Oct 28, 2021

The Great October Book Giveaway - Folk Magic

So many thanks to everyone who joined me for the October festivities this year! I had a wonderful time and am thrilled that folks still want to play along each year. I've drawn the last names (Aly, Gay, Shelby, and Mara have all been sent emails) and I'm wrapping up the final books to head out to their new homes.

I hope these last two months of the year are good to you and yours. Stay well and safe, and thank you again for gathering around the fire with me.

xoxo Jen

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The salt shaker was on its side, little pebbles of the stuff scattered around it. Without thinking I pressed my fingers into the crystals and then flicked them over my left shoulder. Then I laughed and whispered "sorry, sweet devil," as I also happen to have a soft spot for the fellow, which that particular action was meant to thwart. There were a number of times while cleaning, that I did something which might seem strange to others but was unconscious or natural to me. Singing charms while sweeping. Drawing symbols on the doors with saliva or blessed water. Tucking a coin somewhere. Muttering a piece of a psalm. None of it on its own would be considered 'magic' necessarily. But all together, these actions weave together an enchantment to keep my living space safe and healthy.

My grandmother was not a witch. She was a 'good Christian woman' who raised seven children, grew roses like no one else, and kept my grandfather mostly in line. She could also heal a bee sting with a potato, cure whatever ailed you with food from her kitchen, and keep away pests and unwanted solicitors from her door with an ever-present box of Borax. I have never had any doubt that she was magic. 

Folk magic is, just as the term implies, the magic of the common 'folk' in a family, an area, or a culture. In many cases the people employing those charms, ways, or songs might not label it as magic. They may consider it a gift from their land or their god(s), a gift passed through a familial line, or simply a learned skill. It was most often what was done to protect a family or home, heal what was harmed, and bring things or people closer (or push them away). Folk magic was, and oftentimes still is, a tool of practicality or necessity. 

It is so much more than this, of course. And that is why I am leaving it to these next brilliant authors to introduce us to their studies, practices, and experiences of folk magic. I know you'll learn a great deal from them.



I have four books that present folk magic in beautiful, fascinating, practical (and sometimes painful) ways. Once you've read these books, you'll surely spot magic everywhere, and want to dig into your own familial and cultural history to track it down even further.

Our first book is one that will keep you busy, but the time spent here will bring nothing but rewards. New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic, by Cory Thomas Hutcheson of New World Witchery fame is, frankly, jaw-dropping. It is part history book, part enchanting folktale, a good helping of spellwork, a smidgeon of a recipe collection, plus a wink of devilish fun. It's as though the author took a basket out into the woods and rooted out the treasures of what magic was, and is, and could be, and brought them back just for us. 

Magic in plain sight, the witch's flight, friendly spirits and unfriendly (baneful) magic. Tricksters and devils, healing and love, and how to launch a good defense. Creatures, cryptids, spell containers and charms. I don't know that there is any topic that Cory doesn't at least give us a glance at, and he is quick to recommend further reading for those things that excite our interest. What impresses me most, though, is that there is a genuine effort to bring awareness to the places where the pursuit of magic can harm others - racism, cultural appropriation, sexism, and indifference to physical ability/ableness. There are also sections called "Singing Bones" where we are introduced to healers, witches, and magical folk in history. There is no question that those who were considered 'other' were not usually looked kindly upon in days of old. I'm glad some of these people get their names honoured in this book.


There is a strong sense that the place of magic shapes the form of magic. - C.T. Hutcheson

Fever Tree: Charms Against Fever in Appalachian Folk Magic  by Rebecca Beyer of Blood and Spicebush is a book that very much speaks to a place and form of magic. Appalachian healing traditions are a spellbinding example of how folk magic from one area can be similar to folk magic in another place, yet maintain the distinct flavour of the bio-region it was practiced in. The fever spoken of in the title is not a simple rising of body temperature due to an internal battle of our immune system. In the early days of communal-living people, fever was looked at as sentient and able to manifest. It brought sickness and disease. It was therefore crucial that it be prevented from laying hold, and there were a number of folks trained in ways help and heal, if it did. 

Rebecca introduces us to a host of people doing the good work of ridding contagion, from blood stoppers and granny women to charm doctors and burn whisperers. We are made acquainted with methods and ingredients that were employed by healers, as well as magical actions (or in some case, inaction) that were mean to chase fever away. If you've ever had an interest in folk healing, or specifically the Appalachian region, this book is a must-read! 

"Folk medicine does not stand still in time," says Beyer in this riveting study, "and today, this living tradition continues to grow and change as the people who heal with their hands continue to make and use the medicines of the mountains." 

This compact but captivating book is part of the Law of Contagion Series published by Three Hands Press and is a limited edition publication (there were only 400 copies printed). Do grab one while you can!


Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience: A Crucible at the Crossroads, by Via Hedera is our next selection, and one that I think belongs on everyone's bookshelf. I wish it were ten times the length that it is, because the author's writing and research pulls you directly into the stream of folk magic in North America (specifically the USA) and takes you into the hidden eddies to show you where charms mingle with tricks, and where family/ancestors, festivals, and local flora and fauna all have made a place for themselves in these practices. Most importantly, Via pages through the history books and offers up carefully selected gems, all through the unique lens of her own multicultural experience. 

There isn't a voice like Via's in the folk magic community, because there is no one else like Via. "I speak as a witch who seeks to promote the magical traditions of my ancestors and the witchery they brought here; from Africa, from Europe, from Asia, from Turtle Island - because for some Americans, like me, this is who we are and all we know."

This is necessary reading for anyone interested in folk magic. There is no 'one source' for magic - no one owns it - and Via shows us how these practices have melted together in the cauldron of North America, carried here by people from afar, as well as cultivated on this soil long before others arrived here. You'd do yourself a kindness by reading Via's blog as well, and I am hoping she will do us a kindness by publishing more books!


The charms we know today are most often hold-overs from those who came before us. We can trace their worries and daily fears through their common superstitions. We can view the world through their experiences when we tap into the charms they too utilized. Magic like this is an heirloom, one we ought to treasure for the simple lesson to be learned. - Via Hedera


Roots, Branches & Spirits: The Folkways and Witchery of Appalachia, by H. Byron Ballard is another collection of magical heirlooms and practical magic that I know you will love. I was utterly entranced by the author's storytelling. The rich tapestry of their particular area of the Appalachians, the history and the heartache, and the deep magic that runs through the mountains and the people there. Reading this book feels like sitting on a porch with an old friend who is imparting tales and wisdom they learned over their lifetime.

"This land is a holdover to another time: one of kindred bonds that are almost unbreakable, where blood feuds can transcend generations, and where old women carry secret knowledge." While there are important stories of place here, there is also a good sharing of recipes (receipts), herb lore, charms, and even a few ghostly tales. What better to curl up with during the long nights ahead?


If you haven't met and read our authors already, they each have truly excellent blogs and writings available that you will enjoy. Simply click through the links on their names above and you'll find them! A very special thanks this time around to Cory Hutcheson and Byron Ballard who are generously donating their autographed books to you!

This last game of trick-or-treat will run the month out - you will have until midnight on November 1st to get your name in the hat. Please make sure to leave me a way to contact you if you win (your email or social media tag). As always, you can let me know which book you'd prefer and I'll do my best to make that happen. And if you want to improve your chances, you can share this giveaway with your friends on social media and then let me know you did, and I'll put your name in the hat again. I'll draw the winning names when I awaken on All Souls morn (November 2nd).

Thank you so much for playing along this year! It has been quiet here of late, but I couldn't imagine not having these October games. I'm so glad you joined me around the bonfire and I hope you'll find some good reading at your side as autumn moves toward winter. Happy reading!


Legal Bits:


* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  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, Instagram, 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.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hys



Oct 21, 2021

The Great October Book Giveaway - Stars and Seasons

Thank you to all who stopped by to enter! The folks taking books home this round are: Kathy, Catherine, Jennifer H, and Jessica. I've contacted everyone, and now we are gearing up for the last giveaway. Check back in the darkest hours of tomorrow night! (Or, pop by with your coffee on Thursday morning - no judgement.)
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I spent last night with my head thrown back, watching the stars while the first outdoor fire of the darktide kept the chill at bay. Owls questioned each other across the creek, and the full moon rose over the charred western hills. It was a bittersweet time, initiating a new fire bowl, welcoming back the flames that keep my spirits up all winter, giving thanks for the final harvests of the land I live and garden upon, all while acknowledging the loss of the forests under that moon which were ravaged by wildfire this summer. I lingered, noting constellations until the sky was overcome by moonlight, and all but the brightest, twinkling stars faded beneath the luminescence.

Marking time and tide is important to me. It all goes by so remarkably fast, so it gives me a sense of peace to sit with moments, stars and seasons, and feel my place alongside and within them. These next books I have gathered up for you are all bits of starlight that I have found invaluable in helping me observe my unique space in the world and settle into the deep magic of it all, even as time sprints by and the tides rise and fall.

For this giveaway, I have three enchanting books and one celestial planner which will assist you in charting your own life and seasons, in the best ways possible.


The calendar, or the year itself, has always seem particularly alive to me. I see it as having a tide or breath, and the seasons a result of the inspiration and expiration of this great being. Some places in the world, the tides of the year don't retreat and return as much as others. Perhaps you've never seen snow, or your winters settle in for half the year and spring and autumn are but a blink of an eye. But we all look to a calendar year to mark our days, and wherever we are there are seasons of some kind to observe. In Seasons of a Magical Life: A Pagan Path of Living, the marvelous H. Byron Ballard offers us a look at the waxing and waning of the year and its most common traditions and celebrations. She weaves in folklore and practical magic - activities, skills, and chores - and suggests ways for you to work in concert with your landbase. I especially adore the morsels she gives us at each season's end - that strange, liminal time as one part of the year melts into the next. There are such good tasks proposed here, beautiful tales of home and hearth, and an excellent smattering of essays at the forefront of the book, that "better inform the journey," as Ballard says. I can see "Seasons of a Magical Life" having a permanent place out on the side table with your favourite farmer's almanac, perpetual calendar, or book of days. 

And while you are charting your year, why not give yourself the added benefit of working with the stars? Especially the ones you were born under! Astrology can seem like a foreign language (and that's even before you are looking at your own birth chart) but when you have these next authors helping you out, it becomes more like a symphony. 

Astrology for Real Life: A Workbook for Beginners, by Theresa Reed, is the book I would absolutely hand everyone who is starting their journey with astrology. The author has gifted us a wildly fun and sharp read, and makes you feel as though grasping the topic is not at all impossible. The book is packed with information, charts, exercises, and it's all put together in a friendly, visually pleasing way. If you ever wanted to have a good understanding of how to read your own chart, this is your book!


You might surmise that someone who didn’t want children, and then very-very-much-did, and then possibly couldn’t, and then raised abandoned kittens and wild/wonderful nieces and gardens instead, well…you might think that a book about understanding your child through an astrological lens, might be out of place in this someone's library. Ah, but you haven’t flipped through this treasure of an astrology book. Briana Saussy's latest release, Star Child: Joyful Parenting Through Astrology is not just for parents, but for all of us reaching back to comfort the awkward or confused child that we once were. It gives us an understanding of how we might have leaned this way or that - what might have influenced us - and why we saw things in a certain way. I'll admit to being a little wistful while reading it, wishing I could have handed it to my parents to help them understand this odd Virgo a little better when I was young. Star Child shows us how the glorious stars we were born under gave us tools to navigate a startling and baffling world, and if you are a parent it gives you extra vision into your child and how to relate to them based on their stars.

We round out this giveaway with an invaluable tool for outlining your year and marking your own time and transits. Planning by Starlight, is a collaboration between sacred artist and author Briana Saussy and photographer, visual artist, and magic maker Jacquelyn Tierney and it is a game changer. It takes you through the year at a glace, gives plenty of room for monthly and weekly notes and observations, and includes all the important planetary/astrological movements you need to know for 2022. Jacquelyn has graciously offered up a digital planner for one lucky person and I know this will shift the way you look at your year.

In their own words,
"We believe that an excellent planner is going to do a few things really well and skip a bunch of stuff that, at the end of the day, really doesn’t matter. As two ladies who LOVE planners, agendas, and calendars of all kinds, and as two astrologers who actively work with the moon, sun, stars, and planets, to plot out the days, weeks, months, and years of our lives, we know that there are certain things we look for in a planner.

First and foremost, we want a planner that supports our lives by helping us remember our purpose. The point of a planner (agenda, calendar, etc) is not to spend all of your time working on your planner - updating lists and ticking off check boxes.

Nope.

The point of a planner is to support you so that you can do more of what you love, less of what you don’t, and most importantly fully engage in whatever it is you are doing at the time. In other words, a good planner supports you in being present."

 


This giveaway is for a digital copy of 
Planning by Starlight - the photos are used for illustration - but you can follow the link and buy the hardcover book if you like (which come with a course).



I have one copy of each book and one digital copy of the planner to give away. Please click through the links to take a better look at each item or check out the lovely authors.

The game remains the same - your comment is your entry. Please ensure I have a way to get in touch with you if you win. Leaving your email address in your comment in safe manner (Jen loves books AT gmail) makes it easy for me to let you know if your name is drawn. You can feel free to let me know which item you would prefer if your name is picked and I'll do my best to match people with their choices. Please have your entry in by 9pm on Monday, October 25th! Also, while it is never necessary, if you want to share this month's festivities out in the world (social media post or the like) then I'm happy to give you a second entry - just let me know you've spread the word and I'll put your name in the hat again!

Special thanks go out to Byron Ballard for generously offering up a copy of Seasons of a Magical Life, and to Jacquelyn Tierney for gifting a digital copy of Planning by Starlight!


 Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  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, Instagram, 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.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop.






Oct 14, 2021

The Great October Book Giveaway - Memento Mori

Congratulations to Ambrose, Rommy, and KH! I've contacted everyone, and now it's time to go howl at the full moon. Fly by tomorrow as the full October moon rises again and there will be a new handful of treats to be had!
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Memento mori. Remember death. Remember that you must die. It seems impossible that we could forget such a thing after spending the last year and a half navigating a pandemic that has ushered over four million people to their graves, worldwide. We should want to set death aside for a while, shouldn't we? Perhaps. And yet, death doesn't stand aside for anyone. It is a vital part of the human experience. 

In many cultures death is not something to hide from or fear. It is holy. A transition to be celebrated. Every part of this process, from how we take care of the body, to how (or if) a person is buried, and the customs and celebrations that might happen for years afterward, can be a reverent and sometimes jubilant practice that connects us to our ancestors, even as we become them. 

Although many of us remember our dead year-round, this month is particularly suited for ancestral reverence. It also seems like an auspicious time to befriend our own impermanence. I have some wonderful tools to assist you if you should wish to use this hallowed tide to contemplate your mortality. 


In much of the United States, Canada, and England, the protocol around death and burial follows a Christian, or Christian-adjacent etiquette. It is sanitary, modest, and rote. A body goes somewhere and is 'dealt-with' (by folks we've trusted to handle that task), while live people gather in a church or cemetery for a memorial service. But what if we, or our beloved dead, are of a different faith? How might those on paths that fall under the pagan umbrella ritualize our passing, or navigate the bereavement process in a way that respects our beliefs and practices? In their book Do I Have to Wear Black: Rituals, Customs & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagan, Mortellus takes a look at multiple Pagan paths and how they address death, offering up some corresponding prayers and rites, as well as how we might care for those left behind. The book examines various views of death and the afterlife, plus includes practical information on advanced planning (wills, funerary arrangements). Mortellus is a mortician and medium, as well as an author, and their expertise shines through in this book. Do I Have to Wear Black is an informative and friendly read, and one I think will offer a helping hand in preparing for the loss of a loved one, or even planning our own departure.

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, by Caitlin Doughty is a superlative (and spooky) journey through the wider world's death customs and funerary rites, told through the unique lens of its mortician author. It is a bright and fascinating book, for a subject that may seem heavy, and the author weaves a good balance of wit and reverence while recounting her research. She brings to light how many people in the western world fear death, and how other cultures embrace, celebrate, and honour the transition out of the human body. (Unsurprisingly, Caitlin is a foundational figure in the death positive movement and the architect behind The Order of The Good Death, a community of funeral-industry folks, along with academics and artists, who have come together to envision and create ways to address how we face our end-of-life experience.) From Here to Eternity is engrossing - I kept wanting to read one more chapter...Spain! Bolivia! Japan! - and I know it will be another perfect addition for your reading stack this month.


We close the casket on this giveaway with a handsome piece to rest with...or wear around your neck. A delightful winged skull named "Gilbert," hand cut from an original drawing, in sterling silver. His creatrix is the brilliant Patricia Tozer, (Tree Speaks to Stone) who was inspired by the engravings found on 18th century gravestones in New England. This memento mori has a special patina added so that his best features stand out, and he will happily guard you (and remind you of life's impermanence) from the end of an eighteen inch chain. I am an ardent fan of Pati's creations and own a few of their gorgeous talismans, so I know that whoever welcomes Gilbert home will be very lucky indeed! You can take a look at more of Pati's extraordinary art here.



This giveaway will run until 9pm (Pacific) on Tuesday, October 19th. Your comment is your entry, and if you have your eye on something in particular you can let me know what you'd prefer if you win. I try my best to match up names drawn with their preferences when possible. Please ensure there is a way for me to contact you if you win. An email left in a safe format, such as: JenLovesBooks AT gmail dot com, is best. If you are of a more private sort, you can always enter via the contact form at the bottom of the side column (I've been getting all the entries sent that way, so no worries). 

This month has already been such a hoot - thank you to all who are joining in on my October fun!


Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  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, Instagram, 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.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop.

Oct 6, 2021

The Great October Book Giveaway - Witch Work

The four names drawn this round were: Misty, Alex C, Corinn, and Rowan! Congratulations!
There are still plenty of chances to get some tricks or treats...stay tuned...as the moon rises tomorrow night another giveaway will appear!
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The warmth fled the day the exact moment the sun slipped down over the western hill. It was a breathtaking shift, the sort that gives a nod to the wintry tide ahead. Moisture hangs in the air tonight, an invisible curtain that is neither manifest or absent. The ghostly vapor is as much a part of the dark as the chill. And I can feel it all in the deepest part of me. 

It is my mother's people who sense precipitation in their bones. Any big storm coming, or when the weather cools enough to coax the dew into frost on the tips of the grass, will cause a ripple of ache to run up a leg or down an arm, a throb across shoulders or a pang in hip sockets. It's not uncommon, really. If you talk to an orthopedic doctor they will tell you that atmospheric pressure can affect the fluid around your joints, causing sensitivity or even pain. Some folks feel it. Others don't notice at all. In the old days, before we understood such things, it was just the knowing. I always thought it was magic when my mother would slowly rock, rubbing her knee, and say "must be rain." I started observing it in my own body when I was in my twenties. A twinge when the weather was going to take a dive. A dull ache in my hips before an icy drizzle or thick mist moved in. 

I am very much not in my twenties anymore, so there is poplar bud oil to rub into sore hips, and a mug of something warm to soothe the rest of me. Still, I rather like the signals my body gives me that connect me with the wider world. The joints that know when the weather is shifting. The senses that pique when something feels off. I have a keen nose (which can be a blessing and a curse) and I often catch scents that other people don't notice. These sensitivities might seem like odd, inherited family afflictions, but they can be beneficial in your witchcraft (or other spiritual or magical) practice, and the good news is many of them can be learned.

There are an enormous amount of books offering insight into direction and skill building when it comes to witchcraft. For this giveaway, I wanted to feature some of this year's releases that I think would be constructive for anyone mapping out their own practice. We have a book that navigates the pitfalls of this path and offers ideas for you to chart your own course, one that helps you work with your own inherent sensitivities, and another that gives you daily inspiration and ideas to explore. There's also a tool that can help you dig deep when you have a few too many questions. Let's take a look...


The Dabbler's Guide to Witchcraft: Seeking an Intentional Magical Path, was released as September faded away, and my pre-order appeared only days ago, so I am still happily consuming it whenever I have a chance to sit down. Even part way through, I can tell you that Fire Lyte has given us a treasure with this book. No topic is off-limits - he wants you to know exactly what you are getting into when you wander down this path. He weaves us through witchcraft in pop-culture and social media. Gatekeeping and hot takes. Scams, appropriation, and racism. He then leads us into the why of seeking witchcraft, and some of the tools, theory, and practices of the craft itself. If I were stumbling into the witch-verse today, fresh and innocent(ish), this is the book I would want thrust at me as a torch to help me see the way through the hazy maze of modern witchcraft, and to help me avoid some of the pitfalls. Even for those of us who have been on this path for many years, this is an informative, witty, and excellent read.

Anatomy of a Witch: A Map to the Magical Body, by Laura Tempest Zakroff, is a truly beautiful book about a topic that is often missing in witchcraft guides. The human body. From the lungs and our sacred breath, to the heart and the blood that moves through the whole of us, to the deep magic of our bones, Zakroff takes us on a holy tour of one of our most essential tools in working magic. There are sigils, exercises, prompts, and rituals included to further your practice, but the entire book itself feels like a wondrous spell. If you've ever wanted to connect more deeply with your body, or personalize your magical work in a more meaningful way, this is essential reading. I managed to snap up an autographed copy of this book for you, and Laura included a vial of her anointing oil, made specially for this work.

It is no secret that I love an almanac or a book of days. As a witch and fervent gardener I'm invested in the little daily rituals, celebrations, and important notes that mark the passing of time. Tell me where in the sky Venus is rising, and when the tide is coming in. Sing to me of best days for planting, and what mysterious saint has a feast day today. I adore it all. When I heard that Judika Illes had a new book coming out, I was excited. When I discovered that book would be a journey through each day of the year, marking stars, saints, and other observations, which included tidbits of history, folkore, spellwork, and magical recipes, I nearly fainted with joy. Daily Magic: Spells and Rituals for Making the Whole Year Magic is a witch's perpetual almanac, and it is a delight. Keep it handy and check in each day, or use it to track a series of days that are perfect for your current workings or projects. It also feels like the perfect tome for bibliomancy, if you are a fan of that sort of divination.

Speaking of divination...I have something special to share with you. The Sorcery Underground Fortune Telling Deck, by Brian David MacDonald is a privately created deck that was released in a very limited run (and is now sold out). It is a glorious blending of Major Arcana, Lenormand, and playing cards, into one wisdom-packed set that will delight even the most inflexible reader. You can separate the cards and work with the individual systems, or keep the lot together for a comprehensive look at your query. MacDonald has added a fascinating trio of extra cards into the mix, as well, to make things even more interesting. The little white book that was included with the deck offers up meanings for upright or reversal readings, as well as clever advice or methods for digging deeper into those cards. I've been running this deck in multiple combinations, and I know you will find so many ways to read with it!

Once again, your entry is your comment (including your email, listed in a safe manner). If you pass the word around (share to social media) then feel free to pop back and put your name in the hat again. As always, you can let me know which item tickles your fancy, and I'll try my best to match the winners to their choices. If you are just finding us and would like a more in-depth rundown of the mischief I'm up to here this month, you can scroll down to the bottom of the first giveaway post here and get filled in.

Please have your name in by the evening of Tuesday, October 12th. I will draw four names on Wednesday morning, contact the winners, and post the next giveaway on the evening of the 13th.


Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  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, Instagram, 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.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop.

Oct 1, 2021

The Great October Book Giveaway - Plant Lore

Congratulations to Fringe Nymph, Andrea Kiss, Sidur, and Tooshytospeak! Check out your inbox for the prize you won! 

If your name didn't get drawn, not to worry! There's plenty of fun left! The next giveaway will be arriving as the skies darken on this 6th October eve... 

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​The sky turned indigo only a short while ago, and the warmth of the day has seeped away as the cool flesh of evening continues to press against it. I can see my breath in the air tonight, curling and dancing away from me as I watch the stars appearing. It is the first day of October, and everything feels more sharp and in focus. Gone are the hazy, late summer days with their perfect Instagram-filter afternoon light. The dawn seems to leap up, directly from the dusky dregs of night, and there is very little twilight now - just a short moment of deepening blue, and then all is dark. But that's the sort of thing we like about this month. We are weary of the brightness and the oppressive heat (in the northern hemisphere, at least). Some part of us calls out to feel the sharp kiss of a cool breeze on our cheeks, and we luxuriate in the longer hours of darkness.

The Wild, in flesh and in the not-so-physical realms, feels close enough to touch. We hear the owl and coyote hunting again, now that the constant buzz of the warmer months has faded. It is the season of last preparations, bringing in the final harvests, and shoring up the edges of our living spaces for the cold days ahead. We set our wards, gather our wood (or candlelight), and hang our charms at doors and windows. Gourds tumble out of farm stands and show up on porches. Strange creatures arrive at our doorsteps looking for candy offerings to dissuade them from wreaking havoc. We gladly partake of all of it, knowing that these customs and practices keep us and our spirit(s) fed, and maintain a spark in the darkest season.

Each October I kindle my own cozy fire in this place. I surround myself with books and blankets, oracular helpers, and talismans. And I set about making a welcome space for all kinds of spirits so I can share my harvest. It's been a very long year already, in some ways. But I've always been refreshed by autumn, this month in particular, and I think I may be finding my second wind. 

For those that are new here, it should be fairly easy to follow along. To those that come by each year to join in on the festivities, welcome back old friends. 


I have a quartet of delights to share tonight that I know will tickle your fancy. There is folklore and history, magic and mystery, and all of it revolves around the wondrous plant people that populate our world. 

For our first October giveaways:

An anthropologist and world traveler digs up the history and deeply meaningful stories of wild food in Feasting Wild, by Gina Rae La Cerva. A gorgeously written book about where connection and culture come together with food, medicine, and magic. 

The Materia Medica Oracle, from Josie at Tenderheart Studio, is in its third printing and routinely sells out whenever this visionary artist and witch creates a new run. Simple, yet powerfully beautiful illustrations reveal an assortment of plants with a message from each. The enclosed guide books (this deck contains all three volumes and their corresponding guides) detail the medicinal, emotional-spiritual, and magical personalities and qualities of each featured plant. It's a truly lovely deck to work with.

Fez Inkwright is the illustrator, botanist, and folklorist behind two bewitching tomes published by Liminal 11 - Botanical Curses and Poisons, The Shadow-Lives of Plants, and Folk Magic and Healing, An Unusual History of Everyday Plants. Each book looks at the stories, history, and uses of certain plants, and is peppered with poetry, folkore, and fascinating tales. They are both bound in exceptionally pretty covers with copper foiling. The endpapers are gasp-worthy and the illustrations throughout are entirely wonderful. Either book would be an excellent additon to your herbal or witchcraft bookshelf.

Please do pop through to the links if you'd like to get a better look at the books, cards, or their authors/creators!

You have five nights, until the evening of Tuesday, October 5th, to get your name in the witch's hat (the comment box below) and then I will draw four names at dawn on Wednesday, October 6th and dole out the prizes, and then post the next handful of goodies up for grabs.

You are welcome to let me know which item you would prefer to have if your name is drawn. I can't promise that you will get it but if I can match winners with prizes I try to do that.

Thank you for joining me again in this most magical month!




For those of you that are new here, this is how these giveaways work:

We are running a simple game again this year - your comment counts as your entry. However, if you feel moved to share this around (either a specific giveaway or if you just send folks my way) you can leave another comment letting me know you spread the cheer, and I'll toss your name in the hat a second time.

On the evening of the draw, the winners will be notified via email and their names placed at the top of this post and the next handful of goodies will go up for grabs. Please, please, leave an email for me in your comment (in a safe format such as "JenLovesBooks at gmail") if your name does not directly link to you/your website. I can't tell you how many names I've drawn only to find that I couldn't contact the winners. I simply draw again, but it is rather heartbreaking to see the first name get tossed.

There are occasionally some goblins that stop by in October, just for kicks. I am taking down the comment moderation security and we will hope that we skate under the spam radar again this year. Also, Blogger doesn't always play nice with every app, so there are times when you may have to come to the giveaway page directly (not via the FB app, for example) and leave a comment that way.

As always, if your privacy is of concern or if you simply cannot get your comment in on the current giveaway post for some reason, you can send an entry in using the "Make Contact" form in the sidebar.

All mail will go out within five business days of receiving the winner's address and will be sent via the most reasonable shipping rate. Please note that your parcel could take anywhere from 5 business days to reach you (in Canada) to five weeks (if you are in the EU).

Because it was a question last year, please note that all items are new, unread, and un-used. They are shipped out in padded envelopes or boxes, wrapped well, so that they may arrive to you in the same shape as I received them. Sometimes there are minor bumps or imperfections on books when they arrive to me and I'm afraid I cannot do anything about that, but all items go out in good shape.

Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  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, Instagram, 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.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop.