Magickal Connections

Tarot & Witchcraft ~ with author, Amythyst Raine


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Hello, June ~ Here Comes The Summer Solstice!

I’m excited and giddy, because this is one of my most favorite times of year (the other being October).  There is something “new” and “birth-like” about the summer solstice for me.  It’s a time of new beginnings, starting over, beginning a new page, making a new list.  June for me is rife with this kind of energy.  Maybe it’s because my first child was born in this month 43 years ago, and the birth of your first child is a pivotal life-changing point.

With all that said, enjoy the following essay on the Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer’s Eve, or Litha.  This is an excerpt from my book, “The Spiritual Feminist” (which I regret not titling “The Ultimate Goddess Connection”, but that’s another story).  And be sure to read it to the end, because there are RECIPES!  You’ve gotta’ try my “Fairy Punch”.

The Summer Solstice:  Litha
(June 21)
Mid-summer’s Eve, the longest day of the year.  This holiday, steeped in
fairy lore, is a magickal time filled with the Earth’s bounty.  Gardens, fields, and forests are blooming with productivity, overflowing with abundant fertility and the promise of rich harvests to come.  As the Earth is pregnant with summer’s lush growth, so too is the goddess, pregnant with new energy, infinite possibilities, and the promise of a rich spiritual harvest.

It’s all about the fairies, this celebration, this pagan holiday.  Fairy contact is generally easier to achieve on this day, for those of you who are brave enough to invoke the mischievous little folk, that is. But don’t be surprised if soon after you can’t find your favorite earrings, or the car keys, or any other shiny inviting objects you may have left laying around.  They are fickle, unpredictable, light-fingered creatures, a loaded gun.  If you do decide to invoke the wee folk, you should know that there is a physical reaction you could experience when they appear.  Your skin may feel “crawly”, as though there were ants or bugs walking on you.  This isn’t harmful, and you will be perfectly okay, in spite of the ‘ick’ factor.  It will just be a cue to you that your invocation was successful.

If you prefer to avoid fairies, you should know that they detest iron.  To keep them at bay, lay iron nails in the four corners of your house, or your property, keep iron kettles in your kitchen, witches– keep your cast iron cauldron’s out in the open.  Fairies will avoid you.

And this all being said, know that fairies heal…they heal.  Call upon them when you need them without fear.

This is a popular month for weddings, though few in the Christianized world
realize why.  The Druid’s celebrated the Summer Solstice as the “marriage
between heaven & earth”, and thus the popular belief that June is a “lucky” month for marriage ceremonies.  There will be Pagan spirit gatherings all around the world at this time, the most famous and the most notable at Stone Henge, where large groups of people will light bonfires and stay up all night in order to welcome the dawn.

My Celebration:
For several years, all during my son’s childhood, there has been one very special tradition at our house connected with the celebration of Litha:

When my son was a little boy, he used to like to stay up through the “Witching Hour” and watch for fairies. He’d get comfy in his pj’s and robe.   I’d gather up a lawn chair and place it beneath the large apple tree in our yard; and I’d prepare a special candle, placing it in a fire-proof reseptacle along with some herbs to offer the fairies. It was his time to sit quietly outside in the dark and watch for these magickal creatures, the only light being that of the candle and the moon, if it were out.

Most of the time, these evenings were uneventful, but one Mid-Summer’s Eve, my son’s patience was rewarded.

From across the lawn, he saw what he said looked like three very small blue lights dancing along the top of the fence. Eventually these three tiny lights dropped from the fence to the lawn beneath, where they bounced around in the grass for several seconds, and then they disappeared. My son came back to the house breathless and wide-eyed to tell me what he had seen.

The next morning, we went out to investigate the grass where the lights had been. Overnight, three mushrooms had popped up to create a perfectly formed triangle in this area, and the grass in the middle of this formation was whithered and yellowed.

I can’t tell you with 100% accuracy whether what my son saw were fairies or not, but that really doesn’t matter. All that really matters is that one little boy had a very magickal and memorable night.

Litha Correspondences
Herbs: fennel, lavender, chamomile, cinquefoil, mugwort, thyme
Altar Flowers/Herbs: larkspur, rose, wisteria, St. Johns Wort
Feast Foods: apples, citrus, fruits, ale, mead, honey cakes
Animals: butterflies, frogs, toads, wrens
Incense: ylang ylang, thyme, rose, sandalwood, chamomile
Rituals/Spells: all night fairy vigils, candle magick, dream work, familiar blessings, herb gathering, self-dedication, sun magick

Litha Recipes
Strawberry Shortcake
3 pints fresh strawberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
2 cups whipped heavy cream

1.  Slice the strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Set aside.
2.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease and flour one 8 inch round cake pan.
3.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons white sugar and the salt. With a pastry blender cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined.
4.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool partially in pan on wire rack.
5. Slice partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top with remaining strawberries and cover with the whipped cream.
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Fairy Punch
1 (64 fluid ounce) bottle fruit punch, chilled
1 (64 fluid ounce) bottle unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
1 (2 liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
1/2 gallon orange sherbet

In a punch bowl, mix together fruit punch, pineapple juice and ginger ale. Add scoops of sherbet into the punch. Wait for the sherbet to begin melting, approximately 10 minutes, stir gently, and serve.

This blog post is courtesy of “The Spiritual Feminist”, your ultimate Goddess Connection, be sure to follow THIS LINK to order your copy.

June and the summer solstice (Midsummer’s Eve) are coming up.  I view this time as a “new beginning”, and I created a tarot spread just for June that mirrors and celebrates this idea:
Tarot Spread Featured for JUNE ~
Midsummer Delight
1.  This is what I desire.
2.  This is what makes me happy.
3.  This is what I really need.
4.  This is what’s blocking my success.
5.  This is the solution
To purchase June’s featured audio reading, follow this link:
http://tarotreadingswithamythystraine.blogspot.com/p/featured-readingt.html


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The Witch’s Desk: Celebrate September! ~ Full Moon & Autumnal Equinox

Wine Moon

Herbs: lilac, mugwort, marjoram,
rose, thyme

Stones: sapphire, bloodstone,
rainbow obsidian

Scents: gardenia, rose, lilac

Colors: brown, yellow-green, amber

Trees: hazel, larch, bay

Deities: Demeter, Ceres, Isis,

Astrological Signs: Virgo, Libra

Elements: Earth/Air

Crafting Your Magic:

Feminine energy is highlighted, receptive energy. Cast magic to draw inward, magic to draw those things– both intangible and material– to you that you need to fill the void. The Goddess is in the spotlight. Work magic to benefit female issues, such as fertility, independence, and protection.

The Wine Moon works its magic in the area of love and relationships. Cast spells to discover your soul mate, find a lost love, or nurture a secret desire. The energy of Libra will bring balance to all magic cast at this time, and its energy promotes the very essence of love and sex. Cast spells now to promote healthy sexuality and to maintain or regain physical health of the reproductive system.

Concentrate on the third eye chakra, opening the doors to psychic experiences. Prepare to enter the autumnal dark months with the clairvoyant vision to see well beyond, into the light of the future.

The Autumnal Equinox: Mabon

The Goddess, in the death throes of the growing season, is at her most beautiful. As she moves towards the final harvest, in preparation for the dark days to come, she shines with the brilliance and color that is mirrored in the physical world as golden leaves, ripened fruit, withering vines, and frost-covered grass. The spiritual aspect of this stage is one that is just as beautiful, emphasizing once more the idea of completion and accomplishment, of finding that moment within development that culminates with depths of wisdom and the light of knowledge.

This day brings equal hours of light and dark, a second celebration of perfect equality. Beyond this day, light will gradually fade as the dark season descends upon the world. At this time of year, the ancient Druids would burn a large human-like wicker figure as part of their celebration. This figure represented the vegetation spirit, and indeed, the heralding of the dark season would bring an end to the growth and flowering of summer.

Modern Pagans may celebrate this holiday with many of the foods connected with this time of year in their area. Decorations may include leaves of autumn hues, sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds. The most amazing thing, I believe, is how this miraculous milestone of earth and time passes almost unnoticed by the mundane multitudes.

My Celebration:

I welcome the growing darkness that I know will follow Mabon. Moment by moment, day by day, it creeps up almost unnoticed. Until one day, you glance at the clock and realize that afternoon is barely over, evening has barely begun, and it is pitch dark outside.

My favorite way to celebrate Mabon is by lighting candles all over the house. In doing so I’m actually celebrating the darkness with light.

I light white candles for cleansing and purification, for Spirit, for the Goddess. I light white candles to wipe the slate clean, to start new lists, to begin new projects. I light yellow candles to celebrate the sun and its grace and dignity as it steps back to make way for the moon. I light yellow candles to celebrate communication and everything I’ve ever wanted to say to anyone, and those things I might regret not saying. I light yellow candles to fill my mind with words and thoughts that run into sentences and paragraphs and pages. I light lavender candles to celebrate the spirits I know are there but cannot see. I light lavender candles to acknowledge that little voice in my head, the one that’s saved my life over the years, not to mention my sanity. I light green candles to celebrate and embrace the earth. I light green candles to celebrate and embrace this wonderful physcial body that is mine. I light green candles to bathe in the glow of good health and prosperity. I light green candles to feel the soles of my bare feet connect with the dying grass, the withering garden, the falling leaves.

I light one tall black taper candle that is me, to celebrate the spark of life I carry, to celebrate future days to come, to celebrate my passage through another year…and to acknowledge and embrace my mortality.

Mabon Correspondences

Herbs: marigold, myrrh, thistles, sage

Altar Flowers/Herbs: asters, mums, pine, ferns, milkweed, honeysuckle

Feast Foods: autumn berries, nuts, roast game, root vegetables, cider, wine, bread

Animals: stags, goats, blackbirds, canines, owls, birds-of-prey

Incense: cedar, myrrh, patchouli, pine, sage, sweet grass, oak moss

Rituals/Spells: drying herbs, gathering late harvest, past life work, harvest moon rituals, making willow wands, harmony spells, protection spells for winter

Mabon Recipes

Carmel Apple Crumb Treat

2 Golden Delicious apples

4 small (or 2 large) Granny Smith apples

1/8 cup fruit juice

1/3 cup loosely packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

12 soft caramel candies

1/2 cup quick rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup butter

Slice and core the apples, mixing the types together.

Pour the fruit juice into a large pot. Put about a third of the apple slices into the pot. Sprinkle with half the lightly packed brown sugar and dot with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add more apples and the remaining brown sugar and butter, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

Turn the heat on Low and simmer for a while. Stir apples occasionally, until they start to soften. The Golden Delicious will pretty much turn to mush, binding together the slices of Granny Smith. This takes about an hour or two, depending on the heat and the apples.

Meanwhile, cut the soft caramels into quarters.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

To prepare the crumble topping, stir together 1/2 cup quick rolled oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Slice 1/3 cup butter and add to bowl, then cut it in with a butter cutter until the mixture is loose and crumbly.

Spray a ceramic or glass pie plate with cooking spray. Spoon in about a third of the apples and spread them on the bottom. Top with half the caramel pieces. Spoon in another third of the apples; top with the remaining caramel pieces. Spoon in the remaining apples and spread them smooth. Use another spoon to sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the top of the apple filling.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until filling is bubbly and topping melds into a lightly golden crust. Serve hot.

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Broccoli Casserole

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli cuts, thawed

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; fold in broccoli. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cover and bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Serves 8.

Notes:
1.  The full moon for September 2015 falls on the 28th; the autumnal equinox falls on the 23rd.
2.  The art in this post is courtesy of Craig Koskov
3.  The sources for this blog post are my books: The Gray Witch’s Grimoire & The Spiritual Feminist…
Amythyst’s Amazon Author Page…click Here


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The Witch’s Desk: Lammas!

 We’re gearing up for the first Pagan harvest festival of the year:  Lammas (also known as Lughnasadh in some traditions).  How time flies; it’s this time of year again.  Summer may still feel in full-swing in your area, but Mother Nature is tapping us on the shoulder with this first harvest of grain, reminding us that it’s not going to last forever, giving us a heads-up to be prepared for the inevitable winter-to-come.  Following is more information on this holiday in our Pagan “Wheel-of-the-Year”, including the Goddess connection, my personal reflections on this harvest festival, as well as correspondences for Lammas, ritual suggestions, and recipes!

Read on, enjoy.

And…Happy Lammas!

ladyamythyst.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

Lammas

(August 1)

As the matron of ancient times would start early to prepare her family for the harsh winter months ahead, so the Mother Goddess prepares us. She reminds us of the bounty yet to come with an early harvest of grain. She encourages us to take stock of what we have, and this pertains to the physical harvests, of course, but it can also include taking stock of ourselves, re-evaluating our goals, our lives, our paths, our relationships, our strengths, and our weaknesses.

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. In the northern countries this was, in particular, a celebration of the first harvest of wheat, thus bread is featured in the celebration of Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh.

As the modern day Pagans celebrate this festival 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.

My Celebration:

Yes, it’s a harvest festival. Yes, bread and wheat, as well as other grains, figure into it. But for me, it was more about the passage of time. It’s about how time plays tricks on us, and as a child on summer vacation from school, these three months seemed like a whole year rolled up into one magickal moment.

August 1 in South Dakota meant lots of lingering blistering summer days ahead, the heat being almost as intense as July; but it also meant something different in the air, that faint scent (an autumn scent), a nuance of change in the sunlight, the slight tinge starting at the edge of the leaves. And then one morning, being greeted with crisp air and a sky so blue it was almost painful to look at, so beautiful it was.

This holiday, this moment in time, is a mystery. It is the ability to look back into the past while standing on some invisible magickal horizon so that you can see the future, but just enough of the future to tease you forward. And you come to this exact same time and place year after year. August 1, another summer coming to a close, one of so many, and another autumn returning. An end, to make way for something new to begin, again, and again, and again.

The figure standing on the horizon grows, matures, changes, morphs, ages, expands, learns, regrets, loves, hates, wonders, questions, fears, laughs, and listens. The figure on the horizon passes through a human life time in the blink of an eye, with one inaudible breath…and then they fade into an ethereal creature of smokey wisps with a voice that is but the wind.

Lammas Correspondences

Herbs: frankincense, wheat, cornstalks, heather

Altar Flowers/Herbs: corn ears, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, wheat

Feast Foods: apples/apple pie, cornbread, sweet potatoes/sweet potato pie, grapes, blackberries

Animals: calves, roosters, deer

Incense: chamomile, rose, rosemary, allspice, sandalwood, carnation

Rituals/Spells: maternal magick, prosperity spells, purification spells, thanksgiving rituals, career spells

Lammas Recipes

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
(with glaze)

For the Muffins:

2/3 cup sugar

Grate 2 lemons

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Icing:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

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Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.

Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans.

Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 1/4 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing.

[Source:  This blog post is an excerpt from my book The Spiritual Feminist]


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Find the Magick: Macaroni & Cheese

Here’s the recipe, which sounds delicious!  We’re going to go through the ingredients and see just what kind of magick can be found in this simple popular dish:

Food 2


Makes 4 servings

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 pinch paprika

Directions:

1.  Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.
2.  In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.
3.  Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with a little paprika.
4.  Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve.

The Magick:

Paprika…Use to add energy to any spell or mixture.  Throw in someone’s yard to cause them problems.
Also Called: African Pepper, Bird Pepper, Chili Pepper, Goat’s Pod, Grains of Paradise, Red Pepper, Sweet Pepper, Tabasco Pepper, Zanzibar Pepper, Capsicu

Wheat (found in the bread crumbs & the macaroni)…Induces fertility and conception, attracts money

Salt (if you add a dash)…Cleansing, purification, exorcism

The Divine Connection:

Wheat is a grain associated with the goddess Demeter:

“DEMETER was the great Olympian goddess of agriculture, grain, and bread, the prime sustenance of mankind. She also presided over the foremost of the Mystery Cults which promised its initiates the path to a blessed afterlife. Demeter was depicted as a mature woman, often crowned and holding sheaves of wheat and a torch…”  For more info– lots more, click Here

T78 INT 37

 Mother & Daughter
(Demeter and Persephone)


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December Newsletter & Updates

16wsx.gif picture by witch_of_endore

I’ve included in this newsletter an excerpt from the book I’m working on now: 

“The Gray Witch’s Grimoire”

 

 You’ll find it in the section titled, ‘Spell of the Month’. 
It’s a handy little spell called:

“To Spite Your Face”

 

This newsletter is loaded with all sorts of information, links, and special offers from my website, The Witch’s Corner, as well as the usual sections for those interested in divination, crystal magic, kitchen wytchery, and herbs.

Click  Here  to enter this beautiful winter wonderland!