Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Give Away! Scott Cunningham's Book of Shadows

This is a book themed give away to go with our Tuesday book reviews. Up for grabs is a  brand new copy of  Cunningham's Book of Shadows, The Path of an American Traditionalist. 
"Wiccan readers will treasure this blast from the past as one final word from the revered teacher."—Library Journal

Llewellyn is pleased to present a new Scott Cunningham book—a long-lost Book of Shadows. Recently discovered in a battered manila envelope, this previously unpublished manuscript was penned by Scott in the early 1980s. This rare book includes original spells, rituals, and invocations and an herbal grimoire. Featured in the design are Scott’s actual hand-drawn signs, symbols, and runes.
More than ten years after his passing, Scott Cunningham is still an iconic and highly regarded figure in the magical community. His books on Wicca are considered classics, and his writings continue to inspire and inform those new to the Craft.

The drawing for this giveaway will occur on Sunday September 12th, around noonish. I will be out of town the previous week so you get some extra time to win! All entries must be dated before noon on September 12th. 

You will receive one entry for :
1. Being a follower of the eWitch blog & let us know by posting a comment.
2. Checking out luna's etsy store,  www.SpelledWithaW.com  and tell us which goodie you yearn to own.
3. Retweeting or blogging about this giveaway. Be sure & come back here & post about it, leaving a link .
Happy blogging & good luck, ya'll & lots of love from luna!

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Autumn Bliss" Print and Pendant from Sparrow

"Autumn Bliss" by Angelique Mroczka

Winner of this giveaway will receive:
Drawing for this giveaway will occur on Monday, September 6th around 9 am CST.  Entries (comments to this post) must be dated before that time.

You will receive one entry for each:
  • Be a follower of the eWitch blog (post a comment to let us know you are a follower).
  • Check out the Angelique Art Studios gallery and let us know which picture is your favorite (post comment on this post).
  • Retweet or blog about this giveaway (provide Twitter name or link to post in comment).
Good luck everyone!!

eWitch is Giving Back!

Can you feel the magic of Autumn in the air?  The witches of eWitch can!

This week we have three giveaways for our dedicated readers and friends!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Question about Psychic Gifts

As we draw closer to Samhain (and not wanting to gloss over Maybon, but I will come back to that on a different post) I have been wondering about my own psychic gifts & if I really have them. I have weird one concerning parking spaces & bar stools. When I need one, a spot opens up. A close-in parking space in a jam packed lot, or someone pulls out just when I need a space. Sometimes three barstools on a corner which is the best because then 3 people can chat, nearly face to face just like at a table but almost always, just when we need a place to sit while we wait for a table to be ready so that we can eat, someone will pay their bar bill & I will get their stool.  My sister Lee calls it "Marion's Parking Space JuJu." It happens so regularly now that I  actually believe in it & see it as a thing that I unknowingly attract. And that is my question. HOW do we tap into those gifts? Is there a way to get to them with purpose rather than waiting for them to happen?

The other day I was thinking about a casual friend of mine from the time when I lived in Winston-Salem. A woman I never correspond with & have not seen in 20 years. We were two of a dozen, glazed, Krispy Kreme donuts dancing to,"Hungry Eyes" in a musical that the Junior League  put on. I guess that would bind a person, wouldn't it? Anyway, two days later, I got an email from my friend. She had found me on facebook.  So, I know that somewhere out there, cosmic forces are at work, but HOW do I get to them?
I would love to hear how other people use their gifts. How they tap into them, is there a way to control them or strengthen them? How about it fellow bloggers?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thought for the Day - Adversity

Darkness serves a purpose...
It shows us there is redemption through chaos
- Brendan Fraser -

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Daughter of Demeter

 Fall is a bittersweet time for me. It was right before my birthday in October, that my mother told me she had an incurable form of cancer and had a few months to live. I didn't know how to handle the news and so as I often do I turned to mythology to help me through life. I don't think anyone is ever prepared for a parent dying or their death, even if they've been ill for quite a while. The mythical Goddess Persephone "She who Destroys  the Light" came to gather me and to descend into the Underworld with her.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yarrow - The Herb of the Virgin

The following is an excerpt taken from the book “Earth Magic” by Claire Nahmad

Yarrow is call the herb of the Virgin because it is woman’s herb and a witch’s herb, rich in its efficacious power in magic and incantations. Look for yarrow in the wild and carry its seeds. You will find it flowering in the early summer, in the meadows and the pastures , and on farmers’ land lying fallow. Its leaves are of a dark gray-greenish hue, like curling feathers of lace, and if you crush them gently, their aroma will rise and suggest to your senses the twilight magic of nature under a full moon and the deep olive green of the forces of life as they move in majesty through the earth. These things the witches knew of old, and any wort-cunning or spellmaking that allied itself with the powers of darkness they knew they could ward off with this mystic her of the Virgin.

The flowers of the yarrow, which continue into September and even beyond (if the autumn brings a Saint’s Summer or Indian Summer), are little things, white but washed with a tinge of pink or delicate lilac. They grow in umbels, clustered like tiddy daisies. They have a sharp scent that foxes are said to like.

The yarrow needs a hot sunny spot, and it likes a well drained, dry soil. You may gather its leaves and its flowers all summer long but if you wish to dry the herb, take what you need of it in the early summer. If you hear that a wedding is to take place give a sprig of the Virgin’s herb to the bride, for it is lucky for both. It will bring her seven years of married happiness and if you bless the herb with a witch’s charm, her blissful years will number seven times seven.

Make a tisane, and minister it for chills, colds, fever, twinges in the ear, eczema, diarrhea, and headaches. An ointment from its leaves and flowers (you must use both in the tisane also) will heal wounds. Take the yarrow tea as a tonic for debility or convalescence. It will soothe measles, chicken pox, small pox, Bright’s desease, and diabetes. It will cleanse and soothe the stomach and take away indigestion and palpitations.

Women particularly should drink an infusion of the yarrow from time to time to keep them free from feminine troubles. It will steady or encourage the menstrual flow as needed…..

Yarrow is a Venus herb. Like the Virgin, it is full of grace and a cure for all ills. Use it to bring great blessing and potency to your magic and spells. Yarrow is the emblem of mother love, and in the Language of lovers it says, “Be comforted, for love is the salve of all sorrows.”

I normally do not like to cut and paste others words yet I have recently discovered the works of Claire Nahmad and have found her wisdom to be boundless. A woman from the old country and taught in the old ways handed down through generations.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quotes About Books

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.  ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.  ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.  ~Groucho Marx

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.  ~Franz Kafka

To choose a good book, look in an inquisitor’s prohibited list.  ~John Aikin

Books can be dangerous.  The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life."  ~Helen Exley

When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.  ~Clifton Fadiman

He who lends a book is an idiot.  He who returns the book is more of an idiot.  ~Arabic Proverb

The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes     

Discussion Question: Favorite Book Formats

What is your favorite format for the books you read?  Hardback, paperback, ebook, audio book?

I recently started moving my fiction over to the ebook format, since they have a higher turnover rate in my collection and I am impatient with waiting to purchase the next ones in a series.  With my metaphysical library, which currently consists of 3 shelves, I like to have them easily available for reference.

Two of my hobbies are collecting hardback books of series that I love and collecting signed editions.  I have  half the books in Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series and three of the Harry Potter books.  Need to complete those collections.  The crown jewel in my collection is a hardback and signed copy of Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Archeron."

Comment and share with us your favorite book formats!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Thought to Ponder

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
Maria Robinson

Depression and Dionysus

I bring ye wine from above, 
From the vats of the storied sun; 
For every one of yer love, 
And life for every one. 
Ye shall dance on hill and level; 
Ye shall sing in hollow and height 
In the festal mystical revel, 
The rapturous Bacchanal rite!
My magickal life changed after I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder II over twelve years ago. Up until that time, it was so easy for me to feel these Dionysian highs simply when I went outside to breathe.
For those of you who don't know who Dionysus was; he was the Greek God of wine, grapes, theater, and fertility. He had female worshippers (maenad's) throw themselves into blissful madness, reveling in song, worship and ecstasy. Dionysus brought me the gift of warmth, creativity, passion and a sensuality that magnetically drew people to me. Every color sparkled in nature and I didn't need any chemical substance to feel so good, so high.
That all stopped when my mother died and I knew that I had to do something more than attending counseling. I  was going to end up either dead or locked away in a mental facility if I didn't change. I had a five year old son at the time, which I think was the biggest reason for me to seek out help. I went to therapist I had previously seen and described  the trouble I was in. He asked me if I considered ever taking an anti-depressant and I looked at him like he just told me I had leprosy. While all this chaos was going on, I was attending a graduate school for a masters degree in counseling psychology. And the major train of thought for people who were depressed was find a good counselor; meditate or be on a spiritual path to turn to when a "dark night of the soul" happened. Hey, I was a follower of Dionysus the God of pleasure, I didn't need any other spiritual path than that, thank you very much.
The rocks and trees are yours, 
And the waters under the hill, 
By the might of that which endures, 
The holy heaven of will! 
I kindle a flame like a torrent 
To rush from star to star; 
Your hair as a comet’s torrent, 
Ye shall see things as they are!
Something clicked though after my therapist suggested medications and I agreed because I was so scared of what might happen to me. My first medication was Prozac and I have to say it changed my life. I still was in dark, deep waters, but I no longer stayed in bed all day, cursing everything around me, inattentive to my son who desperately needed me and promising myself that if life didn't get better, I would consider another "alternative".
I hadn't been diagnosed yet for Bipolar disorder so I was just sailing on, spending literally thousands of dollars a week on clothes, cosmetics, vacations and of course toys for my son. My grandmother and mother both had left in their wills, an inheritance for me, which was a pretty nice amount of money. Along with the spending sprees; I fell in and out of "love" so quickly it would make your head spin. After breaking up with someone, I couldn't understand why the men were angry and confused. I just thought something was wrong with THEM, it was never my fault that I lost interest so quickly.
When I was finally diagnosed five years after the initial diagnosis of having clinical depression, I really had no idea what the difference between having depression or bipolar disorder was. Once I started taking medications specifically for bipolar disorder, my life changed and I became a little more solid and had less suicidal thoughts. I also was able to be there for my son as I wanted to be all along but couldn't. However, I noticed my creativity started to dull. I wasn't staying up all night, writing poetry or hymns of love which left me sleepless and exhausted. Shopping no longer brought me the pleasure it once did. I had to fill that void of pleasure that shopping once brought me and it was then I discovered Yoga. My love life came to a halt because I no longer could feel the erotic passions I previously indulged in. I knew though I no longer had to just survive and maybe could actually start to thrive instead.
As much as I loved my pre-medication Dionysian days, I always knew I would crash into this horrible place of depression after mania and I had no way to stop it. You see the Maenad's in ancient Greek times would throw themselves into such a frenzy they would kill, dismember and sacrifice animals for the love of Dionysus. I felt that cold shadow pass me many times, although I never killed, dismembered or certainly never sacrificed any animals. I just was killing myself over and over unconsciously with a scary insanity. 
I've been through so many medications since then and I'm still trying to find that right combination of meds. which will help with better functionality and happiness. I know I'll never have a day that is 100% perfect, but my Psychiatric Medical Physician who I trust implictly told me that I can expect to have at least 90% days. If a person who has Bipolar Disorder takes the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage of an anti-depressant or a similar drug, it can cause either extreme mania or a suicidal depression. So, it's extremely important for those who have depression or bipolar disorder to find a trust-worthy and knowledgeable physician for the best medical care as well as a
Which brings me to and how I work with "magick" and walk on a healthy spiritual path. I am able to still write and now even blog, but I know I'll never be able to obtain those creative highs I once had. I still miss those Dionysian "highs" but I feel more so peaceful and grounded. Instead of finding pagan festivals to lose myself in, I go to a Yoga class or gather with others who walk a similar spiritual path. I still enjoy the Pagan world and will always be a pagan, but the burning sun I used to worship has dimmed and been hushed. I have voluntarily chosen not to be in a romantic relationship for the last few years. I'm only now ready to enter a romantic relationship when I find the right person because I know now I won't leave him "bewitched, bothered and bewildered" (sorry for the bad pun).
I lift the mask of matter; 
I open the heart of man; 
For I am of force to shatter, 
The cast that hideth -Pan! 
Your loves shall lap up slaughter, 
And dabbled with roses of blood 
Each desperate darling daughter 
Shall swim in the fervid flood. 
I bring ye laughter and tears, 
The kisses that foam and bleed, 
The joys of a million years, 
The flowers that bear no seed. 
My life is bitter and sterile, 
Its flame is a wandering star. 
I really wrote this post to hopefully tell those of you who have a mental disorder of any type, seek help now! There is nothing to feel ashamed about. And yes, the side-effects of medications can be harsh and painful, but the alternative is worse. A life of pure pleasure will in the end leave you burned out and possibly broke, ill or other something much worse. A life of just darkness and depression will deprive you of the beauty and joy that is available. And for those of you who know someone who has a mental illness, please be understanding and compassionate with them. They're not acting out or falling into depression on purpose. "Snapping" out of it, is like asking a fish to stop swimming. It's a chemical illness, just like diabetes and needs to be treated as such. Qualified doctor's and therapists are out there, as well as a lot of good information and resources. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is an excellent place to start.
Ye shall pass in pleasure and peril 
Across the mystic bar 
That is set for wrath and weeping 
Against the children of earth; 
But ye in singing and sleeping 
Shall pass in measure and mirth! 
I lift my wand and wave you 
Through hill to hill of delight : 
My rosy rivers lave you 
In innermost lustral light.. 

Dionysus hasn't completely deserted me; he just knows I'm not going to be one of those Manaed's who blindly follow him with the seductive power he has. If you have any questions, thoughts, or simply want to connect with me; I'd love to hear them. Blessings  for all of you.
I lead you, lord of the maze, 
In the darkness free of the sun; 
In spite of the spite that is day’s 
We are wed, we are wild, we are one.
(Poem" Dionysus" by Aleister Crowley)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Odysseus and Ithaca

 I am a sucker for mythology, esp. Greek/Roman Mythology and this last weekend I watched the modern movie "Clash of the Titans" with Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, oh...wrong movie, I mean, Hades. Ever since I heard Neeson as Zeus saying "Release the Kraken!" in this really rich, low-tonal voice, I've been walking around my house saying that over and over  just because I love how he said it. My cats run under the bed every time I'm play acting Zeus. And yes, I know about hubris and how the Gods don't like our egos to get too narcissistic or else we're doomed to all sorts of trouble. Please know, I'm addressing the archetypal Gods/Goddesses here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Witch Trials - An Example of Man's Ignorance

I have often been amazed at the ignorance of man sometimes.  His need to explain everything in accordance with himself despite the fact that there are times when such explanations may cause harm and at times even death to another.

One of the best examples of this in my opinion is the example of the witch hunts which took place between the 14th and 18th century.  The actual witch trials originated in France in 1324 and later made their way through central Europe and eventually to  America.  It was thought that there were those who were a threat to the Christian religion.  Of course if you were considered to not be a Christian of course then you had to be a worshiper of Satan.  This comparison quickly labeled one as a witch. 

Although the actual witch trials themselves did not begin until the 14th century what many would consider the cause for them would begin much earlier between 700 and 1500.  At this time witchcraft and sorcery were quite common and used freely by many.  One was not considered to be odd if a chant or herb was used as a method of healing or affirmation of an act.  Magic and miracles were commonplace.  Fairies were believed to dance in the light of the full moon and no one thought twice about such a thing. 

The Roman Catholic Church however thought differently.  They divided magic into two areas.  Natural magic which was acceptable as it was viewed as merely recognizing the powers which God had given to nature.  And demonic magic, which was considered bad and coupled with demonology, divination, and necromancy.  There were also a group of women during this time who largely frowned upon by the church.  They were the women who worshiped the goddess Diana.  Such women were said to meet together during the evening hours at which time they would claim to ride upon beasts led by Diana herself. 

For some time although it was frowned upon such differences were tolerated until the time of the 14th century when the church began to feel as if there were factions which could be of some threat to their existence as well as their influence.  The church began to seek out and persecute three major groups;  The Jews, the heretics, and the lepers.  Occasionally small groups who were considered "deviant"  such as homosexuals were also tossed into this mix.  It soon became a belief that such groups were attempting to destroy the church from the inside and something had to be done to stop such an action.  It was even believed that the Black Death, which killed a large percentage of Europe's population was caused by the church's so called enemies.

It was at the time of Pope John XXII when the tables turned completely.  John XXII authorised the Inquisition which sole purpose was to seek out heresy and punish those who practiced such acts.  This also included the act of witchcraft.  Hence the witch trials had begun.

The first official witch trial occurred in southern Ireland .  A French bishop, Richard Ledrede, feel out of grace with a local family of importance. Although he had been stationed in this parish since 1317, it was not until 1324, that he eventually accused the family's senior member, Alice Kyteter, of performing witchcraft.  He received his evidence by whipping one of her servants to the point that he claimed that she had met with a group of eight women and four men during the night.  During this time they denounced the Christian faith and cut up living animals then scattered them at specific crossroads as offerings.  Alice fled to England to escape sentencing  and the bishop was later excommunicated from the church.  Ireland would not see another trial for several centuries.  Shows you what centuries of strong Celtic lore and beliefs will keep from you.

The peak of the Witch trials occurred during 1580 to 1630 and were mostly held in Europe.  Some of the more known are the Trier Witch Trials (1581-1593), Fulda Witch Trials (1603-1606) and Bamberg Witch Trials (1626-1631). 

One would ask themselves why would one admit to being a witch?  To answer this you would have to know the manner in which was used to extract information from those who were accused.  The thumbscrew or pilliwinks was one of the methods in which a confession could easily be achieved.  It was a simple device into which ones fingers would be inserted.  A small turn of the screw and slowly ones fingers would be crushed.  There were also versions which could be used on ones toes, elbows and knees.  

Besides torture there were other methods of verifying if one was guilty of the crimes they were accused of.  Certain proofs could be used as valid evidence against one.  Some examples are as follows: 
A diabolical mark - Usually a mole or birthmark
Relationships with others who had been accused and found guilty of witchcraft
Participation in the Sabbaths (this one would get many of us)
Not to cry under torture
To be afraid during the questioning (which really seems to contradict the previous one)
To cause said harm to someone which could only have done via sorcery
And so on... you get the picture... almost anything they wanted to claim.

Most of those who were accused of witchcraft were women.  75 to 80% of those accused across Europe and North America were females.  While non of those who condemned witchcraft at this time also stood up and condemned being a women, there were others who did.  An example:  In the Mallenus Malifcarum, Sprenger and Kramer stated

All wickedness is but little to a wickedness of a woman...
What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an inescapable punishment,
a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger,
a delectable detriment, an evil of nature, painted with fair colors.

How sad that man at this time choose to blame woman for all his weakness.  Saying that it was her and all she was that led him to do the things he knew were wrong.  Such an easy escape.  Such ignorance.

The most common form of punishment was death. That is if the accused had not already passed during their inquisitions and trials.    The most common method of death was that of burning one at the stake.  Hanging was also a method which was widely used yet in many cases if one was hanged they were later burned also.  Drowning was used on some occasions yet not as often.  There were several accused who would pass via drowning yet it was not because they had been found guilty.  Dunking over and over into a pool of deep water was also a method thought to verify whether or not one was truly a witch or not. 

As for the number of those whose lives were taken during this time of ignorance and folly this varies greatly.  The number is as low as 35,000 to as high as 9 million.  Historians have bantered back and forth about this for centuries.  However in my opinion, considering that this adventure went on for over 400 years, it is hard for me to believe that the number would be a low one.  There were some deaths which were recorded yet there were many which were not.  We will never know that number exact of all whose lives were taken without reason.  All the lore and family tradition which was lost because someone did not believe as they did.  There were many who were accused and found guilty.  From simple folk to those of stature, to even those in the church itself.  Such sadness for such ignorance. 

  Ignorence is a quality that is inherit to man and I am sure that there will be more examples of him at his finest.  I wish for the day when we finally can be happy with ourselves and not so bent on persecuting those who are different from us. Will that day ever come?  I hope so, I truly hope so

Monday, August 16, 2010

Change Your Life, One Word at a Time

What are you doing to change your life this November?

Four years ago, I would have just had a dumb stare if someone had asked me that question. Now I know that there is a massive writing competition that can "literally" change your life in just 4 weeks - National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Just like those Army commercials, at the end of the month you are a lean, mean, writing machine. Most importantly you have done something for yourself - you are a novelist.

So any of you who have been putting off that novel until you are wiser or "have more time", this is your chance! Take the plunge and sign up for National Novel Writing Month.


Throughout the month of October, we will be preparing for this event at the Pagan NaNoWriMo-er's Ning.  Learn more about characterization, plotting, and setting.  We will be sharing tips for getting you out of the way of your writing and making the most of your time.  Chat with other budding novelists as well as the ole' pros.  We want to help you meet your goal!


p.s. - Your Muse will love you and your Inner Critic will be angry about the sock in his mouth

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A bit more of Lavender-can you really have too much?

I have made this wonderful jelly. It is easy as far as jellies go & makes a wonderful gift, IF you can bear to part with it.

Lavender Jelly
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup
dried lavender flowers bundled in cheesecloth or muslin teabag. If you do not have this just strain the liquid to remove the flowers.Juice of one lemon (approximately 1/4 cup)
1 (1 3/4-ounces) box powdered pectin or 1 pouch (3-ounces) liquid pectin
4 cups sugar

In a large saucepan over high heat bring water just to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in dried lavender flowers, and let steep for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, either strain mixture into a deep kettle or pot & discarding the lavender flowers, or remove muslin or cheesecloth bag, squeezing it well to remove as much liquid as possible . Stir in lemon juice and pectin. This is where the magic happens & the liquid turns pale pink! Continue stirring until the pectin is dissolved.
Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil; add sugar. When the jelly solution returns to a hard rolling boil, let it boil for 2 to 4 minutes (see below), stirring occasionally.
Boil Times:
2 minutes - soft gel
4 minutes - medium gel

Testing for "jell" - Keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon.  If it thickens up to the consistency desired, then the jelly is ready.  If not, mix in a bit more pectin (about 1 teaspoon to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute.

After boiling, transfer the jelly into hot sterilized jars. Fill them to within 1/4 inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top with clean cloth, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Process in open kettle water bath.
Makes five 1/2 pints. 

Easy peasy & beautiful on the shelf. On fresh bread or biscuits..mmmmmmm

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lavender blue, Lavender green...

How many times have you heard the song "Lavender Blue, Dilly, Dilly?" Originally, it wasn't a children's nursery rhyme, it was a song of love and lust. In my opinion, Burl Ives who had won rewards and acclimation for his version, got it all wrong! This was the original version from England in the 16th c.

Lavenders green, Diddle, diddle,
Lavenders blue
You must love me, diddle, diddle,
cause I love you,
I heard one say, diddle, diddle,
since I came hither,
That your and I, diddle, diddle,
must lie together.

 On top of that along with the aroma's of pumpkin and vanilla, the smell of Lavender is a powerful aphrodisiac for men. So, all of you women who are seeking to be Aphrodite, get thee some lavender. "Lave" means to "wash" or "lave" in French which is where the flower originated from.

Why am I writing about Lavender? Well, because 1) It's one of my favorite flowers and  2) Over on the wonderful "Domestic Witch" blog, she's having a "Lavender Give a way" which is a basket full of delicious Lavender goodies. Check out what you can win;

The winner of the Lavender Dreams giveaway will enjoy a homemade lavender smudge, amethyst, lavender & sea salt bath blend and lavender & chamomile bath blend, lavender incense, lavender drawer sachet, and a charming purple and white organizational datebook. The smudge and bath blends are homemade just for you, made with herbs from my herb garden.

How nice is that? So, if you're a Lavender lover like I am, go check out the give away. Here's a recipe for "Lavender Lemonade" I found on the web, which I plan to make today!

  • 1 tray ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 8 lemons
  • 5 cups cold water, or as needed


  1. Place ice cubes into a 2 quart pitcher. Place the lavender into a bowl, and pour boiling water over it. Allow to steep for about 10 minutes, then strain out the lavender and discard. Mix the sugar into the hot lavender water, then pour into the pitcher with the ice.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pitcher, getting as much juice as you can. Top off the pitcher with cold water, and stir. Taste, and adjust lemon juice or sugar if desired. Pour into tall glasses, pull up a lawn chair and a good book, and relax!

So, if you're a fellow Lavender Goddess or God; hurry on over to Domestic Witch's blog to enter the giveaway.

Reflective Mumblings....

The dog days of summer are definately upon us... well at least for us here in Oklahoma.  With tempertures well into the 100's and the heat index drastically high, making any constructive time to go outdoors and work in the garden has been close to impossible.  I have managed to venture outdoors early in the morning before the sun has peeked itself over the horizon.  The faint light from another day is such a peaceful time.   I love to simply sit and listen to the world around me as it slowly starts to awaken. 

Underneath the old elm where shade seems to find itself for a majority of the day, I have made an extra effort to see that ample water is showered.  This gives a cool retreat to those who seek such things as the sun begins its climb high in the sky.  My cats Sunny and Sweetie relax often in the moist earth during the warmer hours of the day in the afternoon.  The birds also enjoy the  escape. 

I find myself longing for the cooler days of fall.  I know that it is fast approaching and will soon be upon us.  Another year is coming to a close and I can not help but reflect back over the many things that have transpired during this time.  Reflecting and pondering on those things that have occurred.  What travels through your mind as you come to the closing of this year.  What lessons have you learned and what blessings have come your way?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Interview with Rosa Sophia

How did you end up becoming a writer?

You don't “become” a writer.  You already are a writer.  Even people who don't start writing until later in their life.  They were already writers, they just didn't know it yet. 

I grew up around books.  We weren't allowed to watch TV.  My mother, Ruby Lynn, worked full time, which meant that my brother and I were often at our Grandma Polly's house.  I drew a lot of inspiration from that house.  It was dark and cozy.  I was haunted by words, among other things; at a very young age, I loved Shakespeare and would read the big thick books that my grandma had in her living room.  As a young girl, my career of choice was “famous author.” 

What inspired “Taking 1960”?

Across the creek from my mama's house is an old farmstead that sits on a hill, hidden behind some trees.  Mama told me stories about the house and the people that used to live there.  My mother's stories about that house were a huge inspiration.  Many other aspects of the book are based on stories I heard, or people in my family.

Are you nervous about how the book will be received?

Extremely.  It is now the tenth, and my first book talk is this Friday, the thirteenth.  I want the book to do well, and everyone keeps telling me that it will, but it's harder for me to believe it.  I don't want to be the center of attention (I'm terrified about this book talk), but I also want to make money doing something that I love.  In order to succeed, you have to take risks.  In my mind, this is a huge risk, because I am exposing something that means a lot to me and I will have to accept whatever comes of it.

How do you relax after a successful writing day?

I don't.  I haven't had a particularly successful writing day in a long time.  I had one the other day, when I wrote five pages, but nothing compares to how I used to write.  I wrote Taking 1960 in three months during the summer of 2005.  I don't know what has changed, but I get very frustrated when I go long months without writing a single word.  For me, when I can actually get “on a roll,” there is nothing more relaxing than writing.  Terry Pratchett, one of my favorite authors, said: “Writing is the most fun a person can have by themselves.”  That's the relaxing part.  The stressful part is when I have to stop.

Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite genres and authors?

I met a writer who didn't like to read once.  Incidentally, he wasn't a very good writer.  I think that writers should try to read all different sorts of things—from fiction to nonfiction—in order to diversify their own writing and broaden their perspectives.  I enjoy reading everything.  P.G. Wodehouse is one of my favorite writers.  My favorite mystery authors are Jeff Markowitz and Bill Crider.  And of course, one of my most favorite authors is J.W. Coffey.  If you get a chance, check them all out sometime. 

Are there any projects that you are currently working on?

My “writing-partner-in-crime” and I are working on a novel together, some of which can be found on the Pagan Writers website.  Look for it under the Columns and Serials menu; it is called Traces.  I am continually working on numerous projects, including the third book in the Dead series, A Message for the Dead.  That series remains unpublished, but I hope to publish it in the near future, beginning with A Siren for the Dead.  Also, Rev. David P. Smith (my agent) and I, plan on collaborating on a novel in the very near future, so we will see how that goes.

How can our readers pick up their copy of “Taking 1960”?

It will be available through the publisher, Dreamz-Work Publications, at the website www.dreamz-work.com.  I plan on eventually selling signed copies through my website, www.rosewrites.webs.com.  It should also be available through Amazon and other booksellers.  Anyone with questions in the future can contact me through my website.

Rosa is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Pagan Writers Community.  Be sure to stop by and wish her luck with her first novel, "Taking 1960."

Excerpt: Taking 1960 by Rosa Sophia

Taking 1960
By Rosa Sophia
Published by Dreamz-Work Productions
Release Date: Friday, August 13th

When Katherine walks into the hallway, it’s always empty.  That’s when she first puts her foot onto the dusty wooden floors.  She sets her eyes on the sun-spotted walls, then the wide old windows with their gossamer curtains.  The vision gives her a moment to collect herself, to stare in puzzlement at her surroundings.  Once she’s become somewhat comfortable in this hallway of what can only be an old farmhouse, she hears footsteps.

The woman comes up the stairway opposite her with both purpose and reluctance evident in her expression.  She always wears the same drab outfit. Her hair is done up in the style of a day long gone and her arms are muscled from various chores around the homestead.

At this point, she always starts to yell.  The thing is, the spectator can’t hear what she’s saying.  The strange woman’s mouth moves soundlessly and the watcher wonders, each time, if she’s yelling at her.  After a few moments, she knows that she is not the subject of this woman’s fury.  The dreamer tries to turn and find the culprit, but she never can.

With the sunlight dancing against the paintings on the far side of the hallway and on the chiseled features of the subject of the dream, the spectator sees how beautiful this woman is.  Is she in her late twenties or early thirties?

Katherine has had this dream so many times that she has gotten used to its oddities.  She waits for the woman to finish yelling, then watches as she rips away the wedding band on her finger, throwing it angrily to the ground.  The woman is on the verge of tears now and Katherine wants to embrace her, tell her that everything’s all right.  For some reason, she feels as though she knows her, but Katherine has never seen this woman before.

The vision makes her body heavy and she can’t move.  Before she can utter words of reassurance, the woman turns and stalks back down the stairs.  That’s when Katherine feels herself begin to wake up.

And when she drags herself out of that deep slumber, she whispers to herself, the same words, each time:

“Something horrible has happened…”

Coming Soon: Taking 1960 by Rosa Sophia

Taking 1960
By Rosa Sophia
Published by Dreamz-Work Productions
Release Date: Friday, August 13th

An envelope addressed to Katherine Maslin stood out amongst the pile of bills. It is a notice from an attorney… the rights to her grandparents’ farmhouse and adjacent property.

She believes that a change will rid her of the strange dreams she’s been having, wherein an oddly familiar woman visits her, begging for her help. But when Kat realizes that the woman in her dream is her dead grandmother, she begins to have doubts about moving to the farm.

Rumors and nightmarish tales fill her mind, stories of the five men who lost their lives in the late 1950s to a heartless murderer. A man had been convicted, but was he the one the police had been looking for, or had he been framed?

Kat is thrown backwards through time on a journey to discover a terrible truth. The ghost of her grandmother is always one step ahead of her, leading the way. But will she find the real killer before he finds her?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Finding Peace in being alone

I saw this video on one of my favorite blogs; "Down Abbie's Road" and thought it perfect for a Sunday meditation. I'm not talking about a sermon-type of meditation or one where you sit for hours trying to empty your mind; which by the way I'm horrible at, since I have major ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). In other words, I have a lot of company going on in my brain all the time. But when I see something visual, like this video, I can actually pause the committee and take it all in. It's about being "alone", which has different associations for all of us. I was a lonely child but never alone if that makes sense. I didn't know what solitude was, I just knew isolation.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Life While You Wait"

Life While-You-Wait. 
Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.

I know nothing of the role I play.
I only know it's mine. I can't exchange it.

I have to guess on the spot
just what this play's all about.
I know I'm late with my "Lammas" post and that's the story of my life it seems lately but I was really inspired by Luna's post and how authentic she was in her own struggle.  I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who feels like I'm  not doing life "right", if you know what I mean. In the old ways, Lammas was really about celebration of the harvest, but the other half was about counting and acknowledging your regrets of what your harvest failed to bring you . I'm not saying that I have nothing to celebrate. I have so many blessings. It's more of an internal struggle. 

I have this internal voice that's constantly telling me, "I'm not doing this right or that correctly, what's wrong with you, Wendy?!" Where's the spiritual grace that we who are on the path sometimes obtain so effortlessly and then in a turn it disappears? In my twenties, it seemed that I had this magickal touch. Whatever I wished for, manifested on the spot. Synchronicity was my best-friend. I lived as if life was one big miracle. Lately though, I have this "dis-grace" that reminds me my time is limited here.

Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
I can't conceal my hayseed manners.
My instincts are for happy histrionics.
Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.

A dear friend told me that sometimes you have to pray for "the willingness to be willing." That's one of my mantras now. I seem to stumble all the time now. I'm not keeping my connections to other people solid and consistent as I'd like to. My friends wonder if I've vanished off the face of the earth. I seclude myself when I could be outside soaking up these perfect Southern California Days that most people dream about. So, what's wrong with me?

Words and impulses you can't take back,
stars you'll never get counted,
your character like a raincoat you button on the run ?
the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.

If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
But here comes Friday with a script I haven't seen.
Is it fair, I ask
(my voice a little hoarse,
since I couldn't even clear my throat offstage).

 Part of what keeps me going, is blogging. I can meet people in a safe container, my muse beckons softly and I know somehow in some small way, I may be speaking for those who are voiceless. Or it could be my ego talking. Do any of you struggle with this and does blogging seem to help you to keep going?

This blog means so much to me. eWitch was formed with great love and great magic and we who write for eWitch have been through so many transformations and I continue to be amazed at our commitment to each other and this blog. Our readership keeps growing and I want to thank each and everyone of you for whatever reason that is, that you believe in us to keep showing up with support and love. In this blog, we are all strong women who have differences and yet there's a respect that continues to grow and survive no matter what bumps are on  the road. This journey has taught me that maybe I'm not so alone in questioning life and when I read other peoples blogs, I'm most touched by the posts that reveal an intimacy that is usually reserved for only those who are closest to us.

You'd be wrong to think that it's just a slapdash quiz
taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
I'm standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
The props are surprisingly precise.
The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
Oh no, there's no question, this must be the premiere.
And whatever I do
will become forever what I've done.

It's funny how I start out a post as a skeptic doubting I have the ability to write anything meaningful and then like a stream from a river I somehow manage to breathe a sigh of the grace I so long for. Maybe this is what the Buddhists mean when they say, that "pain is inevitable and suffering is a choice." Growing pains are necessary for the well-being of ourselves and those we touch. Maybe this is what spiritual grace really is. So, really this is a post of gratitude for you readers who don't
 give up on us and for my eWitch sisters who continue to "fight the good fight.". So I wish each of you a spiritual healing and grace in whatever manner you need and may we here at eWitch continue to become part of your journey  Please know you're not alone. And if you feel like commenting, I'd love to know what you struggle with on a spiritual basis or just in general. And if there's anything you'd like to see or here from us at address here on eWitch; we'd all love to hear that too. Namaste. 

(Poem: "Life While-You-Wait" ~ Wislawa Szymborska ~)

The (Un)Importance of being too Busy

I have been slow to post. Well actually I RARELY post, but I have recommitted to eWitch & PROMISE to post at least once a week. A common theme amongst us all is that we are really, really busy & I started to wonder what that really means. We all have a goddess given 24 hour day. How we chose to spend that is up to each one of us. I have a small web-based, wiccan supply shop & that really keeps me hopping. It is my only job but is not our primary means of support. So, I have chosen to be busy.  I am happy with the choice most of the time but suddenly I will feel overwhelmed with too much to do & not enough time. Then I fly around & bottles break, oils spill & I am swearing up a blue streak & I realize that I am too busy. It is time to slow down or better still, close up shop for the day & putz around the house. My husband can tell when I am over the top because he says I get a frantic look. And that is how it feels. Frantic, unhappy, tired & cranky. I read somewhere that the way to slow down your life is to walk more slowly. Sometimes I find myself power-walking from the car to Target or Kroger's. I am almost panting with the  pace. I stop, I slow down & wonder why in the world I am racing to get inside a store. I think it is a habit. Zoom, zoom. Stay busy, accomplish, check off the to-do list, zoom some more. We race to achieve, to be recognized, to get "important" things done because we are very important people with very important things to do. Huh. We are also racing to high blood pressure & heart attacks, stress & anxiety & jaw-clenching sleep.  In ten years, heck ten days, what we did today will probably not matter or be remembered. So. Why don't we all slow down a bit. The important things tend to get done & the rest won't matter. Let's all walk more slowly & enjoy our lives more.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Celebrating Lammas

Many will be celebrating the festival of the first fruits of the harvest or Lammas as most refer to it this weekend. It is the first festival that falls during the period of the Waning Year. Celebrated anywhere from July 31 to August 2nd to some it is considered the first day of Autumn.

The days are much hotter now, a clear sign that summer is in full swing and the sun has been basking in all its glory for some time. Although the heat is upon us, there is still the feeling that dances over the breezes of the coming anticipation of Autumn and all that it brings. Cooler temperatures for one thing yet also the subtle sadness that soon summer will be but a memory and what we may complain about now, the scorching heat of summer, will no longer be someone who visits so fervently.

The word Lammas is derived from Old English and means loaf feast. With that being said one can easily guess that bread plays an important role in the celebration of this festival. Lammas has also been referred to at times as Lamb mass because of August 1st. This is the day of the feast of St Peter’s chains. One was to take their lamb to church on this day to be blessed. Another means by which the early church attempted to connect themselves to Pagan ways in order to accommodate those who may find it difficult to turn from their pagan lives and history.

Lammas was also a time of sacrifice in early times. It was a time to thank the gods for the first fruits and to help guarantee a further abundant harvest. The one to be sacrificed was often the king as he was considered to be god incarnate to the people. However most of the time it was not the actual king that was sacrificed but a substitute. Someone who would stand in for the king. It was considered an honor or though they said.

The last recorded sacrifice of a king of England was said to have occurred at Lammas in the year 1100. King William II did not take kindly to the new Christian beliefs and their attempted forcing of their practices. Rufus the Red as he was sometimes called, openly declared himself Pagan as a means to show his distaste for this movement. His death which occurred on August 2, 1100 was said to have been a hunting accident. Yet many will tell you that this was simply a cover for the sake of the Christian priests. Many believed it was a case of the traditional Lammas sacrifice of the king.

To the Celts, Lammas was one of the four great Fire Festivals. It was custom to light huge bonfires to add strength to the powers of the Waning sun. Brands from the Lammas fire were kept in ones home through winter as protection. It was thought that this brand would protect against storms , especially lightning . The ashes from the said fire was also thought to have properties of protection, healing and fertility.

Lammas is a time for celebration. It is a time of celebration of the first harvest, of feasting on the bounty that has come in from the fields. As this weekend comes and goes may you realize the bounty that you yourself experience daily from all aspects of your life. And may your have a very blessed Lammas


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