Dec 3, 2020

The Magic and Mischief of the Darktide

Thank you again for such a wonderfully joyful month of celebrating the darkest weeks of the year! The last books of our giveaway are going out to:

BrigidsBlest - A Grimoire for Modern Cunningfolk
Margarita - Weaving Fate
mtngirl - By Rust of Nail & Prick of Thorn
Eveline - Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas


The ice crept in two nights ago, growing over every surface and crushing the last struggling plants in the garden between its frigid fingers. It left a blanket of sparkling crystals, and froze the water in the birdbath into a sculpture that was unappreciated by its intended patrons. On the days the sun finds us, it is still warm enough to melt the layer of frost. But that celestial body is wandering off, rising so far in the south now that we get only mere hours of its direct light. In the shadowy places of the yard the ice is already settling in to rule until spring. Snow will follow in waves. But frost is the true lord of winter.

Autumn is said to be the season of the witch, and it's easy to see why. The golden days and cozy nights are naturally dripping with enchantment. But when we look at the power of winter, the cultures who formulated practices to keep themselves safe and fed in uncertain times, who told tales around the fire to weather the long nights and teach their children to have a healthy dose of fear and wonder, we can't help but notice that there is a deep vein of magic that runs through the season of frost and snow. Our practices instinctively turn inward. Our homes become our circle of power, our kitchens the alchemical laboratory, and our hearth/fire/stove the place where we conjure health, familial ties, and celebration.

Of course, winter looks and feels different for everyone. If you aren't in the northern hemisphere at present, you might be dipping your toes in the first days of summer. And even if you are beginning to experience a chill (or have already been digging yourself out of your driveway for a month) you may choose not to observe any winter festivities, or feel especially celebratory this year. You don't need to be a fan of St. Nicholas or the Yule Lads to get your winter witchery on. In my deepest despair one winter, I still managed to cuddle up with cats and blankets and a stack of books, bake too much shortbread while talking to my dead grandmother, and learned to read the Lenormand - and while I didn't feel like taking part in any festivities, those things felt very magical to me. 

This last giveaway of our celebration of the darktide is meant to offer you some ideas on making your own magic (and perhaps some mischief) through the winter months. I have three outstanding books for you if you'd like to gather some inspiration for enchanting your life, protecting your home and energy, and taking charge of your fate.

The first book I have for you is very special. Six years ago I contacted the late Peter Paddon and arranged to buy some autographed books from him for my festivities that year. His work was to be featured in the last giveaway that October, but late in the month he passed away suddenly. It didn't feel right to continue with the giveaway only a week after he left us, so I gently packed the books away for another time. One of the books eventually went to live with a friend of his, and now it feels right to hand out the remaining tome. A Grimoire for Modern Cunningfolk is the account of Peter's Crooked Path of witchcraft, and also looks at some comparisons and lore from other magical systems. It contains excellent practices that the author used himself (some he created), including his take on ancestral work. Peter's 'voice' really shines through in this book, and you can see why he has been missed. The book has been lovingly kept in good condition (and never read - I have my own copies of his work) and contains a short blessing and autograph from Peter.

Our second book is a bewitching look at protection magic from the fabulous and feral Althaea Sebastiani. By Rust of Nail & Prick of Thorn: The Theory & Practice of Effective Home Warding has arrived in beautiful print form just in time for all your winter warding needs. It's chock full of guidance on why you would want to make use of this practice (and why you might ease up on it), and various ways of implementing it, including instruction for tools (and what to do if you have no tools available) and techniques. Concise and no-nonsense, this is the book you want to have to keep the wailing winter spirits at bay. (You can get your hygge on after your wards are up.)

Our last book of magical wisdom comes from a familiar friend. Aidan Wachter has entranced us with his talisman making and insightful articles for years, and is now two publications into his master work on sorcery (which we hope never ends). If you'd like to alter the winds of fate, or have a better-than-average chance at molding your own life, then Aidan's books are definitely for you. Weaving Fate: Hypersigils, Changing the Past & Telling True Lies is a companion to his first publication, Six Ways, but it's also a spectacular standalone workbook that takes you through approaches for implementing change for yourself, and having a hand in influencing the world around you. I cannot recommend Aidan's books enough, and I know you'll love having Weaving Fate to delve into during the dark months ahead.

Our final giveaway of the season is a bit of magic and mischief all rolled into one. Because Tales & Treats for the Darktide was meant to conclude on December 5th, I couldn't let the festivities fade without giving a nod to the creature who will be out roaming that night. December 6th is St. Nicholas' Day, and the 5th is the Eve of St. Nicholas when all good children place a shoe out to be filled with nuts, fruit, candy, or little toys. But...if you haven't been so good this year, a different sort of fellow might be paying you a visit...

In European folklore, Krampus is St. Nicholas' horned helper who takes the lead on dealing out gifts for the naughty children. And by 'gifts' I mean a switching with his bundle of sticks, or a one-way ride in his basket away from your family and warm bed. Fun, right? The night of Krampus, or Krampusnacht, has become a world-wide phenomenon (and a sub-par Christmas horror movie) in which people can embrace the darker aspects of winter and face their fears. Al Ridenour is an author, podcaster, artist, and journalist who traveled to Europe to research the legend of this winter monster. He has collected these stories and experiences in his book The Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil, which would be excellent to curl up with as the twinkle lights get tucked away and the January winds begin to howl at the window. 

These last four gifts will be up for grabs until the minutes fade away on Krampusnacht (December 5th). On the morning of St. Nicholas' day, after I collect my chocolate and oranges from my shoe (because I'm always a good girl, even when I'm not), I'll draw the names from the hat and send out these books to four lucky folks.

We are wrapping up with the same game as always - your comment counts as your entry. Please be sure I can get in touch with you if your name is drawn. You can let me know which book you'd prefer in your comment and I'll do my best to match wishes with names whenever possible. If you'd like a second entry, simply share this giveaway on social media and swing back to let me know you've done so, and I'll add your name to the hat again.

Thank you so, so much to everyone who has dropped by this last month to play along with me! This has been a trying year (at best) and I knew it would be a quieter celebration, but I've been truly uplifted by your messages and comments, and I'm really happy you wanted to join me again this year!

PS - This should go without saying, but because someone inquired about it I do want to emphasize that all the items that I give away are brand new. All books are unread and are sent out in the exact form they were bought/received in. All card decks are unopened and untouched, and again, are sent out in the state they are received in. Shipping can be rough on items but I don't ever send out anything damaged and I always wrap the item and use padded envelopes to keep things in good order. Any small imperfections in the item were there when they arrived to me or were purchased in person by me. Thank you!

Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (excluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  who are 18 years of age or older. This giveaway is void where prohibited 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 affiliated 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.