Dec 31, 2018

Witches For a New Year

"Come here, my bird! I will give you the dangerous black night to stretch your wings in, and poisonous berries to feed on, and a nest made of bones and thorns, perched high up in danger where no one can climb to it." 
That's why we become witches: to show our scorn of pretending life's a safe business, to satisfy our passion for adventure. It's not malice, or wickedness - well perhaps it is wickedness, for most women love that - but certainly not malice, not wanting to plague cattle and make horrid children spout up pins and - what is it? - "blight the genial bed." Of course, given the power, one may go in for that sort of thing, either in self-defence, or just out of playfulness. But it's a poor twopenny housewifely kind of witchcraft, black magic is, and white magic is no better. One doesn't become a witch to run round being harmful, or to run round being helpful either, a district visitor on a broomstick. It's to escape all that - to have a life of one's own, not an existence doled out to you by others...  
Excerpt from Lolly Willowes, by Syliva Townsend Warner

I think a great deal about my existence at the end of each calendar year. Whether my presence has helped or hindered others. How I might have added to the joy of the world, or where I might have washed entire universes away with my tears. I used to be very hard on myself. As the last days of December slipped away I would replay a list of my faults and failures. All the things I could have done better. The ways I should have been wealthier, healthier, wiser, or more loving. Though the unkind voice might still slither in at times, I'm done with tearing myself apart. It serves no good purpose. I'd rather take a look at what I've done well, and how I might slip into the current of those successes and swim toward the things that bring me more satisfaction and a sweeter life.

There were times this year, in moments of pain or fear, I spoke curses and blights that made me ashamed and I did my best to take them back as soon as possible. Curses can be useful but carry a weight with them that can bear down even the lightest spirit if used haphazardly, and I've learned that my own agony is not lessened by inviting pain on others.

I've come to a uneasy truce with a brain that is changing as it ages. No more multitasking, or trying to balance several spinning dishes in the air at once. I work better these days when I focus on one task at a time. I have discovered that jumping and wiggling makes my body really happy. Not running, or swimming, or biking. Jumping. I have learned that there is, sadly, such a thing as too much coffee. I know now that sunrises and sunsets - as many as I can glimpse - are an absolute necessity and not something I'm willing to go too long without seeing. We get too used to living indoors, I think. The woods miss us.


I have discovered that I'm not willing to be still. To be obedient or nice. I have very little interest in what others want for me or from me (though for those I love, there is little I wouldn't do). There are places I want to go, places I've waited to see, and I'm not content to wait for the right time to go, or the right person to go with me anymore. I've had my heart torn apart a hundred times and it always grows back in some funny sort of way, so there no longer seems to be much to lose. I am planning adventures that I will actually take this coming year, one way or another.

Life is not a safe business. And it's not long lasting. Even my beloved grandfather would have happily kicked around many years more than the 99.9 he was allotted if he'd had the lungs to let him keep going. I imagine my year ahead and it is all about how I will create a life of my own - one I can be proud of, blush at, and cackle loudly while recalling my journeys. I will satisfy my passions and my thirst for adventure. I will make magic and grow wicked things and revel in the roses as well as their thorns.

I'm wishing you a fierce 2019. Wild in all the ways you want it to be. Kind and soft as you like. Brilliant, love-filled, and so full of laughter that you have sore cheeks most days. May it be magic.

Happy New Year





photos courtesy of unsplash.com

Oct 28, 2018

The Great October Book Giveaway - The Magic of Aidan Wachter

The lucky folks receiving Six Ways are:

Nichola
Jason
Lisa T.

Thank you again for joining me this year - you've made my autumn extra glorious!

************************************

The kind of weather that only deep October brings moved into the valley last night, winds tearing leaves from the trees and sending them spinning in fiery-coloured tornadoes. It rained lightly, but more moisture is on its way. I'm looking worriedly at the Halloween forecast, but the last days of October are always a roll of the dice. And in the end, the truly devoted creatures are out haunting the streets on the 31st no matter the temperature.

The month's completion brings us not only a parade of costumed revelers (and whatever celebrations we get up to ourselves) but for the past several years I've tucked my October festivities away with a final gift from my wonderful friend Aidan Wachter.

Aidan is a talismanic artist, author, dirt sorcerer, and an all-around fantastic human being. He is in the process of revising how he creates and releases his talismans to the world and is nearly ready to pull back the curtain on his shop again. While re-working his artistic process, caring for a small farm with his amazing partner, and hopping from interview to interview, Aidan found some time to sign a few copies of his first book and send them along for you.

Six Ways: Approaches and Entries for Practical Magic is an exceptional read. Offering solid methods for personal work, ritual ideas, and laying out how the author has formed and molded his own praxis over many years, Six Ways is an absolute gem. Whether you are new to magical practice or have been working your own system for ages, you will be sure to find something to inspire you in this book. It is compact in size but vast in scope - I've read it twice and have several dozen sticky flags all over it. It's also peppered with Aidan's wit and humour, which makes it wildly fun to settle in with, too.



Be sure keep up with Aidan online or subscribe to his newsletter in order to hear when his shop re-opens and he begins to release his wild magic once more.

I have three copies of this fabulous read to slip into your hands as October fades away and the Wild Host rides us into the November chill. Please leave a comment before 9pm Pacific on Thursday November 1st. Alternately, you can use the "make contact" form above if the Blogger comment platform isn't playing nice. You can get your name in the hat a second time if you want to share a link to this giveaway or any of Aidan's wonderful work. Just pop back around to let me know and I'll make sure you get entered again. As always, please ensure that there is an email attached to your comment or account in some way so I can get in touch with you if your name is pulled.

Thank you again for joining in the autumn fun with me this month. Every year I get so much joy out of sharing the wonders I find, and it makes it all the more festive that you get such a kick out of playing along. I believe that in the end, I will have sent out a total of twenty packages of October cheer this month and it wouldn't be nearly as grand without the generosity and kindness of some of the artists and authors who help me pass along their work in this yearly celebration.

I hope the last days of this magical month are exceptionally good to you.


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, 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 22, 2018

The Great October Book Giveaway - A Life Enchanted

Edited Oct 26/18


The following folks are taking home books:

Earth Works - Heidi and Misty F.

Italian Folk Magic - Shell

The Enchanted Life - mxtodis


*******************

The days of October slip by too briskly each year and I find myself caught in a whirlwind of activity, trying to eke out as many sweet and magical moments as I can before the month expires. I have been to a spooky corn maze, lingered by bonfires, perused fall markets, nibbled warm cinnamon-dusted doughnuts (purchased to keep my cold hands warm, as much as for the taste), and am still planning a selection of Halloween-themed jaunts as we race toward that bewitching evening.

But I also understand that the enchantment doesn't end when October does. It lingers in our daily lives, in the wonder of nature and the seasons beyond our doors, through the tides of our years. It is in our stories, our family lore, our personal practices. It is in how we make a home and feed ourselves (and others). It flows through our gifts and celebrations and is something to be acknowledged, sought, cultivated.

When you stop believing in magic, in the wonder around every corner, when you stop leaving a plate out for ancestors or St. Nicholas, if there is no joy in gardening or mending or singing charms...when a feather is just a feather and flowers no longer heal...then you are in trouble.

This year three books came out that were good reminders that enchantment can be found everywhere - even in the places it can be difficult to look. These books speak of family, folklore, strength and healing. They offer personal stories and more worldly tales. There are recipes and ceremonies and spells to weave. There is deep wisdom here, and I'm wildly happy to get to share them with you.



Take a closer look at these beauties here:

Earth Works: Ceremonies in Tower Time by H. Byron Ballard

"Earthwork" is a word used to describe a constructed bank of dirt, often raised in ancient cultures as a means of defense. Earth Works is a book of essays and rituals for a time of deep cultural change, a shift that author Byron Ballard calls "Tower Time." The first part of the book explores scenarios in these chaotic times and suggests possible reframing to understand the historic underpinnings and the long-term effects on both the planet and its inhabitants.

The second part of the book--called Berms--consists of tried-and-true rituals and ceremonies for communities, small groups and individuals to improve resilience and face inevitable change with courage, consideration and humor. 


Ballard has decades of ritual experience and brings that understanding to the practical and esoteric considerations of making ceremony both personal and powerful. You will find ideas here and inspiration--and something like hope.



Italian Folk Magic by Mary-Grace Fuhrun


Italian Folk Magic is a fascinating journey through the magical, folkloric, and healing traditions of Italy with an emphasis on the practical. The reader learns uniquely Italian methods of magical protection and divination and spells for love, sex, control, and revenge.

The book contains magical and religious rituals and prayers and explores divination techniques, crafting, blessing rituals, witchcraft, and, of course, the evil eye, known as malocchio in Italian—the author explains what it is, where it comes from, and, crucially, how to get rid of it.

This book can help Italians regain their magical heritage, but Italian folk magic is a beautiful, powerful, and effective magical tradition that is accessible to anyone who wants to learn it.


The Enchanted Life: Unlocking the Magic of the Everyday by Sharon Blackie


Enchantment. By Dr. Sharon Blackie’s definition, a vivid sense of belongingness to a rich and many-layered world, a profound and whole-hearted participation in the adventure of life. Enchantment is a natural, spontaneous human tendency ― one we possess as children, but lose, through social and cultural pressures, as we grow older. It is an attitude of mind which can be cultivated: the enchanted life is possible for anyone. It is intuitive, embraces wonder, and fully engages the mythic imagination ― but it is also deeply embodied in ecology, grounded in place and community.

Taking as her starting point the inspiration and wisdom that can be derived from myth, fairy tales, and folk culture, Dr. Sharon Blackie offers a set of practical and grounded tools for enchanting our lives and the places we live, so leading to a greater sense of meaning and of belonging to the world. To live this way is to be challenged, to be awakened, to be gripped and shaken to the core by the extraordinary which lies at the heart of the ordinary.


I have two copies of Earth Works, signed and gifted directly from the exceptional Byron Ballard, and one copy each of Italian Folk Magic and The Enchanted Life to give away. You have until Friday, the 26th of October at 9pm Pacific to get your name in the hat. Leave a comment or send me off an entry via the "make contact" form at the top of the page. If you want better odds, feel free to share this giveaway or the authors' books/pages around and then swing back and let me know and I'll enter you a second time. (And you are always welcome to let me know what book you prefer if you win. I try to match the names drawn with preferences, whenever possible.)

I've had so much fun this month, and it's not quite through yet! Let's see what else October has for us, shall we?


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, 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 16, 2018

The Great October Fetch Giveaway

Edited October 21/18

The person welcoming home Jade is... RheaWhite!

Do follow Polly in her assorted haunts on the web to see more of her divine art.

As for me, I've had house guests, corn mazes, and too much autumn fun this weekend, and now I'm off to dream of popcorn balls and candy apples... You'll have to wait just a few hours longer for the next giveaway - it will be posted tomorrow morning (October 22nd)!

 ********************************


Bring me all of your dreams, 
You dreamer, 
Bring me all your 
Heart melodies 
That I may wrap them 
In a blue cloud-cloth 
Away from the too-rough fingers 
Of the world.

The Dream Keeper, Langston Hughes


This next giveaway is something very special, and one of my favourites for the past three years. The extraordinary Polly Lind has created an enchanting creature for a very lucky someone to adopt. Polly is a fabric artist living and practicing her art in New Zealand. She creates designs centered around folklore, nature, spiritual practices, and whatever moves her own creative spirit.

This year, Polly introduces us to Miss Jade Islington Hawthorn.

"Jade Islington Hawthorn was born during that time of awake and sleep, where your deepest wishes and dreams are hidden.

Her power resides in the elusive place, where dream memories slip from our minds, as we rise into the waking world. Jade has abilities to help you find the way through the realms of the dreamtime both sleeping and awake. And she will guide you when you are ready to manifest your dreams into this world.

In her bag she carries white sleep sand that she acquired from the sandman, she has maps of both the waking and dream realms, as well as a tarot deck that she uses as a guide to see your deepest dreams.
she has a dream journal, a key, a letter from home, a lace parasol to shield you from the falling nightmares"


"Miss Jade Islington Hawthorn is a hare Fetch, She stands at 21 inches tall, and is wearing a white dress and socks, white, silver, black and gray satin boots and white hooded cloak. she has a lace parasol umbrella, a kete bag (woven bag) with cloud and a silver key attached. In her bag is a rolled up map, and a folded map in a white pouch. a bottle of white glitter dream-sand, a deck of major arcana tarot cards a dream journal and a letter from home. and an authenticity certificate."


Miss Jade is singular and extra special because Polly is no longer taking custom orders for the Fetches (or Faeries or Poppets) she makes. Instead she will be creating her own creatures twice a year or whenever the spirit moves her. Do keep up with her on social media or at her website to hear news of her creations!

You can find Polly here:

www.Pollylind.com
On Instagram
On Pinterest
On Twitter
On Tumbler
Facebook Page
Patreon

This ghostly dream-guide will find her forever home on Sunday, October 21st. Your comment counts as your entry or you can use the "make contact" form if you prefer or if Blogger is giving you a hard time with comments. Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you if you win. If you would like a second entry, please feel free to share Polly's work (any of her links/sites) on your social media or blog and then pop back here and comment again. I'll put your name in the hat a second time.



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, 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 11, 2018

The Great October Graphic Arts Giveaway

Update October 16/18

The following folks are getting something lovely in their trick or treat bag:

Ravenous - Issue I - cartermaryd

Ravenous - Issue II - Debra N.

Pam Wishbow pack - Melody S.

Pam Wishbow pack - Noreen S.

Trickster - NG

Yay for you all! I'll send an email along to collect your mailing address.


And the next giveaway begins now...

*****************************

This month of revels was originally centered around books, and only books. Nonfiction tomes, primarily, which reflected my interests and some of the wandering directions of this blog (mostly herbalism, witchcraft, and folkore). While bound stacks of paper make my heart sing, traditional books are not the only published material to speak of those topics that spin my mind into whirlwinds of glee. There are a great number of graphic artists that tackle the mystery and otherworldliness of nature and the occult.

This year I searched for wonder and wildness in unusual places, and I found it. Not just in my own woods and odd heart, but in the creative visions of some astonishingly magical people. Let me introduce you...


The first artist I'd love for you to meet is Pam Wishbow. Pam is an illustrator who is owned by cats and has a mod witchy vibe - she feels very much like an aunt who has a tea-leaf-reading parlour but who can also clear spooks from an old manse and break any zombie love spell you might be under. She offers the most wonderful selection of art, from her own graphic zines to small oracle decks, and cool little charm packs that seem quaint at first but can give you pause as you discover what is really haunting you (hint: it's not your dead grandfather).


The next item I have for you is, in fact, a book. But it's a special sort of reading experience. Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection, was curated and edited (as well as illustrated in one story) by Cartoonist Matt Dembicki. Matt searched out storytellers from First Nations communities that were willing to share their tales and write for this anthology. Native American artists were also employed for many of the 24 legends which dig into the trickster lore that exists in so many cultures. The collection is visually gorgeous, with rich tales that will pull at the mischievous spirit in you.


The graphic arts are home not only to illustration, of course. Photography and design are just as comfortable in this crowd. A new magazine to hit the witchcraft scene this year is Ravenous, a stunning 'zine' by Ravenous Media. Dripping with sumptuous photographs, and elegant layouts (check out their Instagram feed to get a feel for their style) the first two volumes are more art-book than glossy mag.

From the site:
Ravenous zine is a printed magazine for women* to connect with the wild within. through visual art, feature articles, and interviews, with an emphasis on activism & self care, it explores the archetype of the wild woman as put forth by Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her iconic work, Women WHo Run With the Wolves.

The zine is populist & Earth focused, yet it contains a highly stylized woodsy, dark aesthetic that mirror the wild, earthy, feral elements of femininity that are absent from modern mainstream culture. At its core, it's about reconnecting to our wild nature by gathering in circles, participating in activism, cooking and making crafts. it's a manual for face-to-face, in person gatherings in this age of social media and physical disconnection.
*I would like to add that this magazine is for any women who identify as women and/or anyone who finds femininity enchanting.


For this Graphic Arts giveaway I have up for grabs:

Two gift packs from Pam Wishbow that include her art zine "Give," (which is a double-sided publication that includes "Hunt," by artist Leigh Luna) as well as a hex-breaker charm and your own 'house ghost' card.

One copy of Trickster: Native American Tales.

One copy of Ravenous Zine, Volume I: Craft.
One copy of Ravenous Zine, Volume II: Sisterhood

My small post here hardly does these artists' work any justice, so please do follow the links to get a better look at their amazing projects and art.

Five names will be pulled from the hat on October 16th at 9pm Pacific. You can let me know in your comment, or your entry via the "make contact" form up top, which item(s) you prefer and I'll see if I can match the winners to their fave choices. Please ensure that your comment includes a way for me to contact you if you win!

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, 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