Jun 21, 2020

The Blood, Dirt, Seeds, and Racism in my Garden

I stand at the kitchen window watching the sunlight gleaming through the white linens on the neighbour's clothesline. I am filling pastry shells with cinnamon-spiced apples, and I am thinking of my grandparents. My grandma had a long clothesline that stretched out past her rose garden. I wasn't permitted to fuss with it, but she let me run through the rest of the property without supervision. I preferred the company of the fruit trees in the small orchard, but sometimes I'd sit beneath the huge willow that guarded the tool shed (unless it was windy - that's when the caterpillars started dropping on you).

I didn't care much for her roses, (I would mourn the loss of them later, though.) I preferred the things growing in the vegetable garden. Grandma taught me about weeding and spacing and I taught myself which plants seemed to enjoy each other's company more, and how much sun they preferred, and what time of day they liked to be watered. I think she might have been pleased with my growing efforts this year. There is some wildness tumbling out of my beds, because I like the way plants will crawl over any barrier and I hate to prune them into submission. But the gardens look healthy, and I've already been stuffing myself with three varieties of lettuces and two kinds of peas, plus herbs and berries, for a few weeks now.

My grandfather was racist. I loved him more than I could ever say, and I never heard him speak a bad word about anyone. He helped his neighbours, volunteered, loved his family, and sang to the 'old folks' at the local retirement homes long into his 90's. But once I was old enough to start dating, my father warned me not to mention a beau to my grandfather if the boy was anything other than white. I was shocked. The family never talked about it.

Not talking about racism is how people end up being complicit in a system that oppresses Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples. Like so many others, I've spent the last weeks in deep conversation with myself, my friends, parents, and nieces. I want to understand where I am causing harm, and how I have participated in societal 'norms' that kept People of Colour from being treated as equals in our communities, societies, the world. I am listening, reading, donating, making lists of Black-owned companies to give my business to, and these will never be finished tasks checked off a list. This work doesn't end. More importantly, it will never be enough. But I hope in the years I have left, to leave a much better trail behind me than those who came before me.

I am passionate about being able to feed and care for those I love, and my greater community, by growing food and medicine. This adoration for earth and seeds and green life was a direct result of growing up in close relationship with my grandparents. I've been privileged to have access to places to garden. I've had multiple beds on a good stretch of land to play with, but I've also managed to grow an impressive amount of food out of a dozen or so pots on a small patio outside a rental unit. I believe we can grow food almost anywhere.

Black gardeners and farmers have long been at a disadvantage. They were, and are, priced out of land ownership and refused for mortgages that white people of the same means were approved for. They are routinely forgotten or passed over when it comes to subsidies, operating farm loans, and benefits. It is long past time that gardeners, herbalists, and farmers of Colour are given the tools and means to feed and care for their families and communities, and make a sustainable living on their land. 

If you would like to support BIPOC gardeners and farmers, here are some places that are making a difference:

I cannot erase my grandfather's racism. But I can take the best of him and walk forward with the dirt under my nails, my choices, and my income, and do the work to support a better future than he could have imagined.

Mar 18, 2020

A Brief Note on Supporting Ourselves and Supporting Each Other

The world has changed. For now. And likely, in some ways, for always. There is no right thing to say at this moment. No perfect phrasing, no prose that will settle on everyone's shoulders like a warm embrace. We are going to mess this up - this distanced communing and communicating with each other - because we aren't flawless, graceful creatures at all times, and everyone needs/wants different kinds of connection. We are likely going to say something that doesn't jive with what someone else thinks or believes. We may get testy after being corralled together (or alone) for an indefinite length of time. Mostly, though, I think we are going to help each other, and love each other, and do the best we can. I believe in us.

In a perfect world everyone would be provided for. No one would worry about feeding or clothing themselves and no one would wonder if they could pay their rent, utilities, healthcare, or monthly expenses. But we don't live in a perfect world, and people are concerned about how they will survive. (We've always been concerned, but now things seem much more dire.) People are going to be asking for help. They are going to be offering up what they have or what they do, as a way to provide for themselves. They will be trying to save their business, their livelihood, or attempting to bring in some money to help at this stressful time.

When someone asks for help, or promotes their business online, or shines a light on their accomplishments, or posts their fundraising links on social media, please don't shame them. Don't say "too soon," or assume they have the worst motives. Most folks are going into a time of massive uncertainty surrounding their lives and incomes, and sharing ways that you can support them isn't the same as trying to profit off a pandemic. Some folks won't be as eloquent as you would like. They may make mistakes, or misspeak in their attempt to communicate. Allow people some extra wiggle room. Be patient.

There are those who will try to take advantage, be dishonest, hoard and then price gouge, or outright steal. These people have always been out there (and there is a huge discussion here that is so necessary, about privilege, access to physical/mental health care, housing, and community care, that I don't have the space to even scratch the surface of) and we do our best to be aware of those situations. If someone seems to be taking unfair advantage, or preying on other's fears, then you can report their posts, or perhaps reach out to them if you are able to kindly offer them some help on how to steer their efforts to maintain their income in a more appropriate manner.

Please don't demonize those who are attempting to keep their existing online businesses afloat, or who are now moving their storefront to an online or a more easy, safe, accessible model. I've been seeing this happen on social media in the last few days and it's very disheartening (the wondrous Britton posted a story about this topic on Instagram as well). Please don't shame the people who will begin to post fundraising links, or who start up sites to sell what they make or offer a service they provide, so they can meet their needs. Support who you can, if you wish, or share their links if you feel moved to.

If you feel overwhelmed (and so many of us do) then pace yourself, take time off-line, feed yourself and your family, move your body, breathe. Help yourself stay safe, strong, and at peace, and then you will be able to more greatly help others.

There are so many people sharing helpful information that it can make you feel dizzy trying to keep up. I'll start attaching some of the articles I've had the chance to read in the past few days, that made me feel hopeful, and some of the ways I've been keeping well. Pop in and read them if you choose, when you have time. My brilliant friend Briana Saussy likes to quote Fred Rogers, and I could not agree more at this time:

Look for the helpers

And I would like to add, be one of the helpers. When, and if you can.

I'll say it again...I believe in us. Hang in. Hang on. Reach out. We've got each other. We can do this.

Rebecca Altman of Wonder Botanica has a free class that just started called "Surrender + Magic."

Joanna Powell Colbert, of the Gaian Tarot and the Herbcrafter's Tarot, posted a beautiful love letter about how she is caring for herself and others.

My favourite local studio is offering free, online fitness and yoga classes three times a day via Facebook.

I'll add more links in time here, but I wanted to start you off in few good places...

(All photos on this post are from my recent walk to gather poplar buds - you can read about poplar and its magic here.)

Oct 28, 2019

The Great October Book Giveaway - The Magic of Blacktree Coven

Thank you so much to everyone for joining me for another Great October Book Giveaway! I wish I had treats to send to everyone who stopped by to toss their name into the hat or wish me some October cheer!

The two folks taking home the prize packages are:

Jenny Rosa

and I've got a special treat - a third copy of Besom, Stang & Sword! I pre-ordered a copy of the book when it went up for sale last autumn but was then supplied a copy by the good folks at Weiser, so I have a brand new book here waiting on a home.

That copy will be going out to Theresa N.

Thank you again, for always making this month so much fun for me! I hope November is extra nice to you, and you get some rest in before the next holiday season arrives!

We have come to the last days of October. The sky is a purple bruise as I write this, and a cold wind grabs at the tree limbs outside my window. Dusk is creeping in earlier each day and the morning dawns sharp and frosty, having gnawed the few stalwart plants in the garden until they have curled in on themselves in a feeble attempt at protection. There are folks who are morose at the sight of all this decay but I am a grinning fool as I walk by dry, whispering corn stalks and apples left to rot on the ground. I am endlessly fascinated by the cycle of my valley - how the land blooms and thrives, only to drop itself into deep sleep (or seed itself and release to death) and awaken again in the spring. Every chapter closes, but there is always a new page waiting to be turned.

So too, have we arrived at the last gasps of our month of giveaways. I have something that I think is really special to round out our October fun. Two very magical gift packages have arrived from the extraordinary folks of Blacktree Coven. You may know them better as Christopher Orapello and Tara-Love Maguire, the brilliant minds and voices behind the occult podcast Down at the Crossroads. Chris and Tara published their first book together at the close of last year and I've wanted to pass out some copies ever since I first heard about it.

Besom, Stang & Sword: A Guide to Traditional Witchcraft, the Six-Fold Path & the Hidden Landscape has been raved about by some of my favourite magical folks since its publication. And for good reason. This is one of those rare witchcraft books that doesn't try to be either a catch-all of every sort of magic that exists, or The One and Only Authority™ on what a witchcraft practice looks like. Instead the authors delve into their own practice (which has coalesced in their coven, Blacktree) and share how they work with their landbase and the spirits they encounter there.

I was very fortunate to get a sneak peek at this work before it was published, and this is what I had to say at the time (and I still stand by it):
“What an absolute treat to the senses it has been to delve into Besom, Stang & Sword! This text presents a cohesive system of practice, thorough in exploring the fundamentals of magic, yet unafraid to delve into the dimly lit corners of witchcraft. Christopher Orapello and Tara-Love Maguire offer their own meticulously curated system based on theory, history, folklore, and trusted praxis. They cover an astonishing array of topics in a refreshingly concise manner and offer clear instruction along with their own rituals and spell work. What they present to us is intelligent methodology, and a powerful and spirit-fueled practice that reminds you that your tradition is a living creature to be respected and nurtured. Though a primer for their own magical system, there is no feeling of witchcraft-light here. This book encourages a deepening of your magic, a connection to your own bioregion, and a passion for the work you do with the land and your own spirits. This is sure to become a foundational text among magical practitioners. Orapello and Maguire have offered a treasure to their community with this tome. “Magick is magick” they say, and this book truly is just that.” 
I genuinely appreciated the way that Christopher and Tara-Love opened their door to us with this book. It's not often we get to see very deeply into the personal practices of public witches, but Besom, Stang & Sword gives us a glimpse of how a well functioning magical discipline can be formed. They are also eager to recommend alternate books/reading and openly supportive of you finding your own way to work with your land, history, and spirits.

I could go on at length about this tome, but I want to be sure to pass along the extra goodies too! Tara and Chris are not only authors and podcasters, but they are skilled in herbalism, alchemy, and art. They've come together in another bewitching project, "Two of Cats Apothecary," which allows them to share some of their ritual work and magical recipes with you. You can find them vending at local events in and around the New Jersey area, as well as online. And for this giveaway, you'll get a generous taste of their creations.

I have two fabulous prize packages to give away, direct from Blacktree Coven. You'll receive a copy of Besom, Stang & Sword, as well as two incense blends, a witch's salt blend, a witch's ointment, and a couple other little treats. You will have until the last moments of October fade away to get your name into the hat. I'll draw the two names and contact the winners on November 1st.

As always, your comment is your entry. You must provide an email address (in a safe manner) or a link to a functioning social media page where I can contact you. If you would like an extra entry, please share this post or any promotional information about our wonderful authors, and that will earn you a second chance at winning. If your privacy is of importance, you can private message your entry to me at the Rue and Hyssop Facebook page. Please note that if you win, the name you've given me will be posted at the top of this page.

I want to thank Christopher Orapello and Tara-Love Maguire for making this last giveaway so special. Do check out the excellent podcast, Down at the Crossroads, and their assorted social media haunts - they are some very fine humans, in my opinion.

Tara-Love on Instagram
Chris on Instagram
Down at the Crossroads on Facebook

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 21, 2019

The Great October Book Giveaway - Your Own Magic

The lucky folks taking home books this round are:

Backwoods Witchcraft - Elaine

Witch Body - Kelly M.

Good Juju - The Were-Owl

Stay tuned for the next round of October fun, which will pop up at some point tomorrow!

I'm not sure why, but there often seems to come a point each October where everything around me seems to vibrating in a frenetic symphony of breathtaking beauty, busyness, and strangeness. It feels as if at any moment all the whirling pieces are going to tumble to the floor in exhaustion. I'm surrounded by people who are battling their first cold virus of the dark season, my computer and wifi have been outright testy, the contact gadget on the blogging platform I use here has packed it in and doesn't seem to be interested in being re-installed, and I'm only managing to sleep in two or three hour increments. I'm picking up phantom scents, messages are sailing in from the beyond, and my readings and rituals have been exceptionally clear and effective. The lights in my home have been flickering and though I'm calling an electrician friend to take a look, I half suspect that the culprit is simply the spirited energy whirling around at this time of year.

Despite the weird-and-weary-ness, this month is the best taste of the season. October is the deep breath of fiery exquisiteness after the bright greens of summer faded to oceans of parched beige grasses and dull, dusty hills. September teased us with a fresh tide, but it is the colourful flags that October flies, barking and popping in the blustery winds, that make autumn extra special. The full moon last week was howl-worthy. The stars, on the nights that aren't cloaked in mist or clouds of woodsmoke hovering over my little town, are extra bright in the crisp air. The sounds of geese are fading, most of them having flown to warmer climes, and now we hear the questioning call of owls and the yipping echoes of the coyotes.

October is wild magic.

This next giveaway is about cultivating your own practice, and conjuring your own meaningful relationship with magic. It's about where you came from, what you've learned along the way, and the varied paths you explore as you experience the world. I have three books that look at personal magical practice from very different viewpoints, and I think there is something here for everyone.

First up is the wonderful Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic From Appalachia, by Jake Richards. Jake takes us on a tour of his roots, and the stories and ancestors that helped him form his practice. This is southern conjure territory, so if you shy away from dirt, bones, psalms, or fortune telling, then you might want to choose another book from the stack. (Though I think you'd be missing out on some good tales and fine charms, if you did.)

From the publisher:
In Backwoods Witchcraft, Jake Richards offers up a folksy stew of family stories, lore, omens, rituals, and conjure crafts that he learned from his great-grandmother, his grandmother, and his grandfather, a Baptist minister who Jake remembers could “rid someone of a fever with an egg or stop up the blood in a wound.” The witchcraft practiced in Appalachia is very much a folk magic of place, a tradition that honors the seen and unseen beings that inhabit the land as well as the soil, roots, and plant life. 
The materials and tools used in Appalachia witchcraft are readily available from the land. This “grounded approach” will be of keen interest to witches and conjure folk regardless of where they live. Readers will be guided in how to build relationships with the spirits and other beings that dwell around them and how to use the materials and tools that are readily available on the land where one lives.

Next up is Good Juju: Mojos, Rites & Practices for the Magical Soul, by Najah Lightfoot. Najah has an impressive and varied background of magical experience and she shares myriad ways you can create meaningful rituals and practices for yourself.

From the publisher:
Learn to better express your spirituality and build up your magical practice with this book's powerful spells, rituals, and tools. Designed to help you navigate whatever ups and downs life throws your way, Good Juju is your perfect choice for learning to embrace nature, the old ways, and the magick all around you. 
Using simple practices that don't interfere with any religions, Good Juju helps you lay a foundation for daily ritual work. You'll also learn how to craft mojos, create and work with altars, tune in to your intuition, and much more. Author Najah Lightfoot guides you in keeping your mind, body, and spirit strong as you discover your magical work and align with your higher power.

I'm entirely enchanted by this next book, Witchbody, by Sabrina Scott. The graphic tome is actually Scott's masters thesis, and is not only beautiful to behold but is a wild treat for your brain to wrap its tendrils around. I ponder something new each time I flip through this book. I wish I'd bought one of her original risograph printings when I first discovered Witchbody a few years ago, but I'm immensely glad that the good folks at Weiser picked up Sabrina's work and printed it for all of us to enjoy.

From Sabrina:
The first graphic novel of its kind, Witchbody is a meandering synthesis of autoethnography, magic theory, and philosophical speculation. It is full of wonder at what it can mean to learn and teach and change and grow in this world which belongs to all of us: you, me, plants, trees, coffee cups and garbage bins. What can it mean to be a witch today, in the city?

I have one copy of each of these books up for grabs. Your comment here is your entry. If you'd like a second entry you can share this post, or any of the authors featured, to your favourite social media platform and then pop back here and leave another comment. Please include your email (in a safe format) or a way to contact you via social media so I can get in touch if your name is drawn. I apologize for not having the contact form up and running for this giveaway. If privacy is a concern you can send me a private message via the Rue and Hyssop page on FB and I'll add your name to the draw. You have until Friday, October 25th to jump in. I'll draw the names from the hat that night after 9pm Pacific.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been playing along, leaving kind comments, and sharing my yearly October celebration of books, witchery, and wonder. It makes me grin so brightly that you come back around each year and seem to enjoy this merrymaking as much as I do. We aren't finished yet!

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 16, 2019

The Great October Book Giveaway - Botanical Magic

The following folks will be taking home beautiful botanical goodies:

 Dionne B. - The Herbcrafter’s Tarot

 Crystal L. - Blotto Botany

 Emily P. - The Illustrated Herbiary

 Inari F. - Hedgewitch's Botanical Oracle


 For those who didn’t luck out this round, not to worry, there are more treats to be had! Soar by on your broom tomorrow eve and toss your name in the hat for the next giveaway!

 As I write this, there is a howling wind shaking the trees beyond my window. I'm always a little blue when the leaves are stripped from the trees too quickly by greedy gusts. I like to revel in the fiery autumn colours as long as possible. But tomorrow there will be piles of gold and scarlet to swish my feet through, and that is the sort of thing that offers up a good amount of joy. It's difficult to believe that this delicious month is half over already, but the fun is not nearly finished yet. There is still an armful of books and treats to be had around these parts.

I do want to make an important shift in the entry process for the remaining giveaways. I've pulled several names as winners this month that had no way for me to contact them when I followed their linked comment. It's terribly sad to toss a name away that could have received a lovely parcel. Starting now, you must supply either your email address in the comments (in a safe form such as "Jen AT gmail") or a way to contact you via a non-private social media account (for example: twitter.com/rueandhyssop). You may also enter the current giveaway by sending me a note via the "make contact" button up at the top of the page - this automatically provides me with a way to contact you if you win. (EDIT Oct 18/19: The contact form has crashed as of this post. Please leave your entry as a comment, or if we are connected on social media and you want to privately enter this giveaway, then feel free to DM me. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and I'm working behind the scenes to fix this ASAP but the Blogger platform is being problematic.) Thank you for taking this extra step to ensure I can reach you if you win!

Now...on to the next giveaway!

This is the first year in some time that I haven't bought myself a large number of herbal books. I've been working with individual plants in my gardens and wilds, attempting to learn more about the plant friends I already know and love, one on one. I've brought a few new herbs into my toolbox this year too, but I've taken a short pause from stuffing my brain with information and wanting to work with all the plants I can get my hands on. I've craved some quieter, more personal study this year. (There are some gorgeous herbal books coming out next year so you know this won't last long.) My only purchases were two books and two botanical themed card decks, and the reason I bought them was because I saw them all over Instagram this year. The reviews were excellent and the artistry and design of each item were unique and beautiful. I've been thrilled with them, and I know you will be too. Let's take closer look...

First up is The Illustrated Herbiary: Guidance and Rituals from 36 Bewitching Botanicals, by Maia Toll, stunningly illustrated by Kate O'Hara. The book is a set that includes cards for each plant mentioned, which can be employed as an oracle if you so choose. The Herbiary is a visual delight and is primarily a journey of connecting with the herbs Maia has chosen to feature. If you are looking for a field guide or a medicinal or practical herbal to help you learn to identify and grow/harvest plants, this is not that book. At the risk of sounding a little flippant, this book and card set feels like ordering dessert before dinner. It's swoon-worthy and luscious, though it isn't going to keep you alive all on its own. I do think it would make a fetching gift for anyone who already has mad crush on the natural world, and I'm pleased to have my own copy.

Drink to your health, your ancestors, and your friends. Make zines, write daily, make plants and stay true to your own tastes and well-being.” - An excerpt from Blotto Botany

Photo by Gingertooth and Twine

Next up is an alluring tome that was hand illustrated, written, and assembled by Spencre McGowan of Gingertooth and Twine. Originally a self-published zine, Blotto Botany: A Lesson in Healing Cordials and Plant Magic, is Spencre's herbal log and list of yummy experiments that was serendipitously found and re-published as a book by Harper Collins. I found Spencre on Instagram after hearing folks talk about how charming and wonderful her book was, so naturally I had to pick up a copy (and one for you too). I've only just begun to try some of the recipes within but I've got a long winter ahead (if the birds and the caterpillars are telling the truth) and I can't wait to play with more!

The first of two enchanting card decks I have for you is the Hedgewitch's Botanical Oracle by Siolo Thompson. (Siolo is also the artist and creator behind the Linestrider Tarot which I've previously shared with you.) The Botanical Oracle seems both sharp and fluid at once. Thompson's art offers the realism you want when learning about plants, with a somewhat liminal feel that benefits divination systems. Though the beautifully hefty Field Guide that accompanies the deck gives you a very nice overview of the medicinal and folkloric uses of each plant/card, it also encourages you to sense the magic inherent in the plants yourself. I've found this deck very accommodating. It works beautifully alongside other decks and I've felt immediately comfortable working with it and interpreting its messages. I'm already very attached to this deck and wouldn't part with it.

This year I've tried to curb my tarot/oracle purchases. Instead, I spent time pulling out older decks that I wanted to give some love to and make better use of. I have only three new decks this year (thus far). A magical, personal-run deck that was gifted to me by a beloved friend, the above oracle, and this next tarot set. 

I don't know that I've fallen for a tarot deck this hard in a long while. 

The Herbcrafter's Tarot is a labour of love from Latisha Guthrie and Joanna Powell Colbert. These are stunningly drawn cards with powerful messages. The companion book is stellar (the sturdy box with internal ribbon-as-lift is one you'll want to keep) and gives you information about the card through the lens of the plant depicted. It also offers medicinal and magical histories of the plants, as well as giving you practical and ritual crafting ideas to work with the plant and energy of that card.

You'll experience tarot in a new way with the intricate system Latisha and Joanna have laid out. Please do yourself a favour and click through the links to see the gorgeous cards - my photo doesn't do them enough justice!

I have one copy of each of these lovely books and decks to give away. I'll draw the four names on Sunday, October 20th at 9pm Pacific. Please ensure your email address or contact information is included in your comment. Feel free to share this post or any of the author/artist's work online and return here for a second entry. You may let me know which deck or book you'd prefer and though I can't promise to make it happen I'll do my best to match winners with their choices.

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