Oct 29, 2013

Last October Eves

I was out in the back yard early this evening.  I watched as the light fled from the approaching dusk, and felt the temperature drop so swiftly that it startled me.  One moment I was eating blood-red raspberries from the canes rescued from an abandoned lot, and the next I was staring at my misty breath hanging in the air.

I noticed that, not too far from the still-producing raspberries, the rhubarb has died off.  The impossible to kill plant is one of the first to return in the early spring, but I'm in awe of how completely dead it looks now. Not an ounce of life appears to remain in its withered leaves that are already prostrate on the earth, preparing to become a part of it again.

Across the yard, the sunflowers still follow the short and swift path of the sun, blooming as if they had all the time in the world.  The chickweed looks better than it has all summer.  The yarrow is bright and bushy again, growing a second crop of fuzzy leaves, while the skullcap has long dropped its foliage and looks like a tiny barren forest.

What a strange thing to see so much green and brown, life and death, and smell rot right alongside ripe apples and savory onions and the last of the kitchen herbs, lingering in their pots.  An odd yet delightful time of last tastes and thresholds.

We are wading deeper and deeper into the dark now, but there are plenty of opportunities for feast and celebration.  While we mark departures on one hand, we note the return of (and negotiate our peace or passion with) the shadows and those that live and thrive within them.

Do you wander out into the dark and meet the ones who preside there?  Or sit by a candle, having made your offerings, and spend time with familiar spirits?  There is no wrong answer.  This time of year invites as much good-company-keeping as it does mischief.

Whether you join the goblins running amok this week, or simply offer a spirit plate to those passing by, no longer in the flesh, I do hope you find much magic on these last October eves.

Oct 28, 2013

The Great October Book Giveaway - 2014 Almanacs

This month has been a blast for me, and padded envelopes carrying books are going out each week, winging their way across the world to you.  Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. It's been wonderful to see familiar faces, as well as meet fab new folks!

Few things go off completely without a hitch, and there were a few little bumps along this ride, but it's all a lesson in organization for me.  Fortunately, this year I planned ahead a bought a few extra books in case an author fell through.  So, to finish out our month, I'm handing out a few almanacs to help your get your new magical year started smoothly.  

I've got two each of:

"This edition features compelling articles, grouped by element, on solar power and the home, carnival magic, recycling and refurbishing, enlightened eats, emergency healing, faery offerings and shrines, folk clothing, alcohol and the gods, soap magic, animism, transforming negativity, and other magical topics.
Also included is a handy calendar section— shaded for easy “flip to” reference—featuring world festivals, holidays, and 2014 Sabbats. You’ll also find astrological info, plus incense and color correspondences, to empower your magical work."

"Live your Craft every day with Llewellyn’s Witches’ Companion. This indispensable guide will keep you one step ahead of the latest Witchy trends, Craft practices, Pagan issues, and ideas in green living. This year’s edition is filled with wry and thought provoking essays—the madness of “Witch Wars,” Gaia and the permaculture movement, magical de-stressing, finding community, magical vessels, essential stones for Witches, the art of dedication, bringing ancestors into magical practice, working with healing deities, and much more. Also featured is a sixteen-month calendar and lunar information to fuel your spellwork and rituals."

As always, leave a comment and let me know how we connect (if you've left this info before, no need to leave it again.)  Feel free to tell me which book you'd prefer.  I try to match them up whenever possible.  If you want the entire lowdown on how this giveaway/sweepstakes works, click here.

You've got until midnight on October 31st to get your name in the cauldron!  

Oct 27, 2013

54 Devils - Giveaway Winners

Here are the winners of the copies of "54 Devils" by Cory Thomas Hutcheson:

Stephanie Clayton - You are taking home the Zombie card deck.

Rebecca Powell - You are receiving the Guardians deck.

Dean - You are getting the Club Tattoo deck.

If you could pop your mailing address over to me at:  rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com, that would be great  - I'll get these out to you this week!


Oct 22, 2013

The Great October Book Giveaway - 54 Devils by Cory Thomas Hutcheson

I'm pretty excited about this next book for several reasons.  I adore folklore in all its forms, I'm a big fan of cartomancy, and the fellow that wrote this book is a fiercely intelligent lore-seeker and one half of the super-duo that host the podcast New World Witchery.  He's also just all-around awesome AND he sent three autographed books for me to pass on to you!

I'm reading this right now and appreciating that Cory breaks down this reading system in a way that even people like me, who never really did anything with playing cards besides throwing down some "Go Fish," can understand.  I'm also drooling through the appendix of folklore, of course. 

Here's our next book:

"Fifty-Four Devils:    The Art & Folklore of Fortune-telling with Playing Cards
This brief-but-richly drawn book explores the practice of divination by playing cards—known as cartomancy. It reveals the “secrets in plain sight” which hide within the pips, kings, queens, and jokers of a standard deck. Explore one method of divination in-depth as you meet the “fifty-four devils”—the symbolic spirits of each card—and learn about invoking ancestral blessings for card readings, the folklore of playing cards, and how to relate fairy tales to a spread along the way."

There is so much folklore around practicing divination at this time of year in particular, why wouldn't you want to grab yourself this book for a Halloween treat?  And although this is a gem on its own, I found a fun companion for each copy.  As I was searching for a set of playing cards for myself (because my only deck features a long-bankrupt airline logo on it - not exactly a fortuitous sign,) I came across some really unique decks by the Bicycle playing cards company.

So - I bought some for you too!

Here's what I've got:

The Guardians deck:

 The Zombie deck:

 The Club Tattoo deck:

Here's the part we've all heard before - but once more for the newbies....

The entire lowdown on the giveaway rules is on this post, but all it takes to be in the running is for us to have bumped into each other somewhere on the interwebs.  Let me know in a comment (on this post) how we connect (no need to repeat yourself if you've left this info before) and ensure that I can track you down if you win.

Also, if there's a deck you prefer, you can let me know.  I can't guarantee you'll get the deck you want, but I'll do my best.

You've got until Saturday, October 26th at 6pm (Pacific time) to get your comment in!  Best of luck!

*all photos and descriptive text are property of New World Witchery/Cory Hutcheson and Bicycle respectively.  Photos/text are only used to promote the above products.

Oct 21, 2013

Wild and Weedy Winners!

Another lot of names chosen from the hat tonight!  Here's who will be getting their hands on books:

"New Paths to Animal Totems" goes to.....


"Baneful" goes to......

syncretic mystic (Soli)

The 2014 Herbal Almanac goes to.......

Kallan Kennedy

Congrats everyone!  Please send your mailing address to me via rueandhyssop AT gmail (DOT) com.

Oct 17, 2013

The Great October Giveaway - The Wild and The Weedy

Our next giveaway is a handful of books for those who love to spend some time outdoors (or even the armchair nature admirer.)

First up, by the talented Lupa from The Green Wolf, (whom I met at Faerieworlds and begged an autograph for you) we have New Paths To Animal Totems:

"I've written a great deal for people of an intermediate to advanced experience level, but this time I'm offering something for a more general audience, to include people who may never have even heard of totems before!

To give readers, especially those new to totemism, some guidance, I've offered a variety of exercises, meditations, and ritual ideas to play with along with the theory. And to illustrate the material further, there are examples seeded throughout the text. However, as with all my books, there's plenty for the more experienced practitioner to play with, and none of it is strictly "by the book", as it were."

Next up is a favourite author and a super cool lady - The Herby Lady to be exact - D.J. Martin.  She has a new book out this year and I've snapped up a signed copy for you - "Baneful!"

"Most everyone knows Socrates died from ingesting Hemlock. Have you heard about the Celtic chieftain who committed suicide by Yew? How about the duels between rivals who ate just half of a poison bean?
From Abrus precatorius to Viscum album, Master Herbalist Deborah Martin takes us on a journey of discovery … ninety-five herbs that, while they had or have their medicinal and magical uses, can be deadly."

And, because I have an extra one of these fun almanacs  - I'm throwing it in the pile too!

"Inspiring you with a bounty of innovative ideas and recipes, Llewellyn’s 2014 Herbal Almanac offers dozens of articles that explore many ways of using herbs, from gardening and cooking, to health and beauty, to herb craft and lore."

Want one of these three books?  The full lowdown is in this post. Quite simply - leave your comment below and let me know how we connect. If you've already left that on a previous entry, you don't have to repeat yourself. Feel free to let me know which book you fancy - I'll see what I can do as far as matching up winners with books. I'll draw the names of the three winners on Monday, October 21st at 6pm (Pacific.) Best of luck!

*photographs and book descriptions are property of the respective authors/websites and are used simply to showcase the books in question.

Judika Illes Giveaway Winners (Plus One)

Alright - time for the goodies!

The winner of "The Weiser Field Guide To Witches" is ...

Linda Wildenstein!

And the winner of "Pure Magic" is...

Karen Sullivan!

And - since there was no response from the winner of Deborah Blake's book "Circle, Coven and Grove" - I've drawn another name....


If you would all be so kind as to send me your mailing address to: rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com - then I will get these books off to you!

Special thanks to Judika for signing these books and sending folks my way!  Don't forget to hit her Facebook fan page for all sorts of October awesomeness!

Oct 14, 2013

The Great October Book Giveaway - Judika Illes

Our next featured author is the wonderful Judika Illes!

Judika is the author of many beloved books, such as The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells and her latest, The Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, and Sages, as well as two fantastic Weiser Field Guides.

Judika is also quite active on Facebook and is currently featuring "a month of witches" on her fan page, as well as hosting some giveaways of her own - do check her out!

As for this little corner of the interwebs - I've got two delicious reads for you from Judika:

From:  www.JudikaIlles.com  :

A compendium of witches through the ages, from earliest prehistory to some of the most significant modern practitioners, The Weiser Field Guide to Witches explores who and what is a witch. Appropriate for readers of all ages, this book serves as an excellent and entertaining introduction for those fascinated by the topic.

A comprehensive course in practical magic contained in one single book. No jargon, no agenda: Pure Magic simply presents and explains the various components of spellcasting in plain, simple language. It walks you through the spell process, from beginning to conclusion, detailing all aspects and facets. All the information required to be a functional and successful spellcaster is included. Read the book and get ready to spell. Simple enough for novices to use and understand, Pure Magic also contains sophisticated information to satisfy adepts and to maintain relevance past the beginner’s stage.

Same rules apply - see here for details if you've not entered yet.  Leave a comment and let me know how we connect (where you follow or friend me here on the webs.)  If you've already left those details on a previous entry this month - don't worry about repeating yourself.  If you're keen to share this giveaway on one of your social media haunts, pop back and leave me one more comment with a link to show that you've shared - I'll enter your name again. (Max 2 comments per person.)

I'll draw the names for Judika's books on Thursday, October 17th at 6pm (Pacific) - best of luck!

*All photos and text describing Judika Illes' books are property of www.judikailles.com and used only to promote said books.

Oct 13, 2013

Make Magic Of Your Life - Winner....

The winner of T. Thorn Coyle's book "Make Magic Of Your Life" is.....

LaTrice Lott!

Please send your mailing address to rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com and I'll get the book off to you! Congrats!

Also - last call to Kathy S. - you won the Deborah Blake book "Circle, Coven & Grove."  Please have your address to me by Wednesday, October 16th or I'll have to draw another name for the book. Thanks!

The next giveaway will be up tomorrow, and you don't want to miss this author!

Last Harvest Corn Chowder

My friend grew corn at her ranch again this year. I don't know the variety, but I can tell you that it was the sweetest corn I've ever tasted.  It was so good that you could eat it off the cob, standing right there in the field if you wanted to. It tasted like candy.

We had several corn-on-the-cob feasts this summer.  My friend created a tequila-lime butter that we coated the hot corn in.  We sounded like a pack of wild animals while chewing on those cobs.

I took some corn home too, and messed around with corn fritter recipes and then settled into a pot of corn chowder that I wish had been triple the size so I'd have some in the freezer to take out and eat now.  I don't even know if chowder freezes well.  I'd have tried it though.

When I make soup, I toss a handfull of this and that in the pot, and hope for the best.  If you've noticed the few recipes I post here, they are very easy.  I'd love to be a Martha - but I'm more of a simple Sally.

I'll try and lay out this chowder recipe - as best as I can describe it.  I do hope you have put away some farm fresh corn from your local grower, but even if you don't have a freezer full of little bags of corn, a can will do in a pinch.  Or check your farmers market - I was at mine yesterday and saw some late harvest corn still for sale.

Late Harvest Corn Chowder

3 cups chicken or veggie stock                            3 slices bacon
1 small can coconut milk                                     3 large potatoes
1 cup heavy cream                                             1 large sweet onion
1 tbsp oil or butter                                              1.5-2 cups corn
1-2 tbsp flour and butter for roux                           (Added veggies to your liking - see below)
Salt, pepper, thyme - season as you like

In a stock pot, cook bacon until done, but not too crispy, and set aside.
Pour off bacon fat except one teaspoon.
Add one tablespoon of butter or oil to the bacon fat in the pot and cook onions until transparent.
Add chicken stock, potatoes, corn, and any other veggies you like in a chowder.  I added one small sweet potato (not a yam) and several sweet, golden beets.  I also added a small amount of salt, pepper and thyme here - but I perfect the seasoning at the end of a soup - so I kept my seasoning here at a minimum.
I add the bacon back at this point, ripped into small pieces.  Some folks add the bacon at the end, but I like it to infuse into the chowder for a longer period of time.
Add coconut milk.  It will appear to separate, but don't be concerned - it blends beautifully as the soup cooks.

Slowly bring to a boil and then lower the temp and let simmer for 10-20 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Add the cream and continue to simmer until the soup thickens.  You can omit the cream and thicken in one of the ways listed below too.

At this point, there are a few ways to thicken your chowder.  Some folks just add flour or cornmeal, but I'm not a fan of that method.  I prefer to cool down the soup a bit, and then blend a few cups of it in a blender and then add that back to the pot.

If the chowder is still not thick enough, I make a small amount of roux.  I take one or two tablespoons of flour (I used coconut flour this time and it worked perfectly) and the same amount of butter and mixed it and toasted it in a frying pan for 5-10 minutes on low heat (just until it starts to smell a bit warm and nutty.)  I added this to the soup and brought the soup temperature back up (not to a boil) and it thickened nicely.

And that's it.  You're done.  Season as you like.  Salt, pepper, thyme, and a nice teaspoon of tandoori spice is what I added to mine.  I like a bit of warmth to my soup, so the tandoori spice was a must for me.  I cheat, and buy it from Epicure, but you can make your own mix.

A happy and hearty feast to you!

Oct 9, 2013

Great October Book Giveaway - Make Magic Of Your Life

The next author featured in The Great October Book Giveaway, is T. Thorn Coyle!

I had the pleasure of meeting Thorn at Faerieworlds this summer and she was kind enough to autograph this book for a lucky person.  Her newest offering, "Make Magic Of Your Life" is a delicious read!

Activate the magical formula known the Four Powers of the Sphinx. These four powers — To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silence — help bring about a profound shift in how we view and move through the world. They point us toward our highest purpose and show us what to do, both practically and spiritually, once we’ve found it. They will lead us to a life of magic.

As always, to walk away with this signed copy, leave a comment with your name and how we connect.  If you've listed how we connect on a previous entry, don't worry about repeating yourself.  If you want to earn an extra entry, feel free to share the giveaway however you like - just pop back and leave a separate entry with your link.  For all the details, check out the main giveaway post here.

You've got until Sunday, October 13th to get your name in the hat.  At 6pm (Pacific) I'll pick a winner. Good luck!

*Image and quoted text is from thorncoyle.com and used only to promote the book in question.

Deborah Blake Giveaway Winners

Here are the lucky folks who will be getting a book in the mail...........

carolg - Everyday Witch Book of Rituals

Danu Brighid - The Goddess is in the Details

Kathy S - Circle, Coven & Grove

Congrats!  Please send me (rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com)  your mailing address this week and I will get your books off to you!

Stay tuned... next giveaway is moments away.......

Oct 5, 2013

The Great October Book Giveaway - Deborah Blake!

Our next author is the magical and clever Deborah Blake!

The first book of hers I discovered was "The Goddess is in the Details" and I resonated immediately with her view of weaving your magical practice into your everyday life.  I loved this book and am sharing a copy with you!  Deborah has several upcoming books (one on broom lore - right up my alley) as well as a pair of fiction novels and a fun book of 13 rituals (titled "A Witch's Dozen") currently available in e-book format.

I'm giving away three of her books here this week, including her newest release "Everyday Witch Book of Rituals" and her first book (now out of print) which she so generously offered up especially for you, from her personal stash, "Circle, Coven & Grove."

"Amplify your wishes and manifest positive changes all year long with Deborah Blake’s inspiring collection of simple rituals. Whether practicing alone or with a group, these empowering ceremonies, designed for new moons, full moons, sabbats, and other special occasions, will help you find love, build courage, boost creativity, achieve balance, and deepen your faith."

"From the hearth to the altar, make magic in every moment. Being a Witch isn’t limited to casting a spell under the full moon or consecrating a ritual circle. Whether you’re calling the Goddess or doing the dishes, your wonderfully witchy ways are woven into everything you do."

"Part instruction manual, part personal journal, and part Book of Shadows, this all-in-one ritual handbook is an ideal tool for busy Witches, new covens, and new priestesses, priests, or coven leaders. Celebrate the Wheel of the Year with original group rituals that can be used as written, personalized to reflect your coven’s unique style, or modified for solitary practitioners."

If you are new to the Great October Book Giveaway and want to know exactly how this works - do read the lowdown here.  As always, please leave a comment and let me know how we connect.  If you've already commented on the last post - no need to say "follower" or "subscriber" - I'll remember! Also, although I cannot guarantee you'll get the book you pick - feel free to let me know which one you'd like if you win - I'll do what I can.

I'll draw the names for the books on Wednesday, October 9th - best of luck!

**All photos and quoted text on this post are copyright of www.deborahblakeauthor.com and are used only to promote her work.

Oct 4, 2013

"The Mighty Dead" Giveaway Winner

The name drawn for "The Mighty Dead" is.....

Mario Zeleny!

Please send your mailing address to me at: RueandHyssop @ gmail (dot) com.


Check in tomorrow for the next author - and the chance to walk away with one of three books!

Oct 1, 2013

Great October Book Giveaway - The Mighty Dead

It's no secret that I'm a Christopher Penczak fan.  I've taken two years of his Temple of Witchcraft courses, and there is a goodly number of his books on my shelf.  I did also feature Christopher last year.  I won't normally be passing along books from the same authors each year in the October giveaway, but if the author has a new book out - it's fair game.  Plus, I wanted a copy of this one myself - so I picked up one for you too!

"Traditions across the world honor and recognize the sanctified dead-not just the ancestors of flesh and blood we knew in life – but the ancestors of our spiritual traditions, who died in a state of alignment and union with the divine. Known as the Bodhisattvas, Saints, Secret Chiefs, Ascended Masters and Inner Plane Adepts in other traditions, Witches know our ancestors as the Hidden Company, the Mighty Dead of our Timeless Tradition in the Nameless Art. In truth, they are the guiding principles of our modern tradition, as inner world priests and priestesses to the gods.They consist of our elders in the modern and ancient world, united in the ecstatic dance of the Witch’s Sabbat. Understand the nature of the Mighty Dead and how to work directly with them for your own healing and evolution, and your work in the worlds of flesh and spirit. Work with ancestral altars, oracular skulls, and spiritual merging. Learn to find guides, teachers, healers and partners within the order of the Mighty Dead."   ~ www.christopherpenczak.com

 Sounds fascinating, right?

Simply leave your comment below if you want this book all to yourself!  Let me know how we connect, and you're good to go!   (Look over the post below if you don't know how this works.)  I will draw the name for Christopher's book on Friday October 4th after 6pm Pacific time.  Good luck!

*The image and quoted text above is from www.christopherpenczak.com and used only to promote the book "The Mighty Dead" by Christopher Penczak.  

The 3rd Annual Great October Book Giveaway!

****UPDATE 2: October 15/13 Please do not leave a comment here if you want to enter the book giveaways. This is simply a post on how this giveaway is run. Please find the current giveaway post by scrolling up to the top of the blog OR refreshing the blog by clicking on the header. The first or second post you see will be the current giveaway. Please leave your entry on that post. Thanks!
**UPDATE:  October 12/13 There has been a couple questions about entering the giveaways.  The lowdown is below, but I just want to be clear about the process.  If you want in on the current giveaway, you need to leave a comment on the current giveaway post.  If you were directed here, to this intro post, via a link - just click up there on the blog header "Rue and Hysosp" and the page will reload for you.  The most recent post should be the current giveaway (unless I've posted about some of my October adventures - then just scroll down - you'll find it.)  You'll need to comment on each giveaway as it comes up if you want to be included in the draw for those books.  Thanks!

A happy and haunting October to you!  The most orange and fun-sized month of the year is not just an excuse to wear your pointy hat and scare small children, but it is also the month where you get to take home some books in your trick-or-treat bag!

My very favourite gifts to give and receive are books.  I can't get enough of them.  Good books, bad books, naughty books, books that make me sleep with the lights on, and books to sleep on in the hopes of somehow absorbing the knowledge within.  I adore them all - and I like to share.

This yearly book love-fest is a fun way for me to give back a little for all the thoughtful and lovely responses to my posts here on the blog, as well as the tweets, Facebook comments and general awesomeness that I get to experience from fellow bloggers and folks that bump into me around the interwebs. (I think you guys are fab - can you tell?)

I track down various authors I dig (because I know you'll dig them too,) and I get these wonderful folks to autograph their books and send them to me to give to you.  Sometimes, like this year, I get lucky and meet an author or two in person.  Some authors have even sent an extra book along - just because they wanted to share in the giving!  I also like to throw in extra books, like almanacs and herbal books I've picked up because I know my readers appreciate a little folklore, moon lore or herb lore along with their witchy books.

Here is how it works:

Giveaway Rules:

*  I will post a giveaway approximately every four days this month.  You've got those four days to leave a comment on the blog post for that particular giveaway, and then I'll draw the winning name(s) and post the next giveaway.  I'll leave dates and times in the posts, so you know when you need to have your entry in by.

*  This giveaway is specifically for folks that connect with me in some capacity.  In your comment, please let me know how you and I rub URL's (is that creepy?)  For example, simply say: "blog follower"  or "FB friend" or "subscribe to blog" or however that applies.  If you look to the right, on my sidebar, you'll see the different ways we can connect.  If you are a brand new follower because you just stumbled across me or someone pointed you this way - welcome!  Have a look around and toss your name in the hat too.

*  Please ensure that there is a way for me to get a hold of you.  I'm not going to allow anonymous comments because I get terrible spam if I do, but you can use Open ID or a registered account to comment. For now I'm going to leave the comment moderation feature off, but if it turns out that I've got to spend time each day deleting comments, it may have to come back on.  Let's hope the Halloween gods get rid of the trolls for us.

* In the past I've run a very easy "leave a comment and you're done" giveaway.  I like this simple approach, but I'm willing to consider a second entry if it's something you really want to do.  If you want to promo the blog/giveaway in some fashion and get brownie points for it - do your thing.  Just make sure that you comment a second, separate, time, leaving the link to your promo.   Even if you share the giveaway all over the interwebs, I'm only going to allow a second comment.  I don't want this getting too crazy y'all.

* You will have exactly one week to respond to my request for your mailing address, and I'll send your book out within a week of receiving that info from you.  If you don't respond within 7 days, I will have to draw a new winner for that particular book.

* I am in Canada.  I will send the books to Canada, USA or overseas (according to the legal rambling below) at the most cost-effective shipping rates.  This means your book may arrive anywhere from 5 days to 5 weeks after I mail it.  (In Canada - approx 5 business days.  To Germany - approx 5 weeks.)

Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents,) the USA, Great Britain and Europe who are 18 years of age or older.  This giveaway is void where prohitibited by law.  Please be aware of the contest/sweepstakes laws in your area.

*  Canadian residents will be subject to a skill testing question before being able to claim their prize (this is standard law in Canada.)  The skill testing question will be in a form similar to:  1 + 2 - 1 =

*  This giveaway is not for profit and no purchase is necessary to enter.

*  This giveaway is sponsored/administrated solely by this blog/blog author and is not affilitated with or sponsored by Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, or any other entity, nor can they be held liable.

* By leaving a comment intending to enter into the draw for the giveaway (or "sweepstakes,") you are knowingly agreeing to these rules/conditions.

Now that that's all over with - can we get on with the fun?!