Dec 31, 2014

I Love Your Spark

2014 was...interesting.  There were some stellar moments, and some uncomfortable lessons. There was adventure, and wildness and love, and some rather spectacular crashing.  I feel as though I have walked the Major Arcana from Fool to the Tower to Judgement, and today the World card turned over, and the cycle is both complete, and beginning again at midnight.

Today the sun shone brightly on the snow-covered hills, the cattle in the meadows of the next valley were breathing out dancing mist-creatures into the air as I drove by, and the moon has shown herself handsomely and so very near in the cold sky.  Today was rather stunning.  It was a good way to end this year - with the heart-aching beauty of the Valley I love so much.

It is also a good time to say Thank you.

I didn't speak much about the icky bits this year.  I was on my own alchemical journey, churning things up and out, and refining, refining (hello Temperance).  I suppose I didn't share because I thought it was meant to be a lone journey (and there's the Hermit), but these things never are. Because each time you visited Rue and Hyssop, and commented on a post, or read something here via a social media link, or chatted with me on Facebook or Twitter, or bumped into me somewhere out there in the 'verse, you left a little spark for me.

And the sparks - they added up.  And on my darkest days this year, there were sparks like fireflies that lit up my small world. I showed up here six years ago hoping for a little connection, but what I received was so much more.

Thank you, to those who have been stopping by for years, and to those who I've just met. Thank you to the ones who inspire, and the ones who encourage. Thank you to those who do the work, and remind me that the work is where I find the best parts of myself.  Thank you to the ones that bring the magic, and those that share the love, and all of you who leave your little sparks.  You have made my 2014 brighter.

I'm wishing you fireworks, and every beautiful thing that makes your soul sing. For every momentary thought, every good wish, every spark you've gifted me, may it come back to you one hundred times more.

Aside from you, these are a few things that made my heart sing in 2014:

Dec 8, 2014

A Few of My Favourite Things 2014 Edition

We have come upon the final "guaranteed delivery by Christmas" days of the miracle that is online shopping.  I myself, will be pummeling my little post office with an armload of packages that have come to be known as "The Massive Holiday Chocolate Migration," and so I thought I'd share a few of the things that have made my heart soar this year, in case you would like to get those awesome folks on your gift list something special.  There is still time to snap up most of these items - as always, check with the shop proprietors to ensure holiday delivery.  Or just order something for yourself as a "holiday survival" reward!

If you'd like to see what I recommended last year, go here.

Assorted Awesomeness

I love snail mail in a huge way.  There is nothing that makes me happier than finding a hand-written note in my mail box.  I've been a huge fan of Vanessa's postcards for years, and if you've ever won a book from my October giveaways, you will have received one of her cards with your prize.

It may sound odd, but a stack of beautiful postcards might be the best gift ever (if you are shopping for me). There is something perfect and simple about a postcard - just enough room for a fond thought and a good wish.  She has a wonderful selection of art prints and fun labels at A Fanciful Twist too.

Cat Fish Creek Candles is an Etsy shop that was pointed out to me by the lovely Dana, and I'm completely smitten.  A few hundred different beeswax candle designs, ensures that you will find something that catches your eye. Designs range from animals and holiday themes, to food and spiritual symbolism.  As for me - I really need this happy little sheep in my life!

Mischief and Magic

Magic-maker Jacquelyn Tierney created these mugwort sticks from her own beautiful plants and offers them up in two perfect sizes.  I can't think of a better stocking stuffer for a gardener or a witch.

"Fifty-Four Devils: The Art and Folklore of Fortune-telling with Playing Cards" was featured last year, but I'm going to list it here again because the author, Cory Hutcheson, is donating the proceeds of his book until the end of the year to the Peter Paddon Memorial Fund. It is a fantastic book and a great gift for anyone who enjoys cartomancy, and you get the added benefit of donating to a good cause.

Carolina Gonzalez is the proprietress of Camino De Yara, an enchanting shop of charms, magical herbs, and ritual services.  Carolina's products are superb and her selection of herbs is impressive (including rare plants only found in the Canary Islands where she lives).  Because of the distance, shipping from the Canary Islands may not get to you by Christmas, but do bookmark this fantastic shop for your future magical needs.

The Wildwood Tarot is a deck I picked up earlier this year, and I'm lost in it.  I've been using it mostly as a meditation aid, but I imagine at some point I'll get around to doing full readings with it. We are still in our courting phase, I think.

Bath and Botanicals

Adirondack Aromatherapy creates some of the most stunning soaps I've ever seen.  I'm currently scrubbing down with her "Theives" variety, but I'd like to try them all!

King's Road Apothecary is a delightful shop full of incredible goodies created by the talented Rebecca (whose blog Cauldrons and Crockpots is top f*cking notch). Aside from wanting to be her when I grow up, I also really dig the products I've purchased from her.  My current favourite is not even something I buy for me - her "Busted Joint Ointment" helps my mother with the arthritis pain in her hands, and for that I'm a customer for life!

As a last gift,  I'm going to mention my friend Hob's new blog "The Orphan's Almanac" - not just because he is a wonderful writer, but because right now (and for the next 8 days) he is having a "12 Nights of Krampus" celebration, and you can win something awesome each day. Make sure you get your entries in before midnight when Krampus comes and the gift is gone!

*photos are copyright to, and property of, the shops listed below them and are linked back.

Nov 29, 2014

Leaving November Where It Lies

How swiftly November came upon us, and not even a proper courting before the land froze solid, thawed, and then chilled again.  I was walking in the tamarack a brief month ago, and now I can't even drive up the hill without encountering a few feet of snow.  Autumn seemed so rushed to leave - such a fleeting lover.  My lips were barely kissed with warm rain before the winds came and tore every leaf from its job, waving at passers by.  So short-lived were the oranges and the flaming reds. The Summer held on so long this year, that Fall only had time to give a sly wink and then moved on.

I've taken much of November as catch-up.  I work two jobs in October every year, and with putting the gardens to bed, running wild with the book giveaways all month long, and of course the usual cat, niece, and parent herding, I was a bit ragged by Halloween.

Like a good granddaughter does, I visited my grandparents' graves on All Souls Day, and washed the stones and left flowers and a treat for my grandfather. He usually gets my homemade cookies, but this year I found some Eccles cakes in a shop and knew that it was the perfect offering.  His mother used to make them, and we all keep the recipe sacred in our family.  I'll make some at Christmas and be sure to take him another treat.

I had a lovely chat with my friend's 92 year old mother about her celebrations of All Souls in Bangladesh.  When they lived in the area, there had been a large Catholic contingent, and the celebration on that day stretched through the town.  People would come singing out of the little hill settlements, and down along the roadways, and everyone would meet at the cemetery to clean the graves and lay flowers and candles.  Afterward there were prayers at the Catholic church and feasts later at homes that hosted hundreds of people passing through.  My friend's birthday is on November 2nd and she says that those birthdays growing up in Bangladesh were the happiest of her life.  She felt honoured to have a birthday on All Souls Day.

The souls themselves have lingered as Autumn moved on. The 'thin-time' seems to be always, but it is perhaps a more pronounced feeling as Winter approaches.  The sounds of the vitality of Summer and the buzzing of the earth have been quieted in sleep.  This slipping in to hibernation tends to offer up the space for the softer voices to be heard, leaving no buffer against the silence, save the growing bustle of the holiday season.  And what else are the holidays for, really, but keeping the fires lit and the spirits lifted to weather the long, cold months ahead.  Even as we celebrate we keep an eye to door, lest the wolf, Krampas, or Marley's ghost find their way in.

"There is an old tale that Herne the Hunter,
Sometimes a keeper in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the wintertime, at still midnight,
Walk around about an oak with great ragged horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine* yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner:"

* milk cows

The winds are battering The Valley this week.  The ice has come early, and settled in.  The Wild Hunt is riding and the Old Woman of Winter is sending the deer into the lowlands looking for food. The meagre offerings left in my front flower garden will not sustain them for long, but they are wise and know of the silly woman who talks to deer and leaves seeds and nuts out for birds, and extra helpings hidden under the trees just for them.

And so, as Autumn gives up its last breath and is defeated before the rash advance of ice and snow, I will leave November where it lies, with a quick kiss on its hastily turned cheek.  It gave me but a moment's rest before the excitement begins anew in December, and for that I am thankful.

I hope November leaves you safe, well-fed, and warm, with the good cheer and stamina to enjoy a December as restful or raucous as you like.

My late November-December reading choices: 

"Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead" by Claude Leconteux
"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens
"Acadian Christmas Traditions" by Georges Arsenault

*quoted text from Shakespear's Merry Wives of Windsor

Nov 3, 2014

A Note of Thanks and the Final Great October Book Giveaway Winners

Before I draw the last three names, I want to take a moment to thank you all for stopping by this past month (plus a few days).  October was a strange and wondrous month, and it wouldn't have been half as lovely without reading all your comments.  I have bumped into the nicest people on the internet!  I very much wish I could have given each one of you a book (and a big hug).

I'd also like to thank the authors for signing their books as a little extra touch for you, and a special shout-out to Signe Pike, who donated a book and some fun extras, and to Deborah Blake who sent out some bookmarks and cute promo cards that I tucked in to many of the packages that went out - you guys rock! And some very big love to Red Wheel/Weiser who sent me two books from their amazing 2014 lineup, just for you!

And as a side-note for those of you who received books, just in case you are curious - the note cards enclosed were from A Fanciful Twist.

I also want to thank, from the bottom of my little green heart, the kind folks who have directed others to Rue and Hyssop.  These names came up as either having directly sent people my way, or having mentioned my blog somewhere on their site, which led people here - not surprisingly, this is a list of people I adore too:

Magaly Guerrero - Pagan Culture Blog
Sarah Anne Lawless
Lamplighter Blues
New World Witchery
Aidan Wachter

And now...the three people receiving a copy of Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook are:

Rebecca Powell

Liz Davenport


Congratulations!  Please send me your mailing address and I'll send those off to you!  (rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com.)

Do stop by and visit the authors/publishers that were featured this month, and perhaps grab yourself a little treat for Yule!  Thank you all again for making my October brighter!  

Oct 30, 2014

The Great October Giveaway - Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook

It might be the Virgo in me, but I love a good calendar that is organized and fun to use.  This datebook is one I've had my hands on each year, since my best friend's mother bought me a copy about five years ago.  It is informative - listing astrological events, moon info and more, and it's got a selection of articles from authors you might recognize as well.

Llewellyn says:

"Today's busy Witches can stay on top of it all—the magical and the mundane—with Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook, now featuring enchanting illustrations from award-winning artist Kathleen Edwards. Add a little magic to each day and keep pace with the ever-turning Wheel of the Year with this indispensable, on-the-go tool. You'll find fun, fresh ways to celebrate the sacred seasons and enhance your practice—inspiring Sabbat musings (Deborah Blake), tasty Sabbat recipes (Diana Rajchel), Moon rituals (Magenta Griffith), and flowers (Tess Whitehurst). For spellwork, there's astrological information and daily colors. Also included are in-depth articles on play-day magick (Melanie Marquis), automatic writing (Sybil Fogg), relaxation (Elizabeth Barrette), seduction magick (Suzanne Ress), and more."

I have three copies of the 2015 Witches' Datebook to give away!

So many of you have been playing along all month, so I know you have this all down by now!  If this is your first kick at the pumpkin (we don't kick cats around here) then head over to the giveaway information post here, and then pop back and let me know how you connected with me.  If you've left that info before - you're gold!

I'll draw the three names from the hat on Sunday, November 2nd at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time.  (Don't forget the time change!)  Best of luck!

Photo and quoted text are copyright Llewellyn Worldwide and used only to promote the datebook.

Winners - The Witch's Broom

Deborah Blake's charming books are going home with:

Renee Olson


Congratulations!  Please pop me a note with your mailing address and I'll get your books out to you!

Fly your broom back this way for the next giveaway...coming right up!

Oct 27, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - The Witch's Broom

Our next giveaway is this little gem from author Deborah Blake, "The Witch's Broom - The Craft, Lore & Magick of Broomsticks."  Deborah has been a busy witch this year, and has put out not only this fun book on broom lore and magical uses, but also a witchy fiction novel called "Wickedly Dangerous." As if that wasn't enough, she has written the follow up to her fiction novel, "Wickedly Wonderful" - which will be out in December - as well as two non-fiction books coming out in 2015 and she is working on a tarot deck. 

I love the size of this book - compact, and chock-full of history, charms, spells, and a few other witches even stop by to talk about their brooms too.  Here is what the jacket has to say:

"Take a magickal flight into the history, tradition, and modern uses of broomsticks. Whether sweeping the floors or helping with spells, rituals, and crafts, the broom is a more versatile tool than you ever imagined.
Join Deborah Blake on a journey through the ages, exploring why broomsticks and witches have always been an inseparable pair. Enjoy broom lore, insights from well-known witchy authors, and instructions for buying or making your own for special occasions. From besoms to broomcorn, The Witch’s Broom is the perfect guide for adding a new facet to your magickal practice. Have a nice flight!"

I have two copies of "The Witch's Broom" to give away.  You've got until Thursday, October 30th at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time to get your comment in below.  If you are showing up late to the party, you can read how it all works on this post, then let me know how you found me out here in the wide web world.  If you've done that dance before - no need for a do-over - you're covered!

Picture and text from "The Witch's Broom" is copyright Deborah Blake and Llewellyn Worldwide and used only for the purpose of promoting this book.

Winners - Listen to Them Whisper

The hat was rather over-flowing this time around - y'all love some Mama Starr!  I think she's fabulous too.  Do check her out at Old Style Conjure if the spirit moves you.

The two book are going to:


Aine O'Brien

Drop me a note, if you please, at rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com.

I wish I could send you all a copy!  But hang in there - there are still more books up for grabs. The next giveaway is coming up right away...

Oct 26, 2014

Impermanence and Returning to The Land

I'm feeling a little broken-open of late. I know I'm not alone. October has been beautiful, warm, magical, unsettling, and heart wrenching. It sounds like a country song, and feels like a warm blanket, and a good cry.

There has been tragedy, both here in Canada, and in the US this week, and there has been a profound loss in our community again - too many this year.  At the begining of the month, a dear friend's daughter succumbed to breast cancer. She was only 35 years old.

The ancestor altar is full.

This isn't a new experience for us. And it won't be the last of it. This is the cost of being human. Loving people that may move out of this realm before we are ready to see them leave.  Building community and "safe" places, and structures, that can crumble right in front of us.  We forget sometimes that impermanence isn't something to fight.  It is what we are.

I've just come in from turning over the vegetable gardens, and readying them for their long Winter's rest.  They were fruitful.  But there were also greens that didn't survive the summer. A few plants bloomed too late to grow anything worth harvesting.  Some rushed out of the earth too early this past Spring and were frost-bitten. For every abundant crop, there was a flower or an herb that didn't quite become the lush plant I had hoped for. The pruning shears were merciless.

Having a garden is one of the best lessons of (almost daily) impermanence I know of. As much as I thanked the earth today, and raked in compost and offerings, and as grateful as I was to have had a good harvest, there was still a feeling of loss.  I will never get this growing season back. I can't jump back to June, and tie up the tomatoes in a better fashion so they might have more sun, or fertilize the squash to ensure a more robust harvest. The growing season is over.

I am processing the impermanence all around me in the best way I know how.  With my hands in the dirt a few last times, holding my loved ones a little closer, ever crawling back to my ancestors, the land, my magic.

Byron Ballard says it better, in her post on "Tower Time" and "Going to Ground":

"We work ourselves into a frenzy of grief and guilt and spiritual activity. We open ourselves to the sorrow and anger, and filter it as best we can. We meet for coffee, and walks, and we talk for hours on the phone. Gentling the community in its outrage, cushioning it from outright despair. We are blown about by the winds and waves of all that assails us and sometimes the only place to go for succor, for comfort is away from the computer and the phone and the endless cups of coffee. To the garden, to the woods, to the earth."

The riverside I know and love is gone. The earth movers came, to make way for the big machines that will roll in to fix the crumbling bridges. The mullein is gone. The tansy, the goldenrod I let be this year, so it would come back more fully next season.  Milkweed, cinquefoil, wild mustards, horsetail, and burdock have vanished.  The wild roses and raspberries, and the high bush cranberries and Oregon grape that grew along the both sides of the walking path - all gone.

But nature has a way of taking back what we steal from it.  The few shrubs, trees and green life left at the edge of the destruction will spread this coming Spring.  The plants will seed and the wind will spread them far and wide again.  The land will outlive the earth movers.  The only impermanence is us.

I'm reminded of the stunning writings of earlier this summer from Peter Grey and Sarah Anne Lawless, linked and quoted succinctly in this post from HecateDemeter, where she also speaks for the city witches, saying:

"And we city Witches need to commune with the spirits of our places, with the “uncivilized world of nature” in our cities if we hope to know the names, powers, and dwelling spaces of our local spirits."

Do you know your land, your local spirits?  Do they show you the impermanence in the seasons, in the washing away of land in floods and storms, or the crumbling of old buildings under climbing vines and trees?

We can all of us, rural and urban dwellers, go back to the land in our own way, and commune with the spirits of our places.  Let's go there. I suspect our dead will come too.

Oct 24, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - Listen to Them Whisper - Honoring the Ancestors

Our next book is the latest release from Mama Starr - "Listen to Them Whisper" - Honoring the Ancestors.  

Mama Starr is the wise woman behind the Old Style Conjure website and podcast, as well as one of the four members of the Conjure Crossroads crew who host a podcast, and the popular "Folk Magic Festival" in New Orleans, and Conjure Con in California.  Mama Starr is a passionate conjure worker, and has written several books in an effort to share the "work" she was taught by her family.

A few words from the Foreword, from Katie Lydon Olivares:

"On our paths to spiritual enlightenment and personal power, no practice will pack a stronger punch than Ancestor Veneration. The current wisdom teaches that there is no deity or spirit more invested in our success than our ancestors. Their blood courses through our veins. Therefore, as we succeed, they succeed. If only for selfish reasons, they desire great things for us and will remove blocks to achieving our goals. These powerful allies desire a relationship with us just as we desire one with them. There are many tools one can employ to develop and strengthen that kinship.

Enter Mama Starr's latest book, Listen to Them Whisper: Honoring the Ancestors. This information-packed book provides a comprehensive and forgiving path to Ancestor Veneration. Individuals from all faiths and traditions can realistically read this treasure and immediately establish the relationship for which they've been yearning. Mama Starr, author of 8 previous books on her family conjure practices, draws from a lifetime of personal experience. " 

I have two autographed copies of Mama Starr's book to pass along to you. If you want in, simply leave a comment.  If you haven't joined in here at the October party yet, check out the lowdown on this post first, and then swing back and let me know how you found me. (For example, did you stumble across my little blog here, or do we connect on a social media site?)

The month is fading fast now, so you'll only have until Monday, October 27th to get your name in the hat!  I'll draw the winners' names at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time.

Good luck!

Winners - The Thorn-Blooded Witch

The two lucky people that will be receiving a copy of The Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch, by Raven Grimassi, are:

Stephanie Clayton

Magaly Guerrero

Congratulations!  Please pass along your mailing address, and I'll get your book off to you on Monday!

Don't fret if your name didn't jump out of the hat tonight - there are still six more books that need good homes.  Stay tuned!

Oct 20, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch

Another charming author that made an appearance at Faerieworlds this summer was Raven Grimassi (along with his wise and witty partner in life and magic, Stephanie).  He spoke passionately about the wisdom of plants, both wild and those of his yard and gardens, and he touched on some of the history of witchcraft, as well as how his practice works.

He brought with him, his newest book, "Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch - Mastering the Five Arts of Old World Witchery" and of course I had to bring home a couple copies for you!

Here is what the jacket has to say:

"For the first time in more than a decade, Grimassi introduces readers to a new system of witchcraft, one that draws upon the old ways and the old days. Rich with spells, rituals, and detailed illustrations of plant spirits, Grimassi dares readers to take the path that leads deep into the darkened woods—to traverse upon the Thorned Path.

Meet the entities that dwell within the organic memory of the earth, the devas, the deities, the magical life force that lies within the wooded glen. Learn to work with these spirits, and use their wisdom to transform your life and your practice."

The song and dance is the same as all the previous giveaways this month.  Leave a comment and let me know how you bump into me in the wide electronic world (do you follow the blog, or connect with me on social media)? If you've left that info before, you are good!  If you are new here and are wondering about participation or shipping restrictions - read this first.  

I will draw the names for the two copies of Raven's book on Friday, October 24th at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time.

Good luck!

The above photograph and quoted text are copyright Raven Grimassi and Red Wheel/Weiser and are used only for the purpose of promoting the book.

Winners - Red Wheel/Weiser

First, a big October-sized hug goes out to the good folks at Weiser who sent along these two wonderful books for you!

And the books are flying off to live with....

Hedgewitch Book of Days -  Orion's Daughter

The Voodoo Doll Spellbook - Yasmin

Congrats!  Drop me a note, if you please, with your mailing address, and I'll get your book out to you!  (rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com.)

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to enter!  You can, of course, find these titles on the fabulous Red Wheel/Weiser site if you need a copy of your very own!

Swing by again tomorrow when the next books are up for grabs!

Oct 17, 2014

Crafting Blooming Howls - Incense for Autumn Nights

I am, like that white rabbit, almost perpetally running (and often a bit behind) but I am sneaking in just before midnight to play along with Magaly, the wickedly wonderful hostess of Pagan Culture, at her "Witches in Fiction: Crafting Blooming Howls" party.  There is a dark and lovely bouquet of posts over there to peruse if you enjoy seeing what crafty witches get themselves up to when a blog party arises.

As for my craft, I'm always inspired by the world around me - especially the hills, rivers and plant life in my delightful Valley. Although the Autumn colours have taken their sweet time arriving (we've had a remarkably sunny and warm September and October) they are starting to flash some crimson and orange here and there.  The last of the herb harvests have just come in and are hanging to dry and I'm starting to play and create some of my favourite concoctions.

Today I'm sharing one of my swoon-worthy incense recipes.  I make this incense each Autumn and burn it to evoke the smoky, sweet, earthy scent of deep Fall when the gardens are put to bed and the last over-ripe apples are dropping from the trees, and the scent of woodsmoke is in the air.

Autumn Incense

1 part benzoin tears
1 part juniper berries
2 parts frankincense tears
1/2 part cedar greens
1 part sandalwood

Use a mortar and pestle to break down the ingredients into the desired consistency.
You can be finished at this step, or
I like to add a drizzle of local honey or wine at this point,
 to wet the incense and make it stick together.
I let the coarse incense dry over a two-week period, turning often. Burn on lit charcoal.

Definitely burn this incense when wandering through the garden with your witchy friends, drinking midnight margaritas.  And don't forget to howl!

Oct 16, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - Red Wheel//Weiser

One of the most prolific publishing houses that caters to the wider Pagan community is Red Wheel/Weiser.  Not only do they have a varied and impressive catalogue of everything from basic 101 books to classic esoteric tomes, but they are also staffed by some really cool people (I'm talking about you Eryn).  The fab folks there sent along two books for you! The first is a brand, sparkling new October release, and the second was a magical summer release - and they both look amazing!

The first book is "Hedgewitch Book of Days - Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year" by Mandy Mitchell

"Once upon a time the witch held a place of esteem in the village; her knowledge of local plants and wayside herbs were used to heal; her wisdom and empathy made her the village matchmaker and marriage counselor; and her ability to commune with nature and animals gave her a place of revelry and wisdom. She was the Hedgewitch.

Aimed at the busy witch, who is both breadmaker and breadwinner, this book revives the spirit of the Hedgewitch and teaches you how to make every day one full of wisdom, healing, and magic. For the practicing or would-be witch whose life is more jeans, chaos, and the never-ending question of what’s for dinner than it is black robes, cauldrons, and incantations, Mandy Mitchell has a recipe for you!"

You can also check out this book review from Patti Wigington of's Paganism/Wicca portal.

The second book up for grabs is "The Voodoo Doll Spellbook - A Compendium of Contemporary Spells and Rituals" from Denise Alvarado

"When it comes to Voodoo, few things are more iconic than the Voodoo doll. Known also as conjure dolls, doll babies, dollies, baby dolls, poppets, fetich, fetish, and effigies, they are servants of fast-acting, long-lasting magic. If you are seeking a new job or new friends, need to find your one true love or keep your lover at home, wish to be rid of your enemies or protect yourself from thievery, in these pages you will find the doll and the spell to do just that and more.

Drawing not only on New Orleans Voodoo and hoodoo traditions, Alvarado also presents doll spellwork from ancient Greece, Egypt, Malaysia, Japan, Africa, and the European grimoires of old magic. You’ll learn how to make, use, and properly dispose of your Voodoo doll."

And here is a review of The Voodoo Doll Spellbook from Cory of New World Witchery.

By now, most of you know how this works, but if you are just showing up to the party, you can go here to view the rules and legal bits.  I throw this little book-rave yearly because I absolutely adore the kind folks who wander by this blog and bump into me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and now Ello (which I keep forgetting about).  So all you need to do is leave a comment telling me how you found me/how you follow me.  If you've done that bit in a previous giveaway entry, you're free to just tell me what book you'd prefer if you win.

I'll draw the names of the two winners on Monday, October 20th at 9pm Pacific/midnight Eastern time.  Please make sure you leave a linked comment or an email address so I can notify you in writing if you've won!

All book photos and quoted text are copyright Mandy Mitchell and Denise Alvarado respectively and Red Wheel/Weiser, and used only to promoted the books listed.

Winners - The Wild Medicine Solution and Plant and Fungus Totems

The winners of "The Wild Medicine Solution" by Guido Masé are:

Country Witch

scavengerspirits - Jennifer Lawrence

The winner of "Plant and Fungus Totems" by Lupa is:


Please drop me an email with your mailing address and I'll get your books off to you!  (RueandHyssop AT gmail DOT com.)

Oct 13, 2014

The Great October Giveaway - The Wild Medicine Solution and Plant and Fungus Totems

If you've spent any amount of time here, you'll know that I'm crazy about plants. With cats, indoor green-life is a thing of the past for me, but outside...well, let's just say that my dream yard is all gardens. I'm all about growing (and wildcrafting) plants for food, medicine, and magic, and a huge part of my learning has been through books, and following around some amazing herbalists online.  

I found Guido Masé on Twitter, and am in awe of his knowledge and passion for plant medicine.  His book, "The Wild Medicine Solution" is our next giveaway - and I have two signed copies for you!

From his blog A Radicle:

"Herbal medicine doesn't have to be rocket science - though it is a rich, beautiful, and extremely complex endeavor. Its basic premises are easy to grasp and can quickly bring benefit.
So in this book, I've tried to highlight how whole-plant, wild-plant medicine is important, accessible, and simple by outlining three classes of medicinal plants that are universally found in traditional healing systems. I explore the science behind how they work, but also use stories, history and mythology interwoven in the narrative to provide meaning and context to herbalism. Finally, through practical examples, I give my take on a few safe, effective, weedy and wild plants (and one fungus)."

Our second book is "Plant and Fungus Totems" the new release from Lupa, who was also featured last year.  Lupa is a multi-talented artist and wild woman, who can often be found vending at larger festivals throughout the West.  I had the good fortune to meet her at Faerieworlds in Oregon this year, so I brought back an autograhped book for one lucky person!

From the book jacket:

"Open up to a new realm of spiritual practice. Plant and Fungus Totems provides techniques for creating respectful partnerships with totems, archetypal spirits that embody the qualities of their respective species. Working with just plants and fungus—or in conjunction with their animal counterparts—you will discover the wisdom these spirit beings impart to those of us who listen.

Exploring three different models of totemism, Lupa invites you to be of service to the planet’s ecology by developing relationships with these often-overlooked sources of insight. Providing meditations and suggestions for journaling and experimentation,Plant and Fungus Totems shows how to receive guidance and helps you connect more deeply with the totemic ecosystem. Also included are hands-on exercises for incorporating physical plants and fungi into your totemic work, as well as tips for working with herbs, gardens, urban wild plants, and more."

To get your name in the book-cauldron, leave a comment, and let me know how we connect. Did you recently bump into me over on Facebook, or did someone point you to this corner of the internet? If you've been here already this month and previously let me know how you found me, no need to repeat yourself - just let me know which book peaks your interest.  I'll try to match winners with books whenever possible.

If you are new to the October giveaways make sure you know the lowdown on the legalities (click here) and make sure it's cool with your government for me to ship you free stuff!  (I'll send books out anywhere that I don't have to fill out ten pages of paperwork and buy a lottery license.)

The three winners will be announced on Thursday, October 16th at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time.

All photos and quoted text are property and copyright of Guido Masé and Healing Arts Press, and Lupa and Llewellyn Worldwide and are used only to promote the books listed.

Oct 12, 2014

Winners - Practical Magick Series and Coventry Magic

Another harvest of books is heading out into the world!

Here is the list of winners:

Practical Prosperity Magick ...........  Johanna Lawson

Practical Protection Magick ............ Tilda

Coventry Magic ..............  Alpha Betsy

Coventry Magic .............. Linda Wildenstein

Congratulations everyone!

Drop me a note at rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com with your mailing address, and I'll get these books out in the post for you on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday here!)

And if your name isn't on the list - don't worry!  Three more books are appearing tomorrow!

Oct 9, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - The Practical Magick Series and Coventry Magic


The next books in our month of magic, all have a practical theme.  These are guides to "getting things done."  Friendly, concise, and straightforward, these are great books for any witch's library.

From Ellen Dugan, we have "Practical Protection Magick"

"Embrace your innate warrior skills—knowledge, balance, and wisdom—and amp up your personal power. This helpful handbook is chock-full of protection witchery and psychic self-defense techniques you can use to keep yourself and your home strong, secure, and protected."

And, "Practical Prosperity Magick"

"Learn how to optimize your opportunities and draw success with this no-nonsense approach to prosperity magick. Providing an accessible foundation grounded in the seven Hermetic principles and the four elements, author Ellen Dugan explores how it can be combined with the law of attraction to improve your future."

And from Jacki Smith, we have "Coventry Magic with Candles, Oils, and Herbs" 

"Jacki Smith, owner of Coventry Candles, one of the largest suppliers of magic candles in the US, has been crafting magic candles for more than twenty years. In Coventry Magic with Candles, Oils, and Herbs, she shares the history of candle magic along with the recipes, spells, and divinations anyone can use to increase love, prosperity, luck, and abundance.

Coventry Magic is not your mama’s candle magic; this is candle magic for our complicated 21st century lives. Coventry Magic explores not only what color candle to use for a specific need but how to dig down deep inside and find out what that need really is."

I have one copy of each of Ellen's Practical Magick books and two copies of Jacki's book to pass along to you. I can't guarantee that you you will get the book you want, but feel free to let me know which book grabs you, and I'll see what I can do when the winning names are picked!

As before, leave a comment* to enter,  If you've been here already this month and previously let me know how we connect, no need to repeat yourself - just let me know which book strikes your fancy.

If you are new to the October giveaways here, check the Rules and Regs, and swing back here to let me know how we've bumped into each other.  (For example, do you roll your eyes at my silly tweets over on Twitter, or did you stumble across the blog and subscribe?)

The four winners will be announced on Sunday, October 12th at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern.**

Best of luck!

*Please make sure your comment either has direct contact information on it (an email address) or ensure that you comment via a linked profile that takes me to a site where I can contact you directly. I have to be able to notify you in writing if you win (legalities and all) - please make it easy on me!

**This weekend is the Thanksgiving weekend for us Canadians. I will make every effort to post the winners' names at the regular time, but if I'm in a turkey coma, or knee-deep in pumpkin pie, I may be a little late with the announcement.  Thank you for your understanding!

All photos and quoted text are copyright Ellen Dugan and Lllewellyn Worldwide, and Jacki Smith and Red Wheel/Weiser, and are used only to promote the books for this giveaway.

Oct 8, 2014

Winners - Faery Tale

First, a big thanks to Signe Pike for sending along a third copy of her book for you, and a few little extras!  For those that didn't win - feel free to click on the book above and dig around Signe's magical website, and order her book!

The three people receiving a copy of "Faery Tale" are:


Inari Fox


Please email or message me your mailing address and I'll get these books off to you!  (I'll also send you a note to let you know.)

Also, this is a last call to: runningafter3 - I need your mailing address by Saturday (October 11th) please, or I will have to draw another name for the second copy of "The Witch's Eight Paths of Power."

Congrats to everyone!  

The next giveaway will be up tomorrow morning!

Oct 4, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - Faery Tale

Our next book is all kinds of magical!  Written by the extra-lovely Signe Pike, "Faery Tale - One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World" is not just a book - it's an adventure!

From the cover:

"In search of something more after the devastating loss of her father, Signe Pike left her career in Manhattan to undertake a magical journey–literally. In a sweeping tour through Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland, and beyond, she takes readers to dark glens and abandoned forests, ancient sacred sites, and local pubs,  seeking those who might still believe in the elusive beings we call faeries. As Pike attempts to connect with the spirit world—and reconnect with her own sense of wonder and purpose—she comes to view both herself and the world around her in a profoundly new light.
Captivating, full of heart, and unabashedly whimsical, Faery Tale is more than a memoir—it’s the story of rekindling that spark of belief that makes even the most skeptical among us feel like a child again."
This is exactly the kind of book you want to curl up with and get lost in.  Perfect Autumn reading!

The best part?  Signe sent an extra copy for you, so there are three books to give away!  (She also sent along a little treat to go with each book.)

As usual, just leave a comment if you want in on the chance to grab a copy of this charming book.  Tell me how we've bumped into each other, out in the wide interwebs. (Are you a blog follower, or a Twitter pal, or have you come across the blog (or my multitude of pumpkin pins) on Pinterest?) If you've left that info on a comment in the last giveaway, no need to repeat yourself, just leave your mark here in whatever way you like.

Contest rules are here if you're new to this party.

I'll draw the names of the three winners on Wednesday, October 8th at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time.  Good luck!

Winners - The Witch's Eight Paths of Power

The first two folks going home with books this month are....

Kestril Trueseeker



Please drop me a note (rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com) with your mailing address and I'll get your book off to you!

For everyone else- breeze by on your broom tomorrow morning - the next books are coming up!