can recommend is that you take the time to do something that you really love doing and do it.  Take a class, paint a room, re-decorate, work on your Book of Shadows or grimoire. Surround yourself with things and people who comfort you, watch great movies, sleep more, take a walk..even when it’s cold..just to get fresh air, read, dance, sing, make love…you get the picture! LOL.  Don’t give in to it if you can.  I find stepping out and breathing in cold, clean AIR does a lot to energize me..especially if the Sun is shining or the Moon is glowing! And there is always a cleansing bath…that makes everything better indeed!

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For now, I wish you all a wonderful weekend! Leave me messages and tell me your plans, I’d love to hear them.  Be sure to use the search box on the right column for previous Imbolc postings and recipes etc.  I may be back with a recipe or two a bit later this week.  In the meantime, keep your Spirits up..use your Magick! Snow magick is strong!  There is a 2nd New Moon this month as well..the Black Moon on January 30..not a real common occurrence! Use it! Bright Blessings to you all! Stay warm and safe and remember..Spring will come!

“Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey,  and enjoy every idle hour.” 
–  John Boswell

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Gardens, Goddess, Holiday, Imbolc, My Writing, Nature, New Moons, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Sunrise/Sunset, Winter