Magickal Preparations for Winter

1.  Cleanse each room of energy debris…The negative stuff, the dark and ugly energy lurking in the corners and beneath the couch and chairs, the energy that hides in the cubbies and closets and scares those children who sense it…smudge, incense, burn candles, and bring out that magickal broom– sweep, sweep, sweep that space clean.  Leave a wee bit of something behind to keep this space clear, to let the Dark Ones, the Spirits, and Ghosts know that you’ve reclaimed this space, that it is yours— a mojo bag of protection and deflection, some cleansing & protective herbs tied up in pretty bundles and tacked to the ceiling here and there, over the windows, or door frames. And never assume that cleansing this space once will keep it clear forever. Every once-in-a-while, light some candles & incense, send positive energy through this space. Keep your guard up, keep your magickal energy pure, draw your magickal lines in the sand.

2.  Gather your harvest of herbs…As I write this, we’re just nine days out from Samhain.  In my neck of the woods we’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather so far.  We’ve had a couple really cold nights, only one where I had to cover anything, and we still have a lively garden.  So now is my time to Gather Those Magickal Herbs & Plants!!.  In the stillness of the Indian Summer days, I will clip and snip, tie and bind, hang and dry a variety of plants that will be tacked to my kitchen ceiling, crushed and added to bottles and jars, or arranged in pretty glass bowls.  This is the season for the Green Witch to reap the harvests of Mother Earth, to restock her magickal cabinet.  Hurry, before winter descends and the snow flies.

3.  Put your garden to rest for the season, magickally speaking…The nature spirits have spent all summer fluttering about your garden, gracing it with health and a wealth of blossoms and buds.  But it’s time now for nature to retreat into the depths of winter; it’s time for the plants to finish their final cycle; it’s time for the soil to rest.  On a quiet still autumn day, take a white candle and some incense into your garden, thank the fairies and spirits for their care and presence and magick.  Bid them adieu, until we meet again in spring.  Scatter to the four corners of this magickal space crushed rosemary and sage, allow the candle to burn in the center of the garden, sending out healing energy for Nature, as well as a  last flame of light before the darkness of winter descends.  It’s sort of bitter-sweet, this process for me; but you can leave your garden with a wistful smile, knowing that this is only a temporary good-by, a temporary sleep.  When spring comes, you’ll rejoice with the flowers and herbs and shrubs once more.

4.  Prepare your vehicle for winter travel…Just like most people check the tires, change the oil, and mundanely “winterize” their vehicles in anticipation of severe winter weather conditions, so you will want to magickally “winterize” your vehicle, making sure there is a powerhouse of positive protective energy surrounding the vehicle itself and everyone who travels in it.  This is an ongoing thing at our house.  I use stone talismans created personally, decorated with symbols and words related to specific deities invoking their energy for protection.  I use mojo bags filled with calamus root and plantain– one of the strongest combinations of herbs for safe travel– along with a tiger eye stone and even hair clippings from the car’s owner and people who will be routinely traveling in this vehicle.  Smudge the vehicle with sage or a favorite incense; asperge (sprinkle) the vehicle with salted water for purification and blessings; anoint the four sides of the vehicle with Mars Astrological Ointment, dipping your finger in the oil and drawing an invoking pentagram discreetly near the bottom of the car doors.  Settle into the coming winter months with the security of knowing that you’ve done all you can possibly do to assure safe travel for you and your family members

Photo: Magickal Preparations for Winter: 2.  Gather your harvest of herbs...As I write this, we're just nine days out from Samhain.  In my neck of the woods we've been incredibly lucky with the weather so far.  We've had a couple really cold nights, only one where I had to cover anything, and we still have a lively garden.  So now is my time to Gather Those Magickal Herbs & Plants!!.  In the stillness of the Indian Summer days, I will clip and snip, tie and bind, hang and dry a variety of plants that will be tacked to my kitchen ceiling, crushed and added to bottles and jars, or arranged in pretty glass bowls.  This is the season for the Green Witch to reap the harvests of Mother Earth, to restock her magickal cabinet.  Hurry, before winter descends and the snow flies.

Good-by Sweet Summer

For all the Pagans out there who celebrate Mabon (the autumnal equinox), may you have a glorious day of equal sun-light & darkness.  The dark season will be upon us now, before we know it.  This means that I will happily light candles around the house earlier and earlier in the evening and relish their beautiful golden glow.

For more information on this Pagan Holiday, including a beautiful video by MsJulieCarol, follow this link:
http://www.ladyamythyst.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

Mabon Altar

October’s Magick

October
Named for: “Octo”, meaning ‘eight’
Anglo-Saxon: Win-monap
Birthstone: opal, tourmaline
Flower: calendula
 October Moon Magick:
Blood Moon
Herbs: ginger, myrrh, allspice, basil, clove
Stones: alexandrite, citrine, lilac kunzite
Scents: pine, patchouli
Colors: dark green, brown, gold
Trees: yew, cypress, maple, oak
Deities: Astarte, Horned God, Lakshmi, Ishtar
Elements: Air/Water
 Astrological Influences for October:
Libra: ruled by Venus, projective/masculine, cardinal, air
Scorpio: ruled by Mars, receptive/feminine, fixed/water
 Pagan Holiday:
Samhain
October 31
Samhain (pronounced ‘Sou-wen’) is a celebration that has a more somber side than the revelry of modern Halloween. It is a day of remembrance of your ancestors and for those family members who have passed over.
Pagan families may set an extra place at the supper table on this evening, to honor those loved ones who are no longer with them. The veil between the world of the living and the dead is thinnest on this eve, and this night is an excellent time to perform divination, or try to connect with those from the other side.
Herbs: patchouli, sage, heather
Altar Flowers/Herbs: acorns, apples, pumpkins/gourds, dittany, autumn leaves
Feast Foods: pumpkin, squash, nut breads, sweet potatoes, milled drinks (cider, wine), roast meat, root vegetables
Animals: bats, cats, crows, ravens, owls
Incense: cinnamon, cloves, myrrh, patchouli, pine, mugwort, nutmeg
Rituals/Spells:  making besoms, divination, spirit contact, crone magick, working with dark energy, spells for new beginnings

Crafting Your Magic
Ancestral magic is cast with the Blood Moon. Do magic now to communicate with family members who have passed, to connect with your ancestors and your heritage. Magic surrounding divination is relevant, it’s the perfect time. Cast spells for justice and balance, and to overthrow anything oppressive which may be blocking your path to success. Ambition is highlighted, use magic to increase the potency of your own, or cast magic to contain ambition that may have run amok. This is also the perfect time to step into the dark shadows and take advantage of the vibrations found there. The gray witch revels in the magic of the Blood Moon and in this season.

Magickal Herbs

HERBALPICTURES.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

In the tradition of Samhain, we’re going to look at herbs used to call up spirits.

Mugwort
To bring forth protective & benevolent spirits, Mugwort is burned on charcoal with star anise, althea, and resin incenses like frankincense, myrrh, copal, or benzoin.
Energy: feminine/receptive
Planet: Venus
Element: Earth
Powers: strength, psychic powers, protection, prophetic dreams, healing, astral projection

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

 Dandelion
The root, when dried, roasted, and ground like coffee, is used to make a tea. This infusion will promote psychic powers. This same tea, steaming and placed beside the bed, will call spirits.
Energy: masculine/projective
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Air
Powers: divination, wishes, calling spirits

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

 Thistle
To call Spirits, place some thistle in boiling water. Remove from heat and lie or sit beside it. As the steam rises call the spirits and listen carefully; they may answer your questions.
Energy: masculine/projective
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: strength, protection, healing, exorcism, hex-breaking

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Wormwood
Wormwood is burned to summon spirits. It is sometimes mixed with sandalwood for this purpose. If burned in graveyards the spirits of the dead will rise and speak, according to old grimoires.
Energy: masculine/projective
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: psychic powers, protection, love, calling spirits

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Sweetgrass
Burn sweetgrass to attract good spirits, or beings, before performing spells.
(Strangely enough, I couldn’t find any correspondences listed for sweetgrass, other than it’s power to call in spirits.)

 Disclaimer: Never ingest any herbs, or feed them to someone else,
if you are not absolutely sure they are safe!  

Kitchen Wytchery
Elsie204.jpg kitchen witch 2 picture by witch_of_endore
As the Kitchen Witch knows, natural magick can be found in certain foods, recipes, as well as herbs. In this section we’re going to put this knowledge to work.
Witches-Kitchenbymagic_art.jpg icon kitchen witch picture by witch_of_endore
We celebrate Samhain at our house big time. I’m going to include in this newsletter my own recipe for pumpkin pie & my ‘secret’ recipe for the large pot of hot apple cider that is a tradition at our house. The photos included are family photos of Samhains past.
My Pumpkin Pie:
1 16 oz. can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
1 13 oz. can evaporated milk (but sometimes I use sweetened condensed milk– it makes it more ‘chiffony’…is that a word?)
2 eggs 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 sugar
the spices:
Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and a dash of salt. Most recipes call for 1/2 teaspoon each, but I’m much more generous with my spices!
the crust:
I tried for years to learn to make a good pie crust, and I almost gave up out of frustration– then I found this recipe. It’s almost foolproof, no kidding.
2 and 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup shortening 1 beaten egg 1 tablespoon vinegar 1/4 cup water
Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening, as usual. Then combine the egg and vinegar, stirring it up a bit, and add this to your dry ingredients. Add the water a dash at a time as you work it in, you’ll be able to tell when you get a good texture.
Edit:  I bake this pie at 425 degrees for the first 15 minutes; then I turn the oven down to 400 degrees for the next 30-45 minutes, until it’s cooked enough to thicken the filling. I check this by sticking a clean butter knife in the center– when the knife comes out “clean”, I know the pie is done.

myworldSamhaintreats.jpg picture by Amythyst1

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore
Hot Apple Cider
I have a *Huge*– did I say huge?– kettle that I use to mix up my cider. This sits and simmers all afternoon on the backburner of my stove, wafting a wonderful aroma throughout the house.
Ingredients:
5-7 large jugs of applejuice 8-10 bags of peach tea a handful of cinnamon sticks and a large metal tea ball filled with whole cloves and allspice.
You can leave a shaker of nutmeg sit on the counter & anyone who wants to add a dash of this spice to their mug of apple cider can do so.  If you don’t like this cider full force, you can dilute it some with water to suit your own taste.

myworldsamhainpreparations.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our kitchen isn’t as organized as Rachel Ray’s or Martha Stewart’s, but we get the job done. Above are kettles of cider brewing in preparation for a Samhain evening.
falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore
Let’s take a look at the ingredients we just used from a magickal perspective:
Peaches— love
Nutmeg— one of the most popular uses for nutmeg is to assure fidelity. It’s also used for spells centered around luck, money, and health.
Cinnamon— spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection, love
 Allspice— money, luck, healing
 Cloves— protection, exorcism, love, money
Apple— love, healing, garden magic, immortality
Happy Samhain!!
The information for this blog post has been taken from:
And Archived newsletters from The Witch’s Corner

Photo Slideshow: Our Fall Craft/Newage Boutique

This past weekend, October 14 & 15th, we shared a unique boutique/yardsale experience which included arts and crafts, as well as new-age items and tarot readings.  We met a lot of interesting people, made some new friends, and had two very fun-filled days.

By the magick of the following photo slideshow, you can take a peek.

(Be sure to click on the icon for ‘full screen’)

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Lammas…Let the Harvest Begin

As the dog days of summer are still upon us, it’s strange to realize that so is the first of the pagan harvest festivals, Lammas…aka Lughnasadgh.  Summer will soon be winding down, and August is the transition that will carry us into autumn.  As we celebrate the first harvest of wheat, let’s also celebrate the changing of seasons, the transparency of time, and the miracle of continuity.

Happy Lammas!

August

Barley Moon

Herbs: rosemary, jasmine, lilac, violet, calamus

Stones:  bronzite, peridot, green sapphire

Scents:  frankincense, heliotrope

Colors:  yellow, gold, green

Trees:  hazel, alder, cedar

Deities:  Ganesha, Hathor, Hecate, Nemesis

Astrological Signs:  Leo, Virgo

Elements:  Earth/Air

Crafting Your Magic:

The Barley Moon is the time to reap the harvest of magic cast at the beginning of the summer season. It’s a time for the powerful assertive energy of Leo to give way to the calmer vibrations of Virgo. Do magic at this time to cleanse before the winter, cleansing not only your personal space, but intangible aspects as well. Clear out unwanted rubbish, whether it be inertia, conflict, indecisiveness, or some other personal weakness. As the summer winds down and wildlife begins to prepare itself for the dark months to come, this is where the heart of your magic lay as well.

divider sunflower 1

August 1:  Lammas
(also known as Lughnasadgh)

Traditions: celebration of first harvest/grain harvest, celebration of the Feast of Bread, weather magic, gathering bilberries as a symbol of abundance, games showcasing athletic ability

Pagan Lore:

Lugh…Lughnasadh celebrates the Irish god, Lugh, a god of strength and athletic prowess. Tradition has it that Lugh’s mother Tailtia passed to the Summerland while working in the fields preparing for the planting season.

 This is the first of the harvest festivals, and in the ancient world this was indeed a time of celebration. A successful harvest would mean survival in the harsh winter months to come. In the northern countries this was a celebration of the first harvest of wheat and grain, thus bread is featured in the celebration of Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas. Freshly baked loaves of aromatic bread are the main feature found upon pagan alters for this holiday.

As modern-day Pagans celebrate the festival of Lughnasadh, they will build roaring bonfires, feed each other a mouthful of bread, and with wine they will toast each other…”May you eat the bread of life”.


For more more information on Pagan Holidays, including videos and rituals, visit my website, The Witch’s Corner:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

© “The Gray Witch’s Grimoire”
Amythyst Raine 2011