Sep 30, 2012

Farewell September

Photo by Jon Sullivan - Creative Commons

"I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air."  
The Far Field by Theodore Roethke

We have sent out September with a bonfire at the lake.  Friends with drum and crystal bowls played the Harvest Moon up over the mountain while the coyotes called back and forth across the vineyards and orchards upon the hills.  The ducks moved in and out of our circle, muttering because we had not brought them bread.  We had brought food for the fire though.  Good wood and herbal offerings.  There were apples, straight from the tree, passed around.  And marshmallows, of course.

Petitions were burned.  Notes to spirit, letters of release.

It was a lovely way to see September end.  As I wait up for October, I am thankful.  For the beauty and the bounty.  For the heat that stayed long and the gardens that gave much.   For the golden light and the cooler evenings.

September really is the very best prequel to Autumn.

I hope this month has been generous to you!

Sep 27, 2012

Haunting Housewares

With October on the horizon, my mind wanders to devilish decorations and haunting housewares. After all, a proper Halloween household would not be complete without a few spooky accoutrements. And who doesn't need a skeleton corkscrew?
Photo, property of Kikkerland Design.  Designed by Ariel Rojo and Stephanie Suarez for the Kikkerland Mexico Design Challenge.

Vanessa Valencia is no stranger to fabulous Halloween decorations.  As head creatrix at A Fanciful Twist, she designs amazing posts, blog parties and has her own art and design studio on Etsy.  These potion and spell labels are sure to make any bottle you place them on, look charming.

Photo property of and Vanessa Valenica

When doing up the dishes from your Halloween bash, why not use some chic linens?  This vintage-look towel might even make dish-washing duty fly by. 

Photo, property of Williams-Sonoma

Shots are ten times the fun in these skull glasses!

Photo, property of Crystal Head Vodka

I can think of a few other uses for these cocktail pics (poppets, anyone?)  Still - they would be incredibly fab impaling olives in a very Dirty Martini.  It's too bad that they are just a tad (a big tad) out of my price range.

Photo, property of Ralph Lauren Home

All your hors d'oeuvres will look more appealing on these spooky appetizer plates from Williams-Sonoma.

Photo, property of Willams-Sonoma.

And lastly, when having that nightcap of tea (or absinthe,) these sugar skulls are the perfect sweetener.

Photo, property of Dembones on

These are just a few ideas to get your Halloween decorations and party started.  If you track down any more scary or skeletal housewares, let me know!

Sep 23, 2012

Virgo Giveaway Winner

I found my way home a little later than I meant to last night from the Wise Woman festival and rushed off to bed, so the giveaway draw had to wait until this morning.  I'm up before dawn and getting ready to head to a sunrise ceremony and to another few classes, and I'm wandering around wondering if I have everything I need for today and if I'm forgetting anything.  So, it seems like a good time to be giving away a personal planner!

The name drawn for the 2013 Witches' Datebook is...........


Please email me at rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com and let me know where to mail your book. Congrats, and thanks so much to all who stopped by to drop their name in the hat!

Stay tuned...October is going to be bringing some seriously wicked treats!

Sep 21, 2012

Welcome Autumn

As autumn officially begins today and tomorrow, I am headed off to my annual Wise Woman weekend.  These next few days are packed full of classes that cover every topic from belly-dancing to hands-on healing techniques, to trance, poppet-making and drumming and so much more.  This is my movement into a more enjoyable, introspective season than the craziness of summer.

I will be celebrating the equinox in a myriad of ways, including a quiet ritual when I get home on Sunday, but if you are looking for a way to welcome in autumn, there are always plenty of ideas floating around the interwebs.

Here is just a tiny list of wonderful bloggers and their Autumn Equinox/Mabon ideas:

Mrs. B (aka Kris Bradley) posted a link to simple candle ritual that she wrote a few years back.  It's perfect if you just want to take a moment to reflect on the season.

Over at Octoberfarm (a must-stop for recipes year-round,) Joyce has been bringing out her impressive Halloween collection.  There are vintage and rare decorations as well as newer acquisitions.  You've got to see all her wonderful pieces!

Over at The Witch of Howling Creek, Tenae is working on her Witches' Compendium, and her Mabon issue is out.  Check it out here.

Rowan Pendragon has also been working hard and has released a 78 page e-book full of Mabon lore, spells and ideas.

And as always, a great place to go is over to and check out Patti's Pagan/Wiccan page for history, practices and decorating tips for this wonderful time of year.

If you are really ready for October and Halloween/Samhain, head over to some of the links on my sidebar - there are some fun blog parties coming soon - and I have a big surprise for my readers here next month.  Great things are afoot for fall!

Don't forget to add your name to the Virgo Giveaway!

Happiest Autumn Equinox to you!  May your harvest be plentiful and your fall days be bright and beautiful.

Sep 17, 2012

Virgo Giveaway

As a Virgo girl, organization is important to me.  Even when things pile up, everything is neat and in some sense of order.  I can find whatever I want, whenever I want it.   And I love to make lists!  Journals, post-it notes and datebooks are a Virgo's best friend.

I know that, Virgo or not, there are so many of us who have an 'organizational gene' and a love for office/school supplies, so when I ordered my 2013 datebook this week, I had to grab a second one for one of my lovely readers.

Just leave a comment here, Dearies, and I'll draw the name for the 2013 Witches' Datebook on the Autumn Equinox on the 22nd of September.

Good luck!

Sep 15, 2012

Change of Light

There is a certain kind of light that signals the change to autumn.  Although the season doesn't officially arrive until the end of next week, we've been feeling it creep up on us for a while.  We've had nothing but bright, warm September days here in The Valley.  The warmth is wonderful, the breezes are cool and comfortable, but it is the light that is the real show stopper.

There is a golden, fuzziness that the light takes on in the fall.  It is not the heat-haze of summer, not the bright, clear glow of spring or the small, entreating rays of winter.  This is, as if you were walking around squinting ever so slightly - making things appear just a bit softer around the edges.

I think I am becoming a bit softer too.  Gone is the frantic rush to get the garden watered early before the scorching heat hits. The sweaters have come out for cool mornings and even cooler evenings.  And I am lingering.  Stopping at the river to touch the plants again - not rushing through my walk to avoid the bugs and the sunburn.  Sitting in the back yard with a coffee watching the cats stalk through the grass.

The dark is coming on quicker now.  The light leaves us before 8:30pm.  The evenings have been prime star-watching nights.  Clear skies foretelling the next sunny day, are chock full of twinkly lights and planets and satellites.

I'm curling up with a cup of tea in the evening.  I'm taking time to read a little fiction, which I rarely do unless I'm on vacation.  The extra blankets are coming out of the closets and being draped over chairs and on the end of the bed for insurance against the surprising temperature drop during the night.  I'm excited about the upcoming festivities in October.  Lists lie everywhere on my work-space.  I'm feeling the need to organize and surround myself with notebooks and pretty office supplies.

It intrigues me how the simple shift of the light, can affect so much of my life - how I feel and how I function.

What does this change feel like to you?  Or do you live somewhere where there is such a subtle shift in your surroundings, it is barely noticeable?  Do you adjust your schedule, your practices or your lifestyle in the autumn?

Sep 7, 2012

Back to Practice

I was going to write a post that paralleled going back to school and getting back to my personal practice, but that clever Teo Bishop beat me to it.  You should definitely read his post, even if you are not following a Druidic path.  Much of what I’m feeling of late is similar.

September not only grabs me with its warm days and cool nights, but with its pretty school supplies, and the memories of getting back to a regular schedule.  Because I drive my niece 20 minutes down the road to the next town to catch the school bus, I have to be up early now Monday to Friday and it’s the perfect excuse to get back to my routine too.

Although I light my altar candle each morning and greet the directions and refresh the water and take care of any offerings on my two deity altars, I’ve let my meditation practice slip.  My excuse is that gardening and wild crafting are meditative, but that’s not entirely honest.  I am in tune with the earth while I’m outside, but I’m also not entirely open to receive messages or check-in with my guides and guardians.  Sometimes they have to shout to be heard over my constantly muttering mind.  Taking time to be still and silent is important to me, and something I’ve let slip.

I’m looking forward to returning to a routine.  My Craft is fluid.  I don’t subscribe to one way of doing things, one religion or ceremony.  My actions flow with what is calling me at a certain time or what particular road I’m following.  (I know there are some right now, groaning about eclecticism.  I’m not going to change, dearies.  Oh - and read this article by one of my teachers, Christopher Penczak.)  Speaking of Christopher - I loved his Temple courses (I finished the Outer Temple course this past January) and highly recommend them.  I enjoyed his system of classes and the work.  Although I do use some of the practices that Christopher teaches, I still find that I naturally move back into a more fluid and less structured path.

Having a daily practice, a small bit of structure in my otherwise fluctuating path, is a nice touchstone for me.  It is a place to focus my energy for the day and a good space for tuning in.  I’m looking forward to getting back to my ritual.

Sep 5, 2012

Wandering Into September

The last week and a half have had me hopping.  A camping trip, back-to-school shopping with my niece, finishing off my summer artisan fair and planning for a September festival, plus playing catch-up at the office have all worn me a little thin.  Not surprisingly, a tickle has developed in my throat and my lungs are feeling a bit tired.  So, out comes the elderberry tincture, the rosehip tea, the garlic and a good dose of vitamin C.

Mostly, some time in the fresh air is what I crave.  Yes, camping afforded that - somewhat.  I was in a pretty commercial campsite with some construction going on, so there wasn't much nature communion happening.  Luckily, I don't have to go far to get some tree-hugging time.

I find that I take off for the hills more often now than I ever used to.  Being so close - it's like a tease for me.  Whether I'm with friends on a planned outing or just hearing the call of the forest, I love jumping in my car and driving 10-20 minutes up the road into the embrace of pine and fir and juniper and so many other plants and trees.

There are rose-hips to pick now.  Wild elderberry, Oregon grape berries and more.  Too much for me to take on at once.  I am focusing on rose hips this week.  It's a good time to make syrup for the cold and flu season ahead.  All those red dots on the bush in the below pic - rose hips!

The garden is winding down and a few tinctures and infusions are ready to strain and bottle.  Although the busy summer is all but over, there is still much to be done.  I'm grateful for the cooler nights now and the crisp mornings that allow for me to be back out walking by the river without fear of sunburn or bug bites.

September is showing up beautifully!

"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."
~   Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885