Merry Meet and Merry Part, and Merry Meet again

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Out of my Gourd at the Farmer's Market

Miniature Ornamental Gourds
Shopping for freshly picked produce from our local farms is not only fun, rewarding, healthy and cheaper than the grocery is also a help to our local economy, an act of love towards our families by providing delicious homegrown fare and a support of Mother Earth and her natural gifts to us.

Look at this Butternut Squash--7 pounds!

I had a delightful conversation with the older couple who grew this squash. They have a small farm and sell their produce all summer at farmer's markets around the area. I asked how they grew this huge squash, and the fellow said, "I don't know, it just kept growing." Possibly he did not want to reveal his gardening secrets.

acorn, butter cup, butternut, cabbage, and an unidentified smooth-skinned squash

Yes, we are going to be eating a lot of squash! Actually I am going to cook and freeze most of this. A treat for the winter months. Which are fast approaching...October begins tomorrow!

Bittersweet October.  The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter~Carol Bishop Hipps

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Faerie Cam I

Faerie Cam II

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So here's the thing---"Witchcraft" is not a bad word

Recently I had a conversation with someone who was not familiar with "Wicca". So I was explaining that Wicca is one of the nature-based pagan religions, that we believe all living things, both animate and inanimate are sacred/filled with deity. That Wiccans practice magick (I always spell it with a "k")...magick being the act of directing natural energies to achieve positive change. Thus, one that practices magick is called a witch. At that point she asked with a little trepidation, and a barely imperceptible look of wariness on her face, "But you don't practice witchcraft, do you?"

Unfortunately, witchcraft and paganism conjure up (excuse the phrasing!) visions of devil worship, ugly wart-faced women, eyes of newts, dead things, slimy, evil horrid things...very negative images. These concepts stretch back through time and generations, and are almost as prevalent today as back in the old "Burning Times", except it is definitely against the law to burn witches today...right?

Everyone loves a good horror flick, a scary novel, ghost stories around the campfire..and some people accept these images as being real. Refer back to the "Blair Witch" movie...people thought that it was a documentary of real events. I do not like to speak negatively of other religions, but the fact is there are conservative religious groups that are appallingly uninformed about witchcraft and paganism, and speak out loudly and often against them.

As a Wiccan, I do not believe in Satan, or hell. My religion is based on beliefs that pre-date Christianity. Wicca is a gentle earth-loving path. The most important belief of Wicca is the law to "Harm None". I live my chosen path everyday by doing what I can to love the earth and all upon it. I am happy and fulfilled and love being Wiccan every second of every day. I do not think there will be a change in the general thinking against those who practice pagan religions any time soon. Witchcraft is a beautiful and meaningful art. As in every religion or walk of life, there are those who give witches and witchcraft and paganism a bad name by their immoral or questionable practices. But the majority of us witches...we practice witchcraft for the good of all, with harm to none.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Seasonal thoughts

Hardy Hibiscus...fading away
Molting American Goldfinch, containers of bedraggled and leggy annuals, and perennials that were the glory of summer are now sad and done.  That is how the seasons go, and the visible signs of the lessening light and cooling temperatures let us know preparations should begin for the coming season. The turning of the Wheel of the Year is almost complete. But first we shall enjoy the brilliance of trees in their fancy dress, crisp autumn nights, the new smell of wood smoke in the air, pumpkins and winter squashes, and the first crocks of hot stews and homemade soups; perhaps also some apple cakes and pumpkin bread, too.

Raise your hands if Autumn is your favorite season!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A little Autumn Shopping

Saturday, early Autumn. What to do? Shopping with a friend, that's what.

Like bees to honey!  
What a charming shop! Look at those painted pumpkins.
Talented owner creates great displays. One of everything, please.
Autumn lends itself to inspired decorating.
Two of my purchases
A closer look at this great witchy pin
Tiny pumpkins and cinnamon scented little tapers purchased at another shop
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.  ~Albert Camus

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Autumn on the Front Porch

And more mums
Please come in and sit a spell

Friday, September 24, 2010

A full moon task

A full moon is a glorious sight to a Wiccan. It is also sacred, and there are many beautiful ways to honor the Goddess during full moon rituals. The moon is a symbol of the Goddess. Phases of the moon represent aspects of the Goddess: Maiden, the new moon, Mother, the full moon and Crone, the waning moon. In ritual Wiccans can appeal to these various aspects of the Goddess for assistance with various needs, problems, celebrations, meditations....whatever workings are at hand during whatever phase of the Moon.

Last night was a perfect time for me to take advantage of the clear sky and beautiful full moon shining down on my garden. Water, one of the Four Elements (earth, air and fire, the other 3) is crucial for purifications spells, protection spells, and other tasks. The energy and power from a Full Moon is just what I wanted to "charge" a pitcher full of water for use in ritual and spells. I simply set it out on a table on my deck, said a few words to the Goddess, and left the pitcher there all night. This morning I have a pitcher of water that I will use for cleansing and consecrating some tools I have recently acquired, as well as renewing protection spells around the house and garden.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wiccan Rites: Bless-ed Mabon

Ahhhhh, the first day of Autumn....the Autumnal Equinox. For Wiccans, and other Pagans, this is Mabon, the Second Harvest. A time to give thanks for the Summer, the gifts we received from the Earth, and to observe and take note of the shortening of days, the light fading earlier and earlier. Actually, because I live in Central New York, a very cold and snowy place in winter, this is really Last Harvest. There won't be much in the garden after our first frost. We do have Brussels Sprouts still growing, but voles did away with our winter squashes.

Apples are the fruit for Mabon, crisp, juicy and freshly picked from nearby orchards. Apple crisp, apple pie, apple bread, apple cake, apple fritters, apple muffins......the list goes on!! 

I will decorate my altar for tonite's Mabon ritual with apples and acorns...still a little early for colorful fall leaves around my yard.  If my son and daughter were home, we would light a fire in our back yard fireplace and sing and perhaps, do some drumming and chanting. It is a fun and great way to build up energy for the ritual. Writing our hopes or wishes on bay leaves, and giving them to the fire, so they rise up through the smoke to the Universe of Infinite Solutions.

And then inside to drink apple cider, or hot tea, and a delicious apple dessert.

I am going to be adding some "stuff" (to use the technical term!) to my blog. For one, I received an email from someone asking  "What the Heck is Wicca?" So I will be taking care of that, plus some other facts and info. It takes me a little while, but I am learning the ways of the Blog-o-Sphere.   And I will be changing to an autumn background. Hopefully, I wont delete myself out of the blog all together!!!!

My witchy broom for cleansing and re-organizing

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Autumn in the Garden

The leaves on our blueberry bushes are turning a deep red
It was 38 degrees fahrenheit this morning when we got up (cue the chattering teeth)! I am ready for Autumn, but not for the chilly temperatures....because they are going to get a lot chillier soon.

Mabon is almost here, and I am looking forward to a nice fire to celebrate. The Autumn Equinox focuses on finding balance in your life.

Lexie-Girl might need to find some balance in her life!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CNY Pagan Pride Festival 2010

Well, as a blogger, I blew it!! I spent a lot of time wandering around and looking at everything, and totally forgot to take pictures. It was a beautiful day, and there were a lot of vendors.  I did enjoy the belly dancers, and I watched the Circle Ritual to celebrate Autumn Equinox. There were also interesting workshops. It seemed to me to be a good turn-out, with people of all ages and backgrounds.  How great to go to an event like this.

Autumn Equinox Circle Ritual
Festival Purchases: Amulet bags, nature-inspired ceramics and a mini cauldron

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

So here's the thing.....Out of the Broom Closet

Almost six years ago, I performed my self-dedication ritual in a circle of pine trees and birch, in a beautiful spot in rural north west Quebec, Canada. It was a perfect day of blue skies, light breezes, and witnessed by many wild birds, chipmunks and red squirrels. Not a human to be seen or heard. It was a moving, emotional time for me, and I felt the God and Goddess, all around me. I had spent over a year and a day before that ritual studying the Wiccan Way, and realizing as each day passed, how perfect this path was for me.

It has taken me a long time to come "Out of the Broom Closet" to friends and family. Husband and kids knew from the very beginning and supported and encouraged me in every way. But it was over a year and half before I told my best friend and two of my brothers. My mom and another brother do not know. Nor do many of my other friends and extended family.

It took a long time for me to wear my pentacle in public. Always wearing it under my clothes. I wonder why I was so fearful and hesitant to openly display my faith. I suppose I am a "victim" of what I perceive as a virulent prejudice against practitioners of pagan paths. I made myself a victim, it was not forced upon me. Possibly the trepidation of not feeling confident enough to explain my beliefs to someone, and fear of rejection or criticism by total strangers kept me in the broom closet for ages.

This is regrettable of course, but the longer I have walked my path and felt the God and Goddess in my life, and studied and talked with people, the easier it has become. I now wear my pagan jewelry openly, I have met with other pagans in public places, and this weekend I am volunteering at the CNY Pagan Pride Festival. This is a momentous occasion for me. I am very proud of being a pagan, and if my picture should show up in the newspaper for all the world to see, well, hurray for me!

It just took a long time for me to stop being afraid of other attitudes, and get on with my own life.  It is a wonderful thing to feel free and happy about my Wiccan Ways. Time, and study, and the Goddess!

I am Out of the Broom Closet!  I am a Wiccan! I offer Brightest Blessings to everyone! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Medieval Faire

Beardslee Castle, Little Falls NY
Herbals & Jewelry for sale
Birds of Prey
Adorable costumes
A beautiful Saturday in September for a drive in the country to Little Falls NY to visit a Medieval Faire. Beardslee Castle was the setting...a 150 year old structure that is now host to weddings, festivals, concerts, and ghosts. Here's the website to learn more

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sweet Autumn Clematis

It is always a thrill to me, as if I were a little kid, to see the big brown truck pull up to my house! Today, I received an order I placed back in July. Paniculata, or Sweet Autumn Clematis. It is a vigorous grower, great for trellises, porches, fences. Small white starry-shaped flowers, fragrant, and blooms August-September. I have been wanting one for a long time, and now I have two, as I had gotten one early in August from another nursery. I have a friend who has it growing in her front yard and it is climbing all over the place and looks beautiful. And how can you resist something named "Sweet Autumn"? Because of their white blooms, I am planting them in honor of the Goddess...white and silver are colors most associated with Her.
(click on pix for a closer look)
Bluestone Perennials Packaging
Unpacked, look at the fertilizer tablet they included, almost as big as the plant!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Phantom Petunia

Look at this petunia.  Its name is "Phantom".  I just bought it a couple of weeks ago, it was new at the market, even though the season for annuals is pretty much done (purchasing wise). It is a blackish color, with stripes of yellowish/green. Very unusual and beautiful, I think. Some of the blooms are "sporting", which means some of the newer blooms are showing no stripes. The leaves are really sticky, and there is no fragrance. But it is quite exotic-looking, and if only it would keep blooming till Samhain, I would be happy. A perfect flower for Halloween.

Here it is the day after Labor Day. Sort of a "time between time". In human terms (well, American humans, at least) summer is over. Pools close, kids are back to school. But the autumnal equinox does not occur until September 23rd. So no autumn decorating for me yet. I am still watering containers of summer flowers, still picking tomatoes, and the air conditioner is running right now.  I am working on my Mabon ritual. Wow, there will be a full moon on Mabon...very powerful and exciting.

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Bird Species Discovered/Thoughts on Wiccan Practice

The elusive Chipmunkatis, non-feathered variety
Here's something I have't seen before in my garden. Apparently this little "bird" is checking out the accomodations offered at the Wiccan Two-Family Bird-plex. He must have been deciding if there was room for him, the wife & kids, and still have space for all the nuts and safflower seeds he has been raiding from the garden!

Finches on a Pine Tree(click for a better view)
I have several goals this month, especially before Mabon (September 23rd, Autumn Equinox). I am re-vamping my Book of Shadows as I have decided to expand my ritual and spell casting beyond candle magick, incense, and music to include herbs, essential oils and gemstones. The tables of Correspondences can be tricky, as the sources I refer to have a tendency to be contradictory. One book will say use blue candles for healing, another will say use white. Or don't perform this particular spell during the waning moon, another will say wait till the Full moon. This is actually a conundrum in many areas of Wicca. One can read TOO many books. At times it can be quite overwhelming. So the solution is to pick the sources that feel the most comfortable and natural. As long as the basic "tenets" are followed, including the Wiccan Rede: Harm None, The Three-Fold Law of Return (what goes out comes back three times over). The intent must be fully formed. The personal power must be completely focused. Do what you will--harm none.

At any rate, I am working to enhance my Wiccan practice, and hope to have some interesting things to report. It is quite exciting, really.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I have Followers!

What a thrill to look at my blog and see that I have three (COUNT THEM!) three!!! followers. I am tickled, and thank you so much to my witchy blogging friend at October Farm for being the first follower!!! Now I just have make sure I blog some things of interest, dont I?

Flower Harvest

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A bunch of tomatoes, all ripe and ready for slicing. Or chopping. Or simmering. We have been competing with the squirrels for these red globes. I observed a squirrel pick one right off the vine, and charge up the fence and away to his cozy hiding place to chomp whilst chortling at us! I must have a conversation with my dogs about keeping a better watch over the garden!

Stopping at B&N the other day, I snatched up three new items for magickal perusing. The new 2011 Witches calendar, put out by Llewellyn, as well as a daily almanac.  I can't stop myself from buying new and glossy Witch items. Plus I waited too long last year, and missed out on a witchy calendar.  The book The Wiccan Year by Judy Ann Nock, (published by Provenance Press) is a guide for Spells, Rituals, Holiday Celebrations. It begins with Samhain and goes through all the Wiccan Sabbats ending of course with Mabon. Also a section called "A Lunar Year and a Day, The Esbats".  I am looking forward to reading it, always a pleasure to find a new book to add to my magickal library, and to help enhance my path. Always looking for new ideas, new inspirations.