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The Wheel Turns to the Winter Solstice 2016……

 

Chill December brings the sleet, Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

Sara Coleridge

 

Merry Meetcandlehands_1500 dear friends!  It’s Sun day evening.  I’m in my jammies by a roaring fire with some coffee and Bailey’s next to me, some soft holiday music playing, and I felt the muse come over me …… so here I am writing in my blog 🙂

Winter is here!  I would swear that I heard the actual “click” of that old Wheel turning into place.  We had such a warm, long Autumn season and it was really lovely.  But Winter is here in all her glory!  It’s flurried snow a few times now but still no real accumulation.  But it’s very cold, brisk, breezy, dark…all the things I love about this time of Year.  My boots, sweaters, hats, coats and gloves are getting good use.  Jammies go on as soon as it’s dark..and yes…that’s quite early lol.  Candles are burning late into the nights and the woodsmoke hovers over the yard scenting my outdoor Moon-viewing jaunts so wonderfully!  Something is almost always stewing on the stove or slow-cooker.  Warm drinks are at hand always and I have to say that my Yule shopping and preparations are nearly done…..except for wrapping of course.  I did my Yule cards as well and they’ll go out in the next day or two.  Do you still do cards?  I know so many don’t anymore.  I get why, it’s a job, not that cheap, and many don’t reciprocate or send out at all.  But for me, there’s something about doing them that just feels right.

I do want to say a word before going on about my beloved Smoky Mountains.  You all who read here or know me, know how much those mountains mean to me.  They are my heart and soul…my home away from home….and watching the horrific fires tearing through them just broke my heart.  The loss of of nature, human and animal lives and the loss of homes and businesses was just so overwhelming. I couldn’t stop crying.  Too many lost loved ones.  I’m just going to say that the damage could have been even worse as bad as it was already.  I am heartened to see that many acres were not burnt and I know that Mother Earth heals Herself and the mountains will recover.  Please think of donating to Dolly Parton’s My People Fund, or to the Friends of the Smoky Mountains.  and Pray and light candles for those who lost so much.  Thank you…..

Yule or Winter Solstice is coming fast and I relish it arriving.  While the holidays are all about the hustle and bustle, Yule is a quiet time for me.  And I always relish it and usually really need it!  In recent years, my holiday shopping has been scaled down and I focus on a few quality things for each person in my family.  But I DO have three wonderful grandchildren and have so much fun buying for them.  But we do our best to focus on being together and appreciating those Hygge moments.  Hygge….a Danish concept of coziness, joy, family, food and a complete sense of comfort and wellbeing.  That is what my Yule is all about!  It’s searching inward for that sense of joy and peace and comfort in the midst of what can be chaotic..Christmas.  It’s looking back on your year and deciding what is kept or thrown out.  Of what can be made better, or what can be cut out, what can be better done, and what didn’t get done at all that should have!  It’s connecting with Mother Earth, Goddess and/or God.  Of being still and listening.  Very Hygge.

 

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If you aren’t familiar with the word Hygge. (pronounced Hoo gah) ..you should look it up and read about it.  I did for a very good reason, as I had never seen or heard the word before!  I recently had my DNA done and discovered to my great surprise that I’m very Scandinavian!  I truly had no idea!  40% Scandinavian at that!  The 39% British/Scottish/Irish I knew about and the 21% Southern Europe was a little surprising , but I really had NO IDEA I had so much Scandanavian blood in me.  Who knew…I’m  a Viking! lol.  So of course, being me, I now have lots to learn.  I have immediately ordered books from History, Lifestyle, Cooking and even Christmas books.  While researching books I came across the word Hygge, looked it up and thought “well now, THAT explains my need to nest, be cozy, keep my home warm and pleasant and comfortable.”  Apparantly it’s in my DNA! 🙂  I’ll talk more about this in future posts I’m sure.  For now,  Back to Yule…..

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I love to walk in the Winter.  Bundling up against the cold, putting on my winter boots and mittens and off I go.  Wish I could get more walks in but again, we make our choices and one of mine is to make time to do this more often!  I love the bare, stark trees, the sounds of the birds and watching the ground critters digging for and burying food away for the Winter.  I like to collect things along the way…..bits of greenery, pine cones, feathers, rocks etc etc.  I have a big wooden bowl that holds my treasures when I get back home.  Then coming home to a warm home, warm blankets, warm fire and warm drink…well it’s just Bliss!

This is how I’ll spend my Winter Solstice night.  Quiet, peaceful, contemplative and cozy.  I’ll relish the longest night of the Year….and I’ll look forward to the return of the Sun and knowing the days will lengthen again.  But not yet…we have lots of Winter to go…and for that I’m grateful!!

I’ll be back soon with recipes and more. I suggest you enjoy the holidays..all parts of it you may celebrate.  Keep it simple, happy, peaceful.  It doesn’t have to be materialistic, chaotic, or even dare we say…awful!  LOL.  Make good choices, change things up, re-evaluate what traditions you love and discard those you don’t.  And I will say, I know many families face challenges this time of year…. especially THIS year.  The presidential election has been especially polarizing.  I have seen friends and families torn apart by their differences.  If this is the case..make the decision that you will embrace the differences and love them anyway OR keep your distance this year until things calm down.  Perhaps a rule…no talk of politics when you’re together ?  🙂  Whatever works for you to stay positive and joyful is OKAY!

Have a fabulous week and remember to take time for yourself!

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man
the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!”
–  Charles Dickens 

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to Samhain 2016…..

A brooding calm in all the air,
A dreamy quiet everywhere…
A golden glow to light the day
That fades in purple mists away—
This soothing calm, this presence bright,
October’s sweet and mellow light.
~Phebe A. Holder, “A Song of October,”

samhain12

Merry Meet my friends!  How is your Autumn going so far?  Autumn weather has finally arrived here in Ohio in the last week or so, and it’s been re-vitalizing, beautiful and wonderful!  As you all know….my favorite time of year and I seem to just wake up!

I apologize again for a longer -than- usual absence.  My life is really busy these days and I’ve had to prioritize what I can get done.  As much as I love to write, and I do write in my journals etc, I just had to put my blog aside…again.  Between my in-laws moving here, losing my only day nurse that helps me with my daughter, a trip to Sleepy Hollow (which was fabulous and I’ll write about that trip here in a day or two) plus preparing the house for Autumn/Winter, and the usual every day stuff like family, time with my grandkids etc etc.  Please know, I know you ALL are just as busy….but I’m explaining why I’m not writing here as much.

Having said that all, Samhain is coming fast and I wanted to be here with you all to show my enjoyment of this most special Sabbat time of year!  As our summer seemed to linger longer than usual this year, I’m busily jarring dried herbs from earlier in the year, and making room for the last harvest of herbs to hang and dry.  My herbs are still thriving and huge so my last harvest will be abundant!  Hubby and I have been busy cleaning up the garden beds, cutting back, protecting, and preparing the beds for next Spring. Also, things in the house, like washing rugs, curtains, windows, having furnace inspected, fireplace cleaned and a cord of wood ordered so we are ready for the dark months!  Despite all the work, I so love this time of year and take the time for walks, Moon basking, apple and pumpkin baking, and a little shopping for new jackets, and sweaters etc.  I’ve also been busy crocheting scarves and blankets which I find incredibly Zen.  What are you doing to prepare for the dark time of the year?

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The veil is thinning and all Witches can feel it.  My mind often goes to my loved ones who have passed onto the other side of the veil.  I can’t bake without thinking of my grandmother, hear a song on the radio that reminds me of a good friend, or visit the cemetaries, adrift in falling leaves to feel close to those who are still with us in mind and spirit. Witches prepare their altars to honor their ancestors and loved ones during this most magickal season.  But we also look back on the last year, as Samhain is our new year after all.  What worked for us, what didn’t, what we keep and what we throw away/let go.  We make plans for our New Year, knowing that we have the dark time of the year coming, when we may be a little less busy, have more time to reflect by fires, read, organize, dream, learn, and decide what we may do to improve constantly on our lives, our minds, our bodies and spirits.

My coven will gather on the 29th for soups, breads, desserts and a fire.  A ritual to honor the New Year and our ancestors.  It’s a wonderful time of wearing our witchiest garb, and while fun, we are also very dedicated to the night…the time…the veil…..the looking forward and backward…helping each other if needed.  We all celebrate solitarily as well….but our combined energies make it an amazing night!

I’m a true believer in constantly learning and expanding my knowledge base.  So I’ve begun to think about what books I’d like to read over the Winter.  What are some of your favorite witchy books, or learning books you’ve read lately?  I’d love some suggestions!  I have some books on tarot, crystals, reiki, certain goddesses etc I’ll be reading…along with good fiction of course!  Any suggestions most appreciated as I’m always looking for something I don’t know about 🙂

October is crisp days and cool nights,

a time to curl up around the dancing flames

and sink into a good book.

~John Sinor (1930–1996), in San Diego Union-Tribune

I’m off to enjoy a bit of time outside today…perhaps starting to harvest those herbs, or just taking a walk.  I’ll be back in the next day or two with a post about that trip to Sleepy Hollow and as always, some wonderful recipes for Samhain.  Also, a bit of news I should be ready to talk about in the next week.  In the meantime, It’s Autumn!!   That wonderful blue sky, sunny days and crisp nights, woodsmoke and falling leaves, sweaters and scarves, pumpkins and apples, witches and black cats, all things spooky and wonderful, Time of year!!  Autumn passes so fast…enjoy every beautiful moment!!

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

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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

Bloom where you grow……..

Merry Meet my friends.  Blessed Full Moon to you all!  It is completely overcast here tonight…expecting a bit of snow too!  Despite the overcast night I can feel the pull of the Moon and will spend some time..snow or no…with Her 🙂  I’ve been under the weather ..again…but this time with a stomach virus I caught from my little granddaughter.  She started pre-school about a month ago and already has gotten sick and passed it on to her loved ones LOL.  It seems to be lasting 3-5 days , today is the end of my 2nd day, so I expect to feel much better tomorrow.  Luckily, last night, I spent time outside, clearing out the sickies and calling on some healing for my family..when I could see Her!

Saturday, as I was driving home from my daughter’s house, I passed a church up the road.  The sign out front caught my eye.  It said ” You must know how to flower where God has sown you.”  For some reason…it stuck with me.  Of course being a Witch and loving the Goddess..I immediately turned God to Goddess in my mind, but the meaning stands no matter what Deity or path you follow.  Bloom where you grow…another way of putting it.  But the wording on this one meant more to me.  You must KNOW how to flower…..  hummmm??

Now I’m a Taurus…very earthy, well grounded, steady and common sense. I’m not one who has my head in the clouds and follows pipe dreams.   I understand on a simple level what the sign is saying of course.  Make the most of what you have, your circumstances, your day..your life. Standing around complaining, bemoaning, hating your life is going to get you nowhere….except miserable.  I think all of us “know” that…but not all of us know how to do it.  I always wonder what gives some people a better coping mechanism, more “gumption”, more positive energy then others to deal with what Life sends their way.  You all know what I’m talking about.  You will see someone who has everything good in life….and yet they are the most unhappy, angry, mean people in the world.  And you’ll see somebody who hasn’t got a “pot to piss in” so to speak …and they are the most joyful, exuberant, happy people in the world.  Why is that?

Now I don’t believe in the Christian concept that God sets your Life in stone… and all things happen for a reason..and God doesn’t give you more then you can handle etc.  I believe that we are given Freewill…that no matter what circumstances we are born to or fall into….we CAN change them if we need to.  But you have to WANT to.  It won’t just happen if you don’t make it so.  Now obviously, there are things that can’t be changed.  I’ll use myself as an example.  My Mother is one of the most controlling, belittling, critical, mean and unhappy people I know. My childhood was a scary place.  I had no control as a child to change that…obviously.  All I could do was to try to be the best I could be ..despite her.  My best moments in my childhood were when I was away from her.  So thats what I did.  I stayed away as much as possible.  I got involved in everything!  From paper routes and baby sitting, to school groups and functions.  I spent weekends at girlfriends houses, went to my grandmothers as much as possible, holed up in my room with books when I could. I was rarely home and was most active in School and extra-curricular activites.   It worked.  Somehow I grew up NOT  believing that I was the all the things my Mother said I was.  My sense of Self remained basically intact.  I Chose not to believe what she was teaching me…Thank Goddess. 

 

Somehow, I inherently “KNEW” how to flower where I was sown.  Somehow, I knew what I needed to do to care for myself..to nurture myself…to Bloom despite what I had to deal with.  I believe that it was inside of me.  It’s there in all of us. We just have to listen.   As a Pagan Witch, I truly believe this.  The Goddess/God is with us always.  They want only the best for us.  Everything we need to “deal” with what we are handed,  is there..if we listen for it.  Now I can hear some of you saying…but I have this terrible illness, or I’m flat broke, or I’m alone….how can I “flower” with all that going on?  Well…that is hard and terrible and sad…but how you handle it is still up to you. You can be miserable and just let it happen to you…or you can do something to change it.  Often, it’s just telling yourself that “I Can Do This”. ” You  Can” get thru Cancer with  a positive attitude ..that you will live every day given you with Joy and bring joy to all those who love you.  “You  Can”  learn to live with less..find ways to be happy that doesn’t cost a lot of money.  Live simply, cut the excesses, or get another job doing something you Love!.  If you feel lonely or alone…well that is the easiest one to fix if you ask me.  There are people at every turn…many of them looking for a friend.  Remember..what you put out comes back.  Open yourself up..feel yourself full of love for others..and it will be returned in Full…you’ll see. 

Now I am no Pollyanna…I know that life is tough…I’m living it too.  But “knowing” how to flower…in any situation…is inside of you.  You can do it if you want to.  But you have to want to.  Bloom where you grow…or change your circumstances…either way..You’ll have a better life..a happier life.  You know, Pagans believe in re-incarnation.  I believe that we come back to Earth to learn a lesson in each life we live.  Perhaps, deep inside….the Goddess/God is trying to remind you what you’re here to learn.  Your difficult circumstances may be a lesson…and you can learn the lesson well …by dealing with it well.  That’s my thoughts on it anyway 🙂 I hope you all have a Life that is a Garden..full of lovely blooms.  If not…how about growing some of your own.  🙂 

 

 

I wish you all a Beautiful Full moon night….May your Life be all you want it to be.  Make it so!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

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Filed under Discussion, Family, Full Moons, Garden, God, Goddess, My Writing